Has an old flame suddenly been back in touch out of nowhere? Texting you just to say 'hi: long time no speak!', or even sending flirty WhatsApp messages, or emails declaring their everlasting love?
V-lationshipping is the new trend where exes crawl out of the woodwork in the hope of a Valentine's hook-up, simply because they don't want to be lovelorn on this annual celebration of romance. Charming, huh?
'Shippers' as they're known, are usually former flames who you may have had a few casual dates with before things just fell away. There probably wasn't any animosity or any major chemistry; it just didn't work out and you went your separate ways. Knowing the door is still slightly ajar, and finding themselves facing Valentine's Day with a meal for one and a boxset, they start putting the feelers out for a companion, perhaps sending a vague message with a non committal reference to meeting up for a drink or a catch up.
Some Shippers may be even more callous, rocking up from nowhere with promises of commitment to someone whose heart is still mending from their last shenanigans. As Laura tells the Metro newspaper
: 'My ex and I were dating on and off for a year and a half. I ended things unwillingly because he [...] couldn't make time for me. After six months of not seeing each other, my ex called me out of the blue asking to meet up on Valentine's Day. He reached out and said that he misses me and still loves me, despite the lack of effort made in the part. It was a stab to the heat and I hard to decline.'
Another example of a toxic Shipper is someone who ghosted you back in the day. The recipient might be so pleased to hear from them, recalling how awful they felt when the person simply disappeared on them, that they fall into the trap as a way to self-soothe.
So if someone broke your heart, or you just weren't that into them to begin with, avoid at all costs being dragged into their strategy for avoiding loneliness come 14th February. Listen to your instincts, the advice of friends who knew you back when that person was last in your life, and, in the words of Michael Buble, look forward to a future with someone better you just haven't met yet.
Happy Valentine's Day to all Flame daters.