iStock / ShaneKato

We're all in agreement that Love Actually is the worst Christmas film ever made, right?

Aside from being overly saccharine, it has an unlikeable cast of characters with every subplot basically centred around a battle of the sexes, which always sees the men come out on top.

Except for Emma Thompson's character Karen, who's the only developed woman in the entire film and has an actually empowering moment when she confronts her cheating husband, played by the late, great Alan Rickman.

Picture: Picture: Universal Pictures / Screengrab 

Anyway, what we can learn from Emma Thompson is that if you still subscribe to the social construct of monogamy, and you suspect your partner is cheating at Christmas, don't just be satisfied with a Joni Mitchell CD while they give jewellery to their paramour - love yourself.

Handily, then, for the sake of this article, Ashley Madison - a dating website specifically for married people to have affairs - has pulled back the curtain to reveal how cheaters and adulterers behave at Christmas, based on their own data.

According to the site's findings, 30 per cent of cheaters schedule an alternative Christmas Day to spend with their other partner. And of these, 71 per cent say they plan to meet within a week of Christmas Day. So if your partner is a bit cagey with what he or she is doing just before or just after Christmas, it could be because they're shacking up with their other spouse.

Or they could just be buying late Christmas presents or shopping in the Bank Holiday sales. Hard to tell.

If you're the other women, you're more likely to receive jewellery for Christmas - we're looking at you, Love Actually - 36 per cent, with lingerie coming in second at 13 per cent, and dinner at 12 per cent. Nine per cent of those in Ashley Madison's data receive sex toys for Christmas.

If you're the other man, then you're probably going to get clothes (25 per cent), or nothing (18 per cent).

Basically, if you find lingerie or a sex toy under the tree this year and it's not addressed to you, you should be worried.

That being said though, most cheaters - 66 per cent - won't actually see their affair partner over Christmas. Ashley Madison do say, however, that they get a surge in sign-ups between December and January.

Isabelle Mise, director of communications for the site, said:

With the amount of stress and strife that inevitably comes from extended periods of time spent with family, many of our members may be reminded of why they initially came to Ashley Madison.

Basically, just don't watch Love Actually and you'll probably be fine for another year. Merry Christmas.

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