Valentine’s Day comes with a set of expectations, and whether a couple wants to or not, they frequently feel under pressure to “perform” the day appropriately. This year is no exception, even if customary Valentine’s Day plans like going to a restaurant for dinner are figuratively off the table. We already feel stressed, too! Is it really worth adding to our already-heavy plate, especially considering how many couples already feel trapped by their partners?
Californians Sherrie and Brandon, Rancho Cucamonga
“Brandon works in a paper mill, and I stay at home with our two children. We both frequently forget about Valentine’s Day, and he typically works a 12-hour swing shift. That used to annoy me. Then, on Valentine’s Day of the previous year, he found an abandoned six-week-old cat at work and saved it. He was given the moniker Cupid, and from now on his birthday will fall on Valentine’s Day. We’ll work together to crack a “Hunt a Killer” box this year. We enjoy good murder mysteries.
To impress other couples, I used to feel so pressured to have a Valentine’s Day worthy of Instagram. After being with him for more than four years, I’m simply thankful that we can still express our love for one another and take the time to do something nice for him, even if it’s just putting a towel in the dryer so it would be warm when he gets out of the shower. And to celebrate the birthday of our cat, our sons will receive some cupid cake, but they are not permitted to join us for Hunt a Killer. Parents need to THINK!
New Yorkers Leila & Grayson, Hudson Valley
“We haven’t yet moved in together. My parents are quite traditional and don’t believe in living together before marriage, so Grayson lives with his and I do too. But because they ignore us and assume that all we do is watch TV and exercise, we can typically slip in a brief workout in my room or the basement. We ALWAYS celebrate Valentine’s Day and exchange gifts with one another. We always celebrated Valentine’s Day by going out to dinner and having sex if we could. We’re eating supper at my place for Valentine’s Day since we don’t want to eat out. My mother explained that although she, my father, and my brother will eat in the kitchen, we can use the elegant dining room. If we’re upstairs after dinner and my parents are downstairs watching TV in the family room, maybe we can sneak in some sex.”
In Los Angeles, California, Olivia and Soan
“When the pandemic struck, we were both looking for a place to live. I left the apartment my best friend and I shared to live alone in order to save money, but I had no idea how long this would last or what else would transpire. Since Soan and I moved into his parents’ house, we are practically always together since they are both retired. I have the impression of living in a sitcom. We had Panda Express in bed while I was ill on Valentine’s Day last year.and We are looking for something a little more romantic this year. We haven’t decided where we will be placing our food orders, but we hope to recreate a romantic candle-lit dinner moment in our backyard. I got a dress for the event because, well, why not.
We had to inform Soan’s parents of our plans to have “our own thing” that evening. We just managed to avoid having them order from “the best” BBQ joint in Kansas City.
Luke and Jessie, Phoenix, Arizona
“We’ve been together for nine years; in Luke’s hometown, we first connected through common friends. We frequently travel for Valentine’s Day, whether it’s a quick getaway to a resort or a fast trip to Oregon for beer tasting. We visited the Grand Canyon one year! This year, we’re traveling an hour away to the mountains with our daughter and dogs to visit my parents, who live in our social isolation bubble. There is no romance involved, but it provides a change of pace and additional support in keeping the toddler amused, giving us both a break. That seemed to be the closest thing to romanticism we have at the moment.
When you have to balance the demands of work, health, parenting, socializing without actually seeing someone, mental health, and in my case, chronic pain, I don’t think it’s easy to feel romantic. But it seemed quite private when we built fires in the backyard and drank wine. I believe we can concentrate on that after it appears that everything else is in order. Simply said, it doesn’t arise as frequently as it once did. I’m saddened by it, but I’m also giving us a lot of grace because we’re dealing with a pandemic.
Portland, Oregon’s Emily and Jason
“We’ve been together for three years after meeting on OKCupid. Valentine’s Day hasn’t always been a huge deal. However, I like to take a little more care. We often attempt to go on a low-key date, such as a home-cooked supper. We’re actually going a little bit bigger this year. We’re splitting the expense to hire a theater because I really miss going to the movies. It’s less expensive than I anticipated! I can’t wait to watch Spirited Away with my family and eat brownies and popcorn.
Even though it’s difficult to feel anything at the moment, I firmly believe that it is worthwhile to strive to be romantic throughout the pandemic. I still firmly believe that Jason is my person, therefore I know when I get upset with him over trivial matters, it’s a reflection of the state of the world. We’ve been making a concerted effort to get out of the home and do things like go to the beach or go for a drive with the cat. Even while it might not be the most ‘romantic’ thing ever, it seems natural. I’m at a loss for words if that isn’t goddamn romantic.
New York, New York’s Selena & Tomás
“Because we live in different countries, the majority of our relationship has been long-distance. Last August, I was fortunate to travel to New York for graduate school. We haven’t spent Valentine’s Day together in person yet, despite the fact that it will be our third Valentine’s Day together, so we don’t really have a tradition. We’ve come to realize that taking a quick break to remind ourselves to congratulate one another and reflect on our relationship is a great small break. We used to have a virtual meal together while we were apart.and We both placed a pizza order, dressed up, and FaceTimed each other last year. We made arrangements to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year at a fine restaurant in the city, braving the chilly weather. Tomás insists on keeping it a secret, so I don’t know which one it is, but I’m eager because he mentioned their outside eating area looks adorable.
