Valentine’s Blues?

Posted on: 12.02.2019

There is no reason anyone SHOULD feel bad about Valentine’s Day. It is just a day. I hope you feel great on February 14th. And the 15th and the 16th and so on, for that matter. But if you don’t, this one is for you….

Much like a love obsessed Scrooge, I was thinking about Valentine’s past for this blog.

The worst (and in hindsight most tragi-comic) was a Valentine’s when newly single I was devastated and had no plans and headed to the supermarket where I bumped into seemingly everyone I knew (‘Any nice plans?’) who looked into my basket of meal for one, two bottles of wine and endless baked goods and desserts (‘Nevermind! See you soon!’) followed by a return to my shared house where I thought all my housemates where out having a love infused time but alas one guy had his girlfriend over to cook her a romantic meal, they felt sorry for me and invited me to watch a movie with them (third wheel much?) and then feigned tiredness about 40 mins in, leaving me to suffer through the rest of the soppy movie by myself and then turn in early, all to the soundtrack of their very loud, and frankly a bit alarming, sex. Reader, I cried. And tried earplugs for the first time, but that’s not the point.

Close second would be a Valentine’s where I was in a relationship but things were NOT good and all the well meaning gestures, though we did love each other, felt like hollow reminders of how far we were from what we once had. ‘Sure, there are real problems here that we know probably means we can’t be together forever like we thought and isn’t that heartbreaking but it’s Valentine’s! Did you see the card I got you? RED HEARTS AND GLITTERY BITS!! Do you want to share a dessert?’

Of the best Valentine’s, there were two with someone I loved very much, one because they had put a lot of thought into it which did indeed make it very special and the other because it was new and that ‘new love’ magic was strong and I realised ‘Hey, this is going to be something really quite life changing and magical.’ Which it was. There was also one where I went out with a male friend and we just laughed and ate and drank and did not give a s**t that everyone else at the restaurant were looking at each other all doe eyed because we were having the best time being hilarious (well we thought so anyway) Another with a bunch of girlfriends, both new and old, just laughing and sharing stories and having a great time, I think we forgot it was ‘THAT’ day and my main memory of it is laughing so hard and having to put down a glass of red because I genuinely thought I might spill it on the couch from my body wracking guffawing.

So there you go, a mixed bag but as you can see a good day or a bad day had less to do with the coupled-up-ness and more to do with me and what was going on in my life.

If Valentines is making you feel bad the reason is probably because you think you should be some place you aren’t (I mean metaphorically but maybe literally) or you want something you don’t feel you have.

If you are with someone and it’s making you feel bad, you are probably one of the following….not as happy with them as you once were / thought you’d be or going through tough times but now feel like you have to be all Valentine’s-y which is so much pressure to feel a closeness or satisfaction you don’t actually feel, or you and your boo have different Valentine’s ways – they are not into it but you want the epic flowers sent to work parade or alternatively you want a low key chilled thing and they have bought some kind of card it takes two men in a van to deliver. In any case, some version of ‘I want this but they do this.’

If you are single and feel bad it’s probably because you are imagining the world filled with couples so in love it melts your heart and you want that and it hurts that you don’t have it right now and the world feels like it’s conspiring to shove its Ed Sheeran love song, hand holdy, gazing into each others’ eyes, love with a capital L, down your throat. ‘Yes, Carol, I’m sure you are embarrassed he sent you flowers at work but you also seem quite insufferably pleased and yes, isn’t he clever to not buy roses which are so expensive right now and he remembering your favourite flowers are sunflowers and no, I didn’t realise you were saving up for a deposit on a house but if I can just have the most up to date version of the report, I’d be much obliged….’

If you feel bad, it’s ok. People are not wrong when they say that it is, after all just a day, and one in large part propagated by florists, restaurants and card companies but that doesn’t mean you have to feel ok about it if you actually don’t. If you feel bad, don’t make it worse by feeling bad about being feeling bad.

If you are in a relationship and things aren’t great then maybe some things have to be looked at, can things be fixed and if so how? You may have to think beyond the 14th here. That’s ok. Take the long view. Take celebrations down a bit and check some expectations. Have a conversation with your Valentine’s partner in crime and touch base about what you want. Perhaps it would be nicer if they just did what you wanted without having to have the chat but there are probably things they hint at that you don’t do off your own back either and no one’s a mind reader. Have the talk. Valentines can be a barometer of what’s going on in your relationship, that can be good but it can also be unsettling or even painful. Looking at it doesn’t change the truth here. The sooner you figure it out, the sooner you can both fix it (whatever that may mean for you)

If you are single, whatever flavour of that you may be (from just broken up to ‘it’s been years’) and Valentine’s is giving you the ‘ick’, please be really kind to yourself because it’s tough when every shop window is telling you that unless someone is buying you chocolates/flowers/the thing they want you to buy, you are unloved. Which is clearly bulls**t. Do remind yourself to keep some perspective on the day. And quick reality check, not everyone else is in a couple and even those who are aren’t all happy right now. Some people are, and isn’t that great because it shows it can exist? But not everyone is, no matter what it looks like on Instagram. You are not the weird one here whatever the people flogging cards say! It may feel like everyone else has got dinner plans to discuss wedding playlists over soufflé but that is not the reality of things. You can still feel however you feel but don’t let it be because of things that aren’t true.

Not original but still mega important advice is to do nice things for yourself and perhaps remind yourself how very not alone and totally loved you are by spending time with people you think are awesome – honest belly laughs with friends or good eats with family should not be under rated as ways to spend a day. Ever.

BUT ALSO…. remember that what you want isn’t just a boyfriend or girlfriend to buy you whatever and cross those Valentine’s checklist boxes. You want proper real love and the intimacy, romance and affection that stem from it, which are uniquely you and them and that is totally ok. You are amazing for not settling for anything less. You are amazing FULL STOP. Not getting the red heart card does not make you less so. In terms of that love, what’s stopping you from finding it? There may still be some ‘you’ work to do, some healing? Or it might be circumstantial, perhaps you could consider how you make yourself available to finding love? Or maybe it’s just not what’s happening right now and it’s timing? All these things can be looked at and changes can be made.

It IS just a day but what you bring to it does matter. Look at the thing beneath the bad feeling because that’s where you can change things. How empowering, no?

Whatever the case, do nice things for yourself and remind yourself that you are brilliant (clue: if you don’t feel that way, THAT’S the work!) because if it’s a day all about love then that’s a great place to start. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day, from me to you.

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