How Valentine’s Day Can Strain Your Relationship

Many people consider Valentine’s Day an opportunity to celebrate love. This is hardly a problem for strong couples, where each person is on the same page about the relationship. Other couples, though, are less in sync. They may not know exactly where their relationship stands. Since the holiday has been popularized as a time to display affection through thoughtful gifts and romantic gestures, Valentine’s Day can be an especially anxious time for a significant other who thinks his or her relationship may be on the rocks. 

All this stress can have devastating consequences on your relationship. A recent survey revealed that 47 percent of young Australians decided to end their relationship on or around Valentine’s Day. In Britain, one recent report cited that divorces on February 14 have gone up 40 percent over the past two years. So what is it about the holiday that makes couples want to split?

Sometimes couples have conflicting views on being romantic. One partner may consider flowers and candy frivolous gestures that are not actually representative of love, while his or her significant other may think those kinds of acts show love and care. In other cases, one person may expect holiday plans that the other person has not prepared.  A date that is sweet but low-key for one partner might be very disappointing for his or her other half. 

Just as Valentine’s Day can magnify conflicting opinions about what expressions of care should look like, it can also draw attention to how little some significant others compromise. After all, time spent on this holiday should help sustain the union between two people, not the desires of one person. Couples that glide through the holiday either hold similar views about what to do on the day or are willing to compromise. On the contrary, there is a good chance that people who end up miserable and argumentative on this holiday are in relationships where there is not much give and take most days of the year.

Like with most relationship issues, strong communication is vital. Some people may try to sweep potential problems under the rug and hope for the best. A better approach is to acknowledge that you may not see eye to eye with your partner about romantic expectations. Rather than skirting the issue, use Valentine’s Day as a chance to communicate. Explain what you would like to have happen on the holiday and ask your partner what he or she expects. Remember, the day should help celebrate the love you share; communication and compromise can help you continue to share it. 

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