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Sex + Relationships

I Used to Hate Valentine’s Day, Then I Started Dating Someone New

I used to despise Valentine’s Day. I know that’s a cliché, but I did. Maybe it was because it was high school and the thought of a boy with the mental age of an elementary schooler buying me anything or attempting to do something romantic was such an ick, but I just never was able to get past it and actually enjoy the day when I was in a relationship. I was always anxious about him doing something for me (specifically, something I didn’t like) and having my reaction be right. I was much more focused on the appearance of Valentine’s Day than just allowing someone to appreciate me and vice versa. It was a similar feeling to the one I get on my birthday, when all the attention is on me. I feel like there’s a spotlight on me that makes me shrink into a shell of myself, performing for a crowd (or, in this case, my boyfriend). I always begged my partner to join me in ignoring the day.

But this year, something changed for me. Suddenly, I felt such a strong urge to celebrate it. My boyfriend and I reserved an Airbnb a couple of hours away from our college town. We plan to spend the weekend there—honestly, we probably would have done this regardless of the holiday, but the fact that the trip is falling over this specific weekend makes it feel extra romantic.

I think in my subconscious, it’s all about the independence. Having the ability to get in a car with someone I love and just go, wherever we want, without much planning, is something I’ve romanticized for as long as I can remember. No parents, no responsibilities…just us, an unfamiliar city, and a nice bottle of wine. I don’t have any anxiety about the day anymore.

I know it’s about so much more than just this holiday. It’s about how comfortable I feel on any given day and our mutual desire to make it work. Even if the weekend is a complete disaster, I know it’ll bring us closer, not give me the little ick I hid from all of high school. Having that confidence completely changes my outlook on Valentine’s Day—it feels really good to be excited! Now I can finally sit back, relax, and comfortable not just in receiving the love I know I deserve, but in putting my whole heart into giving it out, too.


Jenna Spray

Northwestern '23

Jenna is a journalism and legal studies double major at Northwestern University. In her free time, she enjoys binge eating dark chocolate and studying Italian in hopes that she can one day become an honorary Italian citizen. As a washed-up high school athlete, fitness is one of Jenna's passions, and her goal is to encourage more young women to get in the weight room. You can find her curled up in her bed watching Gossip Girl or using the squat rack at your local gym.
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