Find a support group near you

Anti-Valentine's Day

16 February 2017

At one Changes meeting this week the subject of Valentine’s Day came up (this being Valentine’s ‘week’) and this seemed to provoke some discussion, in the break at least, about how difficult many of us found this day.  A bit like Christmas, this day seems to be an almost deliberate slap in the face for anyone who’s feeling lonely and isolated. People were reminded of failed relationships and marriages, unhappy current marriages, the uncertainty of current relationships, and long-term ‘singleness’. Apparently we’re not alone in this.

Valentine’s Day seems to be difficult for people everywhere---depression levels go up and suicide helplines have a marked increase in the number of calls they receive. It can be hard to deal with these feelings of sadness and loneliness but I did find some helpful suggestions…

One woman said every year she and some workmates got together, all wore black and went out to a bar and got drunk, just having fun as ‘mates’ not ‘dates’. Obviously you don’t have to do the getting drunk bit if you don’t want to, but it seems a good idea to go out in a determinedly non-romantic way and just have fun.

Spend some time on your own doing something you really enjoy and that makes you feel really good...some kind of exercise you like, or just a walk somewhere really beautiful and look at nature...pamper yourself by going on a sunbed or having a sauna...go and watch a movie (NOT a romantic one) something creative…

Remind yourself that Valentine’s Day is just a meaningless and very commercial non-holiday! It’s just one day of the year, it doesn’t mean that all those loved-up couples you see out and about are actually having such a great time---maybe they’re not---and Feb 14th is increasingly just a way for shops, restaurants etc. to make huge amounts of money from us! None of this is meant to be cynical or sour-grapesy...just realistic! You don’t have to swallow the independent of it.

If you have had a marriage or significant relationship, remind yourself of why it was good and realise that if you’ve had that kind of connection with someone before then chances are you can do it again. But also remember why it went wrong...marriages do fail, relationships end, things change and we move on.

Maybe it’s possible to use all those loved-up couples as some kind of inspiration...that ‘if they can do it, so can I’. Or maybe not.  At the risk of sounding really corny, it’s surely better to be alone, and try and love and accept yourself, than settle for being with someone (anyone) else if they’re second best. I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory and there’s a great quote by Sheldon, who says that the need to have a close connection with another human being has always eluded him, “maybe because I’m so interesting all by myself”. Nice one.