So you’re in a relationship. It was everything you’d ever dreamed of: the bee’s knees, cloud 9, blah blah blah, cliché bullshit. But notice the tense on that: was. You’re tired of it now. The guy is actually a douchey, Mario Kart-loving nerd. You discovered your “brilliant beauty” is really a moronic monster with a pedophiliac addiction to the Jonas Brothers. You’ve gotta break up.

But next week is Valentine’s Day/anniversary/his birthday. You can’t break it off now. As annoying as it may be, you can’t be the jerk who broke up with your girlfriend the day Santa came down the chimney. Everybody will hate you. You have to keep faking it.

“But Nicki, that’s like leading someone on. That’s rude.”

Yes, technically, I suppose you would be correct, Mr. Naysayer. But if you tell your boyfriend he sucks two days before V-Day, guess whose night is ruined? Yeah, yours, because you’ll be the one who gets that drunk dial at 2:38 a.m.: “You horrid asshole! You broke my heart. Please come back to me. I’m still in love with you.”

Joking aside, you really can’t break up with only a countable number of hours until an anniversary of birth. I was once with a guy during the winter, a season notorious for keeping couples in failing relationships simply because there’s nothing better to do. Right around Feb. 27, I realized I couldn’t stand the emo-artsy guy anymore. But he was already talking about how thrilled he was for his birthday — only ten days away. So Mar. 8 rolled around, we had a grand time (take that as you will), and on Mar. 20 I finally sent him the dreaded text: “Hey, can you come by after work? I need to talk to you.” You see how I did that there? He still kept special memories of his birthday–“the last time we were truly happy,” he would later remark–and all I had to do was pretend to be really busy with my schoolwork for a few weeks.

So next time you find yourself at the end of a relationship dashing quickly down a wretched tunnel of doom, stay on the road past the birthday stop. Just take her out to C-Junior for a nice steak dinner.