Don’t feel pressured by the love in the air

At issue: It’s almost Valentine’s Day

Our take: Don’t set yourself up for disappointment

Couples wander through the dirty snowbanks of Boston Common toward the Frog Pond, where they hold hands as they trip and weave across the crowded ice. Restaurants across the city are completely booked with tables for two, followed by movies at AMC. “Galentine’s Day” brings friends together for brunch, face masks, and self-care. We’re talking Feb. 14, a day of anxiety-inducing expectations and excessive spending—all in the name of love. The stigma surrounding Valentine’s Day creates unattainably high expectations for everyone involved and leads to frustration and complications all around, and it’s entirely avoidable.    

With romance peddled everywhere you go—grocery stores, restaurants, even CVS—the idea of being single on Valentine’s Day might seem daunting. There can be a desperate scramble to find someone, anyone, to go out with. Take the pressure off yourself. Don’t worry about your relationship status. Spend the day doing something you love and enjoy the abundance of candy that will inevitably be on sale. Recently, the tradition of celebrating with your friends the day before the holiday, often called, “Galentine’s Day,” has gained popularity. It’s great to take time to celebrate friendship, but it shouldn’t feel like a competition to outdo the lovebirds. Not having a date on Valentine’s Day, or even Galentine’s Day, isn’t the end of the world.  

While in a relationship, it’s also important to acknowledge any stress caused by Valentine’s Day. You don’t necessarily need to adhere to any of the standards established by the media, particularly when it comes to money. This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with purchasing a gift for your significant other, but that isn’t the heart of the holiday. The quality of a relationship is not measured by the amount of money spent on one another.

People looking for or involved in sexual relationships also face potential problems on Valentine’s Day. The expectation of performative romance and satisfaction can lead to unwanted situations. Even though consent may seem implied or inherent due to the nature of the day, it’s important to remember that sex isn’t any more obligatory or necessary on this day than any other. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be treated as a deadline for sex or a day to abandon healthy sexual practices and communication. Even if you plan a sexual encounter in advance, there is nothing wrong with changing your mind in the moment. Consent is essential, no matter the occasion.

Whether you spend Valentine’s Day on a hot date at Genki Ya or cuddled up watching Netflix in your dorm room, please remember this holiday is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It may seem like you’ve been spending the day forever alone, or that you need to jump into bed to seal the deal, but you are young.There will be more chances to spend the perfect day of love with special people. Feb. 14 appears on the calendar each year and presents another chance to master romance, whether it’s with a partner or many or with yourself.

If it makes you feel any better, there are no grand gestures in the cards for us this year—we’ll be in the newsroom working on next week’s edition of The Berkeley Beacon all night.

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