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Mind your own Valentine

college culture


College of Charleston


Mind your own Valentine

All you know is that you know nothing.

Sarah Shtessel


As Valentine’s Day is approaching, people want to do fancy things. Whatever you are doing with your loved one, I hope that it perfectly represents your preferences and the preferences of your special other. I also hope that you do not judge the preferences of others.

Over the winter break, my family had several difficult conversations.

The first difficult conversation was about my distant cousin who is getting divorced. None of us know any details of why or when. We simply know because she told one of us when we asked where to send the Christmas card this year. Personally, I don’t care why she and her husband are getting divorced. They must not be able to live together anymore, and whatever the details are should stay between the two of them. The older generation did not see it that way. My mother wanted to know the details, but as a more modern woman, she believed that it was probably for the best and did not blame my cousin. My aunt and grandmother, though, could not contain themselves.

“How could she do that?”

“A woman must be wiser than that and find a way to stay together!”

“What about her kids? She is selfish and stupid!”

There is no such thing as a perfect couple, and no such thing as a perfect marriage. People argue. People stay together only because of children, or because they depend on each other emotionally or financially. Some stay together just because they are so used to each other, and would rather have an open relationship than calling it quits.

Why then does the media portray happy couples who understand each other? Modern Family portrays several couples, all diverse and with different family situations. Each couple has an issue at the beginning of the episode, and yet at the end of thirty minutes each partner begins to understand the other more and come to a solution. In reality, most couples never solve their problems.

The second difficult discussion was about my parents. My mother’s problems with my father exploded on New Year’s Eve when he did not kiss her at midnight and went to bed instead of helping her clean up after the party. My mother vented until 3 a.m. The next morning, all he could do is wave his hand at her and ask, “What else do you want me to do?” This is not an issue that can be resolved in thirty minutes or a week.

No modern woman in the millennial generation or Gen-Z would live in such a marriage. Many American women even older than that do not live in such a marriage. The current divorce rate is nearly 50%. If two people can no longer understand each other and cannot resolve issues, should they live together? People can still live together if they do not love each other, but can they if they do not understand each other?

According to my grandmother, they should. My grandmother believes that people need to stick together, even if the husband beats the wife, as long as each is receiving some sort of benefit. My mother believes that you should live with one man for ten years and then find another, or have an open relationship. Many college students I meet have the same opinion. I know one girl who has a new boyfriend every month and another who keeps three men on a rotating, weekly schedule. Some have a stable, long term relationship, and yet some who I meet do not plan to ever marry or have children. The only people I meet who seem to want to find the “one” and settle down are those who believe that true love is out there and that marriage will be wonderful.

This Valentine’s Day, I ask to not judge couples. Please do not compare one relationship to another. You can tell your friend to dump her boyfriend or girlfriend, but don’t gossip behind his or her back. Do not show pity, and brag only moderately.

“He spent a fortune on flowers, so they must be happy!”

“They must be breaking up because they did nothing!”

“You must be so miserable because you are single.”

Shut up. You don’t know their lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day.