The clue is in the title. Dating sites are web resources designed to arrange dates. After new members have completed the application process, they are given access to the profiles of other site users in order to forge connections; ultimately, to begin relationships, sometimes platonic, but more often than not, romantic.

If their raison d'etre is to bring singles together, surely any married individuals going through this online matchmaking process must be using assumed names while seeking partners for an affair? Undoubtedly there are some site users who are browsing through the lists of available singles looking for people to have illicit liaisons with. In fact, feedback from studies has revealed almost half of those using the app Tinder already had a partner. But dating sites such as flirt.com are not the sole preserve of singletons or adulterers. Married couples use these platforms for a variety of reasons.

Friends

For many, the appeal of these websites is not to introduce them to potential sexual partners, but to new friends. Given the increasingly busy lives people lead these days, with Internet connections, hot desking and business networking offering the possibility for workers to be much more 24/7, it can be difficult placing enough emphasis on leisure pursuits.

This is where these sites can come in handy. Most of them are free to sign up to, and once you have become a member, you can access private chat rooms. These are discreet environments, screened from the outside world, where you can introduce yourself to other members and get involved in group chats. The topics covered can be many and varied, and you always have the option of tabling your own suggestions.

For married couples, this presents an ideal scenario for getting to know a wider friendship circle. It isn't always such an easy thing to make new buddies once you get beyond school, college or university, and have already been introduced to everyone at your place of work. But after you have logged into your account, you can quickly get involved in conversations with other users, finding out about their backgrounds and leisure activities.

Perhaps you might come across other married couples sharing your interests and passions. The logical next step would be for you to meet up with your newfound friends at whichever events or competitions feature this hobby.

International appeal

Another reason married couples might be drawn to matching sites would be to seek foreign friends. Dating sites present a fantastic opportunity to get to know people of different nationalities. There are no national boundaries when it comes to the Internet.

It is therefore perfectly feasible to meet interesting people in chat rooms who might not even necessarily come from your own country. One minute you could find yourself involved in discussions with people from your neighborhood; the next you could be exchanging views with site users who are currently sitting behind keyboards anywhere from Pittsburg to St Petersburg.

As long as both parties have a decent handle on English, you will find common ground on a variety of conversation topics. Again, the more messages you exchanged with one another, the greater the rapport will be developed. In no time at all, you will be developing a sense of chemistry.

Where this type of connection could really come in handy would be when it comes to planning holidays. What better way to ensure the vacation is hassle-free and much less expensive than having your very own tour guides waiting to