Valentine's Day
Not everyone finds Valentine's day 'the most romantic day of the year' (Pink and Professional)

It's one of the most polarising days of the year. For every happy couple there's an awkward date, badly timed break-up or lost love.

On top of that, your inbox is full of "Valentine's Day offers" from every company you've ever been in contact with, and everywhere you look greetings card companies, florists and manufacturers of hideous giant teddy bears are trying to part you with your pennies (in the name of love, of course).

But there are also far more insidious forces at work.

Valentine's frauds and suicides

Figures released by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reveal that unwitting members of the public lost a total of £34m to so-called "romance" fraudsters last year.

The majority of scams were conducted over online dating websites or forums, with a significant rise in reported cases during April and May last year that have been attributed to cons that began over the Valentine's Day period.

Across the pond, the FBI also warned lonely hearts to look out for dating scams, and US site First Coast News reported on a spike in suicide rates over Valentine's Day.

"The idea of being too hard on yourself, especially the thought of being unloved, is the best predictor of suicide, but especially the idea that you feel unloved," University of North Florida psychology professor Tracy Alloway told the site.

"It can really strike close to home when you're looking around and you see other peers in relationships and they're being showered with love and affection," said Alloway, "and you think you're unworthy of that and it starts this negative cycle."

Reddit's Valentine's Day horror stories

Over on Reddit, users are sharing some Valentine's moments that were memorable for the wrong reasons.

User yourstorynow told a distinctly unromantic tale of food poisoning:

College boyfriend wanted to cook us dinner. Made a food that was too spicy for me to eat so he ate it all himself, gave himself food poisoning and spent the entire night alternating between the bed and toilet.

bibabeep had the pleasure of dating a true romantic:

I was in a psych hospital for a few days over Valentine's day, and right when I got out, my boyfriend at the time gave me some sex toy and told me to "get warmed up".

A boyfriend gave SeaOttersHoldHands an awkward hint:

This guy I was kind of seeing took me to a church service even though I'm an atheist. The sermon was centered around not having premarital sex. It was awkward.

And Redditor jojewels92 was broken up with over dinner… but didn't notice.

We went out to dinner and went and got some movies to watch back at his place. We sexed it up and then he took me home because I had an early class the next day. When I woke up I saw a text from him breaking up with me that he'd sent while we were at dinner the night before. My phone had been at his place while we were there and I had bad cell reception. I was humiliated.

The fate of St Valentine

If those stories aren't bad enough, spare a thought for poor St. Valentine, who was beheaded around 269CE on the orders of Claudius the Cruel (the name was a dead giveaway), after being beaten to death with clubs.

So whatever you're doing, it probably can't be that bad.