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Sex + Relationships

How my First Valentine’s with a Partner Changed My Views on the Holiday

There are lots of important holidays in this country celebrating momentous achievements, movements and special occasions. In my mind, Valentine’s Day has never been one of them. The pink, red and white always flood the grocery stores before the calendar even shows February, with hearts and kisses on things that you never knew could be made Valentine’s themed. As someone who’s perpetually single around this time of year, I’m usually very cynical when I walk down those aisles at the store. But this year is the first that I’ll be in a relationship on this day that haunts so many. I thought that my cynicism would dissipate, and in some ways it has, but it’s also strengthened. Let me explain.

On the surface, Valentine’s Day can seem like a useless, money-grabbing holiday with no actual purpose for its celebrations. Now, I understand the deep history of the holiday, but as far as February 14, nothing ever happened on that day that’s related to the flowers and candy hearts we see today. However, its existence makes an important point. You should be celebrating your love and relationship not just once a year, but all the time. For some people, this holiday serves as a reminder to slow down and appreciate their partner for all the things they do, big and small.

Have you ever heard the expression “you have to date your wife?” While many people our age are far from marriage, the core idea is that just because you’re in a relationship with somebody doesn’t mean that you can stop putting in time and effort — an idea I fully support. You have to treat your relationship as a living thing that you need to maintain and care for. While this holiday is a nice reminder of that, it only echoes the sentiment that should be remembered all year round.

Now, I’m not saying that you’re a failure as a partner if you don’t show up to dinner with a handmade card, a dozen roses and a 3-foot-tall teddy bear. It doesn’t have to be some big flashy display with balloons and love songs, but reminding your partner that you love and appreciate them on a regular basis is something we could all learn from this holiday. Whether you choose to include the traditional elements of Valentine’s Day or not, just taking the time to focus on your partner, maintain your relationship, and carry the spirit of Valentine’s Day with you throughout the year would absolutely benefit you, your partner and your relationship.

As for me, I won’t be expecting flowers or chocolate — since the pro move is to wait until the stores put the Valentine’s candy at half price the next day. Instead, my partner and I will get a little dressed up, have a nice dinner and remind each other that we’re grateful to be in each other’s lives.

Loralee Hoffer

Virginia Tech '23

Loralee Hoffer is a junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Psychology with minors in Creative Writing and Adaptive Brain and Behavior. She is excited to write about health and wellness, relationships, body positivity, and campus life. Proud to be a part of the Her Campus team, she hopes to empower women and gain valuable experience, education, and friends along the way.
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