Nestled in between happy New Year and spring is the mean old month of February and Valentine’s Day. We are bombarded with images of Cupid shooting love-dipped arrows as we sit with our hungry and mysterious hearts. It can be a time of simultaneous anticipation and reflection, longing and dread, excitement and disappointment.

Will it be boom or bust? Maybe you have a first date or singles event planned. Maybe this is your first Valentine’s day with your new love interest or maybe this is setting up to be the last Valentines’ Day in a relationship that is not working.

Why do so many breakups occur around, or ugh- on Valentine’s Day? Some describe a romantic pressure while in the process of deciding just how special to make it, how many karats can you afford? How elaborate the preparation? Is a trail of candles and rose petals to the bedroom premature or overdoing it? One might be struck with, “What the hell am I going through all this for? I’m not even sure I want to be with this person.” Or one might be feeling the ramping up of their significant other’s intensity level and realize, “Holy crap, I better bail now before this gets too serious or complicated and somebody gets hurt.” It can be a fish or cut-bait deadline.

You’ve had some time to reflect on how the December holiday season went down, anywhere from “better than you could have possibly dreamed” to “unqualified disaster.” Maybe you met his or her family or close friends for the first time or your partner met yours. The unsolicited scouting reports have been dribbling in and are validating suspicions that you have already taken note of. Maybe he or she is not the one and now is the time to face this fact. Maybe we don’t travel well together…through life, quite probably.

It could be that you realized your potential mate’s psycho family is a deal breaker or their gift-giving left you cold or clarified how “they just don’t get me.” Maybe you were inspired by a strong impulse to start fresh when you closed the door on the old year, letting go of all that accompanied Auld Lang Syne, and stood at the threshold of a brand New Year that hadn’t been used yet. Or maybe yours or your partner’s New Year’s promises to turn over a new leaf didn’t survive Super Bowl Sunday.

In any case Valentine’s Day is a pivotal time for many relationships: a maker or breaker and a perfect opportunity to watch where you’ve been and look where you are going. Maybe it’s time to reassess and/or renegotiate your “must have’s” and “deal breakers,” or to make critical decisions about moving on. Or, if you are one of the really lucky ones, it is a time for intense gratitude for your partnership.

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