Valentine’s Day: 9 Stories of Love at Every Stage
Valentine’s Day: love it or hate it, but either way you’ve probably got some good stories! At least, that’s what we were counting on when we asked around about how different singles and couples like to celebrate (or ignore) this particular holiday. From the cynics to the hopelessly romantic, here’s a compilation of stories about how different people have spent February 14th throughout the years, and a look into how Valentine’s Day may (or may not) change with your relationship status.
“For the past four years, I’ve spent Valentine’s Day with my friends. One year, my roommate, her dog, and I stayed in for movies, wine, and takeout. One year my best friend and I went bar-hopping with another friend and spent the whole night taking shots. That was probably the best Valentine’s Day EVER. Last year, a group of about 20 of my friends all went to the horse races for Valentine’s Day. There were several couples in the group, but we all decided it was a day to celebrate our friendships instead of romantic relationships (and the birthday of someone’s dog, so we toasted the dog several times).
“My favorite Valentine’s Day ever though, was a few years ago. I wasn’t seeing anyone and honestly didn’t expect anything but a phone call from my parents saying they loved me. To my surprise, I got home from class that day to find a box of flowers on the kitchen table with my name on it — no note included. I had no idea who sent them.
“A few hours later, I got a text from some anonymous messaging service saying ‘Hope you liked the flowers. -A.’ My roommate and I have been watching Pretty Little Liars together for years, so I completely freaked out! In a good way though — it was such a fun mystery. I was convinced my roommate sent them as a prank, but she denied it. Of course I didn’t believe her, and revenge seemed like a good idea. She has a fear of cotton balls, so I took an entire bag and stuffed them down at the foot of her bed so she would touch them when she got into bed that night. Her scream was hilarious, but she got so mad at me.
“As it turns out, she actually didn’t send them, but she told a guy friend of ours to do a PLL prank. She was the brain behind it. I still regret nothing.”
New Relationship: Brooke and Nick, Dating for 2 Months
“I’ve always celebrated Valentine’s Day in one way or another — even if I was single, my friends and I have always gotten together and done something fun. One year, we even went all out and had a “Gal-entine’s Day” party — there were banners, champagne, every kind of dessert you could imagine, and we even did a photoshoot in the backyard with pink balloons.
“Later in college, I had been dating this guy for eight months. I had decided recently that I was really into feminism and equal rights, and I was always ranting to my boyfriend about it — so he definitely knew how I felt about it. Anyway, once Valentine’s Day rolled around, he got me…a mug. From a gas station. Because he assumed I wouldn’t be into celebrating. But I, on the other hand, had assumed we were going to celebrate — so I had written him a heartfelt letter and gotten him some romantic gifts. Needless to say, I was furious. But that experience taught me a valuable lesson: No matter what stage of the relationship you’re in, you have to communicate with each other about how you feel and how you want to celebrate romantic holidays like Valentine’s Day — instead of expecting your partner to read your mind.
“This year, I’ve been seeing Nick for a few months and we JUST became ‘official.’ But I made sure to talk to him about how we intend to spend Valentine’s Day this year and we agreed that we we both want to celebrate it — not too big, but we don’t want to ignore it. Apparently, he’s going to surprise me with something, but I don’t know what yet.”
Long-Term Relationship: Katie and Tyler, Dating for 1 Year, Just Moved in Together
“My boyfriend and I are just shy of a year together, so this will be our first Valentine’s Day as a couple. As cheesy as it sounds, we were hooked from day one and became serious very quickly. He moved in about four months ago, so we decided to take a trip out of town to spice up the normal day-to-day routine we have at home.
“We are staying at a haunted hotel (Yes. I said haunted. How romantic.) in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I typically wouldn’t expect anything this extravagant for Valentine’s Day alone, but being that my birthday is February 17th, it gives us a reason to do it up big!”
Long-Distance Relationship: Elise and Austin, Dating for 5.5 Years
“Valentine’s Day was hard the first couple of years because we couldn’t spend it together (it fell on a weekday, he was working, and I had classes). So I would spend it with my family or friends, and we would just celebrate later. But by like the third year, it wasn’t such a big deal to me anymore — so it was just all the more special when he could make it.
“Honestly, holidays like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the last two days of the year that we would ever want to go out. When we do get to spend Valentine’s Day together, we always keep it low-key and cook dinner together. Still semi-romantic, but definitely laid back. We just want to enjoy actually being together.”
