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How to Approach Valentine’s Day With Your “He’s-Not-My-Boyfriend”

As winter drags on and the month of February is underway, that only means one thing for both taken and single girls alike: Valentine’s Day. There are the hardcore girlfriends both elated and overwhelmed with planning for that perfect gift, let alone the perfect date outfit. There are the bitter singles dreading the day, who will ultimately spend it eating self-purchased chocolate and watching rom-coms in bed or out getting wine wasted with their equally lonely single friends. But, the list doesn’t end there.

After all, this is college, and a steady relationship is harder to come along than a sober girl in Southwest on a Friday night. Possibly the most stressed and depressed girls during this Hallmark lovefest we call Valentine’s Day are the girls constantly having to describe their sort-of-relationship to their friends, family, other guys, and even themselves.

After all, what is a girl to do on a holiday where so much pressure is put on love and relationships when most other days of the year are spent repeating the phrase, “Oh, him?! He’s not my boyfriend. Well, not really…not like a boyfriend boyfriend, just…you know…never mind.”

So, there’s this boy. And that’s as much as I know about you from having clicked on this article in the first place. It’s hard for me to tell you how to approach V-Day with him without any further information on the non-relationship, but I’m willing to use my personal past experiences to try. Being in this in-between phase of hooking up and dating can be really fun and exhilarating sometimes. However, it can also be totally aggravating and tedious.

The way I see it, you’re probably in one of three situations: you want more and are afraid he doesn’t, he wants more and senses you don’t, or you both want more and are in denial. If you try to tell me both of you are perfectly content hooking up for an extended amount of time with no relationship implied or involved, I will tell you you’re lying. Sorry to be blunt, but it just doesn’t work. Haven’t you guys seen Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached? Or JT and Mila Kunis in Friends With Benefits? Everyone wants a happy ending.

So, you’re holding out for him to man up and commit but he’s sending mixed signals. We’ve all been there. Hopefully if this is your case, it hasn’t been going on for more than a few months. I know there’s a reason you’re holding on to this one, but if he can’t see what a prize he’s got then you need to find someone who will. That being said, Valentine’s Day is actually a good opportunity for you to get a feel for his seriousness about you. It falls on a Friday this year, so he won’t be weirded out if you casually ask him what his plans are for the night. If it’s going out with the boys, that’s fine. Go out with your girls and have an outrageous night regardless. This doesn’t mean that he’s not into you necessarily, only that he’s likely very intimidated by the day and all the connotations that come along with it.

If he asks to hang out, great! But before you go splurge on a little black dress and tickets to his favorite team’s game, ask him what he has in mind. You will probably receive the typical male answer of “idk just chill” or “what u wanna do.” I would advise going into the night with low expectations so as not to get your high hopes crushed. Maybe he’ll have a trail of rose petals leading to a romantic candlelit dinner with fireworks and an airplane that spells out “Be Mine?” in the sky. Maybe (probably) he won’t.

Either way, remind yourself that you are beautiful, intelligent, strong, and that there are a million guys out there who would probably love to have you as their valentine. If you have a lackluster holiday this year, maybe it will wake you up to the fact that you do deserve a guy who’ll write your name in the sky for you.

Now what should you do if you’re hooking up with some kid, having a good time, but you’re just not that into him while he, on the other hand, seems to be getting pretty attached? I know it’s fun to feel wanted and in control and play heartbreaker every once in a while, but you do need to be honest with the poor guy sooner or later… preferably sooner.

Again, Valentine’s Day could be a blessing in disguise as a perfect opportunity to let him know how you really feel. When he asks you to hang out this Friday night, which he undoubtedly will, tell him you’ve made plans with a couple of your other single girl friends. This doesn’t mean you have to break things off right now, but it will at least give him a hint that he’s on a different page than you are when it comes to the severity of your relationship…or non-relationship.

This last “not-my-boyfriend” situation might be the trickiest for the dreaded relationship-worshipping day. It’s been mutually but probably silently agreed that the two of you have caught feelings for one another, but you’re not really in a relationship, so are you supposed to celebrate or not? When it comes down to it, despite it’s cheesy, hyped-up, consumer-based trivialization, Valentine’s Day is really just about love.

Love for your friends, your family, your significant other, whoever. And yeah, you may not love this guy, but just because you two are not an official item doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to show each other you care. Talk to him about it. Go to dinner and a movie. Or don’t. Just be in each other’s presence. Get each other gifts. Or don’t. Don’t feel the need to go crazy with it – maybe some new lingerie because it’s kind of a gift for him but it’s mostly for yourself. What I’m trying to say is, February 14th is just another day and way too much stress and pressure is put on couples, singles, and in-betweeners like yourself alike for a day that is supposed to celebrate such a beautiful thing as love.

Wait, was that sentence just typed from my own fingers? Valentine’s Day must really be getting to me…

Anyway, above all, the most important way you should spend Valentine’s Day is loving yourself. College dating is weird and confusing and screwed up and scary and that’s not your fault. As long as you’re happy, appreciated, and respected, that’s really all that should matter. And no matter what happens, there’s gonna be a sh*t ton of chocolate on sale for 75% off at Walmart Saturday. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day, Collegiettes!

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Katie Gainer

U Mass Amherst

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