My husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day.
No, we’re not boring. We’re smart.
If this sounds conceited, puzzle me this: how come that Valentine’s day is a global enterprise that earns around $30 billion every year in America alone, but still manages to leave our girlfriends inconsolably sad and disappointed in their significant others?
Yesterday, I overheard a conversation between two of my colleagues to one another about the expectations that they have for their husbands on a very special day.
An overpaid flowers and dinner, of course. Is this the best way to go, to find out how much our partners love us?
This one goes out to all women who believe that everlasting love could be measured in one gift received on one day of a year. It’s a reminder that romantic relationships are about much more than romantic dinners. A reminder that’s sour and harsh, but long due.
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May Love Come Your Way this Valentine’s Day
Is there any chance that this special day will make you fall in love with your partner even more because of the gift that he gives you, the flowers and the nice dinner?
The problem is, not many women think like that. Similar to March 8, Valentine’s day is supposed to celebrate our personal accomplishments – the first glorifies the fairer sex, while the second honors a romantic commitment, marital success, and victorious love.
It’s certainly something to be celebrated, don’t get me wrong. The idea behind Valentine’s is a beautiful and solemn one, but ladies of today have got it all wrong. They are not to blame, and neither are you. It’s simply a side effect of an urbanized myth.
Think about it.
The first stories we hear as little children are romantic fantasies in which female protagonists are either stolen princesses or damsels in distress that must be rescued by either a prince on a white horse or a knight in shiny armor. We’re all raised on fairy tales.
As teenagers, we’re served more of the same. From Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Runaway Bride and Notting Hill to The Notebook and La La Land, the movie industry has done a pretty swell job at keeping our romantic expectations awfully high.
It takes one movie night with your imperfect boyfriend and one commercial break during which you’re told that diamonds are forever to jump from those high expectations to unrealistic ones. And before you even know it, your great relationship is ruined for good.
That’s exactly what happens with Valentine’s day too.
Bombarded by commercialism from one side (Valentine’s is not perfect without a perfect gift!), and globalization from the other (Everybody’s celebrating Valentine’s with gift-giving!), modern-day couples have very little say in the matter. They don’t get to choose.
When to that you add unrealistic expectations learned from life-long exposure to romantic movies and literature, you’ve got yourself a recipe for relationship failure.
Valentine’s day has turned into a responsibility that’s too tremendous a weight to carry.
Meanwhile, couple therapists insist that lasting relationships are built on friendship, mutual care and respect, and other little things that make life big. I’m proud to say that these unwritten rules and values are what kept my love flame burning all these years.
That’s why I’d take a gag gift card over shiny diamonds any time – it’d make me laugh.
Notes from a Couple that Don’t Believe in Valentine’s
Unlike most couples we know, my husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, even while we were dating.
We don’t believe in paying triple the price at the restaurant that cost one third during a regular day.
Instead, we would purchase our favorite steaks or lamb shanks, cook them to perfection pair them to our tasty Russian wine and watch movies on Netflix.
Are we boring? No, we just know how to spend our money to get the best value out of life special moments.
We are one of the few people who realize that Valentine’s doesn’t matter at all! It’s one day in a year filled with thousands and thousands of magnificent little moments!
Ask yourself this, do you want to feel special every day or one day out of 365 days?
Don’t give in to pressure by your friends, colleagues or the social standard.
Because of that, I now take the entire Valentine’s day frenzy very personally. I won’t lie, it just makes me mad. And, because of that, I want to ask you some questions and share some notes on how this wonderful dangerous holiday might tarnish your feelings of love.
If He Treats You Nice for Just One Day Out of 365 Days, Why Are You With Him?
I always tell my friends and especially those who are still single.
Do not settle just because you’re afraid to be alone!
If you’re anything like some of my girlfriends, you’d settle for a man beneath your level of emotional intelligence because he makes you feel good occasionally. He might be fun and a sweet-talker but once you have real problems to discuss, he gets annoyed.
In my experience, such men are usually inconsiderate and very self-centered. They are sweet-talkers and well-mannered only if the occasion requires so. And when that occasion is Valentine’s Day, they make all the women green with envy.
In reality, those women are quite unhappy. In your relationship, spontaneous laughs, long walks, emotional sharing, and mutual respect are being compensated with expensive fur, exotic vacations, and envy-inducing Valentine’s stories.
I’m not the one to judge, but I cannot but ask you – can all these things truly replace what you’re lacking? If you’re happy, great! I sincerely wish you all the best in the world!
But if you’re not, then why him? Don’t you deserve to be treated nicely 365 days in a year?
Why Let One Day Determine Your Partner’s True Self?
I know from experience that in order to be happy with someone and to have a successful relationship, you have to be able to see the great qualities in your partner. Most importantly, his everyday actions toward you behind a closed door.
So why would you let something as arbitrary as Valentine’s day determine a person you love? That’s not only naive but also hurtful and selfish.
Every time we fantasize about a perfect Valentine’s day, we’re putting an unbearable amount of pressure on our sweet, loving, and not so romantic guys. If he’s doing his best to express his devotion to you every day, then you’re already living every girls’ fantasy.
Let him be him, and everything will be great.
How He is With You Every Day Behind Closed Door is Worth More than One Day of Fake Love.
Is he the only person you’d bare to see after a long and awful day at work? Do you laugh and cry and scream at the exact same scenes while watching a movie? Is his heart big and forgiving? Does he pause to hear your side of the story while you’re having a fight?
If yes, then don’t obsess about what he will get you for Valentine’s.
He’s already given you the greatest gift of all – a pairing of souls.
Couples that are happy behind the closed door are hard to find, at least in my experience.
You can’t disagree with me on that statement. But it’s a thin chance that they’ll admit how unfulfilled they actually are under the surface. It’s something that can’t be hidden, though; it shows on their faces, and in the way, they hug and talk to each other.
Valentine’s day is not the ultimate test of love.
The ultimate test of love is how your man treats you after a long and awful day.
If he’s got your back in the worst of moments, if he’s supportive and kind and understanding every day, if he’s willing to go out in the rain to buy you ice-cream while you’re upsetting, he’s the best gift you can wish for, even if his socks are full of holes.
Yes, even if he forgets all about Valentine’s day and returns home with nothing planned and no gift to show.
Show him love and love you shall receive
I’m not saying you should forget about Valentine’s altogether. It’s unrealistic expectations and romantic ideas that should be set aside. If you keep waiting for this special occasion with your head floating in illusions, be sure that they’ll be betrayed by the end of the night.
In case Valentine’s day is still really important to your romantic side, think of it as a crown jewel in a long string of tiny shiny ones. Let every day of a year be a build-up to this day, a day that’s essentially a celebration of everything you two have accomplished thus far.
As of tomorrow, choose to make every day about little tokens of appreciation. Be tender, compassionate, empathic, and kind. Grow up and make peace with your childhood fantasies. Take a long look at your man, and see him in all his imperfect, flawed beauty.
Most importantly, treat him the way you want to be treated.
Address your problems out loud, don’t make compromises when they’re going to rob you of your true self and express your frustrations when they are founded. Conflict is part of a relationship – it is how you decide to deal with them that will determine your love course.
Finally, don’t wait for some special occasion to show love.
Then, and only then, will your relationship survive the next Valentine’s day.