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Cupid Can be Cruel on Valentine’s Day

The research of Barry X. Kuhle, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at The University of Scranton, indicated that many couples ironically break up on Valentine’s Day because there are so many pressures and expectations. The “Valentine’s Day hype,” he says, actually moves many to think of all the reasons they don’t want to remain in the relationship.
February 13, 2018

Barry X. Kuhle, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at The University of Scranton, proposed to his wife on Valentine’s Day, but his research shows despite all the romantic hype of the holiday, in reality many couples ironically break up on Valentine’s Day because there are so many pressures and expectations. The hype, he says, actually moves many to think of all the reasons they don’t want to remain in the relationship.

Men do most of the dumping, and his research on cues to commitment suggests that there are many reasons men end relationships on the day that most express their love:

  • He’s not interested in a deep, committed relationship and doesn’t want to lead the woman on.


  • He’s scared about the escalation of commitment that often comes with sharing Valentine's Day with a woman.


  • He doesn’t want to waste time and/or money on a relationship he thinks won’t last.He’s dating several women simultaneously and the obligations of the day - dinner, date, etc. - force him to choose one woman and dump the other(s).


  • He’s worried that publicly sharing Valentine’s Day with a woman will reduce his ability to play the field.

According to Dr. Kuhle people in their 20s may break up because they feel they have plenty of time to find better options. Thirty-somethings often have a goal in mind and cut their losses quickly if they don’t like their prospects. Those 40 and older may feel pressure to find the right mate. There are so many reasons to blame good old Cupid, it seems. Even teenagers feel the sting of his poor aim.

Dr. Kuhle’s research focuses on the evolved psychological mechanisms that underlie commitment and jealousy in romantic relationships. He is also interested in the evolution and development of menopause and sexual fluidity in women.

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