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Our expectations for love and relationships

Written By Rubie Mckeever-Smith

As I’m sure you’re all aware, the much anticipated Valentine’s Day has finally passed for another year. This day is known for its affirmations of love, affection, admiration, which is most commonly recognised in the form of gifts. However, for most people, it was just another day to remind them how single they are. Evidently, putting a downer on the whole day.

In spite of the hundreds of thousands of singles, some longing for love and others content in their own company, do the day’s connotations relate to the actual day itself? Not necessarily.

In some cases, the longer you’ve been with someone, the less likely you are to emphasise the idea of Valentines. In other cases, the younger you are, or the lesser amount of time you’ve been with someone, Valentine’s Day is the biggest event for you both to share: the culmination of what it truly means to love. Now I can understand, for those cynical towards love, their reservations towards a specific day of the year to show your partner you love them… it should be every day, right? But for younger generations, this day is just an excuse to demonstrate the intensity and depth of their feelings as they happen.

Young people thrive in having someone to share Valentine’s Day with. They don’t want to be deemed alone. Whether it be a partner or friends, their desire to share their hearts can only be contagious. I definitely love this newer idea of ‘Galentine’s Day’. A day for the girls to appreciate the girls. The idea that within womanhood our needs and fulfilment can be met within the friendships we hold is empowering. This is actually supposed to be represented on the 13th of February, yet is frequently celebrated alongside Valentines with a warm aroma of girls supporting girls.

Valentine’s Day emboldens this huge gratifying feeling, which is likely come with a lot of pressure to satisfy. I feel like men are more commonly known to suffer this pressure the worst. Some people have misinterpreted Valentines as an excuse for their partner to take them out and spend excruciating amounts of money but, the day itself is about celebrating each other. Embracing the love you have. Remembering how grateful you are for this person and honestly, just having an excuse to be with just each other for one night.

Americans in total are expected to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2023, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, one of the highest spending years since the NRF began tracking Valentine’s Day in 2004. It isn’t about money. It’s about love. You and your partner should do something memorable and cute, which can be way more affordable.

So, what could you do for next year's Valentine’s? … or simply ‘just because’.

  • You could cook a lovely meal. Definitely more affordable than going out for dinner. You get to pick your own menu and you can have so much fun making it together. It is easy to make the evening more romantic with wine, flowers, and candles. Definitely a winner for me.

  • Similarly, you could bake. Baking takes out more of the romantic side and adds the funnier, less serious, creative sides of a relationship. And you get to eat it afterwards!

  • Something else you can easily do is dance! Candles, your favourite songs, lights down. It makes for a really intimate evening, making you feel as close as ever.

  • Write a letter. Or even a few notes. One thing that everyone loves to hear is how much they are loved, appreciated, cared for, and admired. It’s a very heart-warming thing, and something you can keep forever.

These are some of my favourite things to do on Valentine’s Day, but you don’t have to listen to me. Valentine’s Day can be whatever you make it out to be. Whether you spend it with your partner, family, friends, pets, even alone. Your life, your choice.

Read more by Rubie: When I grow up...

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