Sweet or sickly? The Valentine’s Day divide

I heart U: YouGov surveyed US adults in January 2017. The remaining 9% gave other responses.

Today, couples around the world will show their affection with flowers, cards and messages of love. But research shows that nearly half of us cannot wait for it to be over.

Love hearts, red roses, chocolates, cards… Valentine’s Day is here! Across the world, lovebirds are exchanging heartfelt gifts over romantic, candle-lit meals…

Feeling a bit queasy? You are not alone. According to YouGov, almost half of US adults think Valentine’s Day is “overrated”, compared with 43% who describe the day as “romantic”.

Both married and single people are most likely to think the day is overrated. Only people who said they are “in a relationship” were more likely to think the holiday is romantic.

But lots of us just do not like Valentine’s Day, single or not. Here, psychology could hold the key.

According to “resistance theory”, when people feel like they are being told to act in a certain way, they are less likely to want to do so.

Valentine’s Day can inspire this particular resistance, especially among natural rebels, because there is so much pressure to buy gifts and express your feelings on the day.

Where did Valentine’s Day come from anyway?

The holiday takes its name from St Valentine, a Christian saint. There are conflicting legends about him, but one popular story holds that he secretly married Roman soldiers and their lovers, who were forbidden to wed in third century Rome in case they got distracted from battle.

Today, over one billion valentine cards will be sent across the globe.

Be mine

What is love really about? Grand gestures? Heartfelt words? Or can love be quiet and un-showy? For many, true love is something that grows over a lifetime: one day is nothing.

Has commercialisation made Valentine’s Day meaningless? Or does the day, in fact, unfairly shame single people? In long-term relationships, romance often gets lost amid the mundane demands of day-to-day life. Perhaps it’s good to take a day to put love back in the spotlight?

You Decide

  1. Does true love exist?

Activities

  1. Write a short poem about Valentine’s Day. It can be positive or negative, heartfelt, funny or sad.

Some People Say...

“People who are sensible about love are incapable of it.”

Douglas Yates

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 every year. However, in places like Russia, the Eastern Orthodox Church marks Valentine’s Day on July 6 or 30.
What do we not know?
We don’t yet know how much money the UK has spent on Valentine’s Day this year, but it’s likely to exceed the £1.5 billion we spent on the holiday in 2017.

Word Watch

Overrated
When something is thought to be better than it deserves.
St Valentine
According to another story, while St Valentine was awaiting execution he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote her a letter with the sign-off, “from your Valentine”.
Conflicting
Contradictory; there are lots of different versions of the story.