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A most confusing holiday: no one has a clue how to deal with Valentine’s Day

By in Opinions

If New Year’s is the time for personal resolutions, then Valentine’s Day is the time for relationship resolutions. Whether you’re currently attached, desperately seeking or decidedly single, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to weigh the pros and cons of relationships.

“I love you more.” “No, I love you more!” “Let’s just agree we both love each other a lot.”

This time of year is tough for singles but it’s a tough time for couples as well. Like the old adage says, the grass is always greener on the other side. Singles and couples often find themselves jealous of the other’s relationship status. If you’re alone, you may have to deal with constant public displays of affection that seem to be put on only to remind you that the most affection you can show in public is a high-five. But couples have to deal with the pressure-packed decision of what to give their significant others in honour of the most romantic of holidays.

Valentine’s Day is a tricky holiday to navigate. The glitter, sparkles and corny declarations of love that Hallmark churns out every year are enough to make anyone gag but they can be especially tough for the single person to swallow. For many, being single or dateless on Valentine’s day is like showing up to school in your underwear — a nightmare.

In lieu of being pointed and laughed at, single folks often choose to scorn Valentine’s Day and everything that comes with it. They will loudly proclaim that they hate Valentine’s Day anyway. “It’s a made up holiday!” they say.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, single people might delve into the old Black Book or into the nearest dive bar to find anything or anyone to go out with on this dreaded date. But there is an often neglected middle ground. Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s impossible not to be reminded of current relationship statuses during this time of year, but instead of lamenting all the wonderful things you’re missing out on by not being in a relationship, why not relish being single? It’s easy to forget that relationships are not all chocolates and roses.

As scary and pressure-packed as Valentine’s Day is for singles, it’s just as bad for those in a relationship. There is always the issue of presents. Is it too much or not enough? Too sentimental or not sentimental enough?

And what to do on Valentine’s Day itself? Dinner and a movie? A quiet night in? Rarely do we match our opinions on this and establish a common ground. While some will go all-out for the day, others try to pretend it doesn’t even exist. Of course Valentine’s Day can be a day to show your love for someone but it can also be a reminder that there is only one person you can show your love for, leading one to pull the ripcord on the relationship.

The Valentine’s season creates a deadlock for couples; it’s seen as incredibly poor relationship etiquette to break up with someone and if you do, it’s near-impossible to avoid the dirty looks and judgement of others. Much like Valentine’s Day can make a single person long for coupledom, it can make a committed person long for the long lost days of independence.

Single people don’t have to go home to feed their cats and cry into their Ben and Jerry’s, and committed people don’t have to buy dozens of roses and chocolates and diamonds to prove their love on a commercialized “holiday.” Everyone has someone to be thankful for on Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single or in a relationship, so why not take a break from trading insults and trade valentines instead.

Photo: Hamed Masoumi/Flickr

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