Commercialized, stressful, sad. Lots of folks might describe Valentine's Day using those words, whether they have reason to celebrate with a partner or not. If the day packaged and sold to you in the name of love feels as disingenuous as that U2 song repeats the phrase "in the name of love," you're not crazy -- it is! The actual history of Valentine's Day is a fraught one, filled with murder, abuse, and the failures of romance. Here is the historical horror, in the name of love.
It started with a violently abusive Roman holiday about wolves
The furthest back we've been able to trace the origin of Valentine's Day is a Roman feast day called Lupercalia (from the Latin "lupus" for "wolf"). It was a holiday celebrated in mid-February where, per the Greek writer Plutarch, "many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs." They mirthfully physically abused women who were pregnant or infertile, on the logic that whipping them would help them with the babymaking. Plutarch writes that women of rank were into this and would "purposely get in their way" to receive punishment, and I would believe that bit whole-hog if this were not the same culture that quite literally defined the word "patriarchy." After the dudes were done, they sacrificed two goats and dog and congratulated themselves by anointing each other with their blood.