Question – What do individuals with autism think about Valentine’s Day?

Saint Valentine’s Day – It is of course St Valentine’s Day tomorrow, Feb 14 and we thought that it would be an interesting  idea to reach out to the autism community over on Reddit. We asked the following question.

‘Romance is a weird thing for many on the spectrum but lots are looking for relationships. Does Valentine’s Day bring any extra pressure or expectations if you are in a relationship?’

We received many varied responses, many individuals stating that they enjoy Valentine’s Day with their partner and others who said that the day did not mean anything to them as it was just tike any other day.

We thought that we would share some of the comments that we received with you. All respondents gave their permission for us to share them with you. We would like to thank those on Reddit for allowing us to reprint parts of the conversation.

Muzical84 – ‘I am SURE that the beheaded martyr St. Valentine loves all of the fornication and etc., that goes on on his feast day =-p This is the day of the year when my inability to connect to others in any meaningful way is highlighted, shamed, etc. Would I love to be in a relationship? Sure. Do I think the societal expectation for me to be in one is realistic? No.’

JuiceAndChowMein –  ‘Not sure if you are using the general ‘you’ or not, but yes, every widely celebrated holiday brings expectations when you are in a relationship.

I think the modern version of Valentine’s Day is completely for commercial reasons. Chocolate/Flowers/Dinners etc can all be sold at markup and there’s definitely an expectation (if not from your partner, from society) that you will spend money.

I don’t like the idea of Valentine’s Day or birthdays or mother’s day or father’s day or administrative professional’s day or anything that’s “Be nice to a person this day”. People should just be nice to people they care about. You shouldn’t need a calendar for that.’

Love 017Delta_Of_Venus – ‘My husband and I don’t celebrate valentine’s day. If we do anything at all, it would be something like making a nice dinner together at home. My birthday and our anniversary are also in February, so that’s even more reason to skip it. I don’t dislike the romance part of valentine’s day, but I find it ridiculous that people spend so much money on their SOs and how single people try to find dates for valentine’s day in order to be pampered by someone. I’m also against massive spending for Christmas. It seems so many people don’t understand it’s all about getting consumers to spend more money on a “special” day. BUT… I’m all about homemade gifts or acts of service like a surprise massage or homemade sweets, etc.’

dangerssnake – ‘Ever since I was young, I didn’t understand Valentine’s Day. As I do with many “social norms,” I played along even though I didn’t really understand it. As an adult, I still think it’s ridiculous. I usually notify my partner of how I feel about this “holiday” and reaffirm it as the date approaches. When it gets right down to it, I don’t feel that we need a holiday for people to go out of their way and show someone how they feel. I would much rather have flowers or a card on a random day than have it on Valentine’s Day. It makes things feel like they were only done because it’s the social mandate. I would hope my relationship doesn’t need a holiday for us to be romantic or buy each other tokens of affection. I’ve had a varied experience with whether or not partners will actually respect how I feel about it.’

Love 003CaffeineandAdderall –  ‘I think it’s cute to show your significant other your love and appreciation, but I feel like it’s a bit enforced on Valentine’s Day. I like it when couples don’t really celebrate it and/or don’t care about it because it shows that they know that they love each other and don’t need a day dedicated to giving each other the Sickeningly Sweet Sweetheart treatment. I also feel like the day doesn’t offer much for singles other than sadness and discontentment (unless they’re content being single).

On a personal note, I will be celebrating it with my girlfriend (who also has AS) this year and I’m honestly looking forward to it.’

Architectphonic – ‘I just learned about what happened to St Valentine (Married couples as an officiant when marriage was banned to promote military enrolment, emperor/king got pissed had him executed.) So now it’s a bit awkward to see what the holiday has turned into (but other holidays are like this-we give gifts at Christmas but only celebrate because poor families do).

My SO does get me a gift and I try to do something nice in exchange (I find it hard to buy gifts for him, even though he likes practical). We both know it’s bogus, but we choose to acknowledge our love, because, hey, what the hell. But I don’t go around guilting people not in relationships. If they feel lonely I tell them it’s bull, and encourage them to hang out with a friend if they like-that’s also part of the Valentine story. That of comraderie.’

Valentine’s Day is a mixed bag for everyone, whether you are on the spectrum or not. Whatever you’re doing and however you are celebrating, have a Happy Valentine’s Day.Comments are open and we would love to hear from you.