Beware of February 14, it could be break-up day
It’s that time of year again when the shops are full of hearts and flowers, chocolates and cards. Has Valentine’s Day become just another shopping festival or is it worth celebrating? And what do women really want from their loved ones? HILARIE STELFOX reports
WATCH out next week because Valentine’s Day is not just the biggest romantic event of the year, it’s also a key time for relationship breakdowns.
And this, says psychologist Sarah Jane Robinson from the University of Huddersfield, is because so many of us have high expectations from the special day that, quite simply, can’t be met.
“Valentine’s Day has become a bit like Christmas,” she says. “It’s very commercial and there seems to be a huge amount of pressure that it should live up to our expectations. When it doesn’t it can highlight the cracks in a relationship. There is research that says there is an increase in relationship breakdowns on this day.’’
She added: “It can make people think ‘actually I don’t want to leave a note on your pillow saying I love you’. It can push them over the edge.”
At its best, however, Valentine’s Day can be an occasion to cement a loving relationship.
“It offers couples an opportunity to take time out and re-affirm their feelings for each other,” says Sarah. “But you should be acknowledging and validating each other regularly, not just on this one day.”
Gift-giving has become a custom on February 14 and, it would seem, most of us stick to the traditional chocolates and flowers.
In fact, red roses are still the most popular gift of all.
Florist Janine Sully, who runs The Greenhouse from her home on Bradley Road in Huddersfield, says she has ordered 750 red roses for the run-up to Valentine’s Day.
“It’s always a bit of a gamble because there are the men who forget until the day itself, so you never know how many you’ll need,” she explained.
“When men come in for flowers we always try to persuade them to have something different and more up-to-date but they really want the red roses.
“And women want to receive them, especially if they are from a new love.
“One woman said to me that she was really disappointed to get tulips because she thought she should have roses.”
Janine, who has been a florist for 28 years, said her largest-ever romantic bouquet was an arrangement of 150 red roses, but some men opt for a single stem.
“A dozen or a single are the most popular choices,” she says.
Chocolate sales also climb dramatically. At the Lollipop Tree confectionery shop in Almondbury, owners Gillian Starke and Donna Farrand have noticed that among their customers men tend to buy chocolates for their partners, while women buy sweets such as licorice, midget gems and boiled sweets for men.