Valentine's Day: For many, a shining beacon of high expectations.
BRUSSELS and BERNE – Valentine’s Day, like the chocolate that tends to accompany it, can sometimes be a bittersweet experience. This week, however, it seems that Europe's chocolate capitals are offering a side order of romantic advice to go with those heart-shaped boxes.
A survey from eBay offers help on getting over a failed romance, while a study from Switzerland claims to have found the secret to a lasting one.
Belgian responses to an online survey by auction website eBay.be show that if nothing else, a break-up might be a chance to recover a little extra cash: One out of three Belgians admits to using the Internet to resell a gift given to them by an ex-partner.
The survey also revealed that men seem able to let go of the past a little more readily than women, as more than half of them had no qualms about re-gifting or selling old gifts. And given the hard economic times of late, letting go of the past can yield a tidy sum — the average spent on a Valentine’s gift in Belgium is 55 euros.
In total, 40% of Belgians said that they gave someone a gift on Valentine’s Day. Walloons seem to be the more romantic counterpart, being 16% more likely than Flemings to buy a gift. It was also revealed that people with higher incomes were actually less likely to buy their significant other a gift as opposed to those with lower incomes.
The Swiss Solution
For those still looking for the perfect someone to treat to a Valentine’s Day gift, the scientists at the Haute Ecole d’Economie in Geneva claim to have discovered the foolproof formula to a happy marriage. Researchers followed a total of 1047 married or cohabiting couples living in Switzerland over a period of five years to reach the following conclusion: In the ideal couple, the man is preferably around five years older than the woman, but the woman has reached a higher level of education.
The scientists warn against couples in which the man is from two to four years older than his partner, the two partners are from different cultural backgrounds, or in which neither member has followed higher education, as these seem to fizzle out the quickest.
However, the overall message seems to be a simple one: don’t be blinded by love, or in many cases, attraction. “There would be a lot less divorces among couples if men and women went through the trouble of finding a partner that they get along well with and attributed a little less importance to the chemical effect of certain organs,” concluded the scientists.