Today is Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the day in which the internet abounds with cheesy rhymes and outpouring of mostly romantic feelings.
roses are red
violets are blue
this is a poem
The holiday can be difficult for a lot of people, for a variety of different reasons. Maybe you’re asexual or aromantic or maybe you’re just not involved in a romantic relationship right now. Maybe you’re still getting over a break-up. Maybe the relationship that you’re in is abusive and you’re trying to get out of it. There are so many maybes here, but I think that is enough to start with.
And then on top of all of this along comes this holiday all over the television and radio that encourages people to show their significant other how much they love them! But wait, how are we supposed to show them?
Since you asked… the media would have you believe that love is expressed by spending money. We are spurred to buy cards, to buy jewelry, to show him or her just how much you care. And the clear subtext is that if you are not able to make this monetary effort, or if you do not make this monetary effort for any reason, you clearly don’t care enough. It’s plain wrong and distinctly untrue, but the subtext is there nonetheless and pervasive enough that it is yet another one of the pressures on people who live with financial stress.
So I’m going to divert from the narrative here and reiterate that it is entirely acceptable and okay to not be able to spend money on someone else just because a Hallmark holiday says that you should. It doesn’t mean you love them or care about them any less. And there are a lot of expressions of care that do not require extra expenditures, like a nice night watching movies at home with a nice dinner, or if you cohabitate, offering to do a chore that the other person dislikes doing but does anyway. There are so many things that do not involve spending money that is allocated to something else in the budget.
If you do care about someone, the best thing to do is to just tell them (in which I am a gigantic hypocrite but that’s probably material for another post once I have all these pesky feelings figured out). Don’t just tell them on Valentine’s Day, though, or when you feel obligated to tell them. Tell them every day, or every week, or when you go to bed, or when you wake up— but maybe not all of those.
Or maybe yes all of those. Whatever works for you.