Try to ignore society’s expectations
Let’s face it, our society as made romantic partnership the Gold Standard of living. It’s rare for a movie or show to not include some sort of romance in the storyline – many of which are completely unrealistic! Being single – even by choice – is treated with suspicion and pity. How we love, who we love and what timeline we are on seems to be under constant scrutiny and our relationships are often ripe for comparison. As hard as it is, try to remember that your relationships and your journey with love are unique to you. Focus on the positive aspects of your love life or your single freedom. What do you love about your life right now? Cherish that.
Consider taking a break from social media
We know that social media isn’t the most realistic portrayal of everyday life. The people we follow often filter and curate their real lives to create a picture-perfect highlight reel for the world to see. Still, our brains naturally play the comparison game when we scroll through our feeds. It’s hard to not feel bad when we see adorable couples showing off dream dates, beautiful trips or fairytale proposals. We can easily forget that no relationship is perfect, and we rarely get the full story beyond an Instagram post. Sometimes, setting a personal boundary and taking a break from this content can be a healthy reality check. Especially in the days before and after Valentine’s Day, limiting exposure to potentially upsetting material can be a smart choice.
Invest in ALL of your relationships
Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love; who said it has to be romantic? Think about ways you can spread the love to all the important people in your life. Consider baking some treats for friends and family, going on a friend date, or helping a younger family member create Valentine’s Day cards. No matter your relationship status, you probably have lots of love to give and more than one person who would benefit from receiving it.
Communicate with your partner
It’s normal to have certain expectations around this holiday in terms of how you would or would not like to celebrate. It’s also common to expect that your partner is on the same page as you – especially in long term relationships. However, your partner cannot read your mind and you cannot read theirs. To avoid miscommunications, letdowns or arguments it is best to openly and honestly communicate your expectations and hopes about Valentine’s Day with your partner well in advance.
Practice self-love and indulge in extra self-care
Perhaps the most important relationship we will ever cultivate is the relationship we form with ourselves. Ironically, practicing self-love can be a particularly challenging task for many people and for many different reasons. Honor your longest-lasting relationship by treating yourself with extra special care this Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself with a bubble bath, your favorite sweets or write yourself a love letter with positive affirmations. You are more than worthy of love and care from others, and it all starts with how you love and care for yourself!
Alexis Bibler, AMFT
Alexis is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist serving adults and couples virtually throughout California.
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