- The Christmas season is often considered a time for family, but new evidence suggests the holiday is actually prime time for married people looking to cheat on their spouses.
- According to UK-based affair matchmaking site Illicit Encounters, a survey of their users found 35% of women and 31% of men said they carried out affairs during Christmastime.
- The uptick in Christmas cheaters isn’t surprising because the season can leave people feeling drained emotionally, financially, and physically, according to psychologist Tammy Nelson. They may cheat, then, to find an escape or relive simpler times.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more.
The Christmas season is often considered a time for family, but new evidence suggests the holiday is actually prime time for married people looking to cheat on their spouses.
According to data compiled by Datingroo, a UK-based website that reviews online dating platforms, Christmas is not only a popular time for singles to use dating apps, but a popular time for married folks to join the platforms too.
Data from the General Social Survey between 2010 and 2016 found that 20% of married men and 13% of married women said they had a sexual affair with someone at some point in their lives. And a survey of 1,000 users of UK-based affair matchmaking site Illicit Encounters found that 35% of women and 31% of men said they carried out affairs during Christmastime.
The uptick in Christmas cheaters isn’t surprising because the season can leave people feeling drained emotionally, financially, and physically, according to Tammy Nelson, a psychologist and independent consultant for ashley madison, a website with the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair.”
“The combination of these things and the expectation that things should be merry and bright puts a strain on their marriage and their peace of mind,” Nelson told Insider. “This can drive a cheater to find escape with an outside partner.”
Holiday cheaters could be looking for escape or feel nostalgic for simpler times
One Illicit Encounters survey of over 400 of its members found that 70% of respondents decided to cheat on their partners over Christmas because they were cooped up, which led to feelings of irritability and desperation for change.
According to Nelson, the stress of being around family for extended periods of time or having holiday-related fights with spouses can also heighten stress levels and drive people to have affairs as a way to escape the madness.
“When people are under stress in their family, and around family members that cause tension, they may fantasize about escape, and seek solace outside of their marriage,” Nelson said.
Additionally, some Christmas cheaters may do so out of nostalgia, Nelson said.
“Who they were, what they remember, and who they used to be all combined can make them reach out to their ex, or to people who remind them of who they used to be when they were younger,” Nelson said.
You can avoid holiday-induced cheating
Although the uptick in affairs around the holidays sounds bleak, there are simple ways to prevent the feelings of stress and gloom that may lead to infidelity.
According to Nelson, practicing gratitude through reflection can help a person who feels desperate for an escape better appreciate what’s around them and help them live in the moment rather than look for an escape in the form of an affair.
“Spend time making a gratitude list for all the things you have in your life now that are working for you, that you enjoy and that you appreciate,” Nelson said. “Do it in the morning when you wake up and before you go to bed.”
Nelson also suggested telling loved ones things you love or appreciate about them.
“Do it now while the thoughts are fresh. And don’t forget to include yourself on that list,” she said.