The 5 Extreme Effects of Valentine’s Day
By Frank Kermit
Sometimes people will use Valentine’s Day as a catalyst for something significant. Some of those significant undertakings can be life changing, while others just re-confirm what human beings tend to forget or take for granted. Here are some examples of the extreme effects that Valentine’s Day can have on people, and the actions they are motivated to take.
The Confessional: Valentine’s Day is notorious for people confessing their undying love to someone that has thus far been just a friend. At times it is a long drawn out secret-admirer type of communication with the admirer being revealed on Valentine’s Day. The problem with this method is that the anticipation of discovering whom it is overshadows the reality of who the admirer actually is. The build up is so high, that even a great date candidate might still not live up to fantasy built up in someone’s mind, and makes the climax of the secret revealed be a let down. Other times, it is a person who has been planning and rehearing a “You Mean The World To Me” speech. The intention is good but I strongly discourage such execution. This only works if the other person already likes you. There are a few people who would welcome this level of attention and reward it with a date to see where things go. However, most people do not react well from the extra pressure, and it can be a bit intimidating to get to know someone romantically that already has very strong feelings. More often than not (at least what I have seen in my coaching practice over the years), rejection is usually the response. Ask the person out for a date on Valentine’s Day if you wish, but confessing an undying love to someone that may not feel it is deserved or merited is more likely to scare the person off.
The Break Up: Valentine’s Day is a day of reflection, and sometimes that means that people who reflect on the relationship they are in, or reflect on the person they are dating, and come to the conclusion that they should no longer be together. As great as Valentine’s Day can be touted as celebrating love between two people, it is just as equally destructive in ending dating and relationships. Getting dumped on Valentine’s Day is a real occurrence, precisely because it calls attention to elements between the two people, that people might sometimes ignore, or tolerate. When a person discovers they really wouldn’t mind not spending Valentine’s Day together, that realization can turn into the rational that they wouldn’t mind not spending ANY future time together.
The Reminder: Sometimes Valentine’s Day does exactly what most people hope it will do. It is a reminder for each couple to focus on the reasons that they are happy that they are together. Instead of focusing on the day-to-day routine things that may annoy you about your partner, Valentine’s Day is a reminder for couples to take time out, recognize what it was about your partner that drew you in to begin with, and to show some attention, appreciation and love to your partner, in ways that makes your partner feel loved, special and respected. When appropriately done, Valentine’s Day can be exactly what saves a couple from a break up, and can be a reboot for the couple to get back to where they were on their path together, before the rest of life distracted them from what was really important in a relationship. In a time when the divorce rate is about 40-50%, I would suggest that anything, like Valentine’s Day that can get a couple back on track is an nice extreme effect.
The Proposal: Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Wedding bells are ringing! There is nothing wrong with proposing on Valentine’s Day. In fact, in 2013, the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker consumer report surveyed Americans’ Valentine’s Day plans, and found that six million couples are likely to get engaged on Feb 14th making it a very popular day for proposals. However there is a difference between a surprise proposal and a marriage proposal that a couple knows is eventually coming. If you and your partner have spoken at length about a future together, and you both acknowledge that a proposal is coming, but just don’t exactly know when, it is a pretty safe bet that once the proposal happens, the person asking is going to get a resounding “YES”! If you know for certain, you are going to get a yes, then by all means, do propose. However, if you are going to use Valentine’s Day as your day to surprise your partner with a proposal that the two of you have not previously seriously discussed, then you are HOPING for a yes. That is not a time to propose. A proposal needs to be an expected surprise, not a “What the heck are you doing to me?” surprise.
The Last Straw: When Valentine’s Day pushes people to utter the words, “Never Again!” is when Valentine’s Day initiates the last straw. It is what I tend to see in my coaching. Someone has the worst Valentine’s Day they ever had, and decides it is time for a change. Perhaps they just got dumped, suffered a third divorce, ended up alone for V-day for the 5th year in a row, or even proposed and got rejected. A very painful Valentine’s Day can be the breaking point that some people reach, in order to step up and take the steps necessary to begin the hard work that comes with changing. The last straw is when a person reaches a point where the pain of staying the way they are is less than the pain involved in changing their ways. It is when you realize that the common element in every problem in your love life is you, and it is time to fix you. It is a shame that as human beings we sometimes need to be slapped by life in order to be motivated to make changes in the way we do things. But reaching that extreme point can be one of the effects of the worst Valentine’s Day of your life.
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