LET’S all delight that it’s Valentine’s Day, another wonderful one-day-a-year opportunity to ritualise your relationship and reach a whole new level of self-realisation.

Here’s how it runs; you’ve woken up to a Hallmark card from which you can almost smell the cheese (or the ping of the lazy Moonpig) then later tonight you and your partner will be squeezed into a tiny corner table at a restaurant where you will eat a very average dinner while all the time wishing Richard Curtis had supplied you with a script. You see, while love is indeed a many splendoured thing, it can dry up, unlike the labradoodle puppy’s pee in the hall, so often your default discussion piece these days.

Thankfully, the closeness of the couple at the next table is such you can distract yourself with their delightfully inane conversation that’s as surreal as a Bros twins’ argument – which makes your own puppy talk seem almost Stephen Fry-clever by comparison. But the distraction doesn’t last. Before you know it you’re stupid enough to check your smart phone a dozen times. Instead of staring into limpid eyes you’re looking at someone looking at you as though you’re a flatmate who’s late with the rent. What a brilliant wake-up call!

Yet, here’s what pushes your coupling wonderfully over the edge. You check into the city centre hotel for the night, order a bottle of fizz and later discover the night cost as much as the (taxpayer’s) bill for Derek Mackay’s public speaking lessons. Now you’re one of the 22m Brits out there who celebrate VD – but wonder if it’s really worth it? You’re both thinking: if love is blind what’s the point of this expensive lingerie?

Tomorrow, reality will dawn. The relationship may still have its Hepburn-Tracy trace elements but they’re fading like sun-exposed celluloid. The previous night had revealed a huge gap between expectations and reality. This is a relationship screaming out for Relate – or a divorce lawyer – who will delight in the new business. Everybody wins!

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Yet, it’s not just long-term partners who can learn from the special day. The construct is intensely valuable for youngsters. Just as the end of a goldfish’s life teaches little people about death, VD slaps the tiny face with the realisation love is often unrequited. It’s all very well Albert Camus claiming “I know of only one duty, and that is to love” but what if the boy/girl in P6 thinks you’re as appealing as broccoli?

Yet, should we be surprised Valentine’s Day so often signals disaster ahead? Depending on research, the occasion emerged either from a bizarre Roman fertility ceremony, whereby men would sacrifice dogs and goats, skin them, then whip women with the hides (it’s hard to see the romance in this). Or, much later, Emperor Claudius II had two men named Valentine executed on February 14, who became martyrs. (Ditto.) Perhaps the celebration could be based on young Valentinus. Awaiting death for his Christian beliefs, he wrote a love note to a jailer’s blind daughter, signed “From your Valentine.”

Whichever, it’s clear each involved humiliation – and worse. Thankfully, this theme has continued. Valentine’s Day is either a terrific reminder you’re not in a relationship, that you used to be

in a relationship, or you’re

in a relationship and perhaps shouldn’t be.

Yes, some will say they recall the thrill of receiving the unsigned, curious card. But try that at work today and HR could well be talking to you about sexual harassment.

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Now, you may be thinking this to be a rather dark take on the most romantic day, emerging from the mind of a desperate singleton just a click away from ordering up an Eastern European internet bride. Well, that day may indeed be close. However, who can deny there’s too much of the Steve Wright Sunday-Morning-Love -Songs smugness around? Does Steve factor in those confined to an M&S dinner for one?

American psychologist Melissa Orlov writes: “There are probably couples out there that think Valentine’s is a great holiday. But I don’t see them in my marriage consulting practice. Instead, right around February 15 I inevitably start fielding calls about hopelessness and disappointment.” In recent times, one crisis call centre in the United States reported a 50 per cent rise in helpline calls on Love Day.

But don’t think I’m a Byron-hating, heartless killjoy. I’ve watched Four Weddings at least five times, I love anything by Nora Ephron, Some Like It Hot, Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday (even if Peck looks like the Child Catcher).

Teary teenage eyes were swiftly, secretly wiped at when Love Story cancered out Ali McGraw and when Dr Zhivago gave Omar Sharif a heart attack as he jumped off the tram in pursuit of Julie Christie.

My favourite record is Elton’s Your Song. The reality is I’m right with Shelley when he wrote: “Nothing in the world is single. All things by a law divine. In one spirit meet and mingle.”

But Valentine’s Day? Celebrate it if you can, but if you have to declare undying love then do it quietly. Preferably in October.