London, Sept 11 : Wives in Britain, it seems, have come up with a unique way to beat the economic downturn - seek extra-marital affairs. According to a lonely hearts website for married people, twice as many wives are signing up as they were a year ago, many of them well-off and living in the Home Counties.
The site claims that the women are resorting to adultery as the crunch has made their husbands "no fun", causing them to work longer hours, worry about losing their jobs and shun social activities.
Sara Hartley, a spokesman for IllicitEncounters.com, said one of the website's new members summed up the mood by claiming she had previously coped with being a "golf widow" but now felt as if she was a "downturn widow".
"Her husband had barely paid her any attention since New Year, was no fun and seemed completely pre-occupied," Telegraph quoted Sara, as saying.
"She said golf widows at least have happy husbands, but downturn widows are living with men who are starting early, working late, fearing for their jobs, constantly on the phone on holiday and withdrawing from their social lives.
"Half of the new female members we spoke to claimed to be married to professionals or senior managers directly affected by City or economy issues, and all of them said they had joined because their husbands were no fun, and that any sort of passion or intimacy had simply dried up since the New Year.
"They wanted to feel special again, and they craved company away from somebody who was distracted and disinterested," she said.
The website, which was set up in 2003 and now has 235,000 members, said women were joining at a rate of 55 a day in 2007.
However, in 2008 the figure has risen to more than 100 a day.