Everyone weighed in, from therapists, to divorce attorneys.
According to Fila Antwine, lifestyle and relationship coach, celebrating Valentine’s Day is more important now than ever, since we’ve replaced human relationships with technology.
“Every holiday serves as a reminder to take time out and acknowledge something. Valentine’s Day is our reminder to stop the boring relationship routines and make special accommodation to make the ones we love a priority for a few hours. Valentine’s Day is possibly a more important holiday today than it was in previous years. We’ve become more involved with technology which has distanced us from basic human contact and connection. We need a dedicated day to reconnect and be more socially involved with the people that matter most. Plus it’s an excuse to spice things up, get sexy if you want, and have a reason to go out on a proper date.” —Fila Antwine, lifestyle and relationship coach.
Dr. David Simonsen, licensed marriage and family therapist, thinks Valentine’s is trap for men, and we should celebrate relationships daily.
“Valentines day is a trap for men. There is an expectation to do something on that day when in reality, it's like any other day. I think it's important to celebrate your relationship daily. Most people can't or won't do that so this one day is set aside for all the relationally-challenged people. If the shoe fits wear it, I suppose.” —Dr. David Simonsen, licensed marriage and family therapist.
Jennifer Uhrlass, who specializes in marriage and family therapy, thinks we should celebrate by doing simple, enjoyable things, like staying in bed a little longer.
“I do like Valentine's Day, I just think that sometimes the excessive expectations to go above and beyond can sometimes be more harmful than good. When we're so focused on outward displays of affection it's sometimes easy to forget the stuff that really matters, the aspects that bring actual happiness. I think it's a great time for couples to go back to basics: stay in bed an extra hour, take the pressure off of your relationship and just be with each other, see how it feels. Maybe there are areas that you want to nurture a bit more….you can use it as an opportunity to focus on those areas more.” —Jennifer Uhrlass, psychotherapist and founder of Modern MFT.
Relationship expert, Jennifer Seiter, says not celebrating Valentine’s may cause breakups.
“In my experience, it is important to celebrate Valentine's Day. A lot of the breakups I've seen had one thing in common; not celebrating Valentine's Day together. It is true that it's a hallmark holiday, however if you want to keep your relationship strong you should take advantage of any holiday that can bring you closer together as a couple.” —Jennifer Seiter, relationship expert for Ex Boyfriend Recovery.
Stephanie Churma, who’s a relationship coach, isn’t a fan of Valentine’s and wants to remind people that they’re not defined by a made up holiday.
“Valentine's Day isn't my favourite holiday since it has always been a day of comparison for me. When I was single, the cutesy pink decor and the oversized teddy bears seemed sweet, but all I'd hear in my mind, was 'Oh hey, nobody has chosen you, you can't participate'. Any holiday that had PICK ME overtures never felt good. What's great about Valentine's is the notion that we can focus on love, because the world needs more of it, (to be enveloped and candy coated) but we need to remember your worth is not defined by the day. Besides, Cupid is keeping track anyways, love comes often and surprisingly, and on more days than February 14th.” —Stephanie Churma, relationship coach at The Good Love Company.
Jonathan Bennett, dating and relationship coach, thinks everyone is free to love or hate Valentine’s.
“I look at Valentine’s Day neutrally. It’s clearly a holiday designed to sell products. Even the Catholic Church, the originator of Valentine’s Day, took it off of their calendar. On the other hand, a day to celebrate love is meaningful to many people. I don’t think you should stress over the holiday, but if you and your partner enjoy it, no need to apologize either. As I remind my coaching clients: Valentine’s Day doesn’t really mean a whole lot. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, your situation one day out of the year shouldn’t define you.” —Jonathan Bennett, relationship coach and counselor at The Popular Man.
Dr. Racine Henry, marriage and family therapist, thinks we should celebrate Valentine’s as long as we’re not just doing it for the ‘gram.
“Valentine’s Day can be a fun excuse to celebrate your relationship or it can cause tension and stress, depending on how important it is for you and your partner, and how you handle it. Like most potential relationship issues, the impact it has is completely determined by the two of you. There shouldn’t be any pressure to go over the top or spend a ton of money. I think the influence of social media has heightened the importance of Valentine’s Day. Everybody wants to “do it for the ‘gram” and show off. Again, if it matters to the person you’re with, try not to have them feeling left out.” —Dr. Racine Henry, marriage and family therapist.
Assistant professor of psychology, Dr. Laura VanderDrift, doesn’t think celebrating Valentine’s actually matters, but you should celebrate your relationships throughout the year.
