Brace yourselves, lovebirds: Breakup season—Valentine’s Day—is here.
We previously reported on the weeks leading up to the December holidays being prime breakup period, based on data collected by British journalist David McCandless from 10,000 Facebook statuses in 2010. But here’s another interesting finding of McCandless’s research: Also triggering relationship casualties left and right is Valentine’s Day, with breakups happening in the lead-up to the date, on the date itself, and even spiking days after the date has passed.
McCandless wasn’t the only one who found the Valentine’s-breakup connection. A 2017 survey by IllicitEncounters.com, a UK dating site for married people, points to the week before Valentine’s Day as the top time of the year for breakups to occur. In 2007, a Yahoo! Personals survey found that from the December holidays to Valentine’s Day, people are more than twice as likely to consider breaking up. Meanwhile, a 2004 study has found that breakups are more likely to occur in the weeks before and after Valentine’s Day than in the other periods the researchers studied.
There’s a reason behind this phenomenon—it’s not just a select group of significant others somehow simultaneously going cruel around February 14 each year.
According to New York City matchmaker Rori Sassoon, breakups tend to spike before big events, particularly those that involve meeting the family or occasions that can signal how serious a relationship is—like Valentine’s Day. When partners begin to feel that their relationship has stalled and sputtered, the big event may prompt them to evaluate their bond and think that it’s better to make a clean break now before they get any more involved.
Plus, V-Day may heap too many expectations on a relationship that’s already struggling to begin with, and it’s easy to see how it could ultimately be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Here, we got seven people to share how their own relationships that were already faltering finally went kaput before, after, or on V-Day itself. Here’s hoping your own relationship is strong enough to survive the season—if not, it’s probably for the best.
“I got dumped over a week ago, less than two weeks before Valentine’s Day. The breakup came just months after my mother died.
He said he was not in love with me, which was weird because that time, we still cuddled and made out—only for him to say ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ moments later.
He insisted, ‘I am still part of your life; I’m still your friend,’ but I said no. He obviously didn’t care about what I was going through. I hadn’t even recovered from my mom’s death yet, and he did that to me.
In hindsight, I think the breakup was necessary. Ang daming issues na kailangan ayusin. So move on na lang.” —Deby, 26
“I was with a guy who I thought was THE ONE. Valentine’s Day was always special for us because it marked the very first time he asked me out on a date.
Fast-forward to three years later, things started becoming rocky between us. He was transferred to another department in the office, our schedules no longer aligned, and we were slowly drifting apart.
A couple of days before Valentine’s, we were supposed to watch a show that I was looking forward to seeing. He got sick on that day and wasn’t able to come. I understood, but I was bummed by the fact that he still attended an office party the day after ditching me. After that, I talked to him about how everything seemed to be changing in the relationship. But still, in an effort to rekindle our romance, I bought tickets to a Valentine’s event complete with a full-course dinner, string orchestra, stuffed bears, chocolates—the works.
On Valentine’s eve, I did not hear from him the whole day. I called him that night to ask about our Valentine’s Day plans. What I thought would be a light conversation turned into a hard and painful talk. He said he wasn’t growing anymore and needed space. He was giving me THE TALK. On 12:00 a.m. on February 14.
On Valentine’s Day, I dragged my sleep-deprived, devastated, and heartbroken self to work to keep my mind off things. That day, every couple, every bouquet, and every love song felt like sharp daggers stabbing my flesh and my heart.” —Christina, 32
“When I entered into a relationship with a doctor, I conditioned myself into being okay with sometimes missing special celebrations like Valentine’s Day because of his schedule. But I had been feeling like something was wrong because he wasn’t his usual self, and days before February 14, 2013, we had an argument about it.
Since he was on hospital duty on V-Day, I delivered a cake to his house and initiated making plans for our date the next day, hoping to make up for my emotional outbursts earlier.
