Few things in life are as important to us as a loving, healthy relationship with a romantic partner. At this time of year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us are reminded that maintaining this can take a little bit of investment, both in terms of our time as well as our finances.
Often this small investment is accompanied by a little guilt and perhaps a fleeting resolution to do more things with our other half throughout the rest of the year. We vow to set aside time and budget for a dinner à deux, flowers, chocolates or another romantic gesture. But how many of us really invest time and financial resources to maintaining what, for many of us, is absolutely pivotal to our happiness and well being?
The answer is, very few. According to the Office of National Statistics, couples spend an average of just 16 minutes per day socialising together. Less than half of couples who live together or are married spend good quality time together on a ‘date’ once a month. This is the magic number set by experts at the University of Lincoln, who concluded that couples who go out romantically once a month have the highest odds of their relationship surviving.
When we consider that as we plan our finances, we nearly always take care of issues such as paying motoring costs or TV subscriptions, it seems quite out of kilter that we don’t budget for quality time with our significant other. You could argue that love costs nothing, and as the song goes, ‘money can’t buy you love’. Studies involving tens of thousands of couples, however, reveal an average date costs about £75. Of course for long-term couples, date night doesn’t have to involve eating out at a restaurant or expensive concert tickets. Simply setting aside a little time and money, even if it is just for a special meal at home (average cost just £5 apparently), can pay equally good dividends when it comes to a healthy relationship.
This February 14th, it might well be worth exchanging one over-expensive Valentine’s guilt trip, with a token for 12 romantic dates or adventures across the whole year.