Valentine's Day is loaded with big expectations, but real life doesn't always resemble a romantic movie. Sometimes when the big day arrives with its pink hearts, boxes of chocolates and red roses, we find ourselves far away from our loved ones due to unavoidable demands of work, study or military service.
But don't despair if many miles lie between you and your beloved. This year, instead of an arrow, Cupid is armed with an assortment of apps that can help soothe the sighs of parted lovers.
Here are a few options that might just be the next best thing to being there in person.
Send a loving quote.
Swipe through hundreds of heartfelt quotes about love, pain, joy and longing, written by people all around the world, using the app My Heart Says: Love Quotes (Free). When you find a special quote that sums up your feelings for your special someone, you may share that expression with your lover by using Facebook, Twitter or email. And if love has opened the floodgates of your eloquence, you may submit your own quotes to the app, which will add it to their library of lovely statements.
Whisper sweet nothings in your partner's ear, using Avocado (Free).
Which may sound like a strange name for something romantic, but consider this: Avocados only grow in pairs on the trees, and an avocado tree will only bear fruit when planted with another avocado tree. The Aztecs regarded avocados as symbols of love and fertility. The Avocado app was founded by a husband-and-wife team who wanted to provide safe and secure digital experiences for couples everywhere. Avocado enables you to send fast, private and beautiful messages, enjoy a shared photo gallery and send mobile hugs and kisses to your lover.
Few things are as romantic as a heartbeat.
For Valentine's Day this year my company Rebtel has launched a free app available in iTunes and Google Play called Re:Beat (Free), which allows you to declare your love by sharing your actual heartbeat. After placing your finger on your phone's camera, the app will use the camera and flash to detect your pulse and create an animated representation of your heart complete with timed sounds (and also vibrations on the Android version). You can then send your heartbeat to a loved one via Facebook, Twitter or text. (See a short video here that shows how it looks and works.) Re:Beat is not quite the same as wearing your heart on your sleeve, but it's certainly an original and touching way to show someone that they are loved.
Love blooms when you give flowers.
Floral Valentine ($0.99) allows you to select from more than 150 kinds of virtual flowers, each one with its own different connotation. The Victorians knew well the language of flowers, and a swain's success while wooing could be seriously set back if he sent his sweetheart a rose of the wrong color by accident. This app allows you to browse by the meaning -- or type -- of each different flower, and then will deliver the appropriate virtual blossom to your loved one as an e-postcard. Whether you wish to express "secret admiration" or "slighted love," launch a flirtation or vow undying devotion, Floral Valentine will deliver your chosen flower handsomely framed with ornate Victorian curlicues.
Sometimes, love is child's play.
First Words Valentine (Free) is a word-building game for young children who are beginning to learn their alphabet. A complement to the First Words app, this free game teaches young ones about words related to Valentine's Day, including heart, love, Cupid and kiss. The interactive game includes beautiful illustrations with bright colors, and the animations come with entertaining sounds. The game can be tailored to the child's needs and can be played alone or with parents. The user interface has been specifically designed for the littlest of fingers, and the game has been tested and approved by toddlers.
So even if you're fated to spend your Valentine's Day far away from your loved ones, options like these are guaranteed to make the distance more bearable.