Oh, Valentine’s Day, V-Day, Singles Appreciation Day, or just plain ol’ February 14 – whatever you call it, for some reason society puts a lot of weight on this day. If you have someone, you must love them. If you don’t, you are unworthy! Just kidding, but folks sure like to make it seem that way, don’t they?
Anyone who knows how to have a mature, adult relationship understands that Valentine’s Day is just some random day of the week where it’s nice to do something you wouldn’t normally do for someone you care about. Nothing more, nothing less. It has less weight than an anniversary, but maybe a little more than a regular Friday night date only because it’s going to be tough as hell to get a reservation, even at your local White Castle. Just throw in a card or a couple flowers and that’s it. People who put a lot of emotional weight into Valentine’s Day are probably insecure about themselves, their relationship…or maybe they just love Hallmark holidays centered on the pressures of stereotypical gender roles. It doesn’t matter, yet it always seems to be a bigger deal than anyone wants it to be.
Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be that big of a deal for couples who have been together a while, or at least those who have defined their relationship, whatever it may be. But for some reason, it is nerve-wracking to be dating someone new around Valentine’s Day. I mean, what do you do? Are you supposed to do anything? What does it mean?! Does this mean we’re *~*official?*~*
Stop yourself. Breathe.
All of these insane questions could be why your fling ended right before the big day. The idea is put into yours or their head that this holiday is supposed to mean something. That if you mess up or go too all-out, it’ll be written in stone for the rest of time. There’s just too much in the air, and all the societal pressure to put a figurative ring on it causes people to flip into a panic and abandon ship. People feel the pressure to make things special, even if you’ve only been seeing each other for a few weeks. People worry that if they spend Valentine’s Day with you, that somehow means that you are forever bonded together like some screwed up marital contract. They figure that if they completely disregard the holiday, they are sending the message that they want to take things slow, when really they aren’t that serious about you at all.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. And I can assure you, that on a very basic level…it isn’t like that at all.
Instead, what if we just used the holiday to recognize the love we have for others – be it friends, family, or a significant other? What if we used it as a way to check in with ourselves, to ask yourself, “Does this relationship nourish my overall goals for life?” What if you just did what you normally did, but with a bigger smile? What if it is the time of year where you reflect on how great someone makes you feel, and you just show appreciation for that?
What if instead of putting all these high expectations on your relationship, you simply enjoy it as it is?
What if…instead of trying to define things when your relationship hasn’t naturally hit that milestone, you simply enjoy the day with them? You simply go on as status quo. And no, you should not ignore the fact that it is Valentine’s Day. Instead, you go at your same pace, with the same expectations. You take the pressure out of it by not drastically changing anything from the norm – whether it’s full steam ahead or a screeching halt. Make it as special as you would any other date within those first couple blissful months together. Simply celebrate the moment – you are celebrating some made up holiday about love, with someone who you at least like…what could be better than that?
You see, Valentine’s Day isn’t about giant bouquets, piles of chocolate, crazy amounts of sex and elaborate acts of love. It’s about living the moment with whoever you may be with at the time. It is about enjoying one random day out of the year together, and hopefully many more. It’s about appreciating the idea that love is a spectrum, and you don’t have to put the pressure on yourself or your significant other to meet the expectations of others outside of your relationship. Don’t think about it too much. Just breathe, and enjoy yourself.