TW: Domestic Violence 

Valentine’s Day can stir up a mix of emotions and, let’s be honest, a fair bit of pressure. Flashbacks to high school when having a Valentine seemed like the ultimate goal or the anticipation of your crush magically realizing you wanted to be their Valentine (come on, Morgan, they barely knew you existed!).

Don’t mind my internal dialogue. Let’s talk about that pressure, shall we? The pressure to nail the perfect gift and craft the ultimate plans. Just yesterday, my 16-year-old nephew asked for advice on what to get his friend for Valentine’s Day. It made me chuckle, realizing the timeless pressure to ensure our special people know they’re cherished (some things never change, right?).

However, it’s important to acknowledge that Valentine’s Day isn’t always all hearts and flowers. The stress and pressure around gift-giving can contribute to higher rates of domestic violence. If this day triggers unpleasant memories for you, fear not – we can still find a way to celebrate together without the weight of past experiences.

Together, let’s release that pressure valve and let your past self know it might get uncomfortable as we lean into the hope of the future. Let’s celebrate the people we care about and allow those who care about us to help make the day special.

So, here’s our game plan for Valentine’s Day – no need to go at it alone:

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1. Pick Who You Want to Spend Your Day With:

  • You don’t have to reserve Valentine’s Day for romantic celebrations—one of my favorite V-Day memories involved grabbing food with one of my best friends. Choose who you want to spend time with and make it memorable.

2. What To Do, What To Do:

  • When it comes to Valentine’s Day plans, the possibilities are endless. Take the pressure off yourself and do whatever feels right for you. Maybe that’s organizing a nice night out with friends or a partner. Perhaps it’s a marathon rewatch of Friends or Living Single or just treating the day like any other. 

3. Galentines/Friend-tines Gathering:

  • Host a get-together with your closest friends on campus. Whether in Armstrong, grabbing food, sharing laughs, or exchanging handmade cards and candy, make it a celebration of friendship.
  • If you are in a romantic relationship, go out on a date, add some red and pink, maybe a gift, stir, and voila – it’s a Valentine’s Day celebration!

4. To Gift or Not to Gift:

  • The pressure of gift-giving can be overwhelming. Are those you celebrate with on the same page about gift-giving? Just ask! Discuss expectations of the day. If you’re clueless about what to get, well, you guessed it – just ask! 

Remember, while Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming, you can make it memorable with people you care about. Craft a celebration that feels right for you, minus the unnecessary stress. Together, we’ve got this!

Written by Morgan-Allison Moore, M.Div. (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Assistant Director, SIV Prevention and Outreach, Health Equity, and Access


This article was originally published in the newsletter ‘Courageous Connections.’ Subscribe here to stay up to date with resources, events, and ways to support survivors of sexual assault or interpersonal violence.