Half of all women have a ‘Plan B’ – in the shape of a man whose arms they can run into if their current relationship turns sour, it has emerged.
A study carried out among 1,000 women found a substantial percentage have managed to keep another man waiting patiently in the wings should they end up single.
And, worryingly, married women are more likely have a Plan B in the background than those who are merely in a relationship.
It also emerged the Plan B is likely to be an ‘old friend’ who has always had feelings for the woman in question.
But other candidates are an ex-boyfriend or ex-husband, a colleague or someone who they have met at the gym.
A spokesman for online market research company OnePoll.com said: ”For our research to establish that 50 per cent of women in relationships have a ‘Plan B’ is a worrying sign.
”This news may cause a few men in relationships to think twice about not taking the rubbish out or choosing a night down the pub in favour of a cosy night in with his partner.
”This could spark fear in men across the UK and be great news for women looking for that extra bit of love and care so that their attentions aren’t swayed.”
The research also found Plan B is also likely to be someone whom she has known for around seven years.
One of the most worrying elements of the study was the revelation that he will be ‘ready and waiting’ because of ‘unfinished business’.
Furthermore around one in ten women said their Plan B had already confessed his undying love, while one in five said they were confident he would ‘drop everything’ for her, if she asked him to.
Slightly more than four in ten said they had got to know the man whilst they were with their partner, while a similar percentage said he was ‘on the scene’ long before.
Another alarming statistic was the fact around one in four women who have a back-up plan have feelings as strong for him as they do for their other half.
Incredibly 12 per cent went as far as to admit their feelings were ‘stronger’ for Plan B, and close to seven in ten admitted they are currently in contact with him.
But despite the secrecy involved in having a close friend or ex to turn to, around half of the women who took part in the poll said their other half was aware of the ‘third party’.
Of those one in five said they were able to joke about it, but one in three said their man was ‘uncomfortable’ discussing him.
One in four admitted their current partner had met their Plan B, while one in five admitted he was a friend of the man in her life.
The good news for the nation’s men is that one in three women said they ‘doubted’ anything would ever happen with the man in the background.
Around half had a ‘never say never’ approach, while trouble may lie ahead for one in six who said they were ‘seriously considering’ rekindling their romance with the man in the shadows.
A OnePoll spokesman added: ”The saying ‘the grass isn’t always greener’, clearly isn’t deterring women of today.
”They understand that anything can happen and are ensuring they have a solid back up plan should things go sour with their current man”
“With sites such as Facebook and Twitter, its easier than ever to stay in touch with an old flame. Men need to be aware of any ‘old friends’ that turn up out of the blue that’s for sure.
”One thing is for certain, men across the UK today will be giving their partners that extra kiss goodnight this evening.”