Not giving into the pressures of Valentine’s Day

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There are two kinds of people in February: people who love Valentine’s Day and people who loathe it. From my experience, there’s no one who really sits on the fence.

Stereotypically, the people who love it are in relationships and the people who loathe it are single.

For the first time in five years, I’ll be single this upcoming Valentine’s Day.

I guess you could say I’m the relationship type. I like being committed to one person.

The relationships I’ve been in have been lengthy and serious, with little time to be single in between.

And in every single one, we did the whole Valentine’s Day thing.

We made dinner reservations at restaurants over our budget. We exchanged cheesy gifts. We went out of our way to see each other even if we worked early the next morning.

And every time, something fell short.

To me, Valentine’s Day is like New Year’s Eve. If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a significant other, you have all these expectations that it’s going to be the best and most romantic night of your life.

You spend too much money at dinner, you buy lingerie that you’ll only wear a handful of times and I guarantee you’ll just end up back at home watching some Will Ferrell comedy together that you’d watch on a regular night.

And, if you’re single this year, chances are the world is pressuring you to feel like shit about it on Valentine’s Day.

If you tell your in-relationship friends that you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone with an extra-large pizza and a six-pack of beer, you get a concerned “there’s always next year” look.

As someone who has been in relationships for Valentine’s Day, putting pressure on your relationship to reach some sort of romanticized expectation won’t make things better.

If dressing up and going to the Bauer Kitchen for dinner seems stiff to you, chances are that it will be.

If you and your significant other aren’t the kind of people who do stuff like that, then you don’t need to. You can still celebrate while staying within your means, without adding pressure.

This year, if I wasn’t working late on Valentine’s Day, God knows I’d be with friends chugging back beers celebrating alternate forms of love: the love I have for my friends, my family, my coworkers, my dog, and myself.

If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, please do the same. Celebrate the relationships that you have in your life that make you feel good about yourself.

It doesn’t have to be all about sex and lust.

And for those of you celebrating with significant others, go easy on each other. Don’t make unachievable expectations.

If you need a calendar “holiday” to express the love you have for each other, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship.

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