Beware: If you’re dating, you might be getting “Marleyed” this holiday season.

Video by Mamamia

If someone were to ask me what my biggest fear is, I’d almost instantly reply with the answer: Dating.

And coming in at a close second? Ghosts.

So, what better way to celebrate the simply jubilant holiday season than to introduce you to a term that combines my two biggest fears. Behold the new and brutal trend sweeping the dating circle… getting “Marleyed”.

Not to be confused with “ghosting” or being ghosted by someone you’re currently seeing, if you’ve been “Marleyed”, it means an old flame has returned to haunt you at Christmastime. The term derives from A Christmas Carol, in which the ghost of Jacob Marley returns to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge.

An eHarmony study recently revealed that 11 per cent of single people have been “Marleyed”, and eight per cent have been the perpetrators of haunting (aka reaching out to an ex-partner).

LISTEN: How long should you wait until you sleep with someone? (Post continues after audio.)

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To some extent, you expect a certain level of “ghosting” or “stashing” in every fresh relationship. You enter with caution and expect the worst for self-preservation reasons.

But when a relationship is over, it’s over (or so we tell ourselves). It ended for a reason, where if it didn’t, the same issues would likely repeat themselves, only amplified.

And so, with a sniffle, we appropriately mourn the loss of said relationship and officially brand that person gone. Again, for self-preservation reasons.

via GIPHY

It might sound like a tame concept to you, but in reality, the idea of being “Marleyed” is frankly terrifying. Because unlike most other dating trends, this one completely takes you by surprise.

Merry Christmas, as they say!

They hit you up with a “hey, ‘sup”, or a “long time no speak”, in an attempt to ignite some sort of holiday fling that they will no doubt end once the world resumes spinning after the holiday season. Nothing you did warranted that contact, but the communication is alarmingly familiar and…comfortable.

Abort, ABORT.

The holidays are a time dedicated to joy, carols, and mince pies. If you allow yourself to be “Marleyed” this year, you’re potentially adding A LOT more mince pies to the mix with a dash of unwanted tears.

I suggest renaming every ex in your address book to, “BEWARE OF THE MARLEY” this holiday season, and enjoy your mince pies sans the tears.

They taste better that way, trust me.

Have you ever been Marleyed? Tell us in the comments below.

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