Valentine's Day should be re-named 'Couple Stress Day'
Brace yourselves: today is Valentine’s Day. Because, honestly, when does it ever end well? Either you’re single and made to feel like the fat girl with no wings at the Victoria’s Secret show after-party. Or you’re loved-up, but not quite as loved-up as you had thought the day before.
Or, you’re happily settled, couldn’t care less, only now it’s one of those days in the calendar that automatically causes stress in the relationship.
You can’t win. If you don’t recognise it, fine… but a funny card wouldn’t have killed him. If you do, it’s inevitably a let down. Even the guard at your neighbourhood security boom knows you are allergic to lilies.
This is the nature of a Couple Stress Day (CSD): no matter how you play it, no good will come of it. All you can do is recognise them and try and get through, reasonably unscathed.
CSDs include, in no particular order:
YOUR WEDDING DAY
Where to start? Where is He, for one thing? Whenever you look up, there I shall be … not really. Nowhere to be seen. Allegedly, he is opening bubbly somewhere. Or is he perhaps watching the World Cup quarter final on someone’s phone.
THE DAY YOU GO ON HOLIDAY
Because He has not completed the airline online check-in procedure correctly, and here we are, once again, paying about four penalties and cramming backpacks into suitcases.
THE DAY YOU COME BACK FROM HOLIDAY
(When He was the last one out of the house.) And you find: the aircon is on. The downstairs bathroom window ajar. There’s a week’s worth of newspapers wedged against the front door, and the holiday essentials that he ordered online, two days too late, are there, in a parcel, on the doormat.
THE FIRST DAY OF THE DIRTY WEEKEND
Lovely little hotel. Lovely little restaurant. Lovely little bedroom. Ahhh. But then you start to feel a bit Camilla Parker Bowles in your new top, hot and tired and increasingly like a tethered goat, yet at the same time not quite enough like one. He has found the remote and is transfixed by a Bee Gees documentary.
THE TRIP TO BUY FURNITURE
You’re together walking around the store, checking the prices, but really you are alone. As non-verbal signals go, His are a crystal-clear chorus of “Don’t Ask Me!” “Don’t Care!” “Up to You!” (“Up to You” is often somewhere at the bottom of a CSD).
THE ONCE-IN-A-WHILE BIG SUPERMARKET SHOP
The one where you give him ¼ of the shopping list and 25 minutes later, he is still in the wine aisle and adamant that they don’t “do” tea lights. YES THEY DO. You are in a supermarket the size of a small island! They have fridge-freezers and patio heaters and six kinds of apples. They definitely do have bloody tea lights. But that’s not all. Now you have to check what’s in his trolley, item by item, because the jam will be from the diabetics range. The bulbs will be screw, not bayonet. The cheese may have apricots in it.
THE WASTED PUBLIC HOLIDAY
Because everyone else twigged that it could be easily converted into a week’s holiday in Portugal, or they organised a long weekend with their six closest friends packed with life-affirming events. So, the public holiday Monday, when you will end up watching catch-up TV, is a textbook CSD.
THE HOSPITAL ADMISSION DAY
He has fallen off a ladder, or his bike, or broken his ankle playing rugby. So far, so CSD. Every partner of every male who has been incapacitated in this way is livid, raging, because we know that basic safety precautions were willfully ignored, and now we have to do EVERY thing, including looking after them. (Meanwhile, they think they’ve been wounded in manly action like Tom Cruise.) We hold it together in front of the emergency room doctor, but once the cubicle curtains are drawn… - Telegraph Media Group Limited 
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