Huge spike in online dating after Christmas as holiday spirit encourages thousands to cure their lonelinessOnline dating sites are reporting 350 per cent more traffic post Christmas
Match.com expects three million email messages to be sent this week
One in five UK relationships now begins online
20:32 GMT, 30 December 2012
Looking for love: Millions of singletons will be looking for their perfect date online this week with dating websites reporting a surge in users in the period between Christmas and the beginning of January
It may be the annual onslaught of loved ones questioning your single status over Christmas dinner or the pressure to find that special someone to kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve.
But it seems that the post Christmas slump is the time to find romance online with the period between Boxing Day and the turn of the year the busiest stretch for online dating sites.
Some websites have reported an increase in traffic as high as 350 per cent with some of the most popular sites bombarding singletons with adverts to convince them that 2013, or even the tail end of 2012, could be their time to be lucky in love.
Match.com expects a staggering three million email messages to be sent by users this week with a further 2.5million 'winks' sent and 500,000 instant messaging conversations taking place.
Traffic to some of the most popular sites including eHarmony and Match.com has a tendency to peak at the startof January.
According to Phillip Hodson, of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, the reason for the surge in people signing up to dating websites is down to singletons taking stock of their lot at the end of another year.
He told the Guardian: 'Christmas tends to be a period of review and revision, partly because it gives you the chance to observe existing models of relationship – the ones that you have, the ones you want to avoid and the ones you want to emulate.
'It is also the winter pause when you review what has been missing in your life and what you want in it, and a period of great loneliness for people who don't fit into the government-approved vision of family.
'Many sense they want a crack at feeling better than they did in the preceding 12 months.'
The surge in interest surrounding online dating comes as the UK becomes somewhat less snobby about the way we meet our perfect mate.
According to YouGov, one in five relationships in the UK now begins online, and meeting via the internet is the third most popular way to find a date behind 'through friends' or making acquaintance at a pub or bar.
Upsurge: Dating websites such as Match.com will see a surge in the numbers of people looking for love online over the post Christmas period.
'Shopping' mentality: Browsing dating websites online can lead to singletons becoming excessively picky when looking for their perfect partner according to a university study
Nearly half of the UK's singletons are also thought to have dabbled with dating online at some stage too.
So it's little wonder that in 2011 dating websites were big business, bringing some 170million to the UK economy – an upsurge of six per cent on the previous year.
And the UK is leaps and bounds ahead of its European neighbours when it comes to web dating with 1,500 of the continent's 5,000 dating websites originating in Britain.
But it's not all good news for those looking for the perfect partner online – interest wanes significantly when people return to work in the New Year.
A study from the University of Rochester in the U.S earlier this year said that dating websites are making people more judgemental.
Browsing through profiles on dating websites is said to result in a 'shopping' mentality making people excessively picky according to the study.