If you aren't lucky enough to be single and ready to mingle, what are you doing for Valentine’s Day this year? A romantic, candlelit dinner with your partner in that restaurant you’ve been meaning to hit up? Cozying up by the fire at a B&B in Vermont? How about finally breaking up?
It might seem cruel, but statistically, Valentine’s Day has some pretty high break-up rates. Lisa, a writer in San Francisco, knows about the pain that comes with a breakup on Valentine’s Day, or rather, two days before the holiday.
"We were going to be silly about Valentine's Day. We planned to go to a heavy metal video sing-along," Lisa tells Bustle. "Two days before [we were supposed to leave] he told me, 'I've fallen out of love with you.' … and we lived together. I'm pretty sure he didn't have or even plan a Valentine's Day present for me at all."
A graph of peak break-up dates, created by David McCandless and Lee Byron, reveals what time of year people are most likely to break up. Based on Facebook relationship-status changes, the data reveals that while break-up rates on and around Valentine’s Day is pretty high (much higher than April through November) the most common times for people to ditch their lovers are actually late February/early March and two weeks before Christmas.
"We tend to see a rise in break-ups around the holidays because they often push couples to pause and ponder the state of their relationships," Licensed Clinical Social Worker Alexis Auleta told Bustle. "If one or both partners has been feeling unhappy or uncertain within a couple, it makes it that much harder to tolerate times of the year that celebrate our ideas and ideals around love."
"Some couples are able to work through these tough times and get to a more positive place in their relationships, while others ultimately decide it’s best to use these pause-and-ponder moments as an opportunity to part ways."
In other words, as we all know, holidays can equal big pressure.
"There are high expectations but also perhaps, the realization that this is NOT the person you want to spend these special days with," Massachusetts-based LCSW, Measue Liotta agrees. "It’s harder to fake it on these holidays when we want to be truly in love; harder to lie to ourselves when things don't feel right or true during these should-be-blissful times."
So what if you're anticipating a similar trap for your rocky relationship this Valentine's Day? If you're hoping to resurrect the relationship, there are some tried-and-true things you can do to rekindle those romantic feelings. And if you're convinced there's no hope, these tips are also great ways to simply enjoy the last crumbs of your soon-to-be past tense relationship loaf.
1. BOOK A TRIP
Although traveling alone is going to be a blast when you’re single — just think of all the opportunities to get laid! — financially, traveling with your SO can also be pretty awesome. Instead of hostels, you can stay in actual hotels! You can even afford to raid the mini-bar in the middle of the night when all the liquor stores are closed! It’s a fantasyland of wonderment thanks to all the expenses being split. Not to mention, it's romantic as hell.
2. TAKE A DANCE LESSON
You’ve wanted to take salsa lessons for years, right? Even if your partner throws a fit and demands to be relinquished from this duty, put your foot down. You need a dance partner to procure your future soulmate, so your current partner needs to step it up.
3. HAVE LOTS OF SEX, WHILE YOU STILL CAN
Although we already know for a fact — yes, an absolute fact — that there could be lots of sex in your single future, not being in a relationship does open up the potential for a possible dry spell. If you're going to break up soon, you might as well stock up now on the sexin’ times. Who knows, maybe you'll even remember why you loved each other in the first place.
4. GET YOUR COMMUNICATION ON
If you're sure you're going to break up, then it’s time to look back at your relationship. What could have been better? What would you change in the future? Ask you partner what about you needs some work, and what's really awesome and shouldn’t change a bit. Communication is always great*, and once again, you might find you even talk yourselves right out of that rut.
*OK, there's also the potential that talking about your flaws will result in a huge fight, but hey, makeup sex is also great.
5. CASH IN YOUR 'IOU' TICKETS
Did your partner forget your birthday in 2011? Or how about that entire month when they had mono and you did all the cleaning? Now is the time to make sure things are even before you depart. It may seem petty, but since you’ll be doing your own dishes in the near future and buying your own gifts, you might as well take advantage of what’s “owed” to you now. Partnerships are about equality, and things might as well be equal before you say adieu. Once again, you might even find that things turn around once you allow your partner to be more giving.
6. LIVE IN THE MOMENT
When there's possibly no future in sight, you might find it's easier to live in the moment. If each day is loved and appreciated for that day alone, you'll find that there is less pressure on the relationship, and maybe, for the first time in a long time, if things have gone south, you’ll actually have fun.