Marleying: the dating trend where exes reappear at Christmas. Picture: Pexels
“Let me say, without hope or agenda, just because it’s Christmas and at Christmas you tell the truth, do you want to get together again even though we broke up years ago?”

Sound familiar?

The chances are something along those lines might. 

New figures have revealed that one in ten singles will be contacted by exes looking for a fling this Christmas.

The trend is known as ‘Marleying’, named after Ebenezer Scrooge's ghost business partner Jacob Marley who appears out of nowhere on Christmas Eve after being gone for years.

The research was conducted by eHarmony, who say the trend is driven by people heading back to hometowns for the holidays or feeling lonely over the festive season.

A study of 4,054 adults across the UK revealed 11 percent of singles say they’ve been Marleyed.

Despite your ex having been firmly out of the picture for months or even years, what is it about Christmas that prompts them to get in touch? Or perhaps prompts you to Marley an ex?

It often comes down to nostalgia.

“The end of the year is always a time for reflection, and that inevitably leads to some thoughts about past relationships,” 31-year-old Joseph Fairweather* told The Independent. 

“With social media it’s so easy to indulge these curiosities, and it can often lead to taking that extra step and actually making contact. I’ve been contacted by exes who’ve wanted to meet for drinks on trips back to my hometown from London, and I’ve also done it myself.”

Sometimes the Marleyers want a hook-up, sometimes they want to rekindle the relationship, and sometimes they just want to catch-up for old time’s sake.

When everyone is back home for the holidays, it’s the perfect set-up for the magic of Christmas to take over and old flames to reconnect. 

The study found that Marleying is more common in certain places of the UK, with London and Wales taking the top two spots. 

In the capital, you’re most likely to hear from an ex on Christmas Eve - four percent of people have received a message or call from a former flame on the 24th. 

For some singles though, Christmas is just a lonely time of the year - recent eHarmony research found one in 10 single people dread the Christmas period.

Rachael Lloyd from eHarmony says: “Just because you are at home visiting your old haunts, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should feel compelled to haunt a former partner. 

“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.

“Often relationships end for valid reasons such as a lack of compatibility. If this sounds familiar, rather than revisiting a relationship where the same issues could arise all over again, we would suggest spending time with family and friends and enjoying a well-earned break. Going backwards only decreases the odds of finding a new, long-lasting relationship.”

Keep your ghosts of Christmases past in the past.

* Name has been changed