Why Christmas season is peak time to cheat
Cheated on your partner or engaged in an office romance? Chances are you've most likely done it when the summer sun is shining and over the Christmas party season.
Relationship experts have said frivolity is at its peak in the warmer weather and the extra stress of Christmas means couples already experiencing difficulty are likely to become more distant.
Notorious cheating website Ashley Madison said Australia saw more than 130,000 affairs last summer (Between December 21, 2017 and March 20, 2018) and this summer is likely to be no different.
And if you're based in Melbourne, you're even more likely to cheat according to the website that connects married people wanting to stray, with the Victorian capital the city with the most signups in all of 2017 and over the summer period.
This is followed by Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and … Wollongong.
Adelaide and Geelong round off the 6th and 7th spots on the list.
Ashley Madison sex and relationship therapist Tammy Nelson said increased serotonin combined with more exposure to sunshine led people to feel happier with themselves over summer.
"With more sun exposure in the summer people will feel happier, more confident, and this could help kick start someone's decision to start and extramarital affair, allowing them to feel better about the decision," she said.
"Christmas and the holidays are an emotional time for many people. There's also an increase in alcohol consumption around the holidays, which can lead to more careless, sometimes reckless behaviour."
Dr Nelson warned not to let an office attraction lead to a permanent mistake over the holiday period.
"Office affairs can be more than just a bad career move. They could be a total boundary violation and even set you up for legal issues later on."
Relationship and dating expert Louanne Ward said Christmas stress was one of the big factors for cheating over the holiday period.
"If things haven't been going well on the relationship front, then the added stress emotionally and economically, as well as extra social activities and warmer weather, can add fuel to the fire," Ms Ward said.
Australian Psychological Society president Ros Knight said there were more separations of couples in the lead up to Christmas.
"Generally the stress will be building up over the year and the holiday period is often a catalyst for the break," Ms Knight said.
"Christmas can be a really hard time for a lot of people, including those who have had someone pass recently or a relationship break down."
Relationships Australia family counsellor Val Holden said couples should put more effort into their relationship, especially over the Christmas period.
"You need to have frank open conversations about what you are feeling and what you need from each other. Don't wait until something happens to do this," Ms Holden said.
Ms Holden said minimising any financial stress over Christmas was also key to ensuring fissures don't occur.
"Look at how you can do it in the most cost effective way and don't unnecessarily buy things you don't need."
TOP AUSTRALIAN CITIES FOR SUMMER INFIDELITY
10. Gold Coast
*Source: Ashley Madison sign ups December 2017 to March 2018
WAYS TO AVOID BEING A CHRISTMAS CHEATER
1. Keep an honest dialogue with your partner at all times of the year and discuss any issues that arise
2. Take care of yourself so you are not looking for a distraction in someone else - volunteer, hit the gym, buy yourself something nice
3. Don't overextend your finances over Christmas
4. Keep alcohol to a minimum
5. Think through the consequences of your actions, and what you may lose, so you don't have any regrets