It’s a bummer to think that one of the most loving and affectionate days of the year can be so intimidating for students who are in new relationships. Although your stomach is filled with butterflies because of them and your palms can’t stop sweating, you might also be consumed by expectations for this holiday. There are so many elements to take into consideration: where to purchase the perfect gift; what is the happy place between overcompensation and minimal affection; should we drop an announcement post on our socials?
I’m here to tell you that Valentine’s Day is what you make it. Whether you and your SO decide to make the day extravagant or simple, here are ways to navigate a new relationship on the Big V.
Keep things simple
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new relationship. It’s natural to be excited about any new partnership, especially a romantic one, when you care about the person that you’re committed to. It’s important to be aware of your new partner’s likes, dislikes and even their love languages. While showering your person with numerous gifts may seem normal to you, it could come off stronger on the opposite end. Everyone’s love language varies, and learning your SO’s could be a proactive way to end a rift in communication before it even begins. If you know that presents aren’t your partner’s thing, don’t worry about coming up empty handed, worry about what they’ll recognize as significant.
Kate Stewart, a dating coach and counselor based in Seattle, suggests that you can buy your SO something simple and sincere, like a card, to show exactly how you feel about them. “Something sincere or humorous, if that’s the type of relationship you have, is best,” Stewart explains. “A simple bouquet of flowers can go a long way without breaking the bank or feeling like you are overspending or over-committing.”
Celebrating the day rather than the evening
It’s always romantic to celebrate Valentine’s Day at night in order to to get in the mood. However, if you want to keep things casual with your new partner, without the pressure pressure of sex, try planning the majority of your activites during the daytime. This way, you’re able to enjoy the romance and keep things running smoothly with your SO.
If you’re not ready to take your relationship to a deeper (and more physical) level, settle for less conventional date ideas. You can avoid “Netflix and Chilling” on the couch by testing out a new restaurant, enjoying some friendly competition at an adult arcade, or even getting artistic at a sip and paint together. Just because you and your SO are officially committed, doesn’t mean either one of you are obligated to have sex. Trying new things (outside of the bedroom) will not only keep you two engaged but also distracted.
Ditch the holiday altogether
If you’re not into celebrating the holiday, maybe try talking to your partner about skipping Valentine’s Day. Once you’ve both figured out how you feel about the holiday itself, treat it as another normal day. Now that you’re in a relationship, it’s about how you feel about each other, not some holiday. Allow your partner to verbalize how they feel about the holiday instead of just assuming. No one is a mind reader so starting a conversation about what to do this February 14 could make a world of a difference.
Although the holiday itself may feel like impending doom, it’s not. You can make it as significant or as miniscule as you and your partner want it to be. The most important thing is that it’s just another day on the calendar and you always have 364 other days to make your SO feel special.