Self CareSex and Dating

Do You Really Want a Relationship, or Is It Just Almost Valentine’s Day?

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by Laurie Riihimaki

It’s February, and all the candy aisles are stocked with red heart-shaped boxes filled with sticky caramels and nutty chocolates. There are giant teddy bears near every register. Florists are pushing roses by the dozens to everyone passing by! Valentine’s Day is near, and looming.

Valentine’s Day has gotten a bad rep in recent years. The day that used to be a lover’s dream is now an overly materialistic reminder that love must be extravagant and daring to mean anything. Thank you, again, America, for taking something happy and sweet and putting a price tag on it. 

But even so, some of us still enjoy a Valentine’s Day date with our sweetheart. And some of us might take part in a single night out with our closest friends to celebrate. But then there are some who search for a date for this holy lover’s day, their cupid bows aimed and ready to fire at anyone (literally anyone) on Tinder, Bumble, or Grindr. 

Which brings me to the point — do you actually want a relationship? Or, is it just that time of year again?

Valentine’s Day Sets High Expectations

We’ve all seen the movies or TV shows where the dreamy stud of a man surprises his girl with a pathway of rose petals from the door to the bed, which is surrounded by candles, expensive champagne, and chocolate-covered strawberries. But, hate to break it to you, the data says that V-day is more likely to be about breaking up than feeding each other candied fruit and pretending you don’t have to champagne burp while you make out.

One study recorded Facebook breakups discovered that breakups spiked the weeks before and after Valentine’s Day, which makes us wonder — is the pressure too real?

We all want to feel appreciated and loved, but why every February do we expect it in the form of a lavish dinner strategically laced with natural aphrodisiacs, lacy lingerie that’s a bitch to put on, and marriage proposals?

Valentine’s Day Forces Social Comparisons

If you are a single and ready-to-mingle in a social circle of coupled-up friends, chances are you’ve thought long and hard about how you’re going to spend your Valentine’s Day. While all your coupled-up friends are screwing to Marvin Gaye, you’ll be frantically searching through your Facebook friends for someone who isn’t married, doesn’t have a kid, and hasn’t been to jail recently. 

But, is this comparison doing you any good? And, do you even want what your friends have?

Oftentimes, on Valentine’s Day, we forget about how toxic our friend’s relationships really are. Like how Courtney smacked Ryan in the face at the bar last week then ran out in tears. And how Damon cheated on Samantha with her sister. Instead, we tend to idolize them because of the social media appreciation posts and diamond earrings that are gifted. 

Valentine’s Day puts pressure on a couple to have a perfect night and a perfect relationship. And, for the single-player, it sparks jealousy, comparison, and a distorted perception of perfect. 

The Pressure Is On

Everyone is getting older every day, which of course means that time is running out to find our soulmates!! And there are constant cultural reminders everywhere. From social media to your great aunt Martha asking why you aren’t married yet over Thanksgiving turkey (excellent timing, Martha, as I’m stuffing my face full of taters). 

But the biggest reminder is always Valentine’s Day. For someone who feels like their hourglass is running out of sand, it is critical to have someone to kiss goodnight on Valentine’s Day. It’s like reaching a goal. It’s a moment where singles begin to think, “I am not a lost cause. I do not have to live alone forever in a studio apartment that smells of litterboxes.”

And for couples, the pressure is on too. Couples are pressured to stay together and act their role in “the perfect couple,” even if they’d both rather run away and never speak to each other again. 

How Do You Determine If You Really Want A Relationship?

The only way to really figure out if you want to be in a relationship or not is to look at your life outside the parameters of Valentine’s Day. Because, seriously, it’s only one day and relationships last much longer than that (well, most of them, at least). 

If you are generally happy with yourself, your career, and your personal life – and you want to invite someone else into your world – that’s your choice.

However, if you’re craving the extravagant gifts, have a sweet-tooth for conversation hearts, or just want to fit in with your coupled-up friends, chances are if you jump into a relationship, you’re going to be mighty disappointed when you soon find out that your V-Day hunk is really just a guy who doesn’t throw his laundry in the hamper.

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