Valentine’s Day Dos and Don’ts from (In)Famous Literary Couples

It’s not long to go now before the day, D-day, V-day. Cue sirens. So much pressure, so much expectation hinging on a single day, and so many ways for it to all go wrong. Never fear, though. We’re here to help you avoid any and all mistakes that can crop up on the journey of love.

And you know what they say, a fool learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. So who better than these infamous couples to point out the Dos and Don’ts (emphasis on the Don’ts) when it comes to wooing your beloved.

Cathy and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights

Nothing says “I love you” like driving each other to the brink of sanity and zooming right past it. Sure, it’s romantic that Heathcliff is so devoted to Cathy that he clutches her corpse and begs its ghost to haunt him for the rest of his life. But you know what’s not romantic? Tormenting her daughter, and entangling her in manipulative mind games that ensures the next generation will be as screwed up as he and Cathy were. Not a good look.

Wuthering Heights


Don’t be an obsessive, controlling maniac who exploits other’s emotions.

Do be devoted.

Tom Riddle Sr. and Merope Gauntfrom the Harry Potter series

The relationship between Voldemort’s parents is a veritable boiling cauldron of everything to avoid when it comes to love. Merope, Voldy’s mom, enamoured by Tom’s dashing Muggle looks, concocts a love potion to make him swoon at her feet. Unfortunately for her, once the spell wears off Tom Riddle Sr. is shocked and disgusted and promptly abandons her (and their unborn devil child). Blinded by her own deceptive fantasy, Merope condemns herself to a life of misery, and the rest of the world to suffer at the hands of a magical anti-Christ.


Don’t wreck yourself (and the rest of the magical community).

Do check yourself.

Romeo and Juliet from Romeo and Juliet

Ah, yes. These star-crossed lovers are romance icons. Their lack of communication, impulsiveness and, let’s face it, stupidity, are apparently the epitome of romantic ideal. It was a roller-coaster romance with a spectacular catastrophe that seemed inevitable. But was it? If the Capulet Seniors had a taken a moment, they would have realized that embracing Romeo as Juliet’s boyfriend might have dulled his shine. Their so-called love would have petered out, and Juliet would just be another girl in a long line that Romeo pined after. They would have lived to adulthood, and everyone would be able to laugh about how impulsive and stupid young love is.

Romeo JulietConclusion:

Don’t rush into relationships.

Do check, double-check, and triple-check to see if your beloved really is dead.

Othello and Desdemona from Othello

Honestly, this relationship seemed doomed from the start. Not only is Desdemona’s dad initially angered that his daughter is dating a black man, we soon learn that Desdemona fell in love with Othello when he regaled her family with his thrilling military escapades. And Othello? Yeah, he fell in love with her because she was in love with his stories. Already, your foundation is weak. Of course it wouldn’t take long for a cunning weasel like Iago to pull his evil puppetry strings and have your relationship crashing down around your ears. Don’t do ideals, kids. The crash is so not worth it.


Don’t fall in love with an idea.

Do try and figure out which one of your friends is an evil mastermind with a manipulative streak a mile wide.

Mr. and Mrs. Twit from The Twits

Nothing embodies the term “stuck in a rut” like this couple. They hate each other with a passion, but for some reason continue to stay with each other – one can only assume due to society’s conditioning that it’s better to be with someone who hates your guts, than to be with nobody at all. Their shenanigans ranged from petty pranks to psychological warfare. Mrs. Twit is not averse to adding a little garden variety bugs to her dishes. Mr. Twit responds by gradually increasing the height of Mrs. Twit’s chair to make her think she’s shrinking. They’re messed up, and they bring out the worst in each other.



Don’t let your better half become your bitter half.

Do measure your height in standardised units.

There we are, dear readers. With these winning tips, you’re sure to pass V-day with flying colours. You’re welcome.

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Faustina Paustin Faustina was reading when she popped out of the womb. Probably. Reading is her life, and she’ll read pretty much anything. After reading her way through primary, high school, and university, and finding she hasn’t gotten sick of it, she’s still reading now. Her favourite genres are YA, realist fiction, and magical realist fiction, with a strong focus on diversity. She believes that houses should have in-built bookshelves in all the rooms, and that ebooks and printed books can get along.

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