4 reasons why it's 100% OK to skip Valentine's Day in a relationship

By Lea Rose Emery

February 14 tends to be a love-it or hate-it kind of day. For some people, Valentine’s Day is one of the happiest days of the year — for others, it might be a gut-wrenching nightmare. Or you might not care about it all. But here’s the thing — most people tend to think that how you feel about Valentine’s Day is dependent on whether or not you’re in a relationship. There’s this ugly, reductive idea that single people are so sad and lonely that they can’t bear being faced with other people’s relationships, while people in relationships must be so sweet and saccharine they need to show the world in the form of cheap stuffed animals and rose petals being rained down from the heavens. 

I call bullshit. 

Some single people love Valentine’s Day. Some people in a relationship totally loathe it. But the problem is, if you are in a relationship, there can be a lot of pressure to embrace a day dedicated to you and your partner. You might feel guilt or awkwardness at the idea of letting the day slip by when all of the couples you know are out celebrating. But it’s totally OK to skip Valentine’s Day, even if you’re in a relationship.

Here’s why you shouldn’t think twice. 

1. It’s expensive

Firstly, Valentine's Day can cost a lot of money — for no good reason. Not only is there an expectation that you’ll go somewhere “nice” to celebrate, but those “nice” places normally hike the prices up or offer weird Valentine’s Day-themed menus. It perpetuates the terrible idea that showing someone you care is synonymous with spending money, which simply isn’t the case. 

You simply might not have the money — and there’s no shame in that. You also might have the money, but don’t want to spend it on some over-the-top pomp and circumstance. There’s no shame in that, either. If you’d rather put your money to something more important to you, fair enough.

2. There’s too much pressure

If you’re anything like me, too much pressure can make a night go to hell in a handbasket. A lot of people don’t like New Year’s Eve for this reason — it simply can’t live up to the expectations people put on it. And, in a way, Valentine’s Day is sort of like the New Year’s Eve of your relationship. 

It’s the one day where you’re supposed to have all of the romance. For some people, that just kills the mood. If you find that you get a little stage fright (or feel downright stubborn) on days that are meant to be perfect, you might find it better to steer clear.

3. You already have your anniversary (if you want it)

If you’re someone who does like to mark special days, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Valentine’s Day. Most couples have an anniversary that they can celebrate — and, if you don’t know exactly when that is, you can pick a day that feels special for you. 

Not everybody needs that, but if you want to have a day to celebrate your relationship then it kind of makes sense to have a day that’s significant to you, rather than just some random day in the middle of February that everyone else is celebrating too. It’s nice to have some personal memories and meaning attached to it. 

Plus, chances are good that restaurants won’t be as busy and celebrating will be a lot easier and more authentic on your actual anniversary, so feel free to skip the crowds.

4. Relationships aren't about milestones 

OK, this is probably the most important point. Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship will know that being in love isn’t really about milestones. Sure, it’s great to take a moment to acknowledge each other and appreciate your relationship — but, if your relationship is strong, that happens all the time. Great relationships are made when you make someone a cup of coffee in bed or when they surprise you with having cooked your favorite meal after a long day at work. It’s the little things. 

And focusing on relationship milestones can actually be kind of destructive. You may have known a couple who races from meeting to moving in to getting engaged to getting married to having a baby — check, check, checking all of those boxes along the way. Valentine's Day plays into the idea that relationships are all about getting to those big, Instagram-ready moments — and a lot of couples become too busy focusing on that to build a healthy and strong relationship. 

So if you have a great relationship and you want to celebrate it on Valentine’s Day, that’s totally great — it really is. Everyone is different and some people find these markers significant and meaningful. But if you don't want to do it, that’s fine too. Celebrating on the most romantic day of the year can feel manufactured or forced. And besides, you should be taking the time to appreciate and acknowledge each other every damn day. Those little celebrations matter way more than the big ones. 

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