“Will You Be My Valentine?” A Lawyer’s Lighthearted Look at the Risk of Romance
Before answering this question, or asking it, we strongly recommend that you consult legal counsel.
If you are asking someone to be your valentine, that is likely an offer open to acceptance. Before extending this offer to someone you should consider whether more specificity is required such as: Will you be my valentine exclusively? If you will be my valentine does it mean that I am required to reciprocate and be your valentine in return? If the request to be my valentine is written or verbal, what are the indicia of acceptance? What is the valuable consideration being exchanged between the parties?
If you are accepting to be someone’s valentine you should make sure that you understand the terms of such arrangement especially as to its duration, the extent of valentine-like performance required, any reciprocal expectations and whether or not there is a confidentiality element which accompanies it.
It is also incumbent upon both parties to a valentine relationship to establish its boundaries and whether or not it will be a customary or conventional valentine affiliation. If customary, then the normal rules of valentine-ism will apply, as understood by the general population where you reside, and accepted as part of common practice. If conventional, as in written down by convention or contract, then all of the points referred to above should be clearly expressed. Consider having each signature witnessed, although it need not be signed under seal unless required by the applicable governing law.
Beware the risk of agreeing to be one’s valentine and the attendant risk either withdrawing your valentine consent or breaching the valentine relationship. You may have entered into a legally enforceable arrangement and may find yourself involved in a law suit arising from breach of contract, commission of a tort such a negligent misstatement, or being accused of fraud. The damages, if recovered, may be similar to those arising from a breach of promise to marry and may include losses resulting from the preparation to be a valentine, the cost of valentine paraphernalia unused, damages for loss of reputation or emotional distress, fraud and possible negligent misrepresentation.
We would also caution against engaging in valentine-like behaviour which may lead another party to reasonably assume that a valentine-like relationship has been entered into through partial performance or implied consent. Such indicia could include the giving of heart shaped chocolates, a special dinner on February 14th, a gift of red and/or white lingerie, the playing or singing of romantic music, the offering of floral arrangements, consumption of effervescent alcoholic beverages, the drawing of hearts and so on.
The dangers of St. Valentine,
Could lead to grief and strife.
A simple line like “please be mine”,
Could completely ruin your life.
Before you send that gift or card,
Or accept one sent to you.
Consider that life could get hard,
Should your cupid choose to sue.