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What Valentine's Day Means When You're in a LDR

What Valentine's Day Means When You're in a LDR

When I got a boyfriend, Valentine’s Day became such an iconic holiday. While I tried to go against participating in time-old cliches of roses and boxes of chocolates, my heart still flutters at the thought of my partner handing me a giant teddy bear. I used to be the one to snare at the PDA present on Valentine’s Day. Now, I get to be the one being snared at—but as I walk hand in hand with my significant other, I don’t really care.

However, when we were separated on opposites sides of the country, it was easy to lose the conventional value of this day.

I know when I realized the holiday was right around the corner, I panicked. Someone told me that “being in a long-distance relationship basically means you’re single.” The sad truth is that yes—physically, you are lonely. Emotionally, it’s not the same. Even in today’s technological age with texting, FaceTiming, and phone calls readily available whenever that twinge of loneliness hits, it’s impossible to fill the void of being present with an actual person.

Especially on a day like Valentine’s Day, with its meaning becoming so misconstrued and deep-rooted in superficial red and pink acts of love, it can be hard to avoid being reminded of this separation. This is especially true in a place like New York where there are people in every corner and nook of the city. Soon, I found myself back to wearing a constant snare.

Sure, as someone who is in a relationship—albeit with someone 3,000 miles away—it is hard to complain when there are people out there who are single, broken up with or worse—broken up with on Valentine’s Day. Sure I have someone, but it is almost harder to know what I have but not being able to fully take part in a relationship. And even for those who are going through a break-up and will argue that they lost what relationship they have, they have that kind of hope of finding love again with someone new. This is the sad reality of the fleeting thoughts of someone in a LDR—sometimes, I can’t help but feel tied down.

But then, I remember why I’m in a long-distance relationship: how much I love and care about him, the future I see us having and how I know that no matter the struggles, problems or worries, it’s worth it.

Valentine’s Day came. The dreaded V-Day. To my surprise, however, I didn’t even realize the day was the holiday I had been anxiously awaiting until that afternoon. I was shocked at how okay I was—I went about my day, got coffee, went to classes, and even took the subway to Brooklyn to visit my friend instead of crawling into bed with a sappy movie like how I assumed I would resort to doing.

I lay in bed thinking, “Wtf happened today?” I began to realize how a long-distance relationship, especially being on my own in the City for six months, helped me find independence. I was no longer the same 14-year-old girl who expected red hearts and stuffed animals.

In recent years, when Valentine’s Day hits, people flood their social media accounts with messages saying, “love your loved ones every day—not just today.” While this is an important thought, what seems even more relevant and crucial in 2019 is realizing that self-care and self-love are also important daily reminders. Valentine’s Day is a day not only to continue to express the love we have for each other but the love we have for ourselves. While not necessarily negating the value and significance of this holiday, in the end, Valentine’s Day is just another day to practice the long-lived message of loving and looking after our own hearts before even beginning to try going after others’.

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