A Survival Guide
Valentine’s Day — a day of exchanging flowers, cards, and loving sentiments punctuated with warm feelings of admiration, affection, and infatuation. But for millions of Americans, there is one thing preventing them from participating in these celebratory acts of love: a date.
Being dateless on Valentine’s Day can evoke feelings of loneliness and self-doubt, especially for those who are believers in the mythology of true love. Embedded midway through the frosty season of winter, it is portrayed in the media, particularly in relentless flower, fragrance, and jewelry advertising, as the singular day of year set aside for love, romance, and passion.
But what is a person to do when he or she is feeling the chilling blues of being single instead of embracing the fiery desire of love?
Dr. Laura S. Brown, professor of psychology at Argosy University/Seattle, offers tips on how single guys and gals can celebrate Cupid’s Day, instead of being defeated by it. “Love is not about a particular day, or about cards, flowers, or even being in a relationship. The illusion that coupled people are happy and well-loved can feed feelings of loneliness or isolation for people who aren’t with someone, and wish they were,” says Brown. “Seeing the illusory nature of this holiday can be the first step in feeling better about being precisely who and where you are.”
According to Brown, the most important message that singles should remember on Valentine’s Day is that love is not just for couples; it is for all of us.
Do not define yourself by your relationship status. Your relationship status is not your identity.The following are more ways that single men and women can enjoy Valentine’s Day without worrying about the pressures and pitfalls that often come with the holiday:
- If you are single because of a recent loss, allow this to be a day of grieving. Do not pretend that it’s not a hard day. Get support and sympathy.
- Realize that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday. It is not about love and relationships; it is about selling flowers, candy, and diamond jewelry. Think of all the money you are saving.
- Plan well in advance to do something that will not place you in the path of billing and cooing couples. Even if you usually like dining out alone, do something else on Valentine’s Day.
- Get together with people who do love you — friends, family members, the people who already have relationships with you.
- If you are single and you don’t want to be, start now to think about what is in the way of you creating the relationship you want. Find ways to work on becoming the person your dream partner would fall in love with. Start therapy. Take up yoga. Begin to volunteer. Create art. Make meaning. Act to change the world. It is into the fullest lives that love is most likely to fall.
- If you are single and you like it, now is the time to affirm your choice. People who never marry or partner have close, loving, emotionally intimate relationships and lives worth living. Do not let a couple-driven culture define your choice as something wrong.