It might sound odd that someone who is a relationship expert would be warning you about this day. Aren’t I supposed to be embracing all things love? Well yes, but also this day for me doesn’t always feel like that’s what we are doing anymore. It’s just a boasting competition online.
This day is an amplification of what we are generally doing online these days when it comes to relationships… posting images which project often a false idea of what a relationship is whilst either staging certain elements or using mushy language and tags. Whilst this just might sound superficial, it has the potential to be a whole lot worse.
Have you ever viewed these posts and wondered why your relationships doesn’t seem as blissful as others online? Have you ever received a gift or romantic gesture from someone, at first thinking it was sweet and thoughtful only to later feel a bit disappointed when you saw what others were getting and what other people were doing for their loved ones online? This is FOMO amplified (or what I now like to call fear of not feeling good enough) and it is especially amplified on February the 14th. It’s no longer about just missing out but doubting yourself and your relationship due to these so-called projections of others’ perfect love.
But being a Sexologist, people tell me things they don’t post online. They confess things they don’t to others and many of those images you see online are masking pain, disappointment and trouble. That’s the thing, the more you can make something look romantic, the more you can get other people to think things are perfect and have that validated with likes and comments, maybe even believing yourself things are the way they seem. Romance has become what something looks like not necessarily the thought someone put in, and we have our obsession with sharing our lives online to thank.
Even businesses are cashing in. Valentine’s Day has always been a somewhat commercial day, but it feels like it’s getting worse. Because images and photo of things will be shared online, there is a race to provide consumers with the perfect gift, which sometimes it also the most expensive gift. Everything has to look more extreme, more over the top and more romantic. Didn’t we just all struggles through Christmas as it is? It’s not just how romantic things look but also how expensive they look too. But money does not equal love.
So how do you survive this day without going insane, feeling down about your relationship or even lack thereof and even worse, feeling disappointed about the gesture you did receive thanks to what others are posting? If you can’t find balance with understanding the falseness or what’s posted online, turn social media off for the day. Be present and focus on what someone is doing not what they are not.
If you are single, grab a group of friends or someone special, even a relative and celebrate love in general. Why does it only have to be romantic love, why not friendship love or family love? Take someone you love out to dinner, no matter what love that is. And if you are a woman in a heterosexual relationship, don’t always leave it up to the men to deliver something amazing and romantic. When did this day become about men providing women with gifts and romantic gestures? What about sending him flowers or doing something romantic he would enjoy? Show the love you want to receive.
And if you can’t switch off from the online world, know that when you are scrolling through online, nothing is ever as it seems and there is always more to the picture than what you can see. That couple might have been arguing before that shot, one person might have stagged various elements, someone might even be cheating. You will never know from one seemingly perfect image, but I can assure you, nothing is ever as it seems.
And if you really want to feel better this Valentine’s Day, I’m doing my bit to help and asking you also to give me a hand. Lest use social media to make each other feel better, not worse. Jump on Instagram and record your bad Valentine’s Day story (we all have one) and tag me in (@drnikkg). I will be sharing these all tomorrow to highlight the possibly real and imperfect side to many of our lives. And the best bad valentines’ day story wins a prize.
So happy Valentine’s day to everyone, no matter what your relationship status is. I’m going to celebrate love in general and so should you, without getting caught up in comparing that love to anyone else.