• Joanna Pantazi

Valentine's Day: Just Trouble? How to Deal With It and Celebrate Love Everyday

Updated: Sep 29, 2019


The upcoming “Love Holiday” of Valentine’s Day is quite a controversial one, likely to spur all sorts of emotions: from anticipation, excitement, and joy, to disappointment, resentment, irritation, even aversion to the people that simply can’t stand this heart-filled day.

If anything, Valentine's Day intrigues my curiosity- how about you?

Today let's see why is Valentine's Day so controversial, what are the problems associated with it and how you can rise above it and instead celebrate love Every. Single. Day!

Why does Valentine's Day sell so much?

If a single consumeristic holiday can provoke so many different emotional reactions to people and translates to more than 19 billion dollars spent in the US alone, we have to admit it must be a successful one.

Any successful business or idea becomes so, because it provides a solution to an existing problem.

In the case of Valentine's Day, the problem is that our busy daily lives and our human nature make us constantly run and take things -including our loved ones- for granted. So we somehow let love wither away, without appreciating it.

Therefore, Valentine's Day was created in order to remind us to actually be mindful and conscious of love in our lives, and celebrate it adequately, even just for one day.

Why does Valentine's Day cause so many problems then?

Valentine’s Day, despite the impressive statistics, seems to cause quite a few problems for relationships and couples. In fact, breakups seem to peak in the days before V-Day, but especially the whole week after it!

Interesting, isn’t it?

Let’s see why Valentine’s Day causes troubles to couples, as well as how you can best deal with it this year- regardless if you’re single or in a relationship.

1. Expectations

As has been emphasized before: Expectation is the root of all heartache.

Valentine’s Day is all about expectations! From the moment Christmas decorations are put away, we are bombarded with hearts of all shapes and sizes, lovey-dovey cards, chocolates, flowers and everything oh-so-romantic, in preparation for February 14th.

The market seems to dictate what it means to love and how this should be expressed ideally. How a loving, good partner should behave, how they should express their love, what kind of gestures are more affectionate and preferable, what kind of gifts correspond to what stage of romantic relationship, - there are just so many rules to follow on Valentine's Day. People become brainwashed by all those shoulds, all those expectations.

Understandably, these expectations can cause friction between couples, as they add pressure in a relationship.

When expectations don’t meet reality, we get disappointed and disillusioned. That can further lead to lashing out onto our partner who did not manage to read our minds well enough about what we ideally wanted on this “special” day.

2. Comparisons

The social media (that is a significant factor of relationship problems nowadays anyway) and the love stimuli bombardment everywhere around us make it very easy to compare our situation to how others celebrate their love, something that can bring conflict in the couple, as well.

Comparisons lead to failed expectations.

Both expectations and comparisons are destructive because they take us away from the Present Moment,

from what is, towards what should be.

Nothing can destroy happiness and harmony faster than this.

3. Magnification

When love, romance, affection and relationships are on the spotlight, it makes sense that everything about the relationship will be magnified.

People tend to regard this day as a moment to evaluate their relationship and see what works and what doesn’t (which is probably why so many breakups occur shortly after V-Day).

Not only this, but failed expectations cause resentment and likely amplify preexisting problems to the eyes of the romantic partners.

4. Lack of Authenticity

When so much emphasis on love expression is placed on just one day, it just seems a bit fake.

You can probably perfectly comprehend the psychological utility of such a holiday, which is that people tend to forget to show appreciation, and seem to need special occasions to do so (such as V-Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day etc…)

At the same time it can be pretentious to be showered with love, attention and affection on just one day, just because it is supposed to be like this, while the relationship may be way less than satisfactory on all other days.

Dealing with Valentine's Day and Celebrating Love Everyday ~ Solutions for Drastic Relationship Improvement

1. Communicate

As outlined earlier, the high expectations about V-Day add a lot of pressure to couples.

In order to avoid this, communication is key.

Check if you’re on the same page with them with regards to the day and if this holiday means the same to the both of you.

Disappointment occurs when expectations don’t meet reality, so you really only have 2 options to confront the problem of Valentine's Day expectations:

OPTION 1. Expect nothing and appreciate everything

OPTION 2. Openly and honestly discuss those expectations with your partner to avoid misunderstandings and disillusionments

2. Introspect

Valentine’s Day can be a fruitful opportunity to introspect and evaluate your relationship.

Of course, this should not be reserved just for today, but in case you don’t do it often and this day means something to you, it can be a good idea to consider a few questions about your relationship.

Being mindful and conscious is an excellent practice, regardless of the day of the year!

  • What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?

  • What IS this holiday, and what is it NOT?

