The ‘Not-So-Hot’ History of Valentine’s Day and How to Combat ‘Not-So-Hot’ Love

Photo courtesy of Javier Leddy Photography

Much like love itself, Valentine’s day’s origin remains a mystery full of lust, conflict, and ancient history.

While Christian entities believe that Valentine’s day commemorates the death of Saint Valentine, many believe that this interpretation appropriates the pagan celebration: Lupercalia. Tracing back to 6 B.C.E, this intricate fertility festival included stripping naked, whipping women (many  of whom were eager to receive the ceremonial lashings– don’t worry!), as well as auctioning them off to be in relation with another man for the remaining year (in response to this practice, I have no defense). 

After running a short instagram survey, it is clear that modern, post-COVID interpretations of the holiday also bring in mixed reviews: 

“Quarantine forces you be more intimate” – Hiwa (21)

Gal-entine’s day is where it’s at” – Mikiala (20)

“V-day is a consumer holiday. We should love and appreciate 365 days a year” – Mya (22) 

In many ways, Mya’s perspective resonates. This year alone, according to the National Retail Foundation, Valentine’s Day is projected to bring in a whopping $21.8 Billion dollars in the US. I suppose modern practice traded in BDSM-esque rituals for chalky candy hearts.

Whether indulging in Valentine’s celebrations from a distance or vibing alone, everyone should know how to create long-lasting relationships. To curb the holiday’s capitalistic insincerity and ward off it’s sordid, energetic origins, I spoke to Dr. Suzanne Anthony, a licensed clinical psychologist, to gain some insight on *healthy* love:

  1. Simultaneously Prioritize Each Other and Yourself: Dr. Anthony stresses that “It’s important for couples to, both, prioritize time with each other and develop individual interests”. After all, “Codependency can develop when couples rely excessively on their partner for their emotional and psychological needs”. 
  1. Build and Maintain a Solid Foundation: “Being able to communicate effectively with each other, work as a team instead of adversaries when stressors occur, respect each other’s opinion, problem solve instead of having an argument, (and) work through conflict without harming the other person” are all building blocks that Dr. Anthony recommends. 
  1. Consistently Practice Self-Growth and Self- Maintenance: Finally, Dr. Anthony emphasizes that “Healthy relationships also require that each partner work on themselves. If a person is not healthy themselves, they cannot be in a healthy relationship”. 

It might be surprising to find out that cultivating a healthy partnership includes so much attention on yourself. When it comes to more long term commitments, it can even be beneficial to look into methods like The Gottman Method, an acclaimed therapy technique that focuses on values like managing conflict, building trust, and creating shared meaning.

From bestie to twin flame to quarantine-and-chill lover, these tips can keep your love healthy all year round.

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