Being single on Valentine’s Day is not the end of the world. It is a question of perspective. We can buy into the idea that V-Day is just for couple’s, sharing romantic love and gifts of jewelry and chocolate. Or we can decide to honor this holiday as a celebration of all love, in all its forms. Suggestions for how to do that are below the jump.
Remember grade school? Being single on Valentine’s day was no hardship then. I loved the annual tradition of exchanging Valentines with my classmates, often staying up late the night before carefully deciding which one went to whom. Which comic book hero would properly let my crush know I had a thing for him. I loved opening the pile that formed on my desk, re-reading many of them. Occasionally, the classroom tradition enabled someone who had a crush on me to speak up.
As a teenager, Valentine’s day became my favorite holiday for celebrating my friends. Christmas gifts were expected and anxiety provoking. Simple, sweet Valentines were always a warmly received surprise. Being single on Valentine’s day drove me to find ways to celebrate the love I did have in my life, rather than mourn the lack of a boyfriend.
Our American culture, I believe, over-emphasizes the importance of the monogamous, intimate, romantic relationship. In the process, we overlook the the very real importance of friendship. We set ourselves up to feel like failures when we don’t have a ‘significant other.’ We sit alone on Friday night because that’s “reserved” for date night. We agonize over every break-up. And we miss the chance to build intimate and enduring friendships. Being single on Valentine’s day becomes its own kind of trauma.
Being Single on Valentine’s Day Alternatives
I am not suggesting that any of the following ideas will totally fix your mental and emotional pain from being single on Valentine’s day. I am suggesting they will help, probably more than you think. Resolve to try a few this year:
Watch movies that celebrate friendship rather than romance. Examples include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Beaches, Friends With Money, Thelma and Louise, Waiting to Exhale, Mystic Pizza, Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias, Boys on the Side, How to Make an American Quilt, and the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
Call an old friend just to say I love you. I love to do this when loneliness gets too much. If they answer, we always have a lovely chat. If they don’t, I leave a voicemail telling them I just called to say I love you.
Send Valentines in the mail or email to your close friends and family. You can go as fancy or simple as you like. I’ve been known to leave childhood Valentines in coworkers mailboxes…
Plan a beautiful, fabulous dinner for yourself – love of self is an important skill! I do recommend cooking at home or ordering in, splurging on a fancy dessert or expensive ingredient.
Read famous letters between friends or books and poems that celebrate filial love. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis examines the good and bad of different types of love from a Christian perspective. This website includes all kinds of good ideas: www.friendship.com.au
Replay failed relationships in your head, focusing on what you learned from it or why it’s a good thing they ended. In my experience, the fact that we are still single is often a good thing. Rather than romanticizing your exes, spend sometime on Valentine’s day reminding yourself why they sucked.
Watch a performance or plan to attend a live show of the Vagina Monologues or get involved in one of the planned events at www.vday.org. The Church Within in Fountain Square will be performing the show on February 21, 22, and 23 at 7:30. Proceeds will benefit Coburn Place/Safe Haven.
Write a list of everything and everyone you are grateful for in your life. Practicing gratitude is a simple exercise that can always help us feel better!
Schedule a professional massage. Often single people don’t get enough physical touch, skin-skin contact with another person. Regular professional massages can help offset the craving for human contact.
Find an opportunity to do good for others on Valentine’s day. Giving to others usually pulls us out of our own funk. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or other service opportunities. www.helpindyonline.com can help you get started.
I hope this post has inspired you to celebrate being single on Valentine’s day. If taking any of these steps seems overwhelming or like it won’t help at all, please consider seeking a professional counselor.