Why we have a love and hate relationship with Valentine’s Day

Written By Maegan Fewell, Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and I still can’t believe it’s already February. If any of you read my last article, January was a complete blur for me. I have no recollection of time or what day of the week it was as the month flew by. February is now upon us, and professors are already broaching the subject of midterms. It makes me anxious and a little confused that the middle of the term is not too far away.

Anyway, February 14 is a big day, but let’s be honest. You will likely have an enjoyable day if you have a significant other for Valentine’s Day, but you probably won’t if you are single. You might wish for the day to be over as soon as it begins.

Valentine’s Day is such a weird holiday to me. Over the decades, it has become more public and materialistic than ever. The love you have for those around you should be demonstrated and felt every day from the inside out and not just set aside for one specific day. Sure, the gifts and affection are lovely, but it’s not everything. Love isn’t about just one day.

Since I am a romantic and adore having a specified day to love my partner and all those close to me, I do choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day wholeheartedly and will be spending it with someone this year. Still, I remember not having a special someone some years when I was younger and feeling very left out when this day approached. Also, I remember being in past relationships where I wasn’t happy but would post all over my feed on Valentine’s Day. I would make it seem like I was in a perfect relationship to justify it to myself. My thought process was, “See, we look happy in these pictures, so we must be happy.” Now, I am older and realize that holding on to those seemingly happy moments is a false ideal. It will not help you stay happy.

We’ve all known that couple that seems to really dislike each other, right? They never seem to get along, and everyone on the outside thinks they should just break up already. Everyone can tell that it’s not a perfect relationship. Suddenly, February 14 comes around, and it’s all love and roses and gifts, and pictures celebrating their relationship all over social media….you’re confused. Those people don’t seem to love each other, so why do they look so different and perfect on Valentine’s Day? The presence of social media can skew how everyone perceives a relationship.

It is very popular in our generation to broadcast our lives and make everything into a big deal, when most of the time, it isn’t. Valentine’s Day can be a beautiful thing to celebrate. However, if you feel like someone is constantly blasting in your face how many gifts they got or how “special” of a day they had with their partner, it can make you feel completely worthless. Plus, you probably don’t care about their love life as much as they think you do. Why does one need to post this on social media? Are the gifts received really a reflection of their love or is it just a farce?

Growing up, my family all shared cards on Valentine’s Day, and we often ate out together for a special meal. This is how I treasure and relish memories of Valentine’s Day as a youngster. It was something we looked forward to but not for anyone else other than our own little celebration of family love. Perhaps, if your family’s Valentine’s Day celebrations when you were younger were more gift focused, that might reflect how you celebrate the day as an adult.

If you don’t have someone special to share Valentine’s Day with this year, please don’t worry. Try not to get caught up in social media and those around you who are in relationships. No one’s relationship should have to compete with yours or with your own self worth. If anything, shut off Instagram and your notifications for one day and celebrate with family and/or friends instead. Platonic or familial love can be just as important as romantic love, if not more. Of course, showing some snippets of the love you have around you on V-Day on social media feeds is completely okay, and normal in our generation. But, in my experience, the more someone feels the need to post about Valentine’s Day or their significant other in excess, the less genuine it is. This is not always the case, but most of the time, it’s true.

If you are not particularly romantic, that is perfectly okay too. February 14 is just another day, and we have much bigger things to worry about than who is in love with who on Valentine’s Day. My best advice is to do exactly what you want to do on this day, not what others might expect of you. Sometimes, a Monday night can be just as special if you watch a movie at home and order UberEats. A celebrated holiday doesn’t have to change that.