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Couples combat Valentine’s norms

Katie Perry (left), Katelin Thompson (right).  Kate Dearman/Printz
Katie Perry (left), Katelin Thompson (right).
Kate Dearman/Printz

When February rolls around, couples swarm to restaurants with low lighting and exchange gifts ranging from red roses, cologne and Reeses peanut butter hearts. Many people feel the pressure to plan the perfect day. So shame on you if your boyfriend or girlfriend takes you to a standard dinner and movie. Just unacceptable, right?

According to, people will spend an average of $139.97 on their significant other, 145 million Valentine cards will be sold and $4.4 million will be spent on diamonds, gold and silver. So what happened to the idea about just being together like any other day?

Two couples at The University of Southern Mississippi have figured out how to beat the standard stereotype of Valentine’s Day.

Katie Perry and Katelin Thompson are USM senior nursing majors from Florence, Miss. and have been together for almost six years. April will mark the milestone of their six-year anniversary.
Perry and Thompson currently live together and will graduate in December 2014, and they plan to continue their Golden Eagle pride by attending USM Graduate School. The women met in high school and have been inseparable ever since.

“Katie thinks we met at daycare,” Thompson said.

“We did,” Perry said. “ We stayed at the same woman’s house when we were younger. But, I distinctly remember being at basketball camp in sixth grade, and Katelin was a grade under me.”
“To me, we met at Disney World,” Thompson said. But Perry believes they actually started dating in Disney World.

Mollie Robinson (left), Chris Hill (right).  Kate Dearman/Printz
Mollie Robinson (left), Chris Hill (right).
Kate Dearman/Printz

The couple said the key to making their relationship successful is honesty and communication.

“Communication is the biggest thing,” Thompson said. “I can tell her when she’s being a jerk.”
“Well, that’s being honest,” Perry said. “We’re always honest with each other.”

Thompson said the challenges she and her girlfriend face are mostly outside of the relationship.
“We don’t really have a lot of problems within our relationship. It’s more outside of it with my family,” Thompson said.
“I mean, the only thing I can think of inside our relationship is we’re always together,” Perry said. “We share a bedroom, we have all the same classes, all the same clinicals and we
work together.”

The couple said they do not have anything planned for Valentine’s Day, but they already know they will be spending time together.
“We don’t really have any plans,” Thompson said. “We never celebrate Valentine’s Day and this was going to be the first one we did.”

Perry said she and Thompson were going to take a trip, but time surpassed and money became tight.
“(And) nursing school is kicking our butts right now,” Perry said.

“We had three tests last week and three this week,” Thompson said. “We just can’t seem to catch up.”
But amid all the studying and hectic schedules, Perry believes Thompson is her rock.

“My favorite thing about Katelin is that she’s so level-headed and determined. She really keeps us both together,” Perry said.
With school, student loans and long night shifts at work, it can be challenging to balance this with a relationship.

Mollie Robinson met her boyfriend, Chris Hill, at Southern Miss. Robinson, a freshman child and family studies major, and Hill, a healthcare marketing major, have been dating for three months and haven’t
looked back.

“We met at a party,” the couple said in unison.
“(Mollie) made her friend give me her number and tell me ‘hey, she’s over there, but she thinks you’re really cute and you should go talk to her,’ and we’ve been together ever since,” Hill said.
Even though the couple has been dating for a short time, they love spending time together as they still get to know each other.

“We just have an understanding of each other, so we know,” Robinson said.

“We have a good balance, even though we see each other a lot,” Robinson said. “We’re also friends with each others friends, so we don’t really have any problems.”
The couple also agrees that honesty is the best policy in any relationship.

“It really helps to communicate with each other,” Robinson said. “If I do something wrong, I want to know (what I did wrong). But, he is my best friend, (so) I can tell him anything.”
“And we hang out all the time (and) we get to see each other a lot, so that makes it easy,” Hill said.

“(Mollie) really cares about me and she’s always there for me (when I need her),” Hill said.
Hill said that at the end of the day, Robinson’s comfort is the best feeling.

“I can be myself, I can be goofy, and I know he’s going to be there for me no matter what, through the good and the bad,” Robinson said.
Hill said he has a surprise planned for his girlfriend, but unfortunately, he cannot reveal his secret plans or it would disappoint Robinson.

These two couples have discovered something most haven’t: that values can override any gift exchange or an expensive dinner that could possibly eat one’s entire paycheck.

So if you are stressing about what to do for Valentine’s Day with your hubby, take a step back and think about why you love and appreciate that person. And then go tell them how you feel. Those powerful words are priceless and much better than an obnoxious teddy bear named Buttercup.

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Couples combat Valentine’s norms