Why Valentine’s Day Leaves People Feeling Unhappy in Relationships


Why are people so unhappy in relationships after Valentine’s Day?

I read an interesting article in USA today.

Those sites that offer memberships for those who are married and looking to “hook up” with another married person, as in have an affair, report a booming day AFTER Valentines Day. It is one of their most profitable and most highly visited day of the year.


Well, this is what the founder of one of those sites had to say: “People are disappointed by their spouses” lack of effort, and they feel especially undervalued when there is a societal expectation of romance. Certain days of the year act as litmus tests for many people unhappy in relationships.” (Valentines Day is one of them.)

We spend billions of dollars trying to “save a marriage“, “buy, force or create” romance, or that
“special” feeling, and it just doesn’t work. In reality your spouse may be surfing infidelity sites the day AFTER trying to fill the disappointment.

What exactly causes them to be unhappy in relationships?

I believe two underlying concepts add fire to one’s disappointment.

1. Romance is overrated and produces a narcissistic shallowness.

The typical understanding of romance as touted in romance novels, romantic comedies, etc. is that each mirrors back to the other exactly what s/he believes the other wants to hear and experience. Wow, I am “special.” No, you are not “special,” but merely a human on a journey, like all of us.

When I live with another for a period of time, I KNOW that person is human. Chocolate and hearts fail to touch being truly touched by the depth of another human being.

2. Personal needs are powerful and tend to dominate.

The need for attention, the need to be loved, the need to be adored, the need for a thrill, the need for excitement and the need for affirmation, to name a few, run strong within us.

Our personal needs can dominate and control our lives, creating a reservoir of disappointment, frustration and emptiness.

Let’s move beyond them, and Valentine’s Day, and find what we truly desire, and avoid being unhappy in relationships.

14 thoughts on “Why Valentine’s Day Leaves People Feeling Unhappy in Relationships”

  1. I agree here…what meaning does a tryst with a stranger even mean? Are we that shallow that something over so quickly, so risky and the reinforcement of someone we may not even LIKE if we really knew them! (and certainly could not trust not to do this to US!) that we would risk it all? The Dr. mentions narcisscism, I would suggest serious immaturity. Doesn’t a person who is your sig other deserve more than this?

  2. he is right, sometimes one parner wants to give all posible but the other doesnot open in any way, because the see others better tha what they have at home, some times the compare the pretty thet are with yours, thats alot things the partners need to work to survive in a marriage.

  3. I suspect that the most dangerous position to be in is to believe that you could never do something like that. That’s a set up for doing something really stupid and there seems to be no shortage of opportunities for that.

    Just about everyone I have known could be better in some area(s) of having a strong, loving relationship, but it the rarity who can acknowledge that they have things to learn about what makes their partner feel loved, respected, supported.

    And, no, the stuff that counts is rarely what’s in movies and books. It can be those things, but likely what really matters is how you are with each other when the kids are sick all night and you have to go to work in the morning. What feels loving and supportive to your partner then? What feels loving and supportive to you then? And do you each remember what does it for the other?

    When Dr. Huizenga refers to “the journey” I take it to mean that we aren’t here to be perfect lovers, but rather we are on a journey together to become better and better lovers and that the process is the point, because the scenery is always changing.

  4. I must say that love is such a diverse word.. It counts on multiple degrees. Monogamy and some people are the only way. To others there is a need in having a turbulent love life. Meaning when they lose the drama they get uncomfortable. Still yet if you are married then you did make a commitment to yourself and your spouse. Shame on me for being so selfish about me. But why not if I am not happy you might say to yourself. I ask myself this all the time, then I consider that this is not about me, It is indeed about everyone involved with me… I will accept that some people wonder to others to fill a gap in their life.. I cannot accept hurting others who are innocent (i.e. Children and other family members) I have been married for 18 years and it is not the fairy tale that Disney movies portray it to be.. Princesses and Prince charming.. No it takes work and guess what it is never ending.. Infidelity breached my relationship on each side.. I am no saint and my wife is just as guilty as I was. It was a terrible mistake and has taken many years to put behind us both. To those of you looking for a fairy tale. Sorry it does not exist. People exist and some are good and others are a snake in the grass. You have to love yourself before you ever reach true happiness in all aspects of life. Start out knowing that and you’ll recognize others like a deer in headlights that are the same way. After all we attract to ourselves what we put out in life..

