This is a guest article by Jennifer Calonia, Junior Editor at GoBankingRates. In the article, the author encourages couples in failing relationships to break-up before holidays and their obligatory expenses are imminent.
While it may sound like the antithesis of romance, calling it quits with your other half before the Valentine’s Day can be advantageous to your heart and your checkbook. Gift-giving and travel (if your significant other is across country) on Valentine’s Day is poised to destroy the savings of those who are too apprehensive to raise the white flag of surrender when it comes to their dead-end relationship.
According to a 2010 report by graphic designers Lee Byron and David McCandless, more couples break up toward the end of the calendar year–peaking two weeks before Christmas and the month after Valentine’s Day.
The data were gathered by conducting a year-long search on Facebook statuses which included the words “break up” or “broken up.”
Many argue that data used by Byron and McCandless is drawn from a highly defined sample pool, noting that most Facebook users are younger in their years. Despite that limitation, this study raises significant questions for those in the midst of a turbulent or stagnant relationship.
Break up to save money on gifts and travel
As the saying goes, “breaking up is hard to do,” but it could be a wise financial decision to opt out of your relationship if it’s already hit a brick wall. Instead of waiting for the report’s break-up peak after Valentine’s Day, why not face reality before February lands on your doorstep?
Observances like Valentine’s Day are among the highest-rated gift-giving holidays among couples next to birthdays. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2011, the average expense on Valentine’s Day gifts to a significant other was $68.98 — a figure that is on the rise.
Further, all of the subsequent holidays in the year (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and a sprinkled birthday) present an open door for extra out-of-pocket travel expenses when planning to attend your partner’s family gathering or scheming a romantic getaway.
At the risk of being denounced as cold-hearted or even cheap, severing strained relationships before Valentine’s Day is at minimum, a savvy move for your wallet.
Broken heart: better investment
Seeking out and fostering a relationship with a partner is at its root an effort in finding a spouse. Stringing your significant other along when you don’t see a future ahead is not only by many people’s standards cruel, it’s a fruitless investment. Whether you’re dealing with emotions or finances, keeping long-term goals in sight are an important aspect of achieving success and happiness, overall.
Struggling relationships may not see another opportunity to break up until March, and time is money. There is never a “good time” to break-up, so biding one’s time after the holiday season and into Valentine’s Day is not the most effective approach in the long haul.
Break up with civility before February 14 comes around and open yourself up to a well-rounded year of improvements in 2012.
Editor’s note: I can’t say I’m a fan of making relationship or romantic decisions with finances as a trigger. Personal finance experts tend to see the world in terms of money; if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail, or so the saying goes. Obviously finances must be a consideration in major decision-making, and ending a bad relationship earlier rather than later is a better choice than lingering. The worst case scenario is losing a quality relationship over the cost of a bouquet of flowers or a meaningful gift.
Published or updated January 15, 2012.