Ah, Valentine’s Day: the time of year when we scramble to find someone to spend this special holiday with in hopes of convincing ourselves that we are not lonely, we are not undesirable, and we are not going to die alone. With a couple rare exceptions, I have spent every one of these overly-marketed holidays either alone or in some awkward stage of hopeful romance with some random person I met the week before. No matter what your relationship status may be, planning and preparing for Valentine’s Day is usually an emotional roller coaster.
On the times I’ve been single, I’ve always battled with the shame of being alone. The sounds of my ex-girlfriends cackling away at my singledom haunted me in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, leading me to take whatever offer was put on the table, even if it was from someone I had little to no interest in. Most of the time, these women were just like me, and weren’t over the heartbreak.
Looking back, I wish I had realized that there’s nothing wrong with being alone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being single and happy. The problem is that we judge those of us in our community who aren’t wifed up. And that judgement, in turn, often encourages us look internally and think that something is wrong with us. We have long since been conditioned to internalize the idea that if no one wants to play with us, we must be ugly, worthless, or defective.
On the times I’ve been lucky enough to be partnered, I struggled with meeting—and hopefully superseding—my partner’s expectations, and in the process often losing control of my feelings and my spending. The flowers, the chocolate, the expensive over-the-top dinner with an equally over-priced bottle of wine…I was sucked into it all. And though I have had some beautiful dinners and made some beautiful memories, I can’t help wondering if I was doing those things because I genuinely wanted to, or more so because I thought I was supposed to.
As I turn to plan this Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to exchange my lavish tendencies for a more mature approach. I plan to make Valentine’s Day romantic, and fun, but at a fraction of the cost. I don’t need a diamond necklace or pearl earrings to know that I am loved. Setting aside money for the future is as sexy as it is savvy.
There is absolutely nothing more romantic than being on the same page as your partner, and putting yourself and your future goals above superfluous gestures of love. This will be the best Valentine’s Day yet.