Valentine’s Day can be great of course, a start, or a celebration, a renewal. But love, romance and sexual arousal don’t tend to respond to command. Perhaps overall, on the balance sheet of human joy versus human misery, Valentine’s Day is a net contributor to the latter rather than the former.
Neverthless, with love I offer here a humble buffet table with some Valentine’s Day morsels and delicacies about love, sex, relationships etc.
• Dealing with love, romance and rejection on Valentine's Day
• The psychology of why Valentine's Day ruins relationships
• 7 science-based tips to make you sexier on Valentine’s Day
• A Valentine's Day look at sex through the ages
• Happy couples are probably deluding themselves
• What straight couples can learn from gay couples
And good advice from The Guardian’s Oliver Burkman: All dating advice is as terrible as the people who give it.
Your relationship demystified
The key to happiness is love and understanding. The more you know someone, the more you can love them; the more you love them, the more you know. Attachment style—mine and yours—is the scaffold upon which a relationship is built. To understand the dynamics of your relationship—past, present or future—check out the 6 relationship types. What colour is yours? (This is far and away the most popular, most viewed thing I've written on this blog.)
The latest news
Shocking to hear that Black Eyed Pea Fergie and Josh Duhamel are in marriage counseling after six years together—if those two beacons of togetherness are struggling, what hope is there for the rest of us ... the Ministry of Social Affairs in Saudi Arabia is implementing a mandatory pre-marital couples counselling program ... a similar mandatory scheme has recently been proposed in Colorado ... a voluntary government-funded marriage counselling program in Australia was recently dumped after attracting just 10 per cent of the expected participants ... pre-marital counselling in Jamaica ... domestic violence can sometimes be perpetrated by women against men as this report from Ireland points out.
• 42% of UK marriages end in divorce
• Almost half of divorces involve children under 16
• In 2011, 66% of divorces were on petition of the wife
• Of every divorce in 2011 - it was the first divorce for both partners in 70.1% of cases, while in 19.7% one party had been divorced previously, and in 9.6% of cases both had divorced previously
• Second marriages are more likely to be successful than first marriages. If one or both partners are remarrying they have a 31% chance of divorce, compared to 45% if it is both partners’ first time
• 34% of marriages are expected to end in divorce by the 20th wedding anniversary
• 16% of marriages reach the 60th wedding anniversary without separation or death
• Those who marry younger are more likely to divorce. Having children or staying childless has no clear effect on risk of divorce
• While divorce rates are falling—people are getting married at older ages and are increasingly cohabiting beforehand—the number of divorces among the 60+ has significantly increased from 1991 to 2011
• Reasons proven for legal divorce:
--36% of divorces granted to men and 54% of divorces granted to women were due to unreasonable behaviour
--32% of divorces granted to men and 22% of divorces granted to women were granted following 2 years of separation and consent
--16% of divorces granted to men and 9% of divorces granted to women were granted following 5 years of separation
--15% of divorces were granted for adultery, same across genders
--Less than 1% of all divorces were granted due to desertion
• In 2010-11, one third of all children aged 16 and under were not living with both of their birth parents
• Almost 25% of families in the UK are lone parent families
--44% of resident parents said their child either splits their time equally, or sees their other parent at least weekly
--29% of resident parents said that their child never sees their other parent
--20% of all resident parents said that their child has not seen their other parent since separation
• There are 7.7 million families with dependent children:
--4.7 million (60%) are married couple families
--1.2 million (15%) are unmarried opposite sex couple families
--1.9 million (24.5%) are lone parent families (8.8% of lone-parent families are lone-father families, the remainder are lone mother families)
--8,000 (0.001%) are civil partnered couple families
--5,000 (0.001%) are same-sex cohabiting couple families
• The first UK civil partnership was on the 5th December 2005: approximately 120,908 individuals entered civil partnerships between 2005 and 2012
• The number of civil partnership dissolutions granted in 2012 was 794, an increase of 20% on the 2011 numbers. By the end of 2012, 3.2% of male and 6.1% of female civil partnerships in England and Wales had ended in dissolution
Relate also offers 6 secrets of how Relationship Counselling works, and from the Huffington Post: Everything You Need To Know About Premarital Counseling.
The top-10 nations for divorce
It’s nice for Belgium to have something to be famous for: It’s the country with the highest divorce rate in the world.
According to The Richest: “A first glance, Belgium appears an example of European modernity: a nation with a rich history and splendid architecture which is the centre of power for the European Union and Parliament. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll realise that all is not well in the nation so famous for its chocolate. Politically, Belgium is fiercely divided between the French speaking south, which includes the capital Brussels, and the Flemish speaking north, close to Holland. The nation is so divided that successive elections have resulted in collapsed governments with Belgium going a record 535 days without a government as a result. Against this backdrop divorce levels have been climbing, with the decline of the Church cited as a key factor in these figures.”
1 Belgium 71
2 Portugal 68
3 Hungary 67
4 Czech Republic 66
5 Spain 61
6 Luxembourg 60
7 Estonia 58
8 Cuba 56
9 France 55
10 United States 53
I live in you, you live in me;
We are two gardens haunted by each other.
Sometimes I cannot find you there,
There is only the swing creaking, that you have just left,
Or your favourite book beside the sundial.
To a stranger
Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me,
as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you- your body has become not yours
only, nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass- you
take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you- I am to think of you when I sit alone, or
wake at night alone,
I am to wait- I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
On Raglan Road
On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.
—Patrick Kavanagh (sung here by Sinead O’Connor and here by Van Morrison and here by Mark Knopfler)
My Funny Valentine
Chet Baker sings it in 1959, 29 years old, already a hardened heroin addict, but with the sweet voice of an angel. You can see the ravages of time and hard drugs when he plays it again 28 years later in concert in Tokyo. A year after that he fell to his death from a hotel room in Amsterdam.
Obligatory quote from Gandhi
“Where there is love there is life"