Love is magical, limitless and unique. It can be a moment of laughter with a best friend, a hug from a family member, a sexual moment with a partner, or a lifelong bond. Even for one day, love should never be forced to fit in any standard or heart-shaped box. It should be spontaneous, heartfelt, and natural, not expensive or obnoxiously pink. Mainstream versions of Valentine’s Day can cheapen and even negatively affect your relationships. Here are five reasons to avoid Hallmark’s clutches and standard Valentine’s Day clichés and how following them can strengthen your relationships.
- Love shouldn’t be celebrated only once a year: The romantic candle lit dinner isn’t just for a holiday. Love is a constant emotion. Don’t let Valentine’s Day be the only day you go all out to display your love for your partner.
- It’s cliché: Personalize the day for you and your loved ones, and you take away the cliché. Figure out what you love about the person or people in your life and use that to be truly romantic.
- Everything is at least double price: Businesses take advantage of consumers on Valentine’s Day, leading to hurting wallets and bitter consumers. Avoid the cost on your wallet; let your relationship and emotions determine what and how you gift on Valentine’s Day.
- Expectations leads to disappointments: The manufactured expectations of Valentine’s Day can pressure people into doing or anticipating scenes more appropriate to the current romance blockbuster than your actual relationship, and can keep you from truly appreciating the experience with your loved one. Stressful and difficult to fulfill, grandiose gestures only count if they are meaningful. Do something with or for your partner that celebrates your unique relationship.
- Mainstream Valentine’s Day messaging is isolating: Love, hugs, and flowers aren’t just for romantic relationships, as Valentine’s Day marketing promotes. Truly recognize all the love in your life from your friends to family and celebrate all of your relationships this Valentine’s Day.
Remember that love isn’t defined by standardized actions to keep yourself from elevating the holiday or buying into the hype. Your love for your partner, friends and family, is unique. Personalize your celebration of Valentine’s Day to make your partner, friends and family feel truly special. Then do it again, whenever the mood strikes, because love isn’t defined by the day, but by your emotions. Now that should be a bestselling Hallmark card.
Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, Author of The Essentials and co-founder of Suave Lover International and the Suave Lover podcast (subscribe on iTunes), is a freelance writer and a private relationship-and-social-dynamics coach in the areas of public health, fitness, and social dynamics, a writer and editor for Ask Men.com, and the interpersonal relationships columnist for examiner.com. His passion lies in guiding and providing tools to men for overall self-improvement.
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*Edited by Rachel Ritter