While Valentine's Day may seem like a celebration of love and relationships and tiny candy hearts, this sweet holiday can elicit a sour taste for many. Does Valentine’s Day make you a little nutty? I can recall countless Valentine’s Days past that I spent feeling bad about being single and comparing myself to friends who were married or engaged.
As a therapist, I've found that it doesn't matter whether you're in a new relationship, flying solo, going through a break up, or dealing with a rocky relationship, this time of year can give rise to some serious anxiety. We all have very high expectations on Valentine’s Day – we all want the perfect bunch of flowers in our favourite colour and the carefully hand-written love card of course. We create a whole story on what we need and deserve.
If You're in a Happy, New Relationship
You're newly in love and life is great, but big Valentine's Day plans and expectations can derail the most blissful of early relationships. Expecting to be blown away by a romantic evening can put too much pressure on your partner and even your relationship at large. On the other hand, trying to plan an ideal date so that your partner won't be disappointed is another way to add on stress. If we can go into Valentine’s Day limiting our expectations, we can have a much better experience.
How to manage your expectations:
- Let your man off the hook. Give him the freedom to show up, lose the expectations, let him be him and you might be surprised.
- Choose the motto that, “I am going to have fun no matter what.” Making that decision will be a transformational experience. That simple decision can change your attitude and the experience that you have.
- Expectations can sabotage the day. Let the experience unfold. Let go of all your expectations and just have fun.
- Try to enjoy Valentine's Day as a time to learn more about your partner, instead of using this holiday to test your relationship, think of it as an opportunity to spend more time getting to know each other.
- Gain joy by giving a gift instead of expecting the perfect gift.
If You're Single
Celebrate the positive relationships out there, whether it is a good friend’s relationship or your parents. Rather than looking at all these couples and seeing yourself as less then or comparing yourself or seeing yourself as not good enough see it as a day to celebrate and honor yourself. Don’t compare yourself but look at these scenarios as absolutely attainable. In the celebration of other people’s love you create more love and positive energy in your life.
You may be feeling alone on Valentine’s Day but that is your choice, you can choose to see yourself being alone at Valentine’s Day or you can choose to open up your mind to be receptive to bring all that romance into your life.
Create a vision board in your bedroom that has images of relationships that resonate with you - images of couples holding hands, images of engagement rings, images of hearts of beautiful quotes. Look at the board and say I can have that.
The joy that you bring to being single will elevate your energy so that you become that magnet to attract a man.
If You're Going Through a Breakup
For people who are going through a breakup, natural feelings of sadness and loneliness can be magnified on Valentine's Day. If this is what you're experiencing, try to shift your focus on what is positive about your situation.
Remember why things ended in the first place. Try to focus on the benefits of being alone versus being with the wrong person. This may involve preparing a list to keep on hand of the reasons you broke up in case you get nostalgic on Valentine's Day.
Find ways to heal. If the breakup was not your choice, make sure to do something extra nice and self-nurturing on Valentine's Day
Keep your friends close. Definitely make plans to spend some time with a friend to decrease feelings of loneliness and help manage urges to contact your ex. If you are traveling or live in a new city where you haven't yet made close friends and your breakup is fresh, consider asking a friend or family member to have dinner with you via Skype to provide you with some extra support.
Experiencing a loss of love when the whole world seems to be focused on applauding it can feel especially cruel, but it's important to remember the areas in your life that are still filled with positivity and opportunity. More often than not, breakups open more doors than the ones they close behind you.
If You're in a Rocky Relationship
Valentine's Day can heighten a rocky phase in a relationship or even help you realise that you're unhappy in your love life. Unfortunately, there are a lot of opportunities for anxiety in this case. Anxiety levels can rise because of the work you're doing trying to pretend everything is fine. They can rise from feeling stuck and suffocated from an unhappy relationship. They can also rise from the frustration of trying to revive your relationship. In any case, there are two healthy ways of working through this kind of anxiety: face your problems head on to work on them with your partner or decide to go your separate ways.
Get in touch with what's wrong. Use Valentine's Day as a way to get in touch with what's making you unhappy in the relationship, and then consider if you want to work on things or move on. For example, if you are unhappy because you constantly feel neglected and your partner ends up being unavailable on Valentine's Day, don't try to stifle your feelings and push the issue under the rug.
Spice things up. If you're just feeling bored in the relationship, use Valentine's as a reason to shake things up. Take a partner massage class, try a new restaurant, or spend a night in a nice hotel—anything that will switch up the routine.
Have a heart-to-heart. If your relationship seems to be full of endless drama, try to plan a quiet evening in for the two of you where you can focus on each other without distraction.
And don’t forget tomorrow won’t be Valentine’s Day. We forget that it is just one day out of 365 days. We put way so much emphasis on it. Remember to just have fun and make it enjoyable no matter what.
About Marianne Vicelich:
Author of ‘Love Spells’, ‘Love, Love Me’, ‘Love Always’ and ‘Things We Love’, Marianne Vicelich, recommends that regardless of whether you’re in a happy relationship or single, the best thing you can do this Valentine’s Day is treat yourself. Marianne is an author of myriad self-help books aimed at helping people boost their self-esteem and confidence, understand their self-worth and shows how people should love themselves before they can expect the love of others. A beautiful range of ‘Shine Bright’, affirmation cards will be launched internationally in April 2018 – a perfect present to treat yourself to or a close friend. http://www.brownsbfs.co.uk/Product/Vicelich-Marianne/Shine- Bright--77-Inspirational-Affirmations-and-Manifesting-Tools/9780987551863. Shine Bright is a deck of 77 manifesting cards to be used for receiving daily guidance and inspiration. When in doubt, put your hand on the deck and choose a card to give you crystal clear clarity.