Think Valentine’s Day is a load of nonsense? Think again. It can work wonders for your love life
The shops are full of hearts and flowers, and perfume adverts flood your telly screen. Does it make you roll your eyes and want to hide away until 15 February?
There is so much pressure to have a perfect romantic moment, that all too often Valentine’s Day is a big let-down.
So perhaps it’s time to look at it differently?
If you’ve been together a while, or are in a relationship that’s flagging, can Valentine’s Day help? Can 24 hours save your love life?
Relate counsellor Simone Bose believes it can.
She says: ‘Valentine’s Day is a good time to kick-start feeling closer to each other again. The key is to make sure you understand each other’s expectations about the day by talking about it beforehand.
‘If you both have busy schedules it can be a good thing to have a set day to remind you of your relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to do traditional Valentine’s things — it’s up to you how you bring meaning to that day. But the day itself can make you focus on your partner.’
If you’re not keen on buying cards or flowers, Simone recommends other, cheaper ways of expressing your feelings.
She says: ‘You can simply write a love letter. Many people just sign their name in a bought card when some thought-out, loving words can mean so much. Or make a card rather than buy one
‘If you don’t feel like going out, cook a meal and stay at home. Create a playlist of old songs that remind you of when you first got together that are sentimental and you can reminisce.’
But what if you long for romance but your partner hates Valentine’s Day?
‘Respect each other’s wishes,’ says Simone. ‘Do something unconventional on the day, or do something special on another day. If one partner doesn’t like celebrating Valentine’s Day it might be that they have something in their past that makes them feel negative towards it.’
When you’ve been together a while, you might feel Valentine’s Day no longer applies to you, but Simone disagrees.
She says: ‘Different partners can feel they are at a different phase of their relationship. For example, you might still feel a flush of love, but your partner might feel you’ve moved on to a more comfortable stage.
‘Days like Valentine’s Day can highlight issues, so talk about your expectations, so no one is disappointed.’
The key is to use 14 February as a way of reminding yourselves about all the good things in your relationship.
Simone says: ‘If you’ve not spoken about how you feel about each other for a long time, doing it on Valentine’s Day is a lovely way to start.’
Edited by Julie Cook
5 reasons why LOVE is good for your health
Love is good for your heart — when people spend time with loved ones, their blood pressure decreases.
Being in love boosts your immunity — people who are intimate with each other have a higher levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps the immune system fight off germs and bacteria.
People in relationships live longer — they’re more likely to have regular medical check-ups and when they get sick, they’re better looked after.
Love is good for your mental health — oxytocin, the love hormone, is released when we touch or hug each other, which helps anxiety and other psychological issues.
Love decreases stress — when you’re in love, your brain floods with dopamine, which gives you focus, energy and optimism, all of which help to counter stress.