  5. So for those of us who don’t have those strong personal needs, what does that make us. Secure individuals….

  6. My wife and I have always gotten along but not always embraced our own weaknesses or that of our partners. My wife found companionship with another man (not sexual but I wasn’t sure about this for a couple years) and this tore at my inner core problems of self-doubt and insecurities. We did little to rectify this problem or address it so the little things that had made me feel isolated I made into bigger things until I was convinced she had no romantic fellings toward me and that she did not respect our marriage. I then sank into a hole of despair, anger and longing for “love” (which to me at the time meant approval of who I was by someone else) until I had an actual affair. I had conjured up in my head this was the only way I could make myself whole again, which was the farthest thing from the truth. I was not good at hiding my affair and within 2 days my wife had way too much information about the relationship I had. We have children and my selfishness has nearly cost me everything I so cherish in my life. An affair is ALWAYS selfish and is devestating to not only you and your spouse, but to family and friends. We are trying to move on and build a stronger more secure relationship with God in the center, but there is not a day or rarely an hour that goes by that I do not get terrible gut-wrenching remorse for my actions and that I can not understand myself how I had become a person capable of such betrayal. No matter what, an affair is not fair, and if you are considering it either talk with your spouse, a reliable confidant or seek other professional help. Everyone will disappoint you if you are with them long enough but there are some hurts you can never take back no matter how much you try or so desperately want to forget.
    From my own experience Holidays were even more of a trigger for those feelings of isolation and emptiness as well as times of change in our life together. I agree with a previous writer that we are all just deer in the headlights trying to stay safe and not get hurt but sometime we dart in the wrong direction or just stare into the lights and do nothing to save ourselves.

    1. If you stay with your wife your healing depends alot on her, she has to earn back your trust so is she contributing in any way to your healing if not that suffering will be long sorry dont mean to be rude i know what you are going through i know how difficult it is on the other hand in case of a divorce nobody wins its a sure lose for everyone in the family thats what i notice in my situation but soon as i was 100% sure she did not had any kind of remorse for her actions that was the day a made a decision and file for divorce when she knew she wanted to fix our marriage but by that time i had my mind made up on my future and she was not part of it but only included my son. Life is about closing circles and opening new ones its not easy and its awful when a family breaks apart but it was that or my sanity. Hope everything works out for you the best way posible.
      STAY TRUE.

  7. If both spouses were secure, confident individuals, we would not need Valentine’s Day to feed our unmet needs. As good spouses, we must learn to love the one we are with, and accept them for who they are. As long as one feels love, caring, and supported by their spouse, Valentine’s Day is just another day. It is more of a commercial holiday, to celebrate giving. But if a spouse is giving each and every day, and in return the other is appreciative, who needs a day to remind us of that fact.

    It is always nice to be thought of in an extra special way, a thoughtful gift, touch, or tender words. We need to do this every day of our lives, so Valentine’s Day wouldn’t really matter. It would be like any other day. Days full of love, tenderness, kindness, thoughtfulness towards the one you share your life with.

  8. i agree because there’s no such thing as perfect marriage…i think they are immature people who doesnt know what they truly desire or want in a marriage , lack of communication skills in addressing ther real issues in their marriage life.

  9. Jill, you are so right in my opinion…..people are so jacked up about a “5th Avenue” holiday created probably more to make money than anything else. I would rather be noticed and loved in unexpected, personal ways. Having your gift or card be lacking is a reason to go out & cheat is almost hilarious if it weren’t so disturbing! Give me a break! Who can live up to these endless standards & expectations? What happened to loyalty, truth and not risking your mates health, feelings & trust? I was cheated on and all the sorriness, regret, and remorse does not cover the fact that someone you are really counting on in life, finds you no more important than this? You can forgive, but this type of betrayal is a life changer.