“Valentine's Day is all about what we make it. For some couples, it's a great reminder to invest time and energy into the relationship. For other couples though, Valentine's Day can feel like a lot of pressure to conform to a societal expectation of what relationships should be like. So, does celebrating Valentine's Day matter? Most likely, no. But it is important to find authentic ways to enjoy and celebrate your relationship throughout the year, so if Valentine's Day serves as a good reminder of that, then great!” —Dr. Laura VanderDrift, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Syracuse and director of the Close Relationships Lab.
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Annie Wright, marriage and family therapist, says you should negotiate with your partner the level of importance Valentine’s has in your relationship.
“As a therapist, I don't believe that it's helpful to have pressure or rules about how (and how much) to celebrate Valentine's Day. Like with any other holiday, it's subjective. Meaning if it feels important to you, then yes, it's important. If it doesn't feel important to you, then similarly, you don't have to place importance on it. Despite social pressure, you always get to decide which holidays you want to celebrate and how you want to celebrate them. What can be tricky is when you have a couple where one person places significance and importance on the day and the other doesn't. In this case, it's up to the couple themselves to negotiate the level of importance and celebration they want to put on Valentine's Day“. —Annie Wright, licensed marriage and family therapist.
Dr. Laura Deitsch, who has a doctorate in human sexuality, says Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to start a self-love routine.
“My recommendation to clients is to make Valentine's Day a day to connect, with authenticity, about who you are, what you want, and what you bring to any relationship. It can be a great start to a rich conversation and can lead to improved relationships or the potential to find a partner through a stronger self. Couples should use the day to finally have that conversation about what they really want in their sex lives from a sex toy to role playing. Singles can use it as a day to be bold, and double down on a project that they love and will result in greater self-love. Valentine's Day could also be the impetus to start a masturbation practice. It doesn't matter your relationship status to enjoy some self-pleasure.” —Dr. Laura Deitsch, licensed professional counselor focusing on human sexuality issues.
Rochelle Peachey, relationship expert and founder of I Love Your Accent, says Valentine’s shouldn’t be a huge deal, but picking up some flowers wouldn’t hurt.
“It is only important if one or both believes it is important. If you have been together for years and now just buy each other a card, then it’s fine. If you love to do the whole dinner and a gift thing, that's great, too. Anything or nothing is alright if you are both in agreement. There are no rules and no one should feel forced to do something on Valentines Day. However, it never hurts to pick up some flowers on the way home, or have a cozy meal together just because.” —Rochelle Peachey, relationship expert and founder of transatlantic dating site I Love Your Accent.
Libby James, who’s a divorce attorney, says apathy is the main cause for divorce, so taking time to celebrate your relationship for a day is a probably a good idea.
“As a divorce attorney, one of the main causes of divorce I see is apathy. Couples just run out of time or interest to make their relationship work. It happens when people are too busy or overwhelmed with day-to-day matters to stop and put time into the relationship. While I completely agree that Valentine's Day is an invented holiday created by commercial interests, I do think it's important to take the afternoon or night to focus on your relationship and let your partner know the relationship is important to you and your life.” —Libby James, divorce attorney.
Kongit Farrell, who is licensed therapist, thinks we should look a Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love in general, not just romance.
“If you look at Valentine's Day as just a celebration of love, in general, rather than romantic love, it takes the edge off. If you want to celebrate love with friends, family or even yourself, its's totally cool. It doesn't have to be with your sig-o, but if you want to, that's cool too! Love, in whatever form matters and should be celebrated as often as possible, not just one day per year. But since there is a special day for celebrating it, why not?” —Kongit Farrell, licensed marriage, family, and sex therapist.
Relationship coach, Chris Armstrong, has a fun way to celebrate the Hallmark holiday. He hosts an anti-Valentine’s white elephant gift exchange and everyone has to bring something they would hate getting on Valentine’s.
“I find Valentine's Day to be a black mark on love, dating, and relationships. Although we are getting smarter and more cynical of its value and meaning, there are still countless couples that rely on it to be 'a day' out of 365 days that they can and will shower and flower each other with more attention than Meryl come Oscar season. I love Meryl but that's not a complimentary analogy. I actually host an annual V.E.G.E. as in, Anti-Valentines Elephant Gift Exchange, and the gift theme is: things you would hate to get for Valentines Day.” —Chris Armstrong, relationship coach.
And Audrey Hope, who’s a relationship expert, thinks we should use this year’s Valentine’s Day to take a break from all the negativity in the world.
“This past year has been so hard on all of our hearts, and we are all really suffering from too much fear and constant bad news. It would be great to make this year’s Valentine’s Day a day off from all the negativity. Just love someone in your life, no matter what kind of relationship you define it as. This can be about your significant other of course, but it can also be your mother, your father, your grandmother, a sibling, a friend, even a co-worker.” —Audrey Hope, relationship expert and trained hypnotist.
So what do you think? Is celebrating Valentine’s Day important, or is it just another ridiculous holiday? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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