You have coping options when you’re single on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re still looking for a partner, separated, divorced, or widowed, you have choices about how to deal with the day that celebrates couples.
Make It A Personal Crisis
If you’re into “authenticity” and “feeling the pain”, then do it up. Start dreading the day at least two weeks in advance. Absorb the trigger of commercial marketing and decorations. Take them as an offense and personal attack against your singleness – whipping your emotions into a froth of misery.
When the day arrives, begin it with an ugly snot-faced cry. Then get on social media and spill your sadness there. You may call out from work and take a personal/mental health day. Spend it watching depressing movies and eating through your fridge and pantry.
As evening approaches, watch the clock. Literally. Imagine all the happy couples dressing up and going out to dinner – some including marriage proposals. Cry some more and go to bed at 8 pm.
This isn’t a strategy I recommend, but I’ve known enough people who insist on nurturing their sorrows and disappointments and giving them a public parade around the social square. They resent attempts to encourage – calling them “insensitive” – and deny any role but the victim in their situation. So if you’re going to be that, be that good.
Make It No Biggie
A mature single friend once said to me, “I’m not a mother and I don’t go to pieces on Mother’s Day. I’m not Jewish and I don’t get uptight they’re celebrating…whatever days they celebrate. So why should I become an emotional lump on Valentine’s Day because I’m not somebody’s wife?”
Her self-acceptance and ability not to see herself as the center of the universe were at another level. Yes, she wanted to be married (never had been) and have a family, but she appreciated the benefits of singleness too. She lived the principle: Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have.
So Karen’s strategy (her name was Karen) is another way to go. Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be just another day that’s not about you.
Make It An Opportunity
The third strategy for coping with being single on Valentine’s Day is to acknowledge the day and participate by demonstrating love for those who might feel lonely. There’s no law that says Valentine’s Day has to be about a romantically self-indulgent evening.
So here are a few ideas to show love without being someone’s lover.
1.Use the day to celebrate a version of “Galentine’s Day”. Invite other single women to dress up and go out for dinner. Or have a party at home. The goal is simply to celebrate friendship.
2. They make Valentine’s Day cards for every possible relationship you have. Send one to your grandmother, favorite cousin, toddler nephew, or sister-in-law. Who doesn’t like to get a valentine in the mail?
3. Not being part of a couple doesn’t mean you don’t have special men in your life. Take your dad or grandfather to lunch. They’ll be tickled you want to treat them on Valentine’s Day – and tell all their friends you did so. (This is what old folks brag about to other old folks.)
4. If you want to put yourself in Karen’s class of maturity, offer to babysit for a couple who need a Valentine’s Day date but can’t afford a sitter. A good marriage requires time and attention. And just because you’re not married, doesn’t mean you don’t promote good marriages.
5. Reward yourself for doing any of the above with a trip to any grocery or drug store on February 15th.
Read about why I’d steer children away from Valentine’s Day here.