Being Single on Valentine’s Day

Being Single on Valentine's Day

At Princeton MarketFair, my local mall in NJ, there is a display window that announces “V-Day is Me Day.” The ad is a not too subtle way to encourage their customers to splurge on themselves on Valentine’s Day and hopefully increase sales.

As I thought about the slogan I thought this might be a good way to encapsulate how a person who is not in a relationship can deal with Valentine’s Day.  Next to New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day is one of the most difficult days to navigate if you are single.  Often as a psychotherapist when trying to help a client figure out the status of a relationship, I would ask “What are your plans for New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day?”.  These 2 days are for friends, and “the significant other” in your life, and less reliant on family ties.

If you are not in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, viewing “V-day” as a new beginning to start loving yourself is a great way to move forward.

Determine whether you are ready to be in a relationship.  If you think that you are ready, you must be able to love yourself and have a strong sense of self esteem.  This is easier said than done.  People usually feel that if they are in a relationship then they would have a better sense of self esteem.  This is the classic dilemma, “What came first? . . . the chicken, or the egg?”, or in the case of relationships “What comes first? . . . our self esteem, . . . or the romantic relationship which would make us feel better about ourselves?”

I would propose that although it may be easier to have a strong sense of self esteem if you are in a good relationship, you increase your chances of being in a good relationship if you can develop a better sense of self esteem first.

Developing a resilient sense of self esteem should be our life goal.  I do not believe that any of us has a perfect sense of self esteem, but we should always be trying to improve ourselves. How do we do that?  Start by feeling good about what is good about your life.  Focus on positive relationships that you have with family, friends, coworkers, or fellow students.  If you feel that you do not have enough good relationships, improve the relationships that already exist while also trying to find new friends by joining support groups, getting more involved in a spiritual community, or taking courses.

At some point you will need to begin to make yourself open to new, possibly romantic relationships.  However, this often will involve anxiety, uncertainty, the risk of being rejected, or possibly worse, the risk of rejecting someone without knowing if a better opportunity for another relationship will come along again.  All of these possibilities will be difficult to handle, but will be less difficult if you already have begun to work on your self esteem, and have a stronger network of friends to lean on. Listen to Michael Buble’s song “Haven’t Met You Yet” for some inspiration.


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