Six years after my original essay on the subject, Valentine’s Day is still very difficult for many, many people. In the wake of the Great Recession, and with the rise of social media websites and apps, the competition to attract and retain relationships is fiercer than ever. This leaves a lot of good people, who bring a lot to the table, losing hope that they will ever find a romantic partner. Many who are in a committed relationship are losing the confidence that they have what it takes to keep the partner they’ve got. Valentine’s Day brings these problems into sharp focus, so there is still a lot of disappointment out there on February 15. But now there’s no bounce-back effect in the Spring, when couples have traditionally been more hopeful. For many, Valentine’s Day is just one more day of the year, when the right relationship seems out of reach. For those hopeless romantics out there, or perhaps hopeFULL romantics out there, here are some ideas for bringing more love into Valentine’s Day.
Let social media work for you, not the other way around. This Valentine’s Day, if you have something to brag about through social media, then by all means, brag, rejoice and enjoy your moment. But if you’re feeling left out on social media because you don’t have anything to brag about, try not to take it personally. It’s self-defeating to compare others’ giddy bragging (which is often exaggerated, I might add) to your humdrum reality. Initiate the planning for a fun Valentine’s event, or an alternative activity. Then post something that shows what a nice time you’re having, and what a positive person you are. Bringing people together for a pleasant activity makes your life fuller, which allows you to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. However, when someone does or says something online to directly cause hurt, such as unfriending you or spreading a rumor about you or a loved one, then you’ve been put down publicly. It’s natural that you might need some support to get through the experience.
If you’re in a dating relationship, why not use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to give your partner a special experience? Most people, even if they came out of the Great Recession financially Okay, value experiences more than things these days. Plan an experience that says “I love you” to your partner. Be open to what your partner might plan for you.
Married couples can use Valentine’s Day as a day to make a New Year’s Relationship Resolution. Is there something that your partner has mentioned or asked for a few times? Why not resolve to give this to your partner, starting Valentine’s Day, and continuing throughout the year ahead? Perhaps it’s a chore, like cleaning out the garage or a closet. Doing this without being prompted to do it, could make your partner feel more heard in the relationship. Is it a bad habit that your partner has pointed out several times? Making efforts to change, means you are saying “I’m a better person because I am with you”.
Parents, you can use Valentine’s Day to encourage your children to do something loving and kind for someone else, without expecting a reward. Or not — maybe the best way for your child to experience Valentine’s Day is to hear you telling them, once again, how much you love them.
Whatever your choice of how to spend Valentine’s Day, in the end it’s just a simple greeting card holiday, meant to be a fun respite from the Winter Blues. It was never meant to be a litmus test of your relationship, a measure of your attractiveness, or a performance review of you or your partner. In conclusion, remember my motto — chocolate makes everything better =).