BENGALURU: Valentine’s Day is marketed everywhere as the day of love. There are pink and red hearts all over the city, from ice cream parlours to bookshops, movie halls do special film screenings, restaurants have curated multiple course meals for the day, flower-sellers make a killing with their roses. Love is celebrated as if it is the one thing that really matters in life, and for many of us, it might feel as if it really is all that matters. For many who aren’t in a relationship despite really wanting to be in one, Valentine’s Day can be the worst – it is like a diabetic being forced to really through candy stores, chocolate factories, cupcake bakeries and the such one after the other without end.
There is probably just one category of people who suffer a lot more, and that is the people who are bubbling over with love on that day, only to have their heart crushed by their beloved. Did you know that a significant number of breakups happen around Valentine’s Day? Some studies have shown as much as 7 to 10 percent of all breakups happen on this day. Another lot happens around New Year’s, and a third lot happens around anniversaries.
What is it about Valentine’s Day that makes some people call off relationships? It is not just the quick Christmas – New Year winter loneliness triggered coming together that gets called off with the early signs of spring. It is even relationships that have stood for years that often get broken up on this day. Has Valentine’s Day become some sort of a day of testing of one’s feelings for another person? Does the heightened, focus on love, in all its colours, flavours and sizes make one check in for the authenticity of their emotions towards their beloved? Is it harder to lie to oneself about what one feels towards someone when it is blown up extra large and one can’t ignore the superficiality of those feelings?
So many of us are in love with the idea of relationships, of being a ‘we’ and ‘us’ together, of finally not being alone that we might take up a relationship just because it allows us the temporary relief of not being lonesome, of belonging with someone, of being seen as ‘taken.’ These seem such beautiful phases in life and we want so badly to feel those emotions that we take up relationships that aren’t really soul-satisfying. We might even make do with such connections, feeling satisfied that at least there is this much and it is better than nothing.
When we are really pulled into looking at our relationship by the social magnification that happens on days like Valentine’s Day, we have no choice but to take a deep, hard look at ourselves. It becomes really hard to deny our truth if we aren’t really in love, just as much as it is if we are and if we need to break up to give ourselves freedom to get to real love, so be it.
The author is a counsellor with InnerSight.