Because of Valentine’s Day, February is often thought of as the month of love. If you’re single or unhappy, however, don’t worry—February hasn’t forgotten you.

Valentine’s Day

February 14 is the day for lovers, serving as a reminder to let your loved one know how much he or she means to you. Depending on your situation, the day may leave you feeling happy, disappointed, depressed, or confused. If you’re in a relationship, it is important to communicate your romantic Valentine’s Day desires; this way, your partner can agree to plans or you can negotiate a different experience. Difficulties arise when one person has a vision for the day they failed to communicate to their partner. People tend to refrain from spelling out just what they want, believing that telling their partner will lessen or ruin the gesture.

Time and time again, this challenge creates disappointment in the person with unspoken desires and confusion in the other who, unfortunately, is not a mind reader. Some people are great at intuiting what their partner wants, others are not. This is in no way connected to how well they know you, how important you are to them and how much they love you. Discussing what each of you want out of Valentine’s Day can result in a fun conversation.

Connect it to your love language. If you are an Acts of Service person, ask your partner to do something on your Honey-Do list. If you are a Quality Time person, ask for some time, without screens, when you and your partner can do something you both enjoy. If you’re a Words of Affirmation person, ask your partner to articulate, verbally or written, what they love, respect and appreciate about you. If Receiving Gifts is your love language, give your partner ideas of what you would like to receive; you could even offer to go with them to the store to pick it out. If you are a Physical Touch person, be sure to articulate your vision for physical touching during your time together. Between the two of you, with great communication, you can create the perfect day where you both will be happy and satisfied.

Singles

February 13 has been designated Galentine’s Day for the gals to get together to celebrate their presence in each other’s life. You don’t need to be single to celebrate Galentine’s Day, nor do you need to be a woman—so why don’t we start calling it Palentine’s Day? All you need is one or more friends in your life you want to celebrate with. You can create an awesome get together for the gals or guys in your life, just to say, “Hey, I’m so glad I know you and that you are in my life.” Start planning your Palentine’s celebration today and share the February love with your friends.

Don’t forget National Singles Awareness Day on February 15. This is a holiday for those who have no partner to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. It doesn’t matter if you are single by choice or are longing for a significant other, National Singles Awareness Day is a time to focus your loving attention on your friends, family or yourself. Take the time to appreciate the important people in your life.

Love, Actually

Instead of Valentine’s Day, if February was simply the Month of Love and people decided for themselves how to express that love, it might be better. Without the holiday, happy couples treat most days like a celebration of their love for each other, anyway.

For those who are in a relationship but describe it as mediocre or unsatisfying, they may resent Valentine’s Day—a forced day of togetherness neither of them feels. If one person is hoping for a better experience this year and the other person has completely disengaged, Valentine’s Day could be downright hurtful for the person who is still invested. Then again, there can be perfectly happy couples who roll their eyes at the holiday. They may see it as an excuse for the corporate world to profit on an expectation it embedded in society—another obligation to purchase something for your partner. For some, celebrating an anniversary is more personal and meaningful.

Those who are single and happy about that status can spend the day like any other, hang out with their other single friends, or volunteer somewhere like a personal care home to spend time with some widows or widowers who may be lonely on Valentine’s Day.

Those who are single and wishing for a partner can spend Valentine’s Day being grateful for all the other things they have in their life, preparing for their next relationship, or focusing their love on their platonic loves, such as family and friends.

My most memorable Valentine’s Day thus far was around 2002 after my husband died in 1999; I had felt sorry for myself every Valentine’s Day in between. That year, I decided I was no longer going to feel sorry for myself for being without a romantic partner. Instead, I wrote thank you notes to the many people who had helped me with my sons after their father died. There were so many that I was busy all day, from morning till night, writing those notes. When I went to bed, I felt more loved than I had in a long time, because I focused on giving love instead of focusing on the love that was missing from my life.

And if you are having trouble thinking of people you love, how about spending some time loving yourself? Most of the people I work with suffer from lacking a healthy relationship with Self. If you are seeking something to do this Valentine’s Day, how about thinking of something you want to do for yourself but have been putting off? Valentine’s Day would be a perfect day to start, or continue, loving yourself. I talk about strategic self-care in terms of asking yourself, What do I need to feel safe and secure, loving, significant, free and joyful? Instead of answering that with something someone else has to do, how about answering with something you, and you alone, are capable of giving yourself? You may have to be more creative, but it is well worth the effort.

If you are interested in more information download The Relationship Center’s free Valentine’s Day bundle. The bundle includes tips on what men and women can do differently to improve their relationships, an article describing 52 free things to do on date night (with ideas divided by season), the “Relationship ABCs” (26 ways you can improve your relationship from A to Z) and a tip sheet about the concept of strategic self-care: a practice that helps you build that important relationship with self.

Love is for everyone… you are worth it.

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