Scrooged: one in 10 Brits admit dumping a partner to avoid buying a Christmas present



While Christmas is fun for many couples, it can also present romantic challenges. Here, Rachael Lloyd, explores ‘Scrooging’, a new dating term, to describe the ruthless individuals who dump their partners to avoid splashing out on a gift. 

What do a nasal trimmer, a sieve and a giant packet of toiler rolls all have in common? They are all items that have been gifted to loved ones at Christmas. We can only assume they were not received with too much festive joy.

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But if this wasn’t bad enough, our research suggests one in ten Brits have broken up with a partner to avoid buying them a Christmas present. Inspired by the well-known miser from festive classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ this tight-fisted behaviour has been labelled by dating experts ‘Scrooging’.

The trend typically sees people slyly retreating as the Christmas countdown begins, before breaking up with a partner in advance of the big day. Findings also show men are more likely to Scrooge a partner than women (11% vs. 7%) and it’s most common among 18-34 year olds.

The festive effect on love

So what sort of person dumps someone to save themselves a few festive quid? Well, let’s assume that any relationship that succumbs to Scrooging probably wasn’t the most stable to begin with. And Christmas is one of those milestone occasions which can act as a litmus test for even the most stable relationships.

Couples in the early stage of seeing each other may question whether they’re willing to introduce each other to respective family and friends. While couples in long-term relationships can find themselves bickering over the turkey.

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Some of us also battle considerable anxiety when it comes to buying presents for new (or very particular) partners. This can mean that, temporarily besieged by mild hysteria, we end up making bizarre decisions or simply throwing silly amounts of cash at the problem.

If this is the case, speak to your partner’s close friends or family and get some ideas. Or simply ask your loved one for three gift options and make sure you buy at least one of them. Do also bear in mind, thoughtful presents often go a lot further than flashy ones because they signify that you’ve sought to reflect the values of the recipient.

A simple idea is a beautiful photobook of moments you’ve spent together. In addition, you can’t really go wrong with attractive house plants, best-selling novels or beautifully-scented candles.

Milestone occasions and meltdowns

Other occasions that can lead to the early demise of fragile relationships are birthdays, holidays and Valentine’s Day. If you realise you don’t want to share these special times with a partner then maybe it’s time to reevaluate things. Especially if you’re in the market for a committed relationship.

On a lighter note, many couples relish the chance to spend their first Christmas together. It’s can a real landmark moment, enhancing intimacy. Plus, according to our survey 45% of people in relationships already have their partners’ gift ‘in the bag’ by the beginning of December.

Lastly, if you happen to get Scrooged this Christmas, take heart. Being single at Christmas can be truly liberating – and who knows who you might meet?

What’s more, that skinflint was never right for you in the first place and you’re one step nearer to finding someone compatible. At eharmony we have a community of like-minded, desirable singles who are ready for real relationships, so make the best of the Christmas cheer and log on.


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