Our date went smoothly on February 15; however, as we were heading home, he opened up about having to ‘cool off’ with me since he said he was too preoccupied with his residency training and our fights were only getting worse due to my inconsiderate and immature attitude. As I was pleading with him to change his mind, his phone rang, showing an unsaved number on the screen. He just shrugged it off, and I thought nothing of it since I was too occupied with pleading with him. I eventually agreed to a cool-off.
A few weeks later, he decided to pursue me again, and he even gave me his old iPhone. Lo and behold, there I stumbled upon nude photos of a girl in his iMessage. Turns out, the unknown caller that night was the girl in the photos, whom he met during hospital duty. He had already been cheating on me for months before he even asked for a cool-off, and he used my immature attitude as an excuse to break things off with me. He confessed and apologized for his affair, and stupid me was crazy enough to take him back.
A few months after, he cheated on me again.” —Vanessa*, 31
Can we still be friends?
“Three weeks ago, my boyfriend of almost three years told me to give him some space because our relationship had gotten toxic. We would argue about the smallest things almost every day.
At first, I kept begging him to give our relationship another chance. Every other day, I’d ask if we could see each other, but I would always end up disappointed because he was no longer the way he used to be with me.
The week before Valentine’s Day, all I wanted was to spend it with the person I love. I asked him for the last time if we could get back together, but he said he wanted to remain friends.
The breakup at least gave me a chance to get back to myself. Halos ginawa kong mundo ‘yung tao, when he should only be a part of my life.” —Nikki, 29
He had his cake and ate it, too
“I had been dating this guy for almost three years, and we did the LDR thing for the last of those three years. We would see each other every two months, but as the months passed, I started noticing changes in him.
For one, he had begun losing weight, when he never cared much about his weight before. Another, he had started smoking again after having already quit for a year or so. Then, he also got a tattoo without telling me. Finally, I started hearing about this new co-worker with whom he seemed to get along.
Come Valentine’s Day, since we couldn’t be together, I surprised him by having a cake delivered to his house. I greeted him in the morning, but got no reply from him until the evening when he got home and saw the cake. That’s when he texted me “Happy Valentine’s Day, baby!” But that’s all I got from him—no gift, no surprise whatsoever.
I felt that something had significantly changed between us, and sure enough, by the following week, he broke up with me. Apparently, he had already begun seeing the co-worker, and I only found out about it weeks later when a mutual friend saw them together at a mall.” —Chelsea*, 29
The date that went downhill
“I took her on a Valentine’s dinner at a fancy restaurant, partly to patch things up and save the relationship as things had gotten rocky between us.
I put in so much effort. Nagpapogi ako. I bought her the expensive dinner because I knew she liked to be treated. But after having the seven-course meal, she retorted, ‘Well, masarap ang food. Pero hindi pa rin okay kasi ikaw kasama ko.’ I just smiled.
The relationship ended a few days after.” —Rick*, 35
Even the cops were involved
“I was in a relationship with someone I met through online dating here in the US. We had our first date on Valentine’s Day, so when we finally got together, we decided to make that our anniversary. It was a mistake, because it turned out to be the most incompatible relationship I’ve ever had.
I was with her for about two years and every time Valentine’s Day came around, it was always a big fight about what we were supposed to do that night. On our first one, we couldn’t agree on where we were going to go, had a long argument, and ended up staying at home. We spent our second and last Valentine’s together with me sleeping on a couch as she played with her cell phone in the bedroom, right after she revealed to me that she was asexual and didn’t want to make love anymore. I broke up with her about a month later.
But the real meat of the story is what came after. I had broken up with her, but she didn’t have the means to move out of our apartment right away; I had been supporting her up to that point because she was unemployed. Once I decided not to financially support her and asked her to move out again, she flipped and called the cops on me, claiming that I had assaulted her. I was in court for six months, and now down thousands of dollars in legal fees.
I wish I was making this shit up.” —Lori*, 30
*Names have been changed