In these wired times, it's not surprising that increasingly, people turn to the web for gift ideas, inspiration and advice once Valentine's Day rolls around. But you can tell a lot about the state of romance and relationships by looking at the millions of love-related search queries that pop up in February and in some cases as early as Christmas.
First off, the 705% spike in searches this month for "romantic ideas" on Yahoo! shows lovebirds are doing some homework to find unique ways to display their affection. By the way, ladies, a majority of those questions originate from men ages 25-44 years old. Seeking ideas from a search engine may sound a little lazy to some but on the contrary, it could be a signal that your partner is actually putting in more thought so that he gives you an item or plans a special event he knows you'll actually enjoy says psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman.
"Just because they get to wear their PJ's while they do it doesn't mean they don't care," explains Berman, the host of the Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn on Sirius XM.
The men and women who've already done the research seem to be on the hunt for both body conscious and sentimental gifts to mark this Hallmark holiday. Over the last thirty days, guys have been seeking out the popular Not Your Daughter's Jeans brand of denim, Vermont Teddy Bears and chocolate covered strawberries for their girlfriends and wives. While the ladies on Yahoo are in hot pursuit of "body building workouts," iPads and Valentine's lingerie to wear later tonight.
Both sexes are comparison-shopping for gadget gifts including e-readers. And what should we make of the large number of Yahoo users curious about "how to type a heart on a keypad?" or "how to find Farmville or Angry Birds valentines"? Dr. Jenn says it's simply a sign of the times and could be perfect if your partner spends a lot of time online. But she says take heed before you hit send.
"Think twice about who you are gifting. An e-card is transient, out there in cyberspace, not something you can put away in a box and show your children someday," she says.
Another interesting trend we can feel good about is that it seems people are working hard on staying together and making their relationships work, especially women. Searches for "marriage counseling" are up 25% this month with two-thirds coming from females between the ages of 30-44. And while inquiries about "surviving infidelity" have also jumped recently (perhaps due to a support group website called SurvivingInfidelity.com), you may be heartened to learn that the spike coincides with an increase in queries for "forgiveness."
Happy Valentine's Day! By Heather Cabot, Yahoo! Web Life Editor
Did you use the web to plan something for your sweetheart today or tonight?