Last week, Ashley Madison, a dating site that explicitly targets people who want to have extra-marital affairs, was hacked by a group calling itself the Impact Team. The hackers claim to have gained access to the company's entire database of clients.
And the hackers clearly mean business: they've threatened to release the sensitive information they've gathered from the company's 37 million users unless their demands are met - which includes shutting the site down completely. They have already released some of the data online.
Since launching in the UK five years ago, Ashley Madison has accrued around 1.2 million UK members, which amounts to five per cent of the married population. For the past week, this philandering five per cent have been worrying about having their cheating secrets revealed to the public and their spouses - many of whom will be utterly in the dark about their partner's antics. As a divorce lawyer, I have been privy to hundreds of adultery cases over the years, and time and again the same patterns pop up. In fact, many people ignore or overlook the obvious signs that their partner is having an affair. If you have your suspicions, don't wait for the hackers' big reveal. The chances are that your partner is already giving themselves away by adopting the following typical behaviours: 1. Guilt can be a very potent factor. Sometimes a person will feel so guilty about having run off with someone else that they're prepared to go above and beyond - uncharacteristically grand gestures often signal a guilty secret, so watch out for any sudden bunches of flowers.
2. Lots of late nights staying out with "friends" or working long hours, coupled with shiftiness or evasiveness when pressed for details - this can signal a lack of desire to come home. Husbands often gravitate towards women who understand their working life, especially when women have given up their careers for a more domestic life.
3. Showering before coming to bed sometimes signifies guilt or a desire to avoid detection of the scent of a lover. 4. Sex life shutting down. This is often the first sign that a relationship is on the rocks.
5. Cold shoulders - when attraction fades and people are looking elsewhere, it can make for iciness in a relationship. People become cruel and cold because they feel they're trapped with someone who they don't feel very connected to any more.
6. Hot tempers - if your partner is snapping at you or undermining you all of a sudden. People tend to justify their mental exit from a relationship by seeing their partner in a bad light and taking it out on them. The added burden of deceit doesn't help.
7. Texting - if your partner is sneaking off up the garden path during family time - technology has made everyone more connected and distracted and family gatherings can be a recipe for trouble in paradise. 8. Secretive online behaviours - all this shared technology makes it easier to snoop, but also to want to cover your tracks. If your other half is being suspicious with the home computer, their email or phone, there's probably a reason. Then the phone ends up lying around the house and the secret's out.