How To Cope If You’re Feeling Sad On Valentine’s Day
By Lea Rose Emery and Carolyn Steber
Updated: Feb. 10, 2022
Originally Published: Feb. 14, 2017
February 14 is a day that’s positively brimming with expectation. The goal is to have a fun, romantic day full of hearts and chocolate. But if things don’t go as planned, you could potentially feel lonely and sad on Valentine’s Day.
According to Danielle Massi, LMFT, therapist and owner of The Wellness Collective, a lot of Valentine’s Day sadness stems from comparison. “You may find yourself comparing your situation to those around you, or to the picture-perfect couples on social media,” she tells Bustle. Take one look at a cute photo and it might seem like everyone else has a partner and is having fun… except for you.
The holiday also has the potential to drag up hurt feelings, says therapist Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT. “Valentine’s Day can be painful for those who have recently lost romantic love in their lives through a breakup,” she tells Bustle. It practically shines a spotlight on those wounds, making them feel worse than other days of the year. Add in the fact that it’s common to feel bad about being single, and it’s easy to see why this holiday is a tough one.
If your day isn’t shaping up to be all chocolate and roses, you may want to turn things around. Here, therapists share what to do on Valentine’s Day if you’re feeling sad.
2.Share The Love
Instead of wishing you had a partner, find someone else to spend time with. “This day is a celebration of love and that doesn’t always have to be romantic love,” Dr. Nikki Goldstein, sexologist and author of Single But Dating, tells Bustle. Call your family, hang out with your bestie, or go out and volunteer. “It’s a day to celebrate something positive no matter what your relationship status is,” Goldstein says.
4.Name What You’re Feeling
It’s OK to be sad. But if you want to move past it, try naming how you feel. “When we acknowledge our pain, we are in a mindful place to care for it,” says Williamson. “All humans experience pain, loneliness, loss, etc. Acknowledging our pain reminds us that we are not alone.”
Naming your pain sets you up to cope with it, too. “By saying ‘I feel sad’ you can begin the process of meeting your emotional needs,” says McCoy. Tune into what might make you feel better, then seek it out. Would it help to call a friend? Take a nap? Go on that walk? Do exactly what you need to do.
6.Host A Zoom Meet-Up
If you can’t meet up with friends in person, consider creating an event on Zoom. “Host a Zoom paint and sip, share laughs, and enjoy the evening,” suggests therapist Kasey Scharnett King, LMFT. Or log on and watch a movie together. Again, that companionship will help you feel better.
8.Jot Down A List Of Plus Sides
If you make a point of writing down the positive things going on in your life, it may help to shift how you view the importance of the holiday — and maybe even dating right now in general. “Try to have a little perspective about relationships and how large they should loom in your life,” says relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW. Lots of people enjoy being single, so remind yourself of all it has to offer.
If it would hurt to hear about your sister’s perfect date or roommate’s amazing new partner, let them know. “Tell them all that you would prefer not to hear about anything Valentine’s Day-related this year, and that you trust them to respect your boundaries,” Massi says. Doing so will spare you from engaging in painful comparison.
12.Call A Therapist
If your sadness can’t be fixed by taking yourself to dinner or buying a bunch of flowers, consider calling a therapist for a little extra support. They’ll help you investigate your tough emotions and come up with coping skills, Williamson says.