Several years ago, pre-husband and family I was mulling over Valentine’s Cards in Target. It felt like there was a brick in my stomach and I couldn’t bring myself to muster an ounce of excitement over the upcoming holiday that I was planning to celebrate with my college boyfriend at the time.
In a moment of clarity in the card aisle I had a realization:
I didn’t like Valentine’s Day.
But wasn’t every girl supposed to love being showered with cards and gifts and chocolate and diamonds? Isn’t a romantic candle-lit dinner the dream date that all girls long for? Shouldn’t I be planning a fun and creative way to express my love for the man I was in a relationship with?
Those are the things that society and Hallmark tell me are true.
High School Heartbreak
When I was 16 my High School ASB began the tradition of writing the names of the entire student body on individual pink, purple, and red paper hearts. They were large in scale, probably the size of a salad plate and plastered on the outer walls of our school library. The idea was that you would select the name of your significant other or crush and wear the heart on your shirt as a public display of your love or like.
The downfall – those lonely names left stuck on the wall at the end of the day. Or, the “joke” of pulling a name of a classmate you didn’t care for and sticking that name on the back of another classmate. It was the most awful romantic social experiment I had ever seen. Mind you, this was way before The Bachelor came onto the scene.
I’m assuming we’ve all spent our share of Valentine’s Day holidays uncoupled and single. I’ve logged quite a few myself, but one stands out in particular. My best friend and college roommate invited me to join her and her boyfriend, along with two other couples, out to a special prix-fixe Valentine’s dinner at a fondue restaurant. I was obviously hesitant but she assured me it was going to be fun and not awkward at all. I knew the other couples attending, so I agreed.
Upon arriving at the restaurant our group was led to a large square table in a dimly lit room. Because there was an odd number of people in our party (7) there was no way that I wasn’t going to be seated next to another member of our group. Everyone grabbed a seat, myself included. To my left on the same end of the table was my friend’s boyfriend, then she was seated on his left – at the corner of the table.
I didn’t second-guess the seating arrangement until our server arrived and mistakenly addressed me and my friend’s boyfriend as the COUPLE. I was embarrassed and uncomfortable, mostly for my friend who appeared as the third-wheel in the group, which was the title I had elected to take up that evening. We all laughed about it afterward, but it made for a perfectly awkward single Valentine’s Day.
Current Day Romance
A few years following the famous fondue fumble I met my Husband. We were working on a movie set together and became friends. Between camera takes we would chat about a variety of subjects, and I’m sure dating and relationships came up in conversation. So obviously I had mentioned my awkward experiences surrounding Valentine’s Day. At the time when we met, I was far from looking for a date, let alone a relationship, and had solidly parked myself in singlehood for the near and distant future.
I was perfectly content in Galentine’s Land and told him as much.
He shared that he too didn’t enjoy Valentine’s Day and found that it seemed forced and often led to poorly met expectations. I agreed.
The Language of Love
That former college boyfriend I mentioned? The one I couldn’t find the Valentine’s Day card for? We broke up in March. In hindsight, his love language was probably gift-giving. He was so thoughtful when it came to selecting gifts. He loved the process from start to finish. I, however, did not share that same desire. My love language is quality time, something that my Husband and I discovered during our pre-marital counseling sessions. Interestingly enough, my Husband and I share that love language.
Given our mutual feelings on Valentine’s Day – we choose not to celebrate it.
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – if you love Valentine’s Day and you and your partner find it fun and fulfilling, then enjoy it!! That’s the amazing part about finding your person, you get to decide how you do life together. Maybe you plan your Valentine’s Day festivities weeks in advance and purchase a special outfit for the occasion. If so, I hope you have the most delicious dinner and feel smokin’ in whatever you wear.
My Husband has never given me a gift or flowers or a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day – and I’m ok with that. Becuase it means that I don’t have to give him anything either! We show our love to one another through quality time throughout the year, that’s what works for us and we both feel loved and valued.