Love is one of the most mysterious sciences of this world, and no one knows this better than young adults, whose hormones are most astute. Devoting a day to exchanging cards, purchasing flowers and heart-shaped chocolate boxes and giving other frivolous gifts seems geared toward couples who need a reminder to make their significant other feel special.
So do college students, who question the veracity of every other subject under the sun, buy into this overly commercialized, scripted holiday?
As Valentine’s Day approaches, some students at Binghamton University don’t seem to find the pressures encroaching on their relationships.
“I don’t really buy into the whole need for outdoing myself anymore than I always would because it’s Valentine’s Day,” said Justin Wohl, a senior double-majoring in marketing and graphic design.
“My feelings are pretty much the same as they always have been,” said Jake Lewis, an undeclared freshman. “I don’t think I should gain feelings of romance around the holiday.”
Though these two students may be confident in their relationships, a study of relationship stability surrounding Valentine’s Day conducted at Arizona State University suggested otherwise. The experimenters hypothesized about the instigating and catalytic effects of Valentine’s Day. It was a year-long study in which college students were asked to evaluate the quality of their romantic relationships, as well as other important factors.
In order to test the significance of Valentine’s Day, experimenters told their participants they were studying the trends in typical college relationships and how they change throughout the year. The four months that they viewed as most susceptible to change were September, which may be influenced by the end of summer; November, which may be influenced by Thanksgiving; February, which may be influenced by Valentine’s Day; and April, which may be influenced by spring break.
The majority of relationship failures, however, occurred in February.
Experimenters predicted that the period surrounding Valentine’s Day would contain more breakups, particularly for individuals involved in low-quality relationships. The reason for these results is most likely the level of anticipation and expectations attached to the Valentine’s Day script. On the contrary, Valentine’s Day had no effect on relationships that were considered high-quality or currently improving.
Depending on the quality of the relationship, this holiday can serve as a superficial medium to exploit your romance for a brief moment, or it can be like any other day. Only the aftermath of Feb. 14 can really determine its significance for a couple.