That’s among the findings of a new survey of 2000 British lovers in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

The study by posh ice-cream brand Haagen-Dazs found that new-fangled social media affection (SMA) is set to replace PDAs, with 32 per cent of respondents saying they were more likely to flirt or interact with their partner via social media rather than by traditional means such as holding hands or smooching in the corner of a bar.

Almost a quarter – 24 per cent – went so far as to suggest that a relationship is considered more official when it’s blasted all over social media.

The study, conducted in partnership with the School of Life, also revealed that one in 10 people would ideally choose phone over partner for company on Valentine’s night, while almost half (46 per cent) admitted to checking their phone when alone with their partner. A staggering one-in-five believe a relationship based on social media is as meaningful as a face-to-face one, but 72 per cent ruled that the first ‘I love you’ declaration should still take place face to face. How sweet.

A reassuring 76 per cent believe that true love still exists, but – and it’s a big but – although 47 per cent of women claim to have truly loved only one partner, a hefty 50 per cent of men claim to have truly loved between two and five partners. Not at the same time, we trust.

Around 36 per cent of people in new relationships think casual dating moves into a real relationship when they meet one another’s families, and 24 per said it was when they started referring to each other as ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’. Which sounds logical. Only 3 per cent thought sleeping together made a relationship official. Tsk.

Some 22 per cent of men said showing their true emotions was the ultimate sign of relationship comfort, with one in 10 admitting it’s when their partner sees them crying during a sad film. For one in five women it’s the moment when their partner sees them without make-up. But don’t worry about that, ladies – apparently only 4 per cent of people say physical attraction is important in a real relationship ( and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything). Seriously, though, it would seem that honesty is the best policy, being viewed as the most important ingredient in a relationship by 51 per cent of people. Communication (23 per cent) and humour (11 per cent) are also in the mix.

A starry-eyed 23 per cent of respondents said the initial honeymoon period of kissing, cuddling, chemistry and general horniness can last for over a year, but 8 per cent reckoned a month was more realistic. Easily bored, some people.

Lucy Beresford, psychotherapist at the School of Life, said: “Some of the findings were quite shocking, such as the importance of mobile phones in a relationship and the growing role social media plays. It was refreshing at the same time to see that real love still exists and isn’t all about physical attraction, but rather real values such as honesty.”

Jennifer Jorgensen, Haagen-Dazs marketing director, said: “In love or ice cream, nothing is better than real. This Valentine’s we are urging the nation to celebrate real relationships.”