Valentine’s Day — with its romantic dinners, huge rose bouquets or even engagement rings hidden in desserts — can be an anxiety-inducing time of year for those of us not partnered up. How can people who aren’t in a relationship cope with what may seem like a barrage of couples, hearts, cupids and love?
Don’t fixate on it. It can be too easy to spend this time of year remembering that you’re single and pondering all the reasons why there isn’t more love in your life. First, remember that while you may not be experiencing romantic love at the moment, you have other types of love in your life that are important and fulfilling. Celebrate those relationships on this day. Also, just because you may not have a partner does not mean you cannot enjoy yourself on this day. Engage in activities that you typically enjoy the rest of the year, or even try something new to take your mind off your lack of a Valentine’s Day date.
Stay in the present. Holidays often make us nostalgic — it is easy to focus on old memories and replay how you’ve spent Valentine’s Day in the past. However, if dwelling on the past does not bring you happiness, it might be best to curb it. If you find yourself pining for what came before, focus instead on the present — the factors in your life that bring you joy and make you feel fulfilled at the present moment.
Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t have. While it might be impossible to avoid all the Valentine’s Day messaging about love, relationships and romance, you can alter your response to the barrage. If you find yourself unable to stop fixating on the day, make your thoughts constructive. Take the opportunity to think and reassess what kind of love and relationship you want in your future — and how you might be able to find it.
Remember it is just one day. February 14th comes every year, followed by February 15th, and the 16th after that. While our culture puts a lot of emphasis on Valentine’s Day, the reality is it is just a day like any other. It will soon pass and you can return to focusing on equally important aspects of your life such as your family, friends, career, etc.
The Family Institute offers affordable counseling for individuals, couples and families across the Chicagoland area. For more information on our therapy services, please visit our website.