Lissette Vaca / Daily Nexus

Every February 14th, a collective cringe sweeps across the single-person landscape as couples shower each other with gifts and words of admiration. One would think this should be an everyday thing, but for some reason, couples save a lot of their especially cheesy loving for no other day than Valentine’s Day. Despite the everlasting single-cringe, we single folk have some reason to rejoice; the grass is not always greener on the other side. As communication professor Desiree Aldeis taught me in her Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication course last quarter, romantic relationships aren’t always what they are chalked up to be. Eventually, people can get bored and the romance fades away. Valentine’s Day becomes a last ditch effort to spark something again. Interestingly enough, whatever you do on Valentine’s Day with your significant other may indicate where your relationship is going. Given that we at On the Menu only want to help folks, I have compiled a list of five meals that all coupled people should watch out for as signs of their thriving — or deteriorating — relationships. Forget the gifts and the trips, whatever your partner wants you to consume — or put in you, lol — says a lot!

Boiled, stuffed, mixed into mac ’n’ cheese, you are undeniably at your strongest point emotionally and physically. Lobsters are known to mate for life in the wild, so this could be your partner’s way of showing you that they want things to last. Either that, or they are willing to drop some serious bucks on you; this stuff ain’t cheap! Being served lobster likely means you have a few more years left with your partner or perhaps even the rest of your lives. You’ll likely have great kids and fabulous financial prospects.

For whatever reason, dead cow flesh is the standard of Valentine’s Day meals. Can you feel the love? A nice, tender and juicy steak indicates that your relationship is full of sensual passion. Just be wary, as there are emotional levels to steak preparation and presentation. The rarer it is, the better shape your relationship is in. The closer to well done, the more likely it is that your partner sees you as a dried-up piece of meat.

Be wary of this meal, lovers. While pasta is delicious, it is something that you can have at any time. On the other hand, your partner may dress it up a bit, which could communicate some hope. Another downside would be that pasta is pure carbs, which could mean that they don’t care about your health. Then again, they may just want to make you feel as warm and cozy inside as you make them feel. Pasta is pretty confusing and may lead you to ask more questions than there are answers to.

Though healthy and usually delicious, this meal is a pretty strong indicator that things are headed south. It really doesn’t take that long to put together a salad, which shows how much time your partner is willing to invest in you. Not to mention, you could just go out and make a salad yourself for any meal, any day. Though this type of meal is pretty health-conscious, so who knows?

Guuuurl, you might as well drop it like it’s a bad habit. Your relationship is so far gone that not even the Olive Garden is an option for you. Not only is this fast food, but it is the epitome of poor dietary choices. Your partner doesn’t care enough to take you somewhere where you can live your best life, so why waste your time on that? The love and caring spirit of what your relationship used to harness is gone. Move on and at least upgrade to the Habit, and do it on your own time.
The most important thing to recognize here is that context is key. Your partner may not have the money to buy a lobster or the time to put together a steak dinner for you, or maybe you don’t view your relationship in terms of material things. Whatever the case is, keep my warnings in mind, but don’t base your perception of your relationship on an article almost entirely written in jest (enter ingest pun here. Get it? Food humor). Happy Valentine’s Day!