Dim the lights and cue the string music: Valentine’s Day is coming.
But what is conventionally touted as the most romantic holiday of the year may end in tears for unlucky lovers who get a breakup instead of chocolate and flowers. According to research by YouGov Omnibus, 7% of Americans have ended a relationship on Valentine’s Day itself. That number skyrockets to 12% among 18-34-year-olds, because millennials are cold, bitter souls (as a millennial, I can attest).
Beware of the days just before and after the holiday as well — 7% of Americans said they had ended relationships in the time leading up to Valentine’s, and 5% said the same soon after Feb. 14.
Among those who cut things short before the big day, 20% did so because they “didn’t want to have to buy a gift for or spend money on their partner,” according to YouGov. But not everyone’s selfish: “21% didn’t want their partner to buy them a gift or spend money on them,” the research found. Ah, what warm, fuzzy feelings.
Among Americans, however, theory and practice are often two very different things. Only 5% say that if someone wants to break up with their partner as the holiday nears, they should do so on the day of the celebration. A plurality (45%) think before Valentine’s Day is a better time to cut the cord.
Interestingly, this breakdown changes when gender is taken into account. 8% of men believe Valentine’s Day proper is the best time to become a free agent again.
But guys, don’t get too comfortable — 6% of women have actually broken off a relationship despite Cupid’s arrows raining down on Feb. 14.
So brace yourselves: That night out you’ve been looking forward to for months may turn to disaster in one fell swoop. Bring tissues, because, for some of you, it’s about to get ugly.
But for most of us, knock on wood, Valentine’s Day will just be another nice, normal day where we get to eat Godiva and maybe smell some flowers. And for those singles out there, YouGov has good news! A majority of Americans say they’d be comfortable going on a Valentine’s Day first date.
So put on your best red dress or suit, and let the romance ensue. If you don’t like the person all that much, no big deal: You can break up with them next V-day.