Additionally, I did get some amusing underwear online, but whether or not I use it will depend on whether or not my roommate will be home that weekend. In either case, taking some time to be amorous for a while is beneficial.
Los Angeles, California’s Lauren and Carlos
“In general, that is difficult because we have a child and live in a small one-bedroom apartment. Carlos works full-time, and I’m a stay-at-home mother who is also a student. We’re thinking about making the day special, cooking delicious meals, and spending quality time with each other at home for Valentine’s Day, or even taking a picnic up in the La Canada Mountains. We’re only attempting to protect ourselves from the pandemic. and We’re include our daughter, Mia, in the festivities; I purchased some window decals for us to put up together, and perhaps we’ll create some artwork. Simply said, we make a point of spending quality time as a family.
Before COVID, we would frequently go out to a nice dinner, perhaps watch a movie, and just enjoy our time together without Mia. Since we couldn’t do that, we occasionally leave Mia with either my parents or Carlos’ parents so that we may have a meal without interruption, watch a movie that isn’t suitable for her, and simply unwind.
Californians Charlotte and Alex, San Bernardino
“After dating for ten and a half years, we decided to move in with my parents in order to save money and experience a new environment. Keeping our sense of grownup freedom is becoming increasingly difficult. We don’t have any Valentine’s Day customs; we’ve gone on dates before, but nothing really noteworthy. It’s not a particularly significant holiday to us historically.
But this year, more than ever, I’m anticipating Valentine’s Day! We’re organizing a long weekend trip to a nearby seaside town. Ironically, we are DYING for a few days to ourselves after relocating here to expand our pod. Aside from having noisy sex, which we can’t do here, I don’t think we’ll do anything particularly spectacular or romantic. We’ll surely use the jacuzzi at the hotel where we’re staying. We’ll likely place an order for a large amount of ice cream and takeout food.
Nathan and Rebecca, of Chicago, Illinois
“When lockdown first began, we were residing in Dubai, and it was really strict. We spent a lot of time together during that period, and we began to become restless. We spent about a month with his family and then a few weeks with mine when we first moved to the U.S. in November, so by the time we moved into our own apartment, I just really wanted to lock the bedroom door and watch all of Bridgerton in one day, which I did, without getting dressed or worrying about anyone else’s plans. I assume he experienced the same. Overall, we’re fortunate that we continue to love each other’s company and are eagerly anticipating our upcoming nuptials!
Nathan and his sister are going skiing on Valentine’s Day, while two of my closest friends are staying with me for the weekend. They are both married but, as one said, are “glad for a weekend away”; it’s important to note that since she lives a mile from me, her weekend getaway seemed to involve more time spent away from her home and spouse than anything else. We may have both forgotten that it was Valentine’s Day when Nathan chose to go skiing; when he realized this and asked whether I was upset, I responded, “No, please go!” I looked forward to spending time with friends and being by myself. annd We won’t likely rejoice before or after, in my opinion. We really don’t really celebrate it that much, especially this year when we’ve spent so much time together.
Brazilians Gia & Mateo, So Paulo
“With a few ups and downs along the way, we’ve been dating for the past seven years. We first spoke in the ninth grade and shared a kiss when we were sixteen, but we didn’t go on a real date until after college. We went on a weekend getaway to the beach for our first date, kind of a go big or go home kind. Although we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day much, we usually strive to make something special for both the American and Brazilian versions. Usually flowers and a wonderful meal if we are together. We went for burgers last year. In all honesty, it seems strange that Valentine’s Day is happening at all this year. I believe it ought to be called off. Having said that, perhaps we’ll prepare a nice meal and light some candles to create an atmosphere?
More than usual, I believe it is crucial to recreate “romance” in the pandemic. Cooking together while enjoying some wine and music has done wonders for breaking up the monotony. It’s so calming to take a stroll while holding hands, to set aside some time to spend with one another without feeling like we’re “amid a pandemic.” We can get a lot done with what we have right now, but I wish we had more options. I would love to go on a date to the movies or feel at ease drinking in a loud bar.
Los Angeles, California’s Annabella and David
“On Bumble, I matched with David the day before lockdown. He was very attractive, and we had fun together. We set up a Facetime ‘date’ that lasted hours, and continued Facetiming every day, some nights falling asleep and waking up ‘next’ to each other through the screen We finally met, socially distanced, on my lawn between the sidewalk and the street. We didn’t ‘make contact’ for a month. It felt like a Jane Austen novel! Then after we realized quarantine wasn’t ending soon, we made plans to hang out, normally, after isolating and testing. It was surreal to finally hold his hand. We spent so many hours talking, it felt like we’d been together much longer. Now, we’ve been together almost a year!
Our relationship follows the timeline of quarantine, which is dark. We’ve had to spend time apart here, sometimes weeks, and we’ve never been on a proper date or met each other’s friends. But it will be all the more special when we can do so safely. I’ve never been a big Valentine’s Day person, but this year we’re going to cook dinner, eat chocolate, and dress up at home. I feel incredibly lucky to have found David and experience something beautiful in such a dark time. If we can get through a pandemic, we can get through anything.”
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