When I Don’t Like Valentines Day

Love it or hate it, there is no escaping the fact that as soon as the peppermint rind disappears from the shelves, we will be bombarded with teddy bears clutching the balloons wherever we turn. The sight of these cute wills of love can inspire warmth and sentimentality in some of us and contempt and anger in others. They think, another commercialized vacation that marketers came up with to capitalize on our desire to be and be loved. That being said, the day can be a minefield even for couples.

Is this the day I should be asking the question or is it too cheesy?

Should I buy an expensive gift to make my partner feel valued or something simple that speaks from the heart?

Should we choose a creative date or an overpriced restaurant?

What kind of valentines day couple are you?
As a couples therapist, I notice some recurring themes related to Valentine’s Day. Maybe you can see yourself in some of these examples …

LOVE HATE. One partner loves the vacation, the other hates it. Nobody wants to be on both sides of this dynamic. Either you are chronically disappointed or you feel guilty for not doing anything and run to the gas station on the 14th at 8pm, hoping they still have some cloves.

ENTHUSIASTIC PARTICIPANTS. You two make it big. This is an easier dynamic as both partners agree on the importance of the vacation. The downside may be that there is a lot of positive energy flowing into Valentine’s Day, shedding light on the lack of positive energy and relationship effort for the rest of the year.

“MEH”. Here both partners agree on the artificial nature of the holiday, find commerce repulsive and either reject partying or are ambivalent. Maybe one or both of them will be implicitly disappointed, but they don’t feel like they can complain or get a little pampering.

Valentine’s Day expectations
Mismatched and usually unspoken expectations for Valentine’s Day are a source of conflict and hurt feelings for many couples. Partners can best address these sore spots by sitting down and having deliberate conversations about how they feel valued, courted, and valued by others.

These conversations may include each partner’s preferred methods for showing and getting affection and falling in love. They can be as factual as “I want you to reserve dinner” or, more deeply, in the sense that you talk about what matters to you and why. Couples who have this type of conversation work on their sense of shared meaning, which research supports as the main component of a good relationship. It might go without saying, but these conversations go better if you hold them before you get into a fight because one or both of you didn’t live up to your expectations.

Whether you’re grinning for Valentine’s Day or taking a day off on the 14th to watch Hallmark movies, I believe the vacation can provide an opportunity to joyfully celebrate your emotional connection that can be fun, playful, and meaningful, without necessarily involving the heart -shaped candy.

Valentine’s day
Confirm it. Yes the vacation can be cheesy, and yes your partner doesn’t like it, but let them know you are thinking of them.

Carpe Diem. Think of the 14th as an opportunity to address yourself in a way that you know your partner will find useful.

Focus on the positive. Don’t be the couple who do a full analysis of their relationship problems on Valentine’s Day. That can wait until later. Have fun when it’s fun. Give your partner a chance to get through for you.

Valentine’s Day not
Do nothing and ignore the day. Even if your partner isn’t the sentimental type, they may feel underrated and could use some of your positive affection today. A small gesture is infinitely better than nothing.

Let’s assume a hater, always a hater. People change over time. Things you didn’t want, maybe you want now My husband hated dark chocolate. Now he likes it. That’s okay. February 14th can be an opportunity for you to update your love card of one another and see if there is any interest in a chocolate heart or two.

Wait until the 14th to find out how your partner feels loved and what is important to them. Luck favors the brave. If you don’t know, ask today. Ask more. All year round.

And finally … NEVER buy cloves a