Top 6 Telltale Signs of a Christmas Cheater, a dating website for married people seeking extra-marital affairs, has published a Top 6 Telltale Signs of a Christmas Cheater compiled from the responses of 5,000 of its members who were asked if they had ever been caught cheating over the festive season and if so what gave the game away.

1. A hidden gift item intended for a lover, discovered before Christmas by the spouse, which they did not then get given on Christmas Day.

2. Christmas text messages or emails from a lover discovered by the husband/wife.

3. Spotted in a local restaurant by a close friend of their husband/wife having a Christmas meal with their lover.

4. Wearing a Christmas gift item of clothing or jewellery received from a lover and failing to explain it convincingly to their husband/wife.

5. A credit card statement arriving after Christmas showing charges for expensive gift items that the spouse did not receive.

6. Membership of discovered by their spouse on a shared home computer.

Emily Pope of Undercover Lovers says: “Whilst an adulterer who wishes to remain undetected needs to be extra-vigilant over the Christmas holidays the fact is that most of our members have never been found out. Some have been successfully philandering in secret for decades. With almost 2% of the country’s entire married population now a member of Undercover Lovers, we’re in a unique position to see that adultery in the UK, whilst still mostly hidden, has now reached epidemic proportions.”

Undercover Lovers’ resident relationship expert Dr Maryse Vaillant who advocates in her book “Men, Love, Fidelity”, that adultery can sometimes be good for a marriage, commented: “The festive season can be an especially difficult time for marriages. Families are forced to spend more time together in close confinement than usual and if there are already problems within a marriage, they can be pushed to breaking point by the pressure cooker of Christmas.

“Affairs begun in such an impulsive and secretive fashion are often the most damaging. If married couples were more honest and open in their communications and about their needs and desires, an affair can in some instances enhance a marriage’s chances of surviving and thriving.”