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Valentine's Day situationship

How to handle Valentine’s Day if you’re in a situationship, according to dating experts

It’s time to call in the professionals

As we all know, Valentine’s Day is a minefield horror show. But no land is more treacherous and untrodden than the terrain of a situationship on 14 February. Sending a card is out of the question: You don’t even Whatsapp during daylight hours. And you might have spilled your trauma to them while spooning at 3AM after a few wines – but booking a dinner reservation for the most romantic day of the year is guaranteed to have them leave you on read for at least two weeks.

So, wtf are long-standing situationship sufferers actually meant to do? It’s hard to tell if even a romantic meme might be a step too far. Well, in this time of chaos and confusion, we’ve called in dating experts Paul C. Brunson and Kate Mansfield from love-finding apps Tinder and Badoo to steer us away from a potentially catastrophic casual dating move. Here’s what they said:

Opt for a coffee/walk/movie night over boujee dinner plans

You might want to try that candle light fuelled small plates restaurant which just opened on your road but that, fundamentally, is not situationship territory – remember what the deal is here. Instead, Paul suggests something much more low key like a “relaxed walk with a coffee” or “cooking your favourite meal at home” and “watching a move you both have on your list.

“OTT gestures are great,” he says. “But what really matters is that when you’re together you’re all-in. Meaning, you’re not distracted on your phone, you’re listening, you’re being present.”

Do NOT compare your Valentine’s Day to anyone else’s

It’s all too easy on 14 February to open your eyes and start scrolling through everyone’s Instagram stories of their ugly boyfriends (he must be funny) and big bunches of red roses. But, apparently, in order to appreciate your situationship circumstances for what they are, you need to stop this compare and despair cycle:

“Turn off social media for the day so you don’t get caught up in what everyone else has planned. Just enjoy the day for what you both make it,” says Paul.

“Turn off social media for the day so you don’t get caught up in what everyone else has planned. Just enjoy the day for what you both make it,” says Paul.

Let’s get real, this whole Valentine’s Day thing during a relationship just feels horrendously awkward. And, unfortunately, Paul says the easiest way to overcome that is to do the unthinkable and just say what you’re feeling:

“To feel less awkward about navigating your situationship on the most romantic day of the year, keep your expectations in check by having a conversation with your partner ahead of Valentine’s Day,” he says.  “After all, communication is key.” Sob.

Alternatively, Kate suggests laughing it all off: “If you feel awkward about it – chances are the other person is feeling the same way,” she says. “So, you can address that awkwardness and have a laugh.” Ha ha ha (help). 

Trust your anxious girly gut and do what you think is right

Unfortunately, there’s not actually a hard and fast way to handle Valentine’s Day in a situationship. So, you do need to slightly use your intuition here. Some people might be feeling a low key activity date, others are more likely to be comfortable with a night in and a takeaway: “What’s most important is that you’re both comfortable with what you do (or perhaps don’t) arrange,” explains Paul.

Figure out what the hell it actually is you want from this situationship

And, lastly, the hardest piece of advice to swallow from the professionals: Figuring out what to do with your situationship on Valentine’s Day will be a whole lot easier if you know what you actually want from the situation in general. Yikes.

“The first thing you should do is step back and assess the dynamic of your relationship and understand the motivation behind wanting to hang out,” says Kate. “Try and assess whether you’re using the day to put pressure on the relationship to make something more than it is right now.” Guilty. 

If you do wish to celebrate, and the pressure of the day isn’t going to add to the pressure to work out where your relationship is going,” she adds, “feel empowered to take the lead by initiating the conversation. Not only does this show respect and acknowledges effort from your side, but it’ll enable you to feel more confident when the day comes.” 

Tbh, risk it all. Do it for the plot. And if it all goes tits up at least you’ve got an unhinged anecdote.

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• If you’re given any of these Valentine’s Day presents, you’re dating a walking red flag