How a DePaulia writer came to terms with her breakup near Valentine’s Day

What are your plans for this upcoming Valentine’s day? A romantic dinner, an intimate movie, or a cozy night in?

How about crying in your bed, re-reading texts and looking at old pictures of you and your ex, who  blatantly broke your heart on the worst possible holiday to dump someone on?

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of the usual box of chocolates, gift exchanges, cute dinners, but rarely do I ever associate the day with getting dumped – that was, until it happened to me.

It was my freshman year in college, my boyfriend and I were going on a year strong, doing the entire “long-distance” relationship thing, but we fumbled back in forth with the idea of breaking up. I held on long to that hope, the unraveling thread that was still supporting our high school relationship.

As each day went on, I knew that a breakup was imminent, but I didn’t know that it  was going to take place right around Valentine’s Day.

It’s all a little blurry for me, but it started with a small fight that led to the words, “I don’t think I want to do this anymore,” and ended with a phone call to sum things up.

Goodbye chocolates and roses.

On the list of worst days  to ever dump someone on, Valentine’s Day has got to be at the top. It’s supposed to be a day about love, why can’t people hold on for 24 more hours to do the damage? February 15th? Go on ahead and rip all of the hearts out you want but on the 14th, it can wait.

Valentine’s Day was commemorated as a day of love when Saint Valentine was honored as a saint. Valentine was  the saint with a tradition of refined love. Why do people have to disgrace Saint Valentine like that by ending a relationship on his day?

Whenever you’re scrolling through your instagram feed filled with sappy Valentine’s Day posts, happy couples, and expensive gifts, remember there is someone on the other side of that realm who just got their heart brutally dumped.

It may be hard to believe, but Valentine’s day is widely becoming more popular to break up with someone on. Just type in on Google, “Breaking up on Valentine’s Day” and there are hundreds of threads of people sharing their experiences, giving advice, and even asking how to dump someone, specifically on Valentine’s Day.

Although Valentine’s Day is not the best time to go through a breakup, there are reasons for why couples split up during holidays, reasons that Sarah Halpern-Meekin are able to describe, “If breakup rates do vary over the course of the year, this could be because holidays may heighten some people’s expectations of their relationships, meaning there are more opportunities for disappointment,” she said.  “Also, holidays can be a time that pushes us to label relationships. For example, the gifts we give on Valentine’s Day supposedly say something our level of interest in and commitment to the other person–do too little, and you’re not caring enough, do too much, and you’re moving too fast.”

Halpern-Meekin is an associate professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

If you’re someone that has ever gone through a similar experience as mine and the hundreds of other people on these threads, there are answers for you as well as ways to learn to  accept heartbreak. While buying yourself your own box of chocolates is liberating and definitely one option, there are philosophies behind love that can explain why it makes our hearts hurt.

“When a relationship ends, it is painful because we still experience the other person in our life and still experience the love,” said H. Peter Steeves, philosophy professor at DePaul University. “But we now experience these as presently-absent rather than presently-present. It would be very easy if, when someone leaves us, they just disappeared from our consciousness –a simple erasure. But this is not the case. We experience them still all of the time. We experience them as not-here, as not-with-me, as not-returning-my-love, as not hugging me, as..not.”

Steeves emphasizes the ideas of fear and love in his classes.

We live in a world filled with fear, and one of the greatest fears in relationships is the fright of being broken up with. When we feel a breakup is imminent, we get scared of when our phone chimes and when we receive a text. It makes your heart race, Steeves said, “not because you have the quality of ‘afraid’ and not because your fear points at something specific, but because you are ‘in the world’ as one who is fearful.”

DePaul junior Nikki Callo has her own simple philosophies on Valentine’s Day and dealing with a breakup on the most romantic holiday of the year.

“It might feel worse around Valentine’s Day because it’s supposed to be a loving holiday, but that’s a capitalistic holiday made up so companies can charge your significant other more for everyday items,” she said. “Unexpected breakups are hard but there’s a reason behind everything, even if you don’t see it yet. Block his [or her] number and move on.”

It sucks to be broken up with before Valentine’s Day, but we must remember that it’s just a day of commercial construction that attaches itself to a misogynistic view of love.. The philosophy of love is complex, but as Steeves puts it, being broken up with around Valentine’s Day is not.

“If someone breaks up with you right before Valentine’s Day that person’s a jerk who didn’t deserve you,” he said. “You don’t need philosophy to make it anything plainer than that.”

Although I am now in a new, happy relationship, I sure hope that writing this does not give my boyfriend any ideas.