Killing Love On St. Valentine’s Day?


An article appeared in Psychology Today that offers an understanding of why some people break up on St. Valentine’s Day. I’d like to weigh in with what I believe to be a much simpler explanation.

St. Valentine’s Day is a day devoted to love and romance, right? But more than that, it’s also a day of ‘expectations.’ More specifically, a lot of people think pretty seriously about their love lives on this day devoted to love.

Ordinarily, it’s easy to distract ourselves away from the dissatisfactions we feel about the love relationships we are in. With that in mind, some people go into love relationships for reasons other than love.

Common alternatives are money, security, intelligence, physical beauty, and oh yes, sex. If you are in a relationship for reasons other than you’re ‘in love,’ it’s usually a matter of time until you feel the absence of love.

Some people can go a pretty long time thinking about everything else except how satisfied they really are in their love lives. Others have a built in ‘time limit’ on how far they will let themselves go before they feel it.

For some, St. Valentine’s Day will provide the impetus to review their love-life. Am I in love with my partner? Is this relationship growing? Would I really want to marry this person? Do I really want to stay married to this person? St. Valentine’s Day can be used as a time to think about whether or not you’re ‘in love’ in your love relationship.

There is a big difference between being ‘in love’ and simply having ‘love’ for someone. ‘In love’ means heart and soul. ‘Just love’ means you care deeply and you would give him or her the shirt off your back but it’s not a ‘soulmate’ thing.

St. Valentine’s Day is a great time to review the expectations you have for your love-life. If you’re in a love relationship that is a bit lackluster, you just might feel that on this special day devoted exclusively to love.

For some people this means break up and keep looking for someone to be ‘in love’ with. Consider this, maybe one of the more hidden or unconscious reasons St. Valentine’s Day exists in the first place to to stimulate this kind of once a year review for a segment of the population. A day secretly devoted to the review of your love-life?

If your review indicates that your love relationship meets your expectations, you stay in love. If your review indicates your relationship does not meet your standards, you move on. All in all, breaking up a relationship where you’re ‘settling’ for less than you want because you’ve finally thought it through after seeing all the lovers and hearts on St. Valentine’s Day, isn’t really the worst thing in the world.

You’ll feel the loss, you’ll mend, and then move onto the possibility of finding someone to be ‘in love’ with. I guess the ritual of buying flowers, candies, and cards, and saying I love you, can make a person think twice if the feeling isn’t really there.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan

Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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