There’s no doubt about it, Valentine’s Day is filled with enormous expectations for both singles and couples. It’s the most romantic day of the year, and it puts pressure on new relationships, with some admitting they feel they’re being tested on the romance scale. It could send someone running for the hills, or opting into hiding under the covers, alone.
Here’s my advice on how to reduce the stress, while still celebrating the big love day.
Have a Conversation On How You Want to Celebrate the Day (or not)
While many procrastinate and wait until the last minute to decide, knowing there’s a plan in place reduces the stress. No one wants a nagging SO asking every day if they made a dinner reservation.
By talking about Valentine’s Day, you might realize your needs and expectations have changed from peer-pandemic days. Don’t assume your partner wants to go to a fancy restaurant this year. Take the time to communicate how you want to celebrate V-Day and consider it an act of calendar organization.
Since many restaurants book up a month in advance, opt for a low-key night at home, because spending time together is the ultimate goal.
If you’re feeling stressed about Valentine’s, you’re not alone. A survey from Dating.com shows that 74% of singles believe V-Day adds too much pressure on a budding new relationship. Many in the survey, 60%, think Valentine’s has lost its luster due to the pandemic.
Consider Small Gifts and Cards
Romantic coupon books to your partner are both meaningful and affordable. It’s like having an IOU for after Valentine’s Day for a great massage, or an hour of uninterrupted kissing.
If your relationship’s been labeled for a while, give your sweetheart something to memorialize the time spent together. A personalized fill-in-the-blanks book, such as “What I Love About You by Me,” from Knock Knock is a great and affordable gift because it helps you go down memory lane together and shows your appreciation.
Remember to pick up a few Valentine’s cards for your SO. If you remember how excited you were to receive Valentine’s cards back in grade school, know that a card with a hand-written sentiment becomes a keepsake for your relationship.
Ordering or picking up cupcakes and nibbling on them together is a sweet way to celebrate the day. The perfect gift is the love box from Melissa’s cupcakes, and there’s something alluring about the scent of freshly baked cookies in the kitchen.
Find Another Day to Celebrate
On the Bumble blog, I told Danielle Kam, that couples can celebrate Valentine’s Day whenever on a day that works for both of you. After all, V-Day is on a work day for many.
Just because the rest of the world is celebrating on the 14th, that doesn’t mean you have to. Online dating expert Julie Spira suggests celebrating the night before, the weekend before, or any other day, really. Scheduling it on your own time makes it more about your partner and less about an arbitrary date. Plus, the red-roses-and-heart-shaped-chocolates of of it all will be less in your face, which will help ease the stress around the holiday.
Ultimately, you should remember that Valentine’s Day is not about what you do (or don’t do), but about who you’re with. “The most important thing is to make sure you spend time together,” says Spira. Just treat it like a block of 24 hours on the calendar where you get to hang out and do things you love, no pressure necessary.
Celebrate Galentine’s Day on February 13th
What would we do without our girlfriend network? All year long, they cheer us on and listen to our dating dilemmas. The day before Valentine’s Day is Galentine’s Day, a day to celebrate female friendships.
If you haven’t heard of Galentine’s Day, it’s a fairly new holiday, and was created on the TV show, Parks and Recreation in 2010, and one year later, it became a trending topic on Twitter. So schedule, lunch, brunch, or even a virtual Galentine’s celebration with a mocktail or a cocktail.
Be Your Own Valentine
If you’re flying solo this year, remember to love yourself first. Pick up chocolates and red tulips for yourself, draw a bubble bath, light some candles, and mail yourself a Valentine’s card. I did this one year, and it was a wonderful way to celebrate self-love.
Wishing you much love and joy on Valentine’s Day, wherever you may swipe or roam.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and the founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. Follow @JulieSpira and SIGN UP for the free Digital Flirt newsletter for dating advice delivered to your inbox.