I Didn't Love My Partner, But I Pretended I Did For The Sake Of Valentine's Day

by Zara Barrie

If you're single on Valentine's Day, you're allowed to be bitter and twisted and indulge in your loneliness and blackout drink.

But if you're in a relationship, Valentine's Day is supposed to be a day of *bliss.* You're one of the Lucky Ones.

In fact, according to Elite Daily's Valentine's Day reader survey, the majority of women (85 percent) and men (76 percent) would celebrate Valentine's Day with someone they were dating for only six months. That's nothing, but it shows that we're THAT willing and eager to celebrate pretty PINK Valentine's Day.

Which also means they'll probably say "I love you" that day, too. We're just so thirsty as a generation, don't you think? We want to celebrate love and be in love SO BADLY because we're so afraid of loneliness.

Ha! Don't you people realize that there is nothing in the world more lonely than saying "I love you" to someone you don't love?

Actually, there is one thing more lonely: Having to celebrate an entire day dedicated to love with a person that you don't love. I know what this feels like because I had to do it.

Spending Valentine's Day with someone you don't love will really drive home the point of how NOT in love you are. But I knew I wasn't in love with Sadie* weeks before Valentine's Day.

Sometimes you fall out of love slowly, but this was abrupt. Precisely two weeks before Valentine's Day, Sadie and I went to see a movie. I can't even remember what it was, but it really dumb. It was bro-ish.

Sadie loved it. She grabbed my hand in a movie theatre and for the first time, I felt nothing when she touched me. I looked at her laughing at the dumb movie in the darkness, recklessly stuffing popcorn into her mouth.

I noticed her shell necklace. There is nothing more un-chic than a shell necklace. How had I never noticed this necklace?

I had an acute case of sudden repulsion syndrome. Not only did I realize that I didn't love her anymore, but I realized we had nothing in common. In fact, I was starting to worry that maybe she was a rebound.

Rebounds are tricky, tricky relationships. When you're rebounding off of heartbreak, you fall instantly in love with the first person you meet. And it feels so real.

Your friends exchange worried looks and ask you questions like, "Uh, are you sure?" You tell them you've never been more sure about anything in your life. And suddenly, it hits you: This is a fucking rebound.

I'm terrible with confrontation. I mean, I've gotten way better, but back in those days, I was too timid to return a sweater at Nordstrom, let alone break up with someone a few weeks before Valentine's Day.

"Break up with her after Valentine's Day," my best friend Ruba dutifully instructed me.

I listened to Ruba, as I'm wont to do. So I went on a Valentine's Day date with Sadie.

I had no choice really. Sadie and I had been planning this sparkly, fabulous, expensive Valentine's Day dinner date since our second week of dating.

Our romance had been typical lesbian rapid-fire. We were practically living together after the second date. She had pulled strings for the restaurant reservation, and even bought herself an Alexander McQueen bow-tie specifically for the event.

(PSA: If a girl is buying something designer specifically for a date with you, go on the date. Even if you're repulsed. Don't screw with a girl and an epic designer purchase.)

We went to this beautiful French restaurant. All around us were beautiful couples with gleaming skin, opening up blue Tiffany boxes, screaming their love for one another.

I'm terrible at faking things, but girl, I tried so hard.

"I bought you this!" Sadie said to me, handing me a tiny little box. Uh oh.

"Oh, thank you!" I said over-enthusiastically. I tore open the paper. Inside was a very expensive-looking gold ring shaped like a heart.

It was hideous. Gawdy. Not my style. It made me angry that Sadie knew me so little.

I slugged back my red wine. "I love it," I lied through my newly bleached teeth.

"I knew you would!"


"I just know you!"

I couldn't stop myself. "But that's not, like, something I would normally wear. What made you think I would like it?" I leaned in and looked her in the eye.

Her eyes got really, really big. "Do you not like it?"

"I mean, I do. Thank you."

I shut up and continued to drink.

The rest of the night, I found myself acting like a demon. A monster. I was picking little fights with her over nothing.

"We're at the best French restaurant in Manhattan. You can't order the fucking chicken!" I yelled.

"Uh, you ordered a burger. It's not like you're ordering snails or anything."

Point taken.

By the time the check came, I was full-on raging. Being surrounded by so much authentic love when I felt repulsed by my girlfriend was torture. And the worst part was, we were the only lesbian couple in the whole room, and we were in one of those liberal, progressive neighborhoods that loves diversity.

"You're such a cute couple!" a woman in a fabulous designer head turban and massive Chanel bag cooed at us.

I felt the bile rise up into my mouth.

"Here's your bill, love birds!" the waiter said, slamming down the check.

I gritted my teeth. "Let's split the bill," I coldly said.

"You hate splitting the bill."

"That's not true."

"You said it's 'wildly unromantic.' I remember it clearly."

She was right. But I was in for the fight, baby.

"I changed my mind."

By the time the taxi dropped me off, we weren't even speaking. I went to bed that night and tossed and turned. I didn't like the person I was being. Here I was, acting like the freaking Valentine's Day Grinch. Because I wasn't being true to myself.

I was acting like the freaking Valentine's Day Grinch. Because I wasn't being true to myself.

And when I'm being dishonest, I get vicious. It's ugly. I don't like to be ugly.

But then...

"I can't believe she broke up with you the day after Valentine's Day!" Ruba laughed into the phone the next day.

"Well, I acted like such a cunt. She had no choice."

That's right, babes. I was such a bitch that Sadie broke up with me the very next morning.

It didn't feel as good as I had hoped. I felt sour. Like I had betrayed the integrity of Valentine's Day. Like I should've broken up with her the moment I fell out of love with her.

The guilt followed me around for several days, like a bad habit you can't kick. But I learned a lesson: Don't pretend to love someone because you feel guilty that you don't.

The next year, I was single for Valentine's Day. I did tequila shots and made out with a baby dyke at a little gay bar in Brooklyn that's now closed called Sugarland. It was great.

So if you're single this year, enjoy V-Day! Think of all the miserable couples pretending to love each other who are actually hating themselves the entire time. They would kill to be in your single, liberated shoes.

*Names have been changed.