Opinion: Valentine’s Day is highly overrated

The Gadfly

Edited Photo from Wiki Commons

 

Every year, this dreaded holiday approaches in mid-February, making single people take a look at their love lives and feel deep disappointment. Witnessing roommates receive flower deliveries or helping close friends pick out an outfit for a romantic dinner with their significant other is utterly disheartening when you don’t have someone to share this day with yourself. Perhaps such people felt pure contentment with their single lives before Valentine’s Day, but when you get in the routine of spending February 14 alone every year, one starts to wonder if there’s any hope for finding a partner. 

Although Valentine’s Day has been around for centuries, (496 AD to be exact) the expectations for how it should be celebrated need to be minimized.  Not only does this day make those that do not have a significant other feel oftentimes unloved in comparison to those that do, but it also encourages people to set too high of expectations for loved ones to make it perfect. 

The pressure that Valentine’s Day places on couples to make a dinner reservation at the most sought-out restaurant in Chicago or to gift their partner with a pricey Tiffany & Co. necklace is too much for some to bear. The assumption that what is planned by one’s partner for Valentine’s day is a direct correlation to the amount of love their partner has for them could not be any farther from the truth. But centuries of expectations that this exaggerated holiday has set have conditioned us to think this way. 

Valentine’s Day not only brings disappointment to many, but oftentimes sorrow for some. For those who are widows or widowers, the pain of losing a loved one around this time is even more prominent when spending a Valentine’s Day alone. For that matter, this day is painful for those who finally leave toxic relationships or have recently suffered a tough breakup. Love songs sound like funeral marches and chocolate candies taste bitter. Mailboxes sit empty from lack of valentine cards and Edible Arrangements special deliveries, but that certainly shouldn’t be the case. 

A possible solution to preventing disappointed lovers and heartbroken couples on Valentine’s Day could be changing the overall culture and redirecting for whom it should be celebrated. Oftentimes, parents use this opportunity to appreciate their children and visa versa. A fancy homemade meal served on fine china with the whole household can be just as meaningful as a one-on-one date between spouses. Sharing love letters between friends just showing appreciation can be immensely less strenuous than planning an elaborate date. 

While significant others should still be celebrated, there are many more opportunities to do so than just February 14. Anniversary celebrations are an alternative to going all out for Valentine’s Day. They may even be preferred as they can be commemorated as often as a couple desires: monthly or biweekly if they’re feeling especially generous. Regardless if you have a significant other or not this upcoming Valentine’s Day, I hope that you remember to make your single friends and family members feel just as loved as a partner would.