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How to Survive Valentine's Day Being Single

Dr. Joti Samra

February 12, 2012

Relationships

How to survive Valentine’s Day being single

Valentine’s Day is challenging for many people, but it can feel particularly difficult when we’re single. This, of course, is not surprising given it’s the day of the year that has an explicit focus on couples, relationships and ideas of never-ending romantic love. Many single people will describe just wishing those days would hurry up and be over. As they feel particularly lonely, much more than they may at any other time of the year. So, let’s talk about how to survive Valentine’s Day being single.

Making ourselves do something to rebel against the idea of Valentine’s Day often doesn’t work. A ‘single’s party’ for example can ironically have the opposite effect and further amplify your single status; and, having a first date just for the sake of a date certainly can feel fake and forced.

How to Survive Valentine’s Day

So, what can we do to get through the day on Valentine’s Day when we may feel particularly lonely?

Think about just doing something for yourself that’s a treat or makes you feel special – such as draw yourself a bubble bath or make yourself a nice dinner. (Though consider avoiding restaurants as you’re likely to be surrounded by couples).

This can be extended from just treating yourself to taking time to think about what makes you special. When we’re feeling lonely it can be easy for us to fall into a negative thinking pattern about ourselves that may lead to feeling unloved or unloveable. Take the time to boost your self-esteem by writing these things down. Consider writing about what you love most about yourself; what others appreciate about you; and, the special skills or talents you have that you are proud of or that others admire.

Or spend time with someone you love. Valentine’s Day doesn’t only have to be about romantic love. As humans, we’re social creatures and are dependent on the social bonds we develop. The romantic bonds are not inherently better or more valuable than other relationships. Spend the evening with someone you care about in your family, or a close friend.

Remember Valentine’s Day is a day just like any other (also true for the other holidays!) This can be hard to do when we are bombarded by images of flowers, balloons, chocolates and other testimonials attesting to one’s love for another person every which way we look – TV, stores, and even in our office. But it is just one day and there are 364 others that are not surrounded by multiple images of coupledom.

Changing Our feelings about Valentines Day

But maybe just getting through the day isn’t enough. This time of year many people find themselves saying “I love being single every day except Valentine’s Day”. If this is true it might be time to re-think your feelings about Valentine’s Day and why you may be feeling this way.

How to re-think Valentine’s Day:

1. List the feelings and thoughts Valentine’s Day evokes for you, and try to specifically articulate what it is that feels emotionally upsetting or uncomfortable. Are you feeling lonely? Hopeless? Are feelings of being unlovable being triggered? Then, challenge whether these are accurate. (It being Valentine’s Day doesn’t make the thoughts true!)

2. Often there may be a tendency to fully reject the notion of wanting to have a partner in our life – we may even convince ourselves this is a sign of weakness. But consider asking this: why does feeling that we need another person seem awful?

  • Think about why we are rejecting any notion of being in or wanting a relationship. As humans, we are social creatures, who both need other people in our life, and need to be needed by others.
  • Think about what this is about for us – do we feel it is a sign of weakness to need another? Is this a barrier for us in terms of actively pursuing or acting on a connection with someone?

3. Try to understand what it is you’re reacting to – if you are saying you “love” being single every other day but are feeling “awful” on Valentine’s Day, there’s a disconnect in the intensity of the feelings. Perhaps you aren’t loving being single as much as you feel at times. This may be hard to admit or acknowledge, but it may be important information in that it may motivate us to make some active changes in our life that can help us to work on changing our relationship status.

4. In the interim, it is okay to do the best you can to get through the day on Valentine’s Day – it’s a struggle for many people, not just those who are single.

Regardless of how we approach Valentine’s Day it is important to remind ourselves that the negative feelings will abate (as they always do) and that the 24 hours will be over before we know it.

 

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