Valentine’s Day Blues?

While Valentine’s Day is typically a day colored by the use of the colors red, pink and white, for many it is a day when they feel blue.   Disappointment, frustration, loneliness, disdain are common emotions that people report on Valentine’s Day due to a variety of factors.  Let’s take a look at how you can avoid feeling blue on this ancient holiday.

According to, it has been suggested that Valentine’s Day has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery.  Thank goodness those days are gone but that doesn’t mean that Valentine’s Day is necessarily any happier of a day for you if you are a single or in a romantic relationship.


One of the many reasons people report frustration or hurt feelings on Valentine’s Day is because their expectations are not met and they feel undervalued or taken for granted by their loved one.  There is an urban myth that “if someone loves you, they should know how to show you their love in a way that resonates with you.”  This is utterly false.  If our partners could read our minds, the world would be a different place, and not necessarily for the better.  Imagine all those bad haircuts you smile about and tell them they look “great”.   

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If you want to avoid hurt feelings and failed expectations with Valentine’s Day or any celebration or even sex (yes, sex), tell them what would feel good to you!  Would you like flowers?  What type?  How many?  Would you like candy, lingerie, a new vacuum?  Everyone has their own idea of what a romantic gesture is and it’s your responsibility to set your partner up for success.  I once had a friend who loved roses and so she told her boyfriend of her love for roses.  He dutifully and lovingly bought her a rose for Valentine’s Day.  She was disappointed because she had pictured a dozen in a pretty vase. He had no way of knowing that!   Another friend told her husband she loved chocolate for Valentine’s Day.  He bought her a box of chocolate from a manufacturer she considered “gross”.  He had no way of knowing that.  I once had a past boyfriend who bought me a bug zapper for Valentine’s Day because I had complained about flying insects during the summer.  I had hoped for something a bit more frilly.  He had no way of knowing that because I had not told him.  The next year he bought me a nightgown my 90 year old grandmother would have loved.  Again, he had no way of knowing, although one would think a quick trip to Victoria’s Secret would enlighten him.  The third year I sent him a list with pictures of ten different options to choose from.  I was pleasantly surprised when he chose two from the list.  Win-win!

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Over the years I’ve had people ask me “doesn’t it mean less if they choose it off a list?”  Not if you want something that you truly like!  If your significant other has great taste and consistently hits it out of the park, go ahead and give them free rein, but if your loved one gets a bit creative or doesn’t have great attention to detail, why not set both of you up to succeed by giving them a list of items that would make you happy?  Setting partners, children, friends up to succeed lowers everyone’s stress levels and makes everyone happy.  Would you rather get something you really like or something you have to return, put on a fake smile about or get your feelings hurt by?  If you’ve been disappointed in the past, give them ideas, screenshots, lists, store names and sizes you wear.  The items on the list are the ingredients in your recipe for success because mind reading isn’t a thing.


Maybe this year or every year, you find yourself without a significant love partner in your life.  It happens and is not indicative of anything negative about you.  Besides, who says Valentine’s Day is only for romantic partners?  No one!  You can still celebrate love on this ancient Roman holiday by celebrating “Galentines Day” or Dudetimes Day”, as two of my single friends call it.  You can also celebrate yourself by doing something nice for you on Valentine’s Day.  There is a spa near my house that offers chocolate facials around Valentine’s Day.  One year when I was not in a significant relationship with a love interest, I booked a chocolate facial and bought myself a new pair of pajamas and popped in a movie I rented from Blockbuster (obviously this was a while ago).  It was a lovely day of pampering, relaxation and entertainment and I got exactly what I wanted too!   

So, if you find yourself outside of a relationship with a love interest on Valentine’s Day, get creative.  Find a way to pamper/love yourself or spread the love around with some of your friends or decide to commit a random act of kindness for the world’s benefit that day.  You can also share your love by volunteering to read stories to kids in the hospital or serving lunch at a local shelter.  Valentine’s Day can just be about sharing love.  It doesn’t have to be about sharing love with a romantic partner.  There are no rules here so do what makes you feel good!

We don’t pair women off with men by lottery anymore like they did in ancient Rome during this time of year, which is something to celebrate in itself.  A chocolate facial or a list of win-win Valentine’s day offerings for a loved one, a random act of kindness or a directed act of love toward someone in need, are great ways to celebrate this day and isn’t that what love is all about?

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741