For many of us, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the love of your life and the excitement of a successful relationship. For others, this could be a time to reflect on a relationship that isn’t giving you the joy you had expected or you might be contemplating divorce. What is certain is that we are in a time where even instant gratification isn’t good enough. Upon a visit to your local Best Buy, you will notice that televisions are stacked up like cordwood. We can’t even sit still long enough to watch TV! Do you dread watching “90 Day Fiancé” with your wife, or sitting through another long Suns game while your husband shouts at the screen? 

DEEPER DIVE: 9 Arizona restaurants make OpenTable’s 100 most romantic list

On a more serious note, inflation, increased housing costs, and economic disparity have put a damper on the national mood. A Marist College poll released a year ago showed our national optimism level at its lowest point since the survey began in 2009.   

February has a track record for being the busiest time of year for divorces which often spike after Valentine’s Day. For those contemplating divorce, or for others who are raising their children while not married, going it alone in this economy is a daunting task. For starters, if you have school-age children, the question you need to ask yourself is whether your spouse or the other parent can afford to stay in the same vicinity where the child(ren) attends school. If you own a house, you will be in for a serious shock when you start to look at choices for renting. If either you or your spouse cannot stay in the neighborhood, you might be in for a costly fight over where the children will attend school. If you are contemplating separation, try to determine options for renting, and don’t get locked into a lease until you have an idea where the children will be going to school. 

Also, take a realistic look at your expenses. You  might be forced to pay child support or spousal support. Can you maintain any enjoyable lifestyle if these additional expenses are suddenly thrust upon you? Look into daycare costs. These charges could rival your monthly rent. Think about all of the times you mentioned a part of the city you would never live in. You may end up having to move there just to have a place to live and be near your child(ren). Forget the personal training or that morning latte. How will you react when you trade your Mercedes in for a Prius?  

Valentine’s Day is a time to relish in the feelings of joy and excitement that a successful relationship brings. For those relationships where excitement is missing, you might just have to sit there, drink your beer, and watch the game. 

Author: Steve Cole is a highly-experienced family law attorney practicing for nearly 30 years. He is a partner at Scottsdale-based Radix Law firm. He has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the community- twice named among the top 100 volunteers in the State.