Valentine’s Day may seem like a sweet holiday, but whether you’re single or taken, it can quickly turn sour if you have the wrong attitude.
If you’re in a happy, new relationship: Expecting to be blown away by a grand romantic gesture can put too much pressure on your partner and your relationship — and lead to disappointment. So what do you do? Communication is key. Talk about the day beforehand with your partner and set realistic expectations together. Just remember not to set your mind on one ideal — be open to new experiences, and you might actually be pleasantly surprised in the end. Most important: Instead of using this holiday as a test for your relationship, see it as an opportunity to learn something new about your partner.
If you’re single: With so many status updates by taken or married friends rolling by on your newsfeed, now more than ever Valentine’s Day can feel more like an annoying reminder of your single status. Instead of worrying about it, use this day to take small steps toward finding the kind of relationship you desire. Turn off Facebook, and seek out social activities, like mixers or concerts, where you can meet new people. If you haven’t taken the leap and tried online dating yet, also dedicate a couple of hours on Valentine’s Day to set up an online dating profile. Don’t forget to treat yourself on this day by planning something you truly look forward to. Remember: You don’t have to wait for someone to treat you. In fact, part of finding a relationship is learning to love yourself first and knowing how to make you happy.
If you’re going through a breakup: It’s natural to feel sad and lonely on this day. Try to shift your focus on what’s positive about your situation. Remember why it’s over and focus on the benefits of being on your own instead of with someone who isn’t right for you. More often than not, a breakup opens doors that lead to better things than what’s behind the door that closed. To help yourself remember this, start by making a list of all the reasons you’re better off single than with the wrong person and keep it on hand on Valentine’s Day as a simple reminder. Then, to help yourself heal, plan something nurturing on this day, like a massage, which is especially appropriate since our body goes through withdrawal from our partner’s touch after a breakup. Finally, make plans with friends to decrease the feelings of isolation you may feel on Valentine’s day.
If you’re in a not-so-happy relationship: Valentine’s Day can magnify the bad aspects of a relationship that isn’t in a good phase, and anxiety can spike as the spotlight suddenly falls on all the things you’re doing to try to pretend everything is fine. There are two ways to deal with this situation on Valentine’s Day: Face your problems head on with your partner or decide to call it quits. Now’s the time to have a heart-to-heart with your partner about what’s wrong so you can move forward together — or separately, if that’s what you decide. Remember that there’s no wrong time to go through with a breakup, because neither you nor your partner is gaining anything by you sticking around if your heart really isn’t in it.