Here we are at that time of year again, folks. The lurve month. Valentine’s Day is back again, and with it, we can expect a wave of social media posts highlighting just how much people love this holiday and their S.Os.
That’s all well and good, but according to data from sexual health and sex toy company NORMAL, it’s kind of a lie. Not the part about people loving their partners, of course. The bit about loving the Valentine’s Day holiday.
On average, it seems that Aussies actually have a kind of negative view of Valentine’s Day. Naturally, this varies from person to person, and yes relationship status has something to do with it – but the trends may not be as clear-cut as you’d assume.
Let’s talk about the ‘Valentine’s Day happiness curve’
Based on the data found when surveying 500 Australians on their opinion of Valentine’s Day, NORMAL found that there appears to be a clear curve in happiness levels attached to this date.
The lowest level of happiness appears to be attached to singles on Valentine’s Day with a score of 3.3 out of 10. That slightly increases for people in ‘complicated’ relationships (3.5), then jumps up for folks in new relationships (5.5) and begins to decrease again for those in long-term relationships (5.0).
Surprisingly, however, no group scored particularly high on the happiness curve for Valentine’s Day. Even those in relationships sit around the pass mark.
Why do we think that is?
Feelings associated with V Day
For singles, the survey suggested that above all else Valentine’s Day brings feelings of judgement with it. For this group, 38 per cent of people shared that their top feeling was “being judged for not being in a relationship”. No fun.
The second-highest result here was “I use it as a time for self-love” (33%), followed by “I use it to celebrate non-romantic connections” (24%). This is slightly more encouraging – more of this, please.
When you consider data like that, it’s not hard to see why singles scored lowest in happiness on Valentine’s Day – for many, it’s a date where they’re made to feel less than.
People in ‘complicated’ relationships also didn’t share glowing reviews of V Day in the survey. The top feeling associated with the date was “I do it out of obligation, doesn’t mean much to me” at 39 per cent.
You could argue that this isn’t much healthier than feeling judged, because who wants to be celebrated out of obligation?
“I use it for self-love” and “I spend quality time with my partner” tied for second place with people in complicated relationships at 17 per cent. Nothing groundbreaking.
Those in new relationships were the only group who mostly shared a positive sentiment towards Valentine’s Day. For new lovers, 63 per cent said the date was one that they associated with “spending quality time with my partner”.
The next highest result was “I lean into the romance” (23%) – again, the only group to really respond to that option. Then, “I do it out of obligation, doesn’t mean much to me” followed at 20 per cent, surprisingly.
Over in long-term relationship territory, we saw more of a split. The highest result was “spending quality time with my partner” but that was less than half of the group at 40 per cent.
This was followed by “I take time to reflect and celebrate our relationship” (22%), which is lovely. And close behind followed “I do it out of obligation, doesn’t mean much to me”(20%).
Probably the most interesting insight this data gives us is that in each of the groups surveyed, at least 20 per cent of people had some kind of negative or lukewarm feelings towards Valentine’s Day.
Flip the script a little
The goal here isn’t to point a finger at V Day for bringing up feelings of judgement or obligation for so many people. In truth, there lies a rather lovely opportunity in recognising that loads of people don’t give a damn about the traditional meaning attached to the date.
What if instead of spending hours worrying about which expensive gift to buy or thinking about how people see you, we used Valentine’s Day to actually work on injecting a little more love into your day?
Whether that’s giving someone a cuddle or spending some sacred time alone, or watching The First Wives Club with a wine, maybe it’s time more of us removed the pressure of this date from our backs and actually focused on feeling the love (in whatever way works for you), instead.