What is all this hoopla to do about Spring Fever? Is it even legitimate? Do people get randy and shed their old partners just like they would shed their parka?
It’s dubbed as the time when everyone seems to take stock of what is around them from dust bunnies that need a spring clean to partners that are dragging you down and also need to be spring cleaned. Or purged. Whatever works for you.
But relationship researchers haven’t really examined the environmental factors that can lead to a spring break-up or the environmental factors that encourage the break-up in the first place. David McCandless and Lee Bryon analyzed 10,000 Facebook status updates that included “We broke up because…” looking for insight into disclosure about romance that had gone sideways. What did they find?
Monday: a common day to get dumped. My suggestion: Don’t talk to your partner on Mondays if you want to avoid this one.
Right before Spring Break (which could be mid-Feb or mid- to late March depending on what you do for a living and where you live) also not good for your relationship. Especially not good if your spring break falls just after V-day!
Some unidentified time before the summer holidays.
Two weeks before Christmas–because on the 25th would just be “too cruel”.
Now back to this Valentine’s day business; it turns out that V-day is a hard one for (many) relationships. In this study, 99 men and 146 women came into the lab twice during one of these 4 months: September, November, February, or April. While in the lab, they filled out various relationship measures.
Survey says? The February group (who came in just before and just after V-day) were 2.5 more likely to report that their relationship had ended between their testing sessions.
Why? Well the anticipation and aftermath of V-day (disappointed with what partner did for you or maybe more like what they did not do for you) leads to diminished expectations about the relationship in general as well as about your partner, increased attractiveness to alternative partners, and generally feeling that the relationship quality is decreasing.
Who is most at risk? Those who are rocky going into V-day, a-la-Titanic.
So if you made it beyond V-day and your relationship is still in tact and Spring Break has come and gone you’re basically safe.
Until people want to be foot loose and fancy free in the summer. Which is basically just around the corner.
But should you be needing to find an exit strategy to remove yourself from your relationship at hand, might I suggest one of these strategies (rated by 52 male and 83 female undergraduate students as the most compassionate strategies to use when breaking up with someone else in this study).
To start, here are the 5 most compassionate ways to break up with someone:
1. Emphasize to your partner the good things gained from the relationship in the past.
2. Try to avoid leaving things on a sour note with your partner.
3. Try to prevent your partner from having any “hard feelings” about the break-up.
4. Avoid blaming your partner at all costs, even if your partner was to blame.
5. Avoid hurting your partner’s feelings at all costs.
And if you are looking to be a real dick-face, any of these 5 least compassionate strategies will do in a pinch:
1. Ask a third party to break the break up news to your partner.
2. Threaten your partner if s/he doesn’t accept the break-up.
3. Become unpleasant to your partner in the hopes that s/he would make the first move.
4. Verbally blame your partner for causing the break-up, even if you thought s/he weren’t totally to blame.
5. Text message your partner to tell him/her how you feel.
You’ll notice that signing into msn but appearing off line and sending someone a break-up note while they are also off line and then quickly signing out before they sign in and respond didn’t make the top 5. Guess that wasn’t such a bad break-up strategy after all.
Jocelyn Wentland is a Sex Researcher, PhD student at the University of Ottawa. You will find her blogs are sexual, risqué (she likes to push the envelope), potentially offending, fun, but most of all, real. Read more of Jocelyn’s blog at SexResearchandTheCity.com and follow her on Twitter.