For many of us Valentine’s Day gives way to two situations, depressed and alone watching Bridget Jones in a bid to prepare ourselves for what we are convinced will be our future, or loved and admired. Does the latter even exist in real life, or just in the movies? But is it really as simple as that? As someone who has been in a long term relationship for the best part of the last 9 years, I have felt both. Surprising? No one would have been more surprised than my 19 year old self. 9 years and 9 Valentine’s Days later, I have learnt a vital lesson in a Valentine’s-less relationship… rise above it. Here are some tips on how to just get over it and realise that celebrating Valentine’s Day doesn’t validate your relationship, nor should it.
Gain some perspective
Yes, it’s the best feeling in the world to feel appreciated and wanted in your relationship, but what makes you feel more precious? A partner who is there for you all year round, or the petrol station flowers that were an after thought out of fear of your reaction to them returning home empty handed? Relationships go through the most intense ‘never leave my side’ love, to a comfortable ‘pee with the door open’ love. Once you make it to bathroom action, it can feel like some how the passion has gotten lost along the way. Trust me this is not something a crappy box of Guylian chocs will fix, and if it were true on Valentine’s Day, why not on any other day of the year? Don’t pin your entire relationship status on one day, your relationship is (hopefully) for life, not just for Valentine’s Day.
Social media is not your friend
It’s hard to avoid the Valentine’s spam all over your social media channels during the day of ‘love’. And while envy might be your initial emotion, take a minute to think whether the reality behind that photo of the roses is in fact happiness, or a mask that hides a crack in what was once a ‘too busy for social media, can’t leave each other alone’ relationship. Call me cynical, but is it really necessary to prove to your 568 Facebook friends that no one is happier or more loved than you? And if so, why not do it on any other day of the year? I’m not convinced.
Appreciate the little things
A surprise breakfast in bed with a Cartier LOVE bracelet wrapped in a little red box tucked under the napkin might be further from your truth than magically transforming into Beyonce, but can you honestly say those little kisses on the forehead, the fingers running through your hair, or the walk by shoulder rub mean nothing? Affection is widely under appreciated, and goes largely un-noticed. Love doesn’t always mean flowers and unexpected gifts, its written all over the face of the little things. Does watching each others every move during Valentine’s Day really prove to yourselves that you love each other? What about every other intimate moment during the rest of the year?
Two can play that game
So you’re sitting on your sofa on Valentine’s evening watching the latest action themed DVD release and wishing you were watching the latest 50 Shades film at the cinema. You glance across the sofa at a person you have convinced yourself all day doesn’t worship the royal ground you walk on but, hang on just one cotton picking minute. What have you done to show your worship and appreciation for them? It’s so easy to blame an emotion on a person you feel so close to, but what have you done on every other day this year to make your special someone feel as special as you’d like to feel? Valentine’s isn’t an excuse for in-genuine affection, just like it isn’t an excuse to blame your person for something you’re just as guilty of.
Don’t fall into the trap
While Valentine’s derives from religious beginnings, it has become a dramatised and frankly rather embarrassingly gushy display of L.O.V.E. Hallmark has set the oversized teddy bear bar so high that our expectations don’t stand a chance. Material expressions of love can mean the world at the right time, that right time isn’t always Valentine’s Day. Don’t buckle under the pressure, fall into the trap, and expect every star in the universe on a day that in reality is nothing but another day in another year of your loving, special and beautifully imperfect relationship.