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Make the best of Valentine’s Day 2021, JMU expert says


by Eric Gorton

 
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While social distancing, mask-wearing and other pandemic safety measures will still be in place on Sunday for Valentine’s Day, there are ways to make the day meaningful and even romantic, says James Madison University professor Jennifer Rosier.

A professor of communication studies whose research includes interpersonal relationships, and romance and love, Rosier said people should use the day to express how important they are to each other and why they love each other.

While going out for a nice dinner might not be possible, having a nice dinner at home is, Rosier said. Parents may even want to find someone in their social bubble who can watch their children for a time. In addition to expressing love for each other, couples should spend some time discussing the fun things they want to do once the pandemic is over, she said.

For singles, dating is tricky. "I personally would be putting a hold on dating, but I know some people don’t want to do that," she said. "It’s all about how much you are willing to go out into the world and meet someone new."

Rosier, who is director of The Relationships, Love, & Happiness Project, said internet dating may suffice in the short term, but eventually people are going to want to meet in person.

For people who are stressed by having to spend more time than they are used to with their loved ones, a little bit of empathy could help.

"We are all in the same experience, but we are not all the same people," Rosier said. "We all have different life experiences and different life perspectives that are making us view the pandemic in a different way. Empathizing with your partner’s lens and experience is important."

Rosier said she has heard lots of people during the pandemic say things like their partner is making a big deal about mask-wearing or social distancing or other pandemic protocols that are not really a big deal. "They’re not making a big deal," she said. "This is how they feel. Their feelings are real and your feelings are real and we need to respect each other."

 

Media contact: Eric Gorton, gortonej@jmu.edu, 540-908-1760.

 

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Published: Thursday, February 11, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, February 12, 2021

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