We just celebrated the most romantic holiday of the year. I'm not talking about Super Bowl Sunday. I'm talking about Valentine's Day. This is the one holiday dedicated to love and affection. It's also dedicated to spending — the National Retail Federation estimates that $13.7 billion was spent Tuesday on Valentine's Day. It is the biggest single 24-hour period for florists, and it's a big day for candy and greeting card companies. It's also unofficially the biggest day of the year for infidelity — and for catching cheaters.
Millions of people exchange Valentines and gifts on this special day. Some people don't just give a Valentine to their lover, but they give some to their friends as well. It wouldn't seem odd, for example, if you sent a Valentine to a friend you accidentally shot with some birdshot while hunting quail. However, it would seem odd if you sent a Valentine to two different people with the exact same sentiment if the words were, "You're the one I love best." And that's what these sneaky, but stupid, cheaters do every year.
It seems contradictory that a holiday that celebrates love also marks cheating on one's love. But in the devious minds of cheaters, it makes sense. It's the one day of the year that spouses and significant others expect to spend with each other. It's also the one day of the year that those who are cheating with spouses and significant others expect their cheating lover to spend time with them. They want to be reassured that even though Joe is married to Jane, "he obviously loves me better because look at the card and gift he gave me, and he had dinner with me, not her." So, what does the cheater do if two people are depending on him? He does what he does best — he cheats. He lies to Jane and probably to Sally, too. He'll make up excuses why he can't be with one of them, he'll buy gifts for both of them, and he'll hope he won't get his alibis confused.
Doesn't cheating on Valentine's Day seem even worse than, say, cheating on March 14? They are taking this almost-sacred day, and turning it into a juggling, trysting challenge. But don't worry, these cheaters are more likely to get caught on Valentine's Day than any other day of the year.
Private detectives report that V-Day is a big day for them. Cheaters are more likely to be seen buying double Valentine's Day cards or gifts. They're more likely to have two romantic meals with two different people. They're more likely to be so nervous about getting caught that they confuse their lies. So, private detectives who work at such organizations as Discreet Investigations of Golden, Colorado, say that if a lover is likely to stray in general, he's definitely going to roam on Feb. 14.
The Institute For Divorce Financial Analysts reports that every year, divorce filings spike in mid-February. It's probably because Valentine's Day provides the offended party with unassailable evidence: lies that are just too ridiculous to believe even by those who desperately want to believe them; credit card bills that can't be explained away logically; or sightings by friends or detectives.
You probably don't need a detective to catch a cheater on Valentine's Day. There are some telltale signs. For example:
- If he or she says they bought a box of candy for themselves. "Why not? I love myself."
- If he or she says, "Let's not go out or make a big deal of Valentine's Day. I love you every day, so why should we make a holiday of just one day a year?"
It's a shame that so many people are besmirching the holiday that we all started to celebrate sweetly when we passed out Valentines to those we had a crush on in grade school. On the other hand, it serves the cheaters right to get caught.
So, if you know someone who's a divorce lawyer or private detective, and they say, "I love Valentine's Day," they might not be romantics. Their heart might just be set on a big payday.
Lloyd Garver writes a weekly column for SportsLine.com. He has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.
By Lloyd Garver