Whenever people would find out that Johnny, my boyfriend of five years, and I do not celebrate our anniversary, they’d usually gasp in shock and demand that we explain ourselves. Their reactions amuse me to no end, but I totally understand why. It’s uncommon–even unheard of for couples to not celebrate their anniversaries. Why wouldn't you celebrate the day you got together with the love of your life? But Johnny and I have perfectly good reasons for not hopping onto the anniversary train. Allow me to elaborate: 

First off, it’s practical and we get to save more money for our future plans.
Let’s just get this out of the way–not celebrating anniversaries is just cheaper on the pocket. Mind you, Johnny and I aren’t uber cheapskates. We have our share of indulgences like eating out, going on out-of-town-trips, and giving each other gifts. But we realized early on that we can do without the fancy candlelight dates, flowers, chocolates, and expensive shenanigans that often mark a couple’s anniversary. Instead of spending on those, we’re pooling our funds for big-ticket items like our future nest egg and a dream vacay to Japan.

The date isn’t that important to us.
Johnny and I don’t mark our relationship with milestones, and that’s also why we’re not sentimental about dates. Our relationship evolved naturally and there was no particular point when we decided to stop being friends and start being a couple. If you ask me to recall the time that we got together, I wouldn’t be able to tell you the exact month and date it happened, despite having a pretty good memory. But how the moment unfolded is still vivid in my mind–the things we said to each other, the hugs, the kisses. For us, those are what matters most. The date is just a minor detail in the bigger scheme of things.

We get to celebrate the love every day, and not just on one particular day.
We don’t believe in "saving up" romance for a particular day. We are affectionate and show our love for each other whenever we feel like it. We surprise each other or do something special not because there is a need to, but just because we want to. It makes the expression of love more sincere and memorable for us because we do it willingly and not out of any obligation to some special date. It also means we don’t have to wait for a particular moment to spoil or treat each other–we can do it anytime we want. Any day can be a special day when we want it to be.

We appreciate the little things more.
Like most girls, I love feeling that I’m special. But that feeling doesn’t hinge on cliché displays of affection because Johnny never spoiled me that way. He’s not showy about his feelings and he’s not the type of guy to make grand romantic gestures to prove his love. He shows that he cares in little ways–like saving some of his officemate’s pasalubong for me because it’s my favorite, or listening to me rant about work even if it’s past his allowed break time. I wouldn’t be able to count the number of quiet sacrifices he’s made just to be there for me. It’s really these little acts of love that build up our relationship. And because we don’t have any grand romantic acts to compare them to, we’re able to find joy in them and avoid taking them, and each other, for granted.

There are fewer expectations and no pressure to conform to the status quo.
I’ve seen how people stress over what to do during their anniversaries to make it unique and special. And I don’t discount the effort that goes into these preparations. But the downside of this is that it sets some pretty high expectations for what’s to come in the future–everything has to be bigger, better, grander. And if the next celebration does not compare to previous ones, disappointment and resentment would start setting in. You’ll feel less special and think that your partner doesn’t love you as much because he didn’t put enough effort or go out of his way to show his love. That’s something that Johnny and I don’t want in our relationship. We don’t want to make any demands of each other nor be pressured to meet any expectations. 

We also don’t want to be boxed in to the traditional script that society has laid out for us as a couple. Sticking to the expected effort for anniversaries glosses over the fact that people have different ways of showing affection–some like giving gifts, some like spending time with their partner, some like doing something for them. Johnny has his own way of expressing his love and I don’t want to warp that to the status quo because that would be a disservice to him. I want him to freely be himself in this relationship and to act on his feelings as he sees fit. The same goes for me, too.
I don’t have anything against couples who celebrate their anniversaries. It’s a beautiful thing and it gives couples the perfect excuse to bond and spoil each other especially when life seems to be flying too fast. There’s a reason why it has become a beloved tradition. But on the flipside, I also want to show that relationships could still work, and even flourish, without needing to celebrate this specific milestone. Couples can celebrate love in their own way and not just go through the motions of having an "anniv." After all, it’s been five years and it’s working great for us.

PHOTO: Pixabay; GIFs: Giphy

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