Karen Anne Hope Andrews Image Credit: Supplied


Roses, chocolates and hearts are the most common symbols associated with Valentine’s Day. But, are we shrinking the concept of romance to just one day in a year? Karen Anne Hope Andrews, a clinical psychologist based in Dubai, does not seem to think so.

In her opinion, the day is a good opportunity to express your love, not just for others, but for yourself, too.

She said: “The most important relationship you can ever have is with yourself. I encourage everyone, whether they are in a relationship or not, to treat yourself on this day. Being alone is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be very empowering.”

Even though Valentine’s Day is commercialised, a lot of people celebrate by expressing their love for their partner, family members or friends. Those against the concept of the day have stated that a person shouldn’t need a designated date to show affection. But, in Andrews opinion, it is a day when those who aren’t able to say anything all year round can do so without being embarrassed.

She said: “If there is someone you’d like to share your feelings with, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity. On another day, it might appear odd if you gave a colleague a rose, but on February 14, it is easier to express a romantic interest.”

But, is this putting too much pressure on people to participate in the holiday? According to Andrews, the pressure can be dealt with easily if people in a relationship have a conversation to align themselves. People might think that once they are married, they don’t need to fall into the trap of this commercialised holiday. But, it is important to make little compromises to maintain a balance.

Andrews said: “If your partner thinks the day is a big deal and you don’t, it could cause problems. The amount of pressure on one depends on the subjective perspective of the individual. My advice to couples would be to have a conversation to understand each others perspective of expression of love.”

At the beginning of a relationship, there are always higher expectations. Some people might express their love through their actions, while others would do it through words. “Romance is important and you should be able to interpret that your partner’s gesture is his or her love for you,” she added.

So, if you thought Valentine’s Day was all bad, it has its plus side. In fact, Andrews recommends using the day as an opportunity to talk to your children about love and romantic gestures. And don’t forget to tell your family and friends that you love them, too.