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February 15, 2012

A couple of days ago, as I was on my way out of the school building, I saw a Valentine’s Shopping Spree going on in the Main Commons. Eyeing the red-and-pink-ribboned goodies from afar, I dismissed them as being too girly for my hairy-legged, chest-thumping he-man. Then, I saw two guys selling break-up valentines.

“Break-up valentine?” I asked them. “Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

Then, tonight, while communing with Facebook buds and buddettes, I saw that Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone-The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, posted a Valentine’s poem for singles that kick-started my sleepy brain. So I Googled both “Anti-Valentine” and “Break-Up Valentine to discover what the difference was between the two and the reasons that couples sometimes choose the most romantic holiday of the year to break up.

At this time, let me lift the lid on this frilly, heart-shaped box and offer you some tasty nougats from my research.

First, I now understand and appreciate the reasons people give “Anti-Valentines“. For stalwart singles, freshly-divorced or newly- widowed, Valentine’s Day really sucks. Other than the safety of our own four walls, there seems to be no other place to escape the billing and cooing, the woo-pitching in restaurants, movie theaters, malls, produce aisles….

Another defense of the “Anti-Val” — a debunking of the notion that only on February 14 can two people in love gaze into each other’s limpid pools and just haul off and blurt those three words: “I. Love. You.” The anti-Val customer often eschews the idea that love equals high-dollar chocolates, overpriced flowers, and sky’s-the-limit jewelry.

Now, let’s talk about the Valentine break-up

In its simplest form, such a rift occurs when expectations surpass reality. Hallmark, Zales, Godiva, and 1-800-FLOWERS aim their campaigns at defenseless husbands, fiances, and boyfriends before they are fully awake from their New Year’s afternoon naps. These commercials and advertisements fill a woman’s thoughts while her man, well, avoids thinking, whenever possible.

The “Break-Up Valentine” stings even worse than the ” break-up text”. Yet ironic as it seems, breaking up on VDay can be civilized. In a February 15, 2012 Huffington Post article, “How To Break Up On Valentine’s Day“, Singer/ songwriter Jane Siberry offers twelve suggestions for a dignified exit. Siberry’s way of saying good-bye includes preparing a “special feast…lighting candles…putting on some music” and reminiscing about the good times you shared with that person and his special qualities. Even though breaking up can still be bittersweet, both parties walk away from each other with dignity intact.

So, gentle reader, what do you think of this growing trend? I look forward to receiving them.



  1. I’ve never understood elaborate break-ups. When I was dating I hated being strung along. It made me crazy for a guy to buy a meal just for the purpose of breaking up with me. That’s what the phone and mail are for – to avoid awkward situations.

    When I was single, I thought that marriage would bring years and years of perfect celebrations. I was wrong. It’s not that my husband doesn’t love me or that he’s stingy. It just means that “love on demand” isn’t a natural thing. What’s sad is that all those syrupy ads that get us girls in the mood for some extra attention are a total turn off to our guys.

    My sweetie and I exchange cards and save the romance for natural occurrances.

    1. I’m with you, Jane. In fact, for the recent Valentine’s Day, Von gave me the biggest gift he could: his presence. He’d been struggling with a cough which, shortly after V’Day, escalated into bronchitis. He apologized for not having a card or a gift (as he usually does). I agree, also, that commercials set women up for disappointment.

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