Seems crazy, but ever since Boxing Day the shelves of local and national stores have been packed with gifts and goodies to tempt people in relationships to buy something for their loved one to celebrate the one day a year when it is expected that your spouse will show they care!
So not only do you have to survive the day itself but you are bombarded with love hearts, tacky red and pink giftware and romantic declarations of love from all angles for at least seven weeks. I include in this the countless emails in my inbox from companies trying to sell me 'the ideal Valentine's gift', 'the perfect couple's retreat' and 'the five best gifts for your man'. These emails used to trigger mixed emotions of sadness and anger. I wish I had the option to opt out of any emails to do with love, couples, babies, engagement, marriage, but sadly no one in corporate retail cares about my feelings. It felt like a personal stab in the heart in years gone by when I saw the subject lines of these emails, but it really is as simple as 'blanket marketing'. These companies target everyone in their database without a care of individual circumstances and why should they.
Then there is social media and your lovely friends whose aim it is to prove they are in the 'perfect' relationship with an amazing guy/girl and the game of 'one-upmanship' begins.
So How Do You Survive V Day?
Here are a few do's and don'ts to help you...
DO Celebrate Being Single
Although you may be surrounded by couples in love, take stock of where you are and who you are and celebrate the love for yourself. Being single means that you are in complete control of your life and you have the power to design your own future. Embrace singledom! There are no compromises in the relationship you have with yourself.
DON'T Drunk Text Your Ex
It always feels like a good idea at the time to let your ex know exactly how you feel, whether it is to tell them you still love them, or that they have f*cked up your life beyond recognition. I would recommend holding back and keeping your head held high, try to resist the urge by texting a friend instead or even better, plan to do something on the 14th February that will be so much fun that you won't even have time to text your ex. Same applies if you receive a text from your ex. The power of an unanswered text is phenomenal. Hold off on replying till the next day until you can compose yourself and answer the message in a calm and level-headed manner.
DO Spend Time With People You Love
Although Valentine's Day is a sacred (and somewhat cynical commercial celebration) for lovers, there is nothing saying that you can't plan to spend the day or evening with people that you love. Your friends, family, children, the guy at the gym you keep stalking on Facebook... show the people you love that you care - even succumb to the paraphernalia in your local store and buy a teddy, rose or heart-shaped box of chocolates.
DON'T Go On a First or Blind Date
This one comes with a caution as I'm not saying don't do it even if you meet and click with someone amazing, all I am saying is that with V-Day comes added pressure and mismanaged expectations! You may be setting yourself up for a fall by going out together on Valentine's Day, however go with your gut, you know yourself better than I do :).
DO Avoid Braggers
Depending on your current state of mind or where you are up to in your healing process, it may be wise to avoid social media for the day/evening. If you know that seeing happy couples tagging each other in to posts about love, what they have bought each other or friends getting engaged, turn your mind to something else. Go and see a film at the cinema where you can't use your phone, read a book, have a bath, meditate or go out and have some fun. Accept that people are allowed to be in love and revel in their own happiness, you should want these things for your friends and family.
DON'T Stalk Your Ex on Social Media
Chances are that what you will see will upset you or dampen your spirits. If your ex has moved on with a new beau, they may be professing their love for this person all over social media. I am sure you would too if you had found love also. Resist commenting on posts, tweets or pictures as it will be you that comes off worse. You may be labeled as a bitter and twisted ex. I would also recommend NOT writing posts, tweets or status updates about your ex, what they did to you or how they have left you feeling, keep your dignity in tact.
DO Spoil Yourself
Treat yourself to a special gift (a little bling, a heavenly massage, new trainers or those killer heels you've been coveting perhaps?). You are special and a little self-love goes a long way. Don't feel guilty about a little splurge (as long as you can afford it) and perhaps even get something yummy in for dinner to cook and enjoy.
DON'T Be So Hard on Yourself
I'm guessing if you are reading this article, you have been through a tough time. Cut yourself some slack. If you want to have a good cry on Valentine's Day, do it. If you want to download Tinder and start flicking through a catalogue of people all in the same boat as you, do it. If you want to shut yourself away from the world and curl up in bed with Netflix and a massive box of chocolates... DO IT. Whatever you feel like doing, embrace it. Equally, don't feel guilty about going out and having a great time, just because inside you are nursing a broken heart doesn't mean you can't get your glad rags on and your best smile and show the world what you have to offer!
You will know yourself what the best plan for you is this Valentine's Day. Don't be afraid to ask friends or family if you can be with them on the day/evening. Surround yourself with people that care (or don't, your choice). You are not alone... there will be at least 60 million people around the world who will also be single on Valentine's Day (source: wikihow)