By Eleanor Beeslaar

It’s that time of the year again. Valentine’s Day. For some, it’s a day filled with excitement and hopes of joy and love, but for others it’s a dreaded day filled with unattainable expectations and reminders of painful break-ups or being single. Even if you find yourself anticipating Valentine’s day with feelings of dread and disdain, it doesn’t mean that the day can’t be reframed into something special and worthy of celebration.

We know that Valentine’s Day can be hard to navigate. Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day cynic, overcoming a recent heart-break, feeling extra single, or struggling with differing attitudes about the day with your partner, we have put together a Valentine’s Day Survival Guide to help you have a more positive experience and enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Cynics

Valentine’s Day often evokes an attitude of cynicism, especially with the marketing tactics of companies hoping to capitalize on the day and the increasingly unrealistic expectations of romance and relationship perfection shown in the media. The phrase, “It’s just a Hallmark Holiday,” is all too common and exemplifies the belief that Valentine’s Day is a pointless and insincere holiday. While these reservations and feelings toward Valentine’s Day are valid and hold some truth, there is hope to turn this day into something that is uniquely special to you!

You don’t have to fall in line with the Valentine’s Day gimmicks or celebrate a day that you do not have a stake in. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about being coupled and showering a partner with romantic gestures or chocolates, flowers, and cards. Instead, it can be a time to celebrate meaningful relationships, lasting friendships, and togetherness. We encourage you to think of the people you care about and find ways to show them your appreciation and love this Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant gesture or cheesy Valentine’s cliché. It can be as simple as a kind message of gratitude that spreads love and joy into the lives of those you care about.

We hope you can let go of prior expectations and feelings of dread this Valentine’s day and find moments of joy and gratitude with the people you love!

When you’re into it, but your partner isn’t.

You may feel excitement and anticipation leading up to Valentine’s Day, with hopes of sharing romantic moments of love and affection with your partner, but what if they’re just not that into it? It can be challenging to manage mismatched expectations and find a way for both you and your partner to feel like your needs are being met.

A great place to start is by communicating why celebrating Valentine’s Day is important to you. If your partner understands the sentiment of honoring your relationship and showing gratitude and affection motivating your desire to engage in Valentine’s Day festivities, they may be more willing to reciprocate your efforts.

It is also important to honor and validate your partner’s feelings, even if you do not understand them. You can do this by listening to what they have to say and offering ways to compromise on Valentine’s Day. Maybe they don’t want to go out and celebrate in public or indulge in Valentine’s Day themed gifts. Instead, you could suggest staying in and celebrating at home with homemade gifts and/or cards.

We encourage you to keep an open mind and heart as you address your feelings about Valentine’s Day with your partner!

When your partner is into it, but you’re not.

Maybe Valentine’s Day just isn’t for you. You can’t seem to buy into the romance of an overly commercialized holiday and don’t see the value in celebrating. However, your partner loves Valentine’s Day and has been looking forward to it for quite some time. It can be difficult to know what to do when you and your partner’s expectations for Valentine’s Day don’t match up, but we have a few ideas to help you navigate the day and enjoy special moments with the person you care about!

Invite your partner to express their needs and expectations around Valentine’s Day and be open and receptive to what they say. By initiating a conversation, you and your partner can work together to plan a Valentine’s Day celebration that honors your relationship, communicates love and affection, and leaves both of you feeling happy and comfortable.

Though, love is something that should be shown and celebrated every day, it can mean a lot to your partner when you indulge in something that brings them joy and happiness, even if it is something that puts you a little outside of your comfort zone.

The Completely Single

Being single on Valentine’s Day can lead to many thoughts and feelings ranging from the dread of being alone and feeling left out to feeling pressured to find a date. However, just because you don’t have a significant other, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate and enjoy Valentine’s Day! Being single leads to many exciting opportunities to have fun with the people you care about and celebrate friendship, laughter, and togetherness.

We have compiled a list of ideas and activities for you incorporate into you Valentine’s Day!

  • Make plans with friends!
  • Treat yourself to a day of self-care. Whether it’s getting your nails done, going on a hike, or watching a movie, celebrate yourself by doing something you enjoy!
  • Plan a Galentine’s Day! Get a group of friends together to celebrate the beauty of women and friendship.
  • Plan a movie night with your friends.
  • Do a Valentine’s Day gift exchange with your other single friends.
  • Plan a date with your best friend! This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your friendship and show appreciation for your best friend. Plan a night of fun activities to honor your friendship!

The Recently Heart-Broken

Valentine’s Day can be especially difficult after a recent heartbreak. The spirit of love and romance seems to be everywhere. Couples holding hands and celebrating can be painful and seemingly inescapable reminders of the end of a relationship with the far-reaching platform of social media.

Though break-ups take time and it is normal to feel this way, we hope to help you get through and even enjoy Valentine’s Day in the wake of a recent heart-break with these tips!

  • Take a break from social media. Try to avoid looking at other people’s Valentine’s Day posts, as they can be difficult reminders of your past relationship.
  • Plan a day filled with things that make you happy! Plan to make or order your favorite food, invite over some friends, go on a nature walk, or have a movie marathon.
  • Treat yourself! Indulge in a day of self-care with activities that you enjoy.
  • Celebrate Galentine’s Day with your friends! A great way to keep your mind off of your break-up is to surround yourself with a support system and enjoy a day where you can celebrate friendship.
  • Surround yourself with family and/or friends and practice gratitude for the people you care about!
  • Practice gratitude and reflect on the people, places, and things in your life that you appreciate.

We hope that this guide has helped you plan a day that you can enjoy and celebrate!

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