Valentine’s Day: Don’t Cave to Expectations

Sean - 'Valentine's Day Candy'

Valentine’s Day is an occasion to celebrate love: devotion to one another if you’re in a committed relationship; a chance to highlight how you feel if it’s a fresh venture into dating; or an occasion to get plastered and have a fun night of single rebellion. The love-celebrating event is also a big money maker. According to CNN, Valentine’s Day sales will reach $18.6 billion this year. But Valentine’s Day is not all flowers and chocolates; with it can come an institutionalised pressure to do something.

If you’re with someone, then make sure you are on the same page when it comes to what is expected on the day, otherwise spats and domestics may follow. If the two of you want to do something special to celebrate your love, then communicate that to each other and highlight why your love is unique to the two of you.

Forcing a day to be love drenched when the intentions are not genuine is empty. The organiser will feel pressured to live up to societal expectations placed on the day – the grander the better! – and the other half who conventionally must be wooed and charmed will sense the forced nature of the grand gesture. Surprise your other half, by all means, but in that case, mean it and do not simply cave to the expectations of This Is What I Have to Do for Valentine’s Day: The Guidebook. Otherwise think of it contractually. You both love each other and are in the relationship on equal terms – 50/50 – and do what you know your partner will appreciate, no matter how big or small. As a colleague at work put it, ‘I do something special for my boyfriend every day, so Valentine’s Day does not have to be a big deal.’

My boyfriend and I went to a Drake concert at The O2 on Valentine’s Day, the key word being on and not for. The concert tickets were actually a Christmas gift from me that I happened to book for 14th February. The set dates for the tour were for the end of January and a further three dates were announced, due to popular demand, later on. Our Valentine’s Day outing was actually a miscalculation on my part that happened to fall on the day. He does not like the pressure of the occasion and I would rather receive flowers due to his own initiative, spontaneously, than on a prescribed day when he just feels coerced. We went, we enjoyed the night, but vowed not to do anything sappy. We left the cheese at home because we both know how we feel about each other and that is enough, it did not need hammering in just because it was Valentine’s Day.

If you celebrated the day of love as a couple, say, by being swept off your feet by a chivalrous Prince Charming, or enjoyed a Me Day of self-appreciation by munching on a pizza and binge-watching some Netflix. Lovers, of all kind, I salute you!

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