  • What is an ideal relationship to you? Make a list of all the characteristics you can come up with. Check all those characteristics that your partner already fulfills. How do you feel with the outcome?

  • What is the stage of your relationship? Where are you both at?

  • What could be improved in yourself, your communication and your interaction with your partner, in order to be able to enjoy your relationship and intimate connection more? What would you like your partner to improve?

  • Are the Five A’s (Attention, Affection, Appreciation, Acceptance and Allowing) adequately present in your relationship? What would you like to receive more of, and what could you give more of to your partner?

3. Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude and appreciation are probably the most important factor to guarantee a happy, harmonious and fulfilling relationship.

You can reflect your gratitude to your partner on a daily basis, and that’s what will boost your relationship positively, as relevant research suggests too.

To enhance this sense of gratitude, try making a list for all the things you are grateful to have your partner in your life.

You don't have to give them that list, but the mere process of bringing all of this to your mind will undoubtedly increase your warm and fuzzy feelings about them- something that can in turn lead to expressions of appreciation.

Love is in the little everyday things- not in a box of chocolates or a fancy dinner reservation once a year!

4. Add Novelty

One of the reasons V-Day is so successful is because it urges people to plan something special and unique for the day.

Indeed, couples who regularly share fun and exciting experiences improve the quality of their relationship, as research also proves.

Although relationship routine is sweet, cosy and comfortable, adding some mystery and new elements in your relationship can do wonders- it brings the spark back, and help release oxytocin, the connecting love hormone.

Such new activities bring you back to the start, when everything seemed magical and exciting, so don’t wait for just one day to make this happen; plan little surprise activities or special occasions at least once a month to keep the enthusiasm flowing.

5. Be Generous

Giving is actually much more rewarding than receiving, especially in love.

Be generous in your expressions of love and appreciation to your partner, and this will reflect in the quality of your relationship without a doubt.

Show abundance in how you love, you won’t regret it!

If you are in a mutually rewarding relationship, chances are that whatever you give, will come back to you maximized eventually.

6. Focus on the Love and Challenge your Defenses

We all have different ways to express love and affection, as outlined by the different languages of love that are proposed by Gary Chapman. These are Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Gifts, Quality Time, and Acts of Service.

Perhaps your love language does not match that of your partner completely, which can often be a reason of distress between a couple.

Yet commit to an experiment:

From time to time, consider your partner’s language of love and take actions your partner experiences as loving and affectionate.

Even if it doesn’t come completely natural to you, think about what would really make them feel happy and loved, and offer it to them.

Often when we challenge our deeply rooted defenses, miracles happen. Whatever holds us back from coming closer to our partner is there for a reason, but it is noteworthy to observe and challenge these defenses from time to time!

7. Celebrate your Past together

It’s amazing to live in the Present with your partner, but bringing some nostalgia by remembering and celebrating your shared past actually increases intimacy and connectedness to them.

Integrating elements of happy times you shared together helps increase optimism about the future too, so don’t hesitate to cherish all of the things that have brought you together since your story began!

... What if you are Single on Valentine's Day?

There are many people who are happily single, yet get melancholic around Valentine’s Day, when everything is about love, gifts and romance.

If you are one of those people, don’t let this year’s V-Day get you down!

1. Remember what’s good about being single

Make a list of all the advantages of being single, instead of all that you think you are missing out of not being in a relationship.

Aloneness does not need mean loneliness too. Employ an attitude of gratitude and remember that such a state of mind is what can attract a healthy and fulfilling relationship to come to you eventually, rather than a gloomy and desperate “I am forever alone” state.

Remember that we somehow we attract what we project!

2. Focus on your Family and Friendships

If you put some perspective into it and see the bigger picture, you will realize that Valentine's Day is about love as a whole.

I have this sweet memory of my father writing Valentine's cards to all of us at home when I was little, and I really appreciate him for doing so.

Even if you don’t have a partner, cherish the significant others in your life, whoever they may be!

Unite with other single friends and plan something special together, celebrate your connectedness and express appreciation that you have them in your life.

3. Offer Yourself

Giving is more fulfilling than receiving.

Valentine's Day is an excellent opportunity to experience the power of giving, regardless if you are in a relationship or not.

Consider volunteering, offering help, or simply fully and completely being there for a loved one.

In conclusion...

The greatest lesson of Valentine’s Day, as outlined by the problems it causes, is that

Celebrating love should not be a one-time occasion,

but rather a daily conscious process of Presence, Attention and Devotion to your significant other.

Can you make a conscious commitment to remember and employ this...?

#valentinesday #relationships #love #attachment #gratitude

+31 (0) 644 333 494

joanna@youniversetherapy.com

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Psychology Practice for Internationals in The Hague.

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