Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, this Relationship is Not Black and White: Surviving Valentine’s Day When You’re Not “Official”
by Julia Gibson
img via vintagegal /tumblr
Valentine’s day is here, and it’s nearly impossible to be unaware of the holiday. When you are bombarded with red and pink decorations and extravagant Hallmark displays when you leave the house, it’s hard not to feel the pressure to celebrate. The expectations of people who are married, have a significant other, or are committed in one way or another are generally pretty clear: go out to a nice dinner, see a movie, exchange flowers or gifts.
For a few of us however, Valentine’s Day happens to roll around at a time when our romantic situations are a bit messier. Whether you’re in the beginning of a dating relationship, you’re having casual, unattached sex with someone, you’re working up the courage to tell your secret crush how you really feel, or you have an ex that you’ve been seeing again, the forced emotionality of the holiday is bound to create an awkward situation or two.
So how do you manage when the relationship isn’t defined?
First of all, don’t do anything that you are not comfortable with. Even if everyone else around you is getting caught up in the romance, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Think about what you want, not what you are supposed to want or what others want for you. Are you looking to keep it casual, or hoping that Valentine’s day will be the catalyst that takes your relationship to the next level? Spend some quiet time by yourself and trust your intuition.
If you’re hoping for something more, keep your expectations low. Expectations are a set-up for disappointment.
Regina Spektor – Hero (Expectations vs. Reality) on Vimeo.
However fun it might be to fantasize about being surprised with a declaration of love from your crush, remember that doing so only makes it that much more upsetting if it doesn’t happen. Plus, if you take things as they come rather than trying to control things, it is that much more exciting to be swept off your feet.
seriously! check out dem jeans!
Make other plans. Don’t wait around to see whether they will ask you to do something. You’re just setting yourself up for a night of disappointment at home, throwing popcorn at the TV and screaming at the characters in Return to Me that love doesn’t really exist. Instead, make plans for your friends to come over and join you in checking out David Duchovny’s butt in his work jeans, or to go out and do an activity that reminds you that you are alive.
If going out isn’t your speed, make a plan with yourself to do something that you’ve wanted to do for a while, whether that’s trying a new recipe, reading that book that’s been collecting dust, or my personal favorite, watching/singing along to “100 Greatest Love Songs” on VH1. This day can be just as much about love your friends and yourself as it is about romantic love.
If you end up doing something for the holiday, keep it casual. Instead of getting a huge gift or planning an elaborate evening, consider writing a short, lighthearted card, picking some flowers, or baking cookies for your non-date. Do something little to show you’re thinking of them. Their favorite candy bar is not the same as an engagement ring, so don’t stress too much about its meaning.
If all else fails, talk about it. You could avoid the issue, yes, but mostly it’s best to just be straightforward with your ambiguously romantic friend. You could present it in a joking way, saying something like “how awkward is it that we started seeing each other just before Valentine’s day, right?” Otherwise, simply being honest is the way to go. Think the holiday is a load of BS? Tell them. Don’t want to feel pressure to define what you have? Let them know. Really want to use this as an opportunity to reevaluate your relationship? Do it. Just make sure that you are communicating.