Living Together: Christine and Ben, Dating for 2 Years, Living Together for 6 Months
“Our first Valentine’s Day together, I had just returned home from studying abroad in England for four months. We were seeing each other for a while before I left, but had left things up in the air while I was gone and kind of started over once I came home. So I had no idea what to expect for Valentine’s Day — I had no idea how to classify our relationship. I showed up at his house and he had cooked me dinner, made red velvet cake balls (my favorite), wrote me a card about how excited he was for our future, and made me a rose out of copper ‘so it would last forever.’ I was incredibly shocked by the lengths he had gone to, and I was definitely embarrassed that all I’d done was write him a cheesy poem.
“Now, we’re basically an old married couple, so we’ll probably just stay in and watch movies with our dog. But honestly, nothing sounds better than hanging out with my two best friends. I still think it’s fun to cheese it up at least a little on Valentine’s Day just because you can, but I really have no desire to go out on one of the busiest nights of the year.”
Newlyweds: Jordan and Drew, Dated for 5 Years, Engaged for 1 Year, Married for 3 Months
“The first few years of our relationship, we would get dressed up and go out for Valentine’s Day — but one year, we stood waiting over half an hour for a table, and then once we were seated there was a live sax player right by our table. I think it was supposed to be romantic, but it was honestly mildly annoying. So last year, when we were engaged, we decided to ditch the “traditional” ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day and instead went and hiked Pinnacle mountain, bought an exorbitant amount of alcohol, ate a casual dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant, and then went home and played Super Smash Bros drinking games. It was pretty much the best Valentine’s ever, and it’s going to be hard to top now.
“Now that we’re married though, this is the first year that we’ll actually be exchanging expensive (ish) gifts, because we’re not broke college students anymore. Also, being married is kind of like, ‘Hey, we’re in it for the long haul, I don’t mind spending hundreds of dollars on you now’ — it’s kind of like an investment!”
Newlyweds: Olivia and Lance, Dated for 4 Years, Married for 1 Month
“The first Valentine’s Day we spent together, we had only been dating for a few months, but we weren’t ‘officially’ together yet. So we both kind of let the holiday pass without really acknowledging it, because we didn’t want to make the other one feel awkward. But we both regretted it later because secretly we both had wanted to celebrate; we just didn’t know how to bring it up.
“The first year that we were officially dating, we went out to a romantic dinner….where someone proceeded to spill their drink all over me. After that, we’ve always kept Valentine’s Day pretty casual, and sometimes we would just get each other a useful gift instead of something cheesy. But last year, when we’d been together for three-and-a-half years, he planned out a trip for us to go to Memphis to see a Broadway play (which is definitely not his thing) — so I for sure thought he was going to propose. He didn’t, but that was still the best Valentine’s Day yet, and we got engaged shortly after — so it was all good.
“This year, since we just got married, we don’t really plan on spending too much money. (Weddings are expensive!) We’ll probably take my mom out to dinner since she’s single and doesn’t have anyone to spend the holiday with — and because she helped pay for our wedding.”
Married: Melanie and Travis, Known Each Other for 30 Years, Dated for 4.5 Years, Married for 1 Year
“Travis and I met in middle school, dated off and on in high school, then lost touch. I ended up marrying someone else in my early twenties. My ex-husband was horrible at gift-giving no matter what holiday it was. One year he gave me a sewing machine for Valentine’s Day. I was like, ‘Are you f*cking kidding me?’ I would have rather him not given me anything than something that was so off-base from who I was. It basically validated why we weren’t supposed to be together.
“Luckily, Travis and I reconnected about five years ago. I was actually on my way to meet someone else for a blind date when we ran into each other. I ran and jumped into his arms, told him I was getting rid of my date, and the rest is history.
“We’re not really big fans of Valentine’s Day as a couple, but Travis still sends flowers a few days before Valentine’s Day with a card that says ‘Not because of V-day, but I love you.’ It makes no sense, but things like that make my Valentine’s Day the best ever.”
Married: Pam and Greg, Married for 25 Years, 3 Kids Together
“One year, we ran a big bubble bath with the music, candles, and champagne. Greg also got a big bucket of chicken wings. We were eating them in the tub and throwing out the bones. Our dog then proceeded to eat every single one of them and got extremely sick, and that night was officially ruined.
“Another time, we reserved a nice hotel in a neighboring town and had dinner reservations. Then suddenly there was a huge snow storm. The whole town shut down, but we drove out to the restaurant anyway and ate practically alone — but we had excellent service! Then we went back to the hotel, drank our champagne, and watched the huge snowflakes outside of the enormous window of our hotel.
“We also always get a little something for each of our kids every year, but we make sure to make time for each other and not ever let that take the back burner. We’ve learned that things like Valentine’s Day never go exactly as planned, but it usually makes for a good story at least!”
Last modified on November 9th, 2016
Show Comments +