It’s supposed to be the most romantic day of the year, but for many couples February 14 is anything but.
Lovers and experts blame the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day and the explosion of social media for setting up impossible expectations.
Rebekka Lord-Johnson, 21, who was dumped two days before the celebration in 2014 (forcing her to eat a candlelit pub meal with her mother on the big day) says her relationship suffered from the “pressure” of Valentine’s.
“To be honest, I think Valentine’s Day in 2014 was the reason for the break-up. There was so much pressure for the day to be romantic and thoughtful,” Ms Johnson says.
“When one person in a couple isn’t feeling comfortable, or is sensing a decrease in feelings for another person, Valentine’s Day may in fact scare them away.”
A relationship expert tells The New Daily that social media has created a competitive atmosphere around the occasion. As soon as the day rolls around, photos flood social media.
“It’s hard to escape,” Curtin University’s Amanda Lambros says. “When you start comparing, it actually devalues your own experience of Valentine’s Day.”
Many of us are guilty of posting the annual Valentine’s Day appreciation post on social media. But when your friend posts a photo of her diamond earrings and gourmet meal on Facebook, one has to ask: is it really about public displays of affection? Or is it a public play for attention?
‘Not worth it’
The excessive commercialisation of the celebration turns some couples off it entirely, like recently engaged Larissa Zambelli, 21.
Ms Zambelli has experienced disappointing Valentine’s Days in previous relationships. Now she and her fiancé do not believe that February 14 is particularly special.
“In past relationships, I always thought Valentine’s Day was the best thing; showing your complete affection by buying a bear, chocolates or flowers. If the guy didn’t live up to expectations, it would put a downer on the day,” she says.
“Once you feel like you have met ‘the one’, those little things don’t matter anymore. I know for this Valentine’s Day, my fiancé and I won’t be doing anything too extreme — probably a nice walk or a cheap dinner.”
How to prevent disaster
The good news is that there are things you and your partner can do to save your relationship from the Valentine’s Day slump.
You do not have to get caught up in the commercialised hype and you can have a special day if you do choose to celebrate it.
Curtin University’s Amanda Lambros suggests the following tips to avoid crumbling under the pressure:
• Communicate. Talk about what you want and expect from Valentine’s Day in advance.
• Enjoy what you have. Stop comparing your flowers to the next person’s and be grateful for any expressions of love you receive.
• Do not leave it all to Valentine’s Day. Regularly show love and affection to your partner. Do not wait for this one day to spoil your lover.
• Try not to gloat on social media. Yes it is all beautiful and romantic and you’re starry-eyed, but boasting on social media can create a judgemental environment.
• Be sentimental. If you are on a budget, pack your own picnic or make your own card. Focus on spending time together rather than getting caught up in the commercialism.