Valentine’s Day & (How Not to Stoke) the Vat of Great Expectations
Whether you’re single, in a relationship or recently broken up, here’s why you should scale down those expectations.
Three years ago, I was really looking forward to Valentine’s Day. Fresh into a new relationship and high on love, I wanted to celebrate everything, every effin' day. Every girl in the office was buying a new dress or figuring out which place to hit for V-day dinner. It was official: the sneeze-filled aroma of roses had clouded my mind.
I couldn’t believe my boyfriend. He said he “had to” work but we could “go out” for “some time”. From the restaurant to the rain, the appetisers and the drinks, I criticised everything.
My poor boyfriend went back to work while I was left questioning why this had happened.
A day that makes most of us question if-we-are-where-we-want-to-be, Valentine’s Day has a very high break-up rate. It is, in fact, one of the biggest holidays to see a spike in break-ups – along with Christmas and Spring Break.
The comparison is the thief of joy. So is overthinking or assumption.
So this Valentine’s day I suggest you simmer your expectations:
If You’re Single
The pressure is insane, I know. I know. Especially if you’re 30 or about to turn 30. Try not to think of the bigger picture and ignore the usual questions about when you’re getting married or even dating someone. I’ve reached that stage where I can shop or eat alone; but if you’re not then the best thing to do is to have a girls’ night out. Chill.
If You’re in a Relationship
Keep your expectations to a minimum. You have 365 days to make your partner feel special. Since it’s not possible to ignore all the pressure from social media and e-commerce, buy your partner a thoughtful gift. And I mean, thoughtful. Think about the things your partner has mentioned in passing: a vintage record, a subscription to socks – or just do something he’s really wanted you to do. Keep your expectations to a minimum – this is the only way you won’t be disappointed. Since most restaurants and lounges are overflowing that day, make a reservation in advance. And don’t blame your partner if the night doesn’t turn to be the way you wanted.
If You’re Married
A lot of my married friends tell me they celebrate it in advance by taking a trip or buying an expensive birthday gift that leaves them dry. If you’re in a similar boat, why not do something else? Breakfast in bed, anyone? I mean how cute is it when you ACTUALLY do something around the house? Why not make give your wife a box full of chores – promising to do one every day – happily? It’s easy to take each other for granted but V-day is also a good time to be thankful that you’ve got one another.
If You’ve Just Broken up or Separated
You’ve obviously been through a lot. It may take you a long time to come around but that’s no reason to be sad. You had something with someone, and, for better or worse, it’s over. You may find it easier to just breathe and live in the moment. If there’s anything you didn’t do to spare your ex’s feelings – a dance class, talking to a friend he didn’t like or eating Teriyaki food – do it.
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