There is a long standing urban myth that more relationships come to an end on February 15th than on any other day of the year, and many theories have been propounded on why this is so.
Tracking of social media shows us that June far outweighs any other month for the ending of romances: and if spring is the biological mating season, it does not surprise me that the end of that season is when less solid relationships terminate.
February 14th is the date that has more new relationships starting than any other (surprise, surprise) and February 15th the fourth on the list (which sort of flies in the face of conventional wisdom). Christmas Day and the day after are second and third. And in 2011, 4% more new relationships were recorded on Facebook than terminations - but that win for romance might be influenced by a unknown number who did not want to tell the world at large that they had just been dumped.
The big problem with truly understanding what is going on in relationships is the phenomenon known as "Deceptive Affection." People in a relationship are known to make gestures, and say words that they do not feel. And we are not talking about gigolos saying anything for one more sexual conquest: this is part of many everyday normal romances
There have been a number of studies on the topic, but the latest by Dr. Sean Horan (co-authored by Professor Melanie Booth-Butterfield) explores why people engage in such behavior.
They seem (to me) to be all variations of an "anything for a quiet life" attitude.
When one partner still has affection for the other, long after all deep feelings have gone, then kisses and cuddles are the tokens used to delay telling the truth,
Likewise, stating that a haircut or a piece of clothing etc are attractive is seen by some as a better choice than revealing what they truly think.
And in Dr. Horan's study, one young man admitted saying "I love you" to his girl friend simply to end the telephone call so that he could get back to watching basketball on television.
His research showed that unmarried couples, on average, used Deceptive Affection three times a week. He wrote: "Couples use deceptive affection because they feel negatively about their partner and want to save face, avoid embarrassing their partner or sidestep a situation that may land them in hot water.”
So - should you be worried that your romance will fade as quickly as the memory of a Valentine's Day Hershey's chocolate kiss?
No - you should be more worried about June, not February.
Should you be worried that your partner engages in Deceptive Affection?
No - firstly because the activity is so common that it does not, in itself signal that the relationship is in any danger. Just that some people will do anything to avoid upsetting their loved one.
Secondly, research confirms that it actually helps to maintain relationships for a long time.
And thirdly - and most important - partners can actually engender deep and long lasting relationships that start off on unsure footings. In the same way that acting in a confident manner can give one confidence, acting as if you are deeply in love can cause you to become deeply in love.
So - rejoice in the relationship you have, And do not get too upset if you catch your partner in being deceptively affectionate,