Giving and receiving love is one of the best experiences of a lifetime and Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday when that love is expressed. During the course of life, you may find yourself in a season of singleness or a season of strain in your romantic relationship. If this is the case for you, it may be hard to cope with a day that seems full of love, passion, and affection for others but can trigger difficult emotions for you like sadness, loneliness, grief, and/or jealousy. Here are a few tips to help you cope with the “Valentine Blues.”
- You and your partner may agree to take a holiday break so neither of you feel obligated to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
- If you both decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day, try not to compare the day with other celebrations you’ve shared as a couple as this could add to your pain and take away from the current moment together.
- Avoid comparing your relationship with other couples. For example, if both of you decide to celebrate with a wonderful dinner for two at home, it does not mean you love one another less or your relationship is doomed if your best friend and his wife celebrate with a romantic, 3-day staycation. Also, it would be unfair to compare your relationship during this phase to another couple who is in a more joyful time in their lives.
- Make a list of a few realistic ways you can improve your relationship that are not contingent upon your partner’s behavior (e.g. I will dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to talk to my boyfriend without electronics/social media distractions.)
- Consider couple’s therapy with a trained professional.
- Be compassionate with yourself. Don’t judge or criticize yourself for feeling uncomfortable emotions.
- Acknowledge your distress, but don’t allow the sadness of Valentine’s Day to lead you to make unhealthy decisions (e.g. returning to an unhealthy relationship, impulsively diving into a new relationship, engaging in unsafe sex, over/undereating, abusing street drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication, and/or excessive shopping.)
- Avoid comparisons: You may be in a different phase of life than someone else. For example, it would be unfair for you to compare your single life (1-month post breakup) to someone who has been happily single for 3 years.
- Don’t let other people’s posts on social media be the measuring stick for your life. Remember, people are not likely to post unfiltered images of their life.
- Consider individual or group therapy with a trained professional.
Whatever your season in love, allow it to develop or heal naturally without doing anything to rush or prolong it.
~Dr. Q. Perry