There are a lot of ways you can celebrate Valentine's Day these days. I mean, if you can abandon the entire romantic undertone of the holiday in favor of Galentine's Day, it's safe to say no one will crucify you for celebrating Valentine's Day in a casual relationship.
It's true — Valentine's Day is no longer reserved for couples in love. If you and your partner are into it, you can celebrate the sale of overpriced, heart-shaped candy no matter what stage of the relationship you're at. Want to buy a Valentine's Day gift for your partner of six months? Go for it! You can even spend the day with a stranger you met on a dating app if you don't want to be alone, which is good news for single people everywhere.
To be clear, it's totally OK to take yourself out on a date or to skip Valentine's Day entirely. But if you'd rather join in the festivities with a casual partner, there are a few things you need to know first. For one, it's absolutely crucial that you and your date answer this question before your Feb. 13 sleepover rolls over into the dawn of the next day.
What do you hope to get out of Valentine's Day with this person?
If you're not in a serious relationship, spending Valentine's Day with someone you're seeing casually brings up the obvious question: "What are we doing here?" I know it sounds intimidating but it's a fair question, a safe one even. It ensures that both people know what the other person hopes to get out of the date.
For example, if you want to spend the night binge-watching your favorite Pam and Jim moments on The Office with this person because you have a similar sense of humor but they've agreed because they think you're the Pam to their Jim, that's worth discussing ahead of time.
You can ask subtle questions like, "So, what do you think about Valentine's Day," or, "Do you typically celebrate Valentine's Day?" If you want to be more forthcoming, try leading with, "I know we're not officially together, but I was wondering how you felt about spending Valentine's Day together," to get a sense of where they're at. Having this information will ultimately help you determine whether or not it's a good idea to make plans with them and maybe even give you some ideas about what you should do together.
Here's how to handle Valentine's Day when the relationship isn't official — even if you might want it to be.
If You're Just Looking For Something Fun To Do On Valentine's Day
Honestly, some Valentine's Day dates are just a lot of fun even if they aren't straight out of a Nicholas Sparks romance novel. Trendy restaurants get creative with their menus, bars host live bands, and two-for-one activities are on sale everywhere. It'd be a shame to let it all go to waste just because you're not in love with the person you're seeing. All that truly matters is that you're in love with yourself and with life, so get out there and have a good time with someone whose company you genuinely enjoy.
If Valentine's Day Is Just Another Day To You
There's no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to go out with your partner on Valentine's Day if you literally could not care less about the holiday. As long as you're both on the same page, feel free to spend a night out making up hilarious back stories for all the couples you see walking hand-in-hand that night, like Tina Fey and Steve Carell did in Date Night.
If You Genuinely Want Them To Be Your Valentine
This one is tricky. Valentine's Day is a convenient excuse to discuss the future of a new relationship. If you'd like to take your casual relationship to the next step, invite your partner out for a real Valentine's Day date but make sure they understand your intentions are genuine. If they don't seem as excited as you are, you might want to rethink things between the two of you going forward.
The truth is, you can celebrate Valentine's Day any way you please. For some people, that means dedicating an entire day to their self-care routine (complete with Lush bubble baths and face masks). For others, that means challenging their casual hookup to a night of competitive go-kart racing. The choice is yours, really, and no one is allowed to judge you for it.
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