As January ends and February rolls around the calendar is marked for Valentine’s day – the day on which everyone has an opinion, whether that be banding together and boycotting the day or celebrating love with your partner. Although for many years I was part of the former group due to my single status, being in a relationship hasn’t made an extreme difference towards my feelings about Valentine’s day. After all, it is just another day…
Of course, it is nice to be in a relationship when February 14th comes, but within my personal relationship I don’t feel a desire to make that day any different from the rest of the year – a feeling shared by many. I don’t feel the need or desire to dedicate a day to my significant other which dictates that I need to express my love and care for him, because I do that every day and those feelings are part of how we maintain our relationship. In that sense, it is just the same as a regular day. However, I still find myself being sucked into the Valentine’s hype partially because of the commercial aspect that v-day is now steeped in.
Just because I don’t place a huge amount of significance on the day, no one can be in doubt that it is still nice to celebrate love on this dedicated day with either a special dinner, flowers, chocolates, or just a card. But what happens when you can’t be with the one you love and you can’t share that day together?
Long distance relationships are hard at the best of times, and those feelings of love and companionship that v-day are about become difficult to express on any day when you’re apart; you can’t come home to the one you love, have a hug when you need it, or cry on their shoulder when things get a bit much… Combine these difficulty with the spectacle that is February 14th and it can make the day, I find, quite hard and sad. There is nothing that I want more on regular days than to be with my partner, and on a day when love is in the air and is everywhere you look, it makes that impossibility feel horrible.
It becomes harder to block out how much of a great time other people in relationships are having, especially when social media is flooded with pictures of them having a great time. It takes an effort to ignore it, and I find that it does end up getting to me a little bit, souring the day and making it even less of a day to look forward to, despite having that relationship. Although flowers can be sent and cards posted, it is less the materialistic appreciation of love that I desire, but rather the human connection to my partner, as I’d love to be with him and enjoy the day and each other in person, regardless of any consumerist behaviour.
It isn’t about spending money on a romantic dinner or being presented with a bouquet of red roses, but being with someone and spending that time with a loved one, showing you care for each other. When you’re miles apart with commitments that can’t be gotten out of, that isn’t something that can be achieved. But surely, being in a relationship is the card you gain in order to love Valentine’s Day? I’d say that yes, being in a relationship often means you feel vastly better towards v-day than your single counterparts, but being apart in a relationship still means you crave the love and companionship that you envy for surrounding you on February 14th.
I do enjoy Valentine’s day, but I would love to be able to enjoy it with my partner in person, rather than over a FaceTime call. That being said, what a long distance relationship has taught me is to make the absolute most of the time me and my partner do get together and cherish it, because we don’t get it every day – in fact, we’re far from it.
No matter what you feel about Valentine’s day, at least you don’t have to think about it for another year!