  10. After many years of examining what went wrong with our marriage, I’ve discovered many things. The first thing is we are all emotional beings. every experience we have can be measured emotionally. we are attracted to people, events that give us positive experiences, and we’re repelled by people, things that we feel negativity towards. so it would rationally follow that the relationship with our spouses was first based on positive experiences and it’s important to try to get those initial feelings back- on the part of both people- so reminesce all you want- it’s healthy. another thing- we don’t know how our actions effect our spouses, either positively or negatively. this is the great mystery of life. unfortunately, we could be doing little things that we think our helping our relationship, but in reality, they are hurting the relationship. so tricky is life! make sure you ask many questions of your spouse and listen to their answers very carefully.
    the next thing is the affair itself. an affair is like going to Paris for a couple of days. It’s special and immediately we might feel special things that we haven’t felt in years. It is a fantasy of a relationship. Let’s face it, going to Paris for 3 days is a lot different than living in Paris for 30 years. After 15, 20, 30 years, the novelty has worn off. but guess what- after all that time, there are still places you have never seen in Paris. Just like your marriage, there are things about your spouse that you haven’t discovered even after 20, 30 years of marriage. In fact, you might not completely know your spouse after 70 lifetimes. we are very complex beings! so try to open yourself to your own emotions, your own ideas about your relationship. the positive thing about an affair forces a couple to hit the reset button, and hopefully, you and your spouse will come out of this deep pain, in a better place. Try to be strong. Tell only one close, non-judgmental friend about your marital problems. don’t tell the whole world. And always turn to God for assistance too, it doesn’t matter which religion. God will be your strongest anchor to weather this great emotional storm.
    One last thing- end all contact with past lovers. even those you knew before your marriage. the cinders of love don’t take much wind to turn into a blazing fire. know that there’s a reason why your previous loves have gone by the wayside. Let those past loves die, and turn to the one who has tried to stick it out and love you through thick and thin, death to you part, etc., etc., amen.

  11. Very good article. As a Licensed Psychotherapist, I can tell you that two major themes are problematic in many relationships due to immaturity and insecurity:
    1) When one person is super needy
    2) When one or both people have unrealistic expectations.

    A need exists to address why so many men do not or seem to not know how to do the basic “work” (self-awareness, ownership of their own feelings and issues; giving and receiving attention, cooperation and active/expressed caring) required to help their relationships grow. Yet, those least likely to give often expect off-the-chart outcomes/results despite their lackluster efforts.

    Many women report being worn out by the ongoing need for attention or related non-sense (forms of drama and trauma created to promote excitement) from male partners who do not contribute genuine and positive dynamics to help co-create a healthy relationship. Other women become tired and turned off due to various levels of abuse (including abusive expectations) that their partners have. Various levels of narcissism and related sense of entitlement are central mental health factors/issues in all of these problems.

    No doubt, there are narcissistic,entitled and unrealistic women as well. But these issues touch on themes that seem gender-based due to upbringing and how men and women are socialized. Many women seem to believe they must do most of the tending to maintain relationships, not just with partners but also with family and friends.

    It is my impression that too much giving depletes these women and can become a form of attempting to control others in order to extract love and care from close associates. People need to learn self-care and boundaries, which will help shift dynamics within their relationships (systems) so that others are required to learn how to give as well as receive.

    Even if changing onself results in some relationships no longer existing, people can be better off due to having clear boundaries. In coming to know what their own limits are, women and men can also stop expecting others to fulfill certain needs within them that only they can do for themselves.

  12. Ditto Regan. We trick ourselves looking for something that is false. What’s real takes work but is immensely more satisfying. And sometimes u still get that romance too. And in those times it means so much more. Bc u know it really is about each other.

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