Forty percent of those whose partners have cheated on them has contemplated suicide or murder, a Caritas study of extramarital affairs discovered.

The Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre interviewed 480 people who had sought assistance in relation to extramarital affairs between 2013 and 2015. 80 percent of those interviewed were female and most of the interviewees were married to someone who cheated, rather than cheaters themselves.

A Caritas study interviewed couples who were troubled by extramarital affairs.

The study showed that 69 percent of interviewees had conflicts arising from extramarital affairs, while 40 percent of those whose partners cheated had contemplated committing suicide or murdering their partner .. or the lover, Apple Daily reported.

The survey also showed that 19 percent of those who took part in extramarital affairs had been married for 11 to 15 years, while 18 percent of affairs took place during the first five years of marriage.

More than half of the affairs were stable relationships that did not involve monetary transactions. Relationships which included mistresses or prostitutes only took up 18 percent and 12 percent respectively; 6.6 percent were online relationships.

Of those who cheated, 19 percent had jobs in administration, while 12 percent were management or executive staff. Thirty percent of the affairs were with coworkers, and 28 percent with friends. Just under 20 percent of the interviewees said that they cheated because there was a lack of communication with their partners, while 18 percent said that it was because their married life was dull.

The centre’s director Kwok Chi-ying told Ming Pao that when an affair was exposed, the offended partner would often feel sad and hopeless, which would give rise to thoughts of self-harm. To prevent violent incidents, couples could try going on a break and separating for a while to calm down.

This year, Ashley Madison, an online dating website that promotes cheating, was hacked. Data containing user information was posted on the Dark Web and hundreds of email addresses which appeared to belong to Hong Kong users were found.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.