IT'S the season for broken relationships, with a significant surge in couples searching for divorce and marriage counselling services.
Data from consumer review and business listings website TrueLocal.com.au noticed the increase between January and March each year, with a particular surge in February.
The data shows a 46% growth from December, 2010, to January, 2011, for searches in marriage counselling services.
This number grew another 16% in just four weeks, from January to February, 2011
There was also an increase in searches for divorce for the months of February and March in 2011
During February last year, there was a 73% increase in people searching for local escort agencies and 15% more searches for adult services.
The peak sits the few days after Valentine's Day.
TrueLocal community manager Shae Marlow suggested the TrueLocal data was indicative of a strong trend towards couples re-evaluating their relationships once the festive season was over.
"Our search data is telling us that this is the season for divorce and breakups," she said.
"All over the place, seemingly happy celebrity couples are packing it in.
"Katy Perry and Russel Brand, Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard, Stephanie Rice and Quade Cooper, even Seal and Heidi Klum who renew their vows every year couldn't hold it together.
"Based on our findings, you can make the assumption that couples try to give their relationship one last chance over the Christmas-New Year period.
"When this doesn't work out, they seek the help of marriage counsellors in January, before reverting to divorce lawyers and even going as far as seeking company through escort agencies in February."
AskMen Australian editor Jamie Watt said couples needed to acknowledge the signs of when a relationship had run its course.
"There are signs to know when a relationship is over. When these signs become clear, it is time to admit it's ended," he said.
"The truth is you're actually hurting each other more by remaining together.
"It's a tough decision to make, but it's important that you are honest and open with your partner.
"If you're in an unhappy relationship and have tried absolutely everything to get it back on track, end it now, even if you're worried you'll have to spend Valentine's Day alone."
For married couples, Watt suggested a re-discovery of that all-important spark.
"If you feel like your marriage has died, you need to ask yourself if you have tried everything to get it back on track?" he said.
"Seeking marriage counselling services definitely helps, and there are other strategies you can put in place to try and get the spark back.
"Simple things such as setting aside date nights again or approaching communication with each other differently are small steps you can take to re-ignite the spark."
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