Canadian adultery website Ashley Madison, credited with helping to break up thousands of marriages, is having problems with its plans to go public in a European country, where its operators believe there is a “more relaxed attitude to infidelity” than in North American or Asian markets.

Reportedly however our City brokers are “queasy” about associating themselves or their clients with something many view as immoral and sordid, an arguably hypocritical view given the enthusiasm for profits from gambling, tobacco, alcohol, bent banking and weapons that kill people.

Ashley Madison – which uses the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair” – claim to have more than a million married members in the UK, all looking to secretly cheat on their spouses. And all happily unaware of the danger of blackmail, with threats to inform spouse or employer/potential employer, should someone, somewhere, somehow log onto their details. On this basis the website’s member list could be worth a lot of money, in the wrong hands.

This aside the mental and physical damage done by breaking up is considerable for both parties. According to the Office for National Statistics 42% of marriages in Britain end in divorce, which a new study in the USA claims is “a major stressor”, triggering the risk of depression, early death or suicide in men. And divorced women have a 24% higher chance of a heart attack than the happily married, with the figure rising to 33% for those re-marrying and 77% if the second time around doesn’t work out.

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