Jan. 3, 2020

By Tomas Yufik, associate professor of Psychology

AUSTIN, Texas — Have you ever thought to yourself that Valentine’s Day seems to be more stressful than it is supposed to be? Well, you’re not alone.

Once during a couples’ therapy session, a young couple who was very much in love told me that the stress of this holiday almost drove them to depression and to give up on their wedding plans. In fact, research studies suggest that couples are more likely to break up in the weeks before and after Valentine’s Day.

One of the reasons for this is that couples start comparing themselves to others and give in to the sway of commercials and social media on this very public, very corporate holiday. And so, minor problems begin to seem like major ones, and things that you never thought were issues suddenly seem that way when compared to that “perfect” couple on Facebook. 

There are a lot of ways to make Valentine’s Day less stressful, but here’s one thought that worked really well for my stressed-out couple. Try having your Valentine’s Day celebration on a slightly different date than February 14th, even if it’s the 15th.

Make this new date your own special, personal Valentine’s Day with an outing that reflects your unique personalities and connection. Not only can this lessen the impact of all the social comparisons, but it can add a boost of personal meaning that’s shared just between the two of you instead of with the Hallmark corporation. And hey, you may even save a few bucks on those hyped-up prices at restaurants.

Related Content: Read a New York Time’s Modern Love column by Timothy Braun, visiting assistant professor of Writing. The 2019 column is titled, “She Wanted a Man With a Good Job Who Is Nice to Animals — And I was that man.”