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For Valentine’s Day, Try Being Realistic

Ah February, the month of love. A time to display tenderness, and affection, to the ones we admire most.

February can be an exciting month for both single and taken people, however if there’s one month that has the power to stress everybody out, it’s this one.

In fact, a study conducted at Arizona State University found that relationships are 2.5 times more likely to end between the week leading up to Valentine’s Day and the week after Valentine’s Day.

So how does this two week period increase the chances of you breaking up with your partner? The results of the study from Arizona State University further concluded that Valentine’s Day can magnify, or even exacerbate existing issues. The pressure of creating the “perfect” Valentine’s Day can cause partners to question whether or not they actually have the “perfect” relationship.

Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Ph.D, Professor of Psychology who specializes in studying the psychology of romantic relationships, explained the impact Valentine’s Day can have on relationships.

 “For healthy strong relationships, Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to celebrate how wonderful everything is and how happy you are together. However, for underperforming relationships, V-day can highlight the problems and make it more clear that people are better off without the relationship,” said Lewandowski.

Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by an Ohio State professor of psychology, reported that Valentine’s Day can end relationships, because of the heightened expectations for jaw-dropping romantic gestures.

For many, Valentine’s Day is known as a day to give over-the-top presents, go to special dinners, and profess your undying love for your partner. In a perfect world all of these things seem ideal, but sometimes setting the bar high can leave lovers disappointed if reality doesn’t reflect upon these expectations.

Furthermore, the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that couples who set high expectations for their relationships are more likely to face disappointment, and relationship dysfunction than couples who are more realistic expectations.

No matter what, relationships require a meticulous amount of maintenance and communication to flourish. Don’t worry, despite the studies there are many ways to preserve the health of your relationship if you are in one. At the end of the day what is better than healthy love?

Lewandowski recently read a study that focuses on different activities partners can do to maintain a healthy relationship (and they are surprisingly simple).

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“Writing a letter of gratitude to your partner, identifying your partner’s strengths, and strengths overall as a couple, and identifying what about the relationship makes them happy with a pie chart,” are small steps in the right direction, said Lewandowski.

After creating a pie chart of what makes you happy couples can then create, “a desired happiness chart discussing what small changes can help make these “desires” a reality,” said Lewandowski.

When researchers followed up with the couples one month later in the study Lewandowski referenced, the ones who took these small steps were performing better than those who had not.

Emily Vasquez, a sophomore Biology student, has been in a relationship for almost a year, and has learned many lessons on how to cultivate her relationship.

 “Sacrifice your pride and listen. Listen for the purpose to listen, not to just wait for a chance to talk. Take what the other person says seriously, and if they care about you they will do the same,” said Vasquez.

Despite the pressure of work and school commitments, social or familial obligations, actions as simple as communicating regularly and checking up on one another can make all of the difference.

Sophomore communication student, Anna Maida, is appreciative of the healthy communication skills she and her partner use in their relationship.

“I love when my boyfriend sends me good morning texts, or when we take the time to talk about each other’s days. It makes me feel like he cares enough, and that even though we’re busy, we make time to check up on one another,” said Maida.

With Valentine’s Day approaching keep in mind that what’s most important is not making plans for a holiday, but keeping constantly aware of the condition, and security, of your relationship. When you nourish the relationship you are in, everyday can be Valentine’s Day.

IMAGE’S COMPILED by Chloe Barone