A holiday dedicated to celebrate relationships may actually put a damper on them and here's why:
Placing expectations on your partner, especially without discussing and negotiating such, increases the likeliness of experiencing disappointment. In terms of Valentine's Day, an entire culture encourages expectations to be placed on one day, setting the bar exceptionally high. Individuals using social media often reinforce such ideals by displaying the most picturesque moments and experiences. People are able to tailor their image to portray only specific moments of reality, often only including the best version of a much more detailed story.
Constantly being flooded with these ideals may lead to comparisons and have a toll on one's own experience of happiness. There may be blurred lines between what you value and would consider a great Valentine's Day experience or gift versus what others convey that you should expect or want from the day and your partner. Valentine's Day could be a positive extension of admiration and love that compliment's your connection and commitment to your partner. Instead of placing pressure on proving one's love in one day, consider how as a couple you can begin to emphasize love and affection in your daily lives to promote the well-being and longevity of the relationship. Focus on communicating what you both would like to experience more of: romantic dinners, vacations, intimacy, and make a conscious effort to make these changes and meet each other's needs. When both partners feel love and fulfillment in their everyday relationship, Valentine's Day is just Wednesday!
If there are concerns in your relationship that you are having difficulty addressing, speaking with a professional is a great tool to help identify expectations, facilitate effective communication and work on establishing goals.
Lauren is a Therapist in New York providing relationship counseling and sex therapy for individuals and couples. Are you ready for insight and change?