What Is V-Lationshipping, And Should You Avoid It This February?

Valentine's Day is one of those days that people love or people loathe. In one corner, we have those who live for it. Even if they don't have a partner or a date for the big V-Day, they go nuts planning something special anyway, from the pink sequin dress to the red sweater covered in appliqué hearts. In the other corner, we have those who pull out their finest black clothing, declare Valentine's Day a commercial holiday — it certainly is now, although people have been celebrating it since 496 — and plan to avoid the entire day altogether. If you think American politics is divisive, just bring up the topic of Valentine's Day in a room full of people, and things will get out of hand fast.

But love it or hate it, you can't avoid it. Every February 14, Valentine's Day rolls around and what you do with it — or don't do with it — is your call. However, for those romantic sorts, it's an important day. So important, in fact, they're willing to reach out to past loves or even not-so-great ex-partners, just so they have someone to spend it with. The need to not be alone is yet another dating trend to add to the encyclopedia of dating trends. This one is called V-lationshipping.

What is V-lationshipping?

V-lationshipping is that lovely time of year when people from our past (or, in some cases, we're the person from the past reaching out) reach out simply because they don't want to be lonely on Valentine's Day. Proof of this need to not be solo on V-Day is evident in dating apps that see the most traffic every year from December 26 to February 14, with the first Sunday of the New Year being the day in which numbers literally go through the roof. So, while there may be a significant drop after V-Day, it does go to show that no matter one's gender or sexual orientation, they want in on this romantic day.

"As much as many of us old cynics like to pretend we don't care about Valentine's Day, the truth is it's a date we're all aware of in one way or another, and it creeps into us by a process of cultural osmosis," sex and relationship expert Stu Nugent tells Metro. "Reaching out to people we've had romantic contact with in the run up to 14 February isn't unusual: outwardly we might seem aloof about the calendar date, but psychologically and subconsciously, we're all more open to seeking out romantic encounters at that time of year... It's the same reason why we are open to spending more in the run up to Christmas: we're conditioned to respond to these ingrained societal cues, whether we like it or not."

So, sure, society has implanted in our brain that Valentine's Day is a day of romance, overpriced roses, and even more expensive dinners just so we can prove, well, what exactly? We're in love, at least through dinner and into the morning? Because that's essentially what V-lationshipping is, after all.

Should you give in to V-lationshipping?

Whether it's you doing the reaching or an ex, if you choose to indulge in V-lationshipping, do so with your eyes open. Just because some blast from the past starts blowing up your phone a week or two before Valentine's Day, doesn't mean they're looking to get back together or that they even want anything that goes beyond one night. If the latter is all you want too, and you know that old feelings won't creep into the equation, then there's no harm in V-lationshipping.

But if there's any part of you that thinks you can't handle it, then skip V-latioshipping. Instead, make plans with your fellow single friends, have a night in where you order delivery — that you don't have to share! — and watch all those cheesy movies that you're embarrassed to admit you actually really love. Valentine's Day is just one day a year. If you've been able to be strong for the other 364 days, then you can do it on Valentine's Day too.