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I love being single every day - except Valentine's Add to ...

The question

I love being single, every day of the year except Valentine's Day. For 24 hours I feel like I need another person in my life. It's an awful feeling. What do you recommend I do to avoid this? I can't do another 'single's party' or first date. It all seems so fake.

The answer

Ask yourself this: why does feeling that you need another person seem awful? Think about why you are rejecting any notion of being in a couple. As humans we are social creatures, who both need other people in our life, and need to be needed by others.

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Think about what this is about for you – do you feel it is a sign of weakness to need another? Is this a barrier for you in terms of actively pursuing or acting on a connection with someone?

That said, certain days of the year can feel particularly difficult if you are single – and Valentine’s Day falls at the top of that list.

This of course is not surprising given that it is the day of the year that has an explicit focus on couples, relationships and ideas of never-ending romantic love. Other special days such as Christmas, New Year’s and birthdays are also ones that can be hard hitters.

Many single people will describe just wishing that those days would hurry up and be over, as they feel particularly lonely on those days, much more than they may at any other time of the year.

Making yourself do something to rebel against the idea of Valentine’s Day often doesn’t work. A ‘single’s party’ for example can ironically have the opposite effect and further amplify your single status; and, having a first date just for the sake of a date certainly can feel fake and forced.

Instead, think about just doing something for yourself that is a treat or makes you feel special – a massage, an indulgent gift, or a short trip away.

Try to understand what it is that you are reacting you – you say that you “love” being single every other day but feeling “awful” on Valentine’s Day.

There appears to be a disconnect for me in the intensity of the feelings you are having. You are wishing that your relationship status was different, and perhaps you aren’t loving being single as much as you feel at times.

This may be hard to admit or acknowledge to yourself, but may be important information in that it may motivate you to make some active changes in your life that can help you to work on changing your relationship status.

For the interim, to get through the day, remember that Valentine’s Day is a day just like any other (also true for the other holidays!). This can be hard to do when we are bombarded by images of flowers, balloons, chocolates and other testimonials attesting to one’s love for another person every which way we look – TV, stores, and even in your office.

But it is just one day and there are 364 others that are not surrounded with multiple images of coupledom. Remind yourself that your negative feelings will abate (as they always do) and that the 24 hours will be over before you know it.

Send psychologist Joti Samra your questions at psychologist@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Dr. Samra.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

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