February 14th is just around the corner. It’s the one day of the year when people in love can openly and unashamedly profess their love through the exchange of romantic activities and meaningful gifts. In fact, have you bought your gifts yet? If not, you’d better get on it! Your relationship depends on it!
I’m kidding. My statement was definitely sarcastic. Yet, I’m not one of those “I hate Valentine’s Day” types either because there’s no reason to be overly cynical. However, as a dating and relationship coach, I feel that Valentine’s Day, on the whole, doesn’t live up to the hype, and can even hurt relationships.
It’s a Marketing Tool, Not a Holiday
While Valentine’s Day has a long history of being associated with love, it’s hardly the universal expression of love that businesses would have you believe. In fact, the Catholic Church, which established St. Valentine’s Day on February 14th, doesn’t even officially celebrate the holiday anymore.
So, with the religious aspect of love gone, it’s become a day pushed by companies to get you to buy stuff for your significant other. While there’s nothing wrong with marketing and business or buying stuff for others, don’t convince yourself that it’s a day about true love because…
Love Isn’t About Material Goods
A friend of mine is wealthy, and likes to throw his money around. He’s a good guy who is very generous. But, his efforts to buy women drinks, give them expensive gifts, and take them out to lavish dinners have never gotten him into a meaningful relationship. Not once.
If a person is truly in love with you, it will be regardless of how many things you buy them. Sure, people like receiving presents. But, core attraction and genuine feelings of love aren’t affected by the number of gifts a person buys you.
Plus, the best expressions of love aren’t material. Strong couples bond over shared experiences, such as cuddling, kissing, sex, communicating, going on adventures, and spending time together. While gifts can play a role, boiling down romance to gift buying truly misses the point of love.
Sadly, many guys, due to the mentality surrounding Valentine’s Day, think they can buy a woman’s attraction or emotional connection. Likewise, many women are led to believe that expensive, elaborate gifts will make them feel more loved or make a relationship stronger.
It’s Stressful for Many People
A comment on one of my websites summed up Valentine’s Day for many people. The guy, married and happy, complained that he and his wife felt a lot of pressure to spend big to prove their love for each other. He was thankful she wasn’t the type who wanted big money items to somehow prove his love.
He’s not alone. Valentine’s Day can be stressful for many different types of people.
The first group is singles. The pressure to have a relationship is already huge the other 364 days of the year. Singles hear from all sides how inferior they are and how they should be in a relationship even if they’re happy alone or just waiting for a quality person.
On Valentine’s Day, that pressure is even more intense as people are bombarded with the expectation that somehow being single, even by choice, is inferior and a cause of sadness.
But, it’s not just single people who find Valentine’s Day stressful. Many men and women stress over the gift giving aspect. The pressure is uniquely great on men in relationships to somehow “prove” their love by spending a lot of money. It’s especially stressful for guys who don’t have a lot of money, but feel like they’re causing their partner to miss out.
When my brother (and business partner) David was in high school, he experienced this stress firsthand when trying to buy his girlfriend a gift. Not only did he spend more money than he really had on her gifts, but the stress of the whole thing turned what should have been a fun time together into an anxiety filled, miserable day.
One Day Is Irrelevant
My position is that the stress surrounding Valentine’s Day is as ridiculous as the hype. If your relationship rises or falls based on what you do on a fake holiday, then it’s a weak relationship to being with.
Why? Because, ultimately, what happens one day of the year is pretty irrelevant to your life and relationship.
You’re single on Valentine’s Day? It might be extra crappy to see your friends in relationships with their partners spreading their alleged happiness on social media, but if you hate being single, then one day is pretty insignificant. Far worse are the other days of the year, even if everyone’s not rubbing it in.
Even if you are in a relationship, what happens on February 14th doesn’t mean much. If a couple is happy and in love, whether Valentine’s Day is happy or “imperfect” means very little. The same is true if a couple is miserable. A grand romantic gesture isn’t going to save a dying relationship.
Along those lines, if one partner is unhappy about a Valentine’s Day gift or gesture, especially if it involves throwing a tantrum or getting angry, then it reveals a lot about the relationship the rest of the year. And, what is revealed isn’t pretty.
So, whether you’re in a great relationship or about as single as can be, don’t let Valentine’s Day get to you. It might be difficult, but resist the hype. Trust me, you’ll be happier in the long run if you don’t buy into the narrative that judges you and your relationships based on what you do (and more specifically buy) on one day of the year.