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Should we break up before Valentine’s Day?

Love & Sex
Just after Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year for people to break up with their partners, according to a study based on an analysis of Facebook data. 

But if you know your relationship isn’t working, should you really put off ending things until after Valentine’s Day? Perhaps the first thing to ask yourself is whose feelings you are really worried about.

Given that Valentine’s Day has developed into something significant for many people, dumping your partner any time near the day (however carefully you do it) is likely to be viewed as a really rotten thing to do. So depending how sensitive you are is likely to dictate the amount of guilt you feel if you go ahead and ditch your partner.

In real life, the end of a relationship is usually going to be a painful business, especially if you are the only one who wants to move on. Counselling rooms are filled with couples where one wants in and the other out.

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Given that Valentine’s Day has developed into something significant for many people, dumping your partner any time near the day is likely to be viewed as a really rotten thing to do.

A big part of our work is helping couples end their relationship in the least damaging way possible, and to enable them to understand things about themselves and each other that may have contributed to the breakdown. But as the song goes, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

Lots of us think of Valentine’s Day as some sort of milestone. It’s certainly true that jewellers tend to be busy at this time of year. Maybe you’re worried that because things have been going well between you, that a proposal of some sort is expected – from marriage to living together or just a declaration of love.

Whatever you think might be expected of you, if you’re not ready, unsure or have definitely decided that the person you’re with isn’t for you in the long term, then breaking up might seem like the easiest thing to do.

That way you’ll avoid feeling pressurised and seeing the disappointment on your partner’s face as Valentine’s Day comes and goes and there’s still nothing to phone home about.

But surely the best way to decide if splitting is the way to go is to actually talk with your other half about the relationship, and how you both see the future.

Honesty is usually the best policy with things like this and making the time to talk together, even if things have been tough, is likely to help you both see what’s working well or what needs to change.

It can even lead to conversations about whether the required change is actually doable. It’s worth remembering that we can’t be everything to one person. We really are responsible for our own happiness.

If you feel you’re being asked to make too many adjustments, then maybe moving on is the best thing that can happen, regardless of whether it’s close to Valentine’s Day.

Taking time to find out what’s working and what’s not is the antithesis of feeling under pressure and making a hasty decision as the big day looms.

Most partners would appreciate understanding how we’re feeling and prefer this to a big proposal that fizzles out later on, or being “let go” without having any idea why.

Although other couples may be gazing fondly at engagement rings or estate agent windows together, don’t be fooled into rushing things. Love also waits for those who take their time.

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