When I was in elementary school, Valentine’s Day was a dream come true. Candy from my parents and friends and exchanging valentines in class seemed so magical.
But as I grew older and saw the world around me during the weeks leading up to Feb. 14, I started liking Valentine’s Day less and less. It’s not because I hate love -- it’s the exact opposite, actually.
I’m a hopeless romantic. Which is exactly why I’m disappointed when I see couples only treat each other sweetly one day of the year. I completely understand wanting to have a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day, but what about the other 364 days of the year? Even just a small surprise that costs nothing can make a world of difference.
Companies have commercialized the idea of love to the point where people compare the size of teddy bears, the amount of flowers and the cost of chocolate to how much someone loves them. To me, that’s not even love.
According to an article by Jonathan Fader inPsychology Today, Valentine’s Day is often unhealthy for relationships. He said that expectations, magnification of pre-existing issues and comparisons can set a relationship up for failure around this holiday. If one half of the couple has high expectations for the Valentine’s Day plans and they’re disappointed, it could easily strain the relationship.
Comparisons are also extremely common. The amount of money spent is secretly compared among friends and family and feelings can be easily hurt.
The National Retail Foundation expects the Valentine’s Day spending to be around $27.4 billion this year, a new record when compared to the previous years.
When love turns into something where only spending money and comparing gifts are important, I want no part. However, there are plenty of couples that spend Valentine’s Day doing activities at no cost. Hooray for those people (with no sarcasm, I promise)! Love is an amazing thing, and spending time with your loved ones is super important.
For this Valentine’s Day, let our gifts to others just be love and the promise to love each other year-round. That’s all you really need.
Features reporter Taylor Metcalf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.