Ebenezer Scrooge isn’t the only person to receive a visit from ghosts of Christmas past during the festive period. Turns out one in 10 of us are haunted by former flames over the holidays — a dating trend that’s been dubbed “Marleying.”
Named after Jacob Marley, the ghost of Scrooge’s former business partner in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Marleying is basically when an ex gets back in touch over Christmas after a long period without contact.
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Researchers at dating site eharmony coined the term after they surveyed more than 4,000 British adults to find out whether they’d experienced the trend. The research revealed that 11 percent of singles have been Marleyed, while 8 percent admit they’ve contacted an ex themselves. Christmas Eve is the date we’re most likely to receive a text from an ex, according to the findings.
Interestingly, London and Wales were found to be the UK’s top locations for Marleying.
Step away from the phone.
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So, why do ghosts from long-deceased relationships choose to reappear over Christmas? The researchers say that people returning to their hometowns over the holiday period is a major driver behind the trend as it affords the opportunity, and proximity, to make reconnecting with old flames possible.
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Loneliness is another reason behind the trend. Recent research conducted by eharmony and relationship counselling charity Relate found that 10 percent of singles dread the Christmas period, with many feeling “upset and stressed” at this time of year.
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“Just because you are at home visiting your old haunts, doesn’t necessarily mean you should feel compelled to haunt a former partner,” says Rachael Lloyd from eharmony. “Though some people are happy to reconnect with an ex over Christmas, it’s important to ensure you are both on the same page to avoid confusion or hurt.”
In the words of Kylo Ren, let the past die. Kill it if you have to.
This article was first published in 2017 and republished in 2023.
Sex & Relationships