Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day of love and happiness, but all too often, it ends up being the worst time of the year for a lot of people. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, the psychological pressure to have an absolutely perfect Valentine’s Day can lead you to feel dissatisfied with your partner, or with yourself. The statistics speak for themselves: breakups among couples are highest the week before and after Valentine's day. People tend to become more aware of how imperfect their partner or relationship is around this time. This causes many people to think they aren’t good enough or that they need a change in their relationship, so they decide to break up with their partner or spouse. Unfortunately, this can lead to permanent damage to a "good enough" relationship and is likely not what they really want.
This Time of Year Tends to Make Us More Self-Aware
There’s a reason people become acutely aware of their imperfect relationships around Valentine’s Day. Images and messages about romantic love are everywhere in February, many of which depict perfect couples doing perfect things together. Most real-life relationships don’t live up to these ideals, so it can be especially frustrating when you notice flaws in your own relationship during what is probably one of your least happy times of year. If you think you’re noticing more problems than usual with your partner or friends or family during any holiday that puts pressure on us to present ourselves in a certain way (which most do), chances are it has more to do with societal norms than anything else.
Breaking up is hard enough, but ending a relationship at Valentine’s Day feels even more devastating. Not only do we feel alone and lonely (or rather, lonelier than usual), but we also have to confront our own insecurities about how imperfect our relationships are and how much better everything would be if only we had a different partner. It’s no wonder February is so widely considered The Most Depressing Month Of
Our Partners Have Never Been Perfect, We Just Forget
While we're bombarded with images of perfect relationships on TV, social media and in real life, many of us don't remember that our partners are only human. Relationships aren't meant to be perfect because there will always be things you disagree on or find irritating about your partner. When you remember that your partner is only human like you, it's easier to look past their flaws and be grateful for all they bring into your life. This can help you stop seeing Valentine's Day as a reminder of what you’re lacking, but instead see it as an opportunity to celebrate everything you have. And if after doing so, you still feel like your relationship isn't quite where it should be, then maybe now is a good time to talk about working on things.
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If Something Isn’t Working It Doesn’t Mean it Was Never Going To Work!
You are not a failure if your relationship doesn’t live up to your expectations. Look at it as an opportunity for growth and figure out what went wrong so that you can apply these lessons moving forward. Just remember that relationships don’t need to be perfect in order to be worth fighting for.
Sometimes, relationships don’t end because they are unhealthy or wrong, but because you’ve both changed and grown over time. Maybe it felt like you and your significant other were perfect for each other at one point in time, but that time has come and gone. Perhaps your values have changed and you want different things from life now that you’re both a little older. Before you choose to call it quits for good, consider couple’s therapy. People are bound to change and grow over time. Learning the skills to communicate better and reconnect with these new versions of yourselves could open a new and exciting chapter to your partnership.
However, if there is absolutely nothing working in your current relationship, or if there are incidents of emotional, verbal or physical abuse and no possibility for change in sight, then you may need to end the relationship. Sure, breakups are painful; we all know how awful they can be. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. The longer you're in a relationship that doesn't give you what you need (whatever that may be), or affects your wellbeing in negative ways, or brings out parts of yourself that aren't who you want to be, it could very well be that it's not right for you. A break up that is handled and managed well can leave both parties less emotionally wounded and better able to handle any ongoing shared responsibilities such as co-parenting. It also means that they leave the relationship with a better understanding of themselves and are more skillful as partners in future relationships. And I’m not talking just romantic relationships here; whether it's family, work or otherwise — people should bring out our best selves, help us grow and support us on an ongoing basis.
Nobody Knows You Better Than Yourself
Your partner and friends might notice things you don’t. But they can’t know you better than yourself. No one knows when it's time to call it quits, just like no one knows if your relationship is a good fit for you. Sure, they love you and have your best interests at heart—but even your best friend has only known you since kindergarten. Only you can know everything about yourself—your strengths, weaknesses, desires, flaws, quirks and values. So before you make that final decision, getting to the heart of your dissatisfaction with an individual or couples therapy session could save you a whole lot of heartache.