Surviving Valentine's Day single

Monday, February 6, 2012
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Valentine's Day is a day for love and romance -- a notion only made more clear by the abundance of chocolate hearts, flowers, and red and pink paraphernalia filling store shelves this time of year.

But for those without a partner, no matter their age, the day can lead to feelings of loneliness and sadness. The solution, tempting as it may be, isn't curling up on the couch with a sappy movie and a tub of Ben and Jerry's.

"I think Valentine's Day is tough for singles because although it can be a special day for couples, it is the one day of the year that highlights being single or reminds you that you are single," says Tony Faber, a licensed marriage and family therapist and an associate professor of family studies at Southeast Missouri State University. "I would say that if Valentine's Day upsets you because you are single at the time, then it may be helpful to try to avoid as much of the Valentine's celebration as possible."

Audrey Burger, clinical operations director with the Community Counseling Center, says it is important for singles to make Valentine's Day special for themselves. "Maybe go shopping or even take a short, couple day vacation," Burger says. "Do something for yourself."

And if you've got friends who are single, there's power in numbers. Burger suggests connecting with a friend for a fun, not romantic, dinner.

And, if all else fails, Burger says to do something for someone else. "Volunteer somewhere and give back," she says. "That always makes someone feel special."

Valentine's Day can be especially hard on someone who has recently lost a spouse or partner. In that case, Burger says it is important to focus on making your routine different. "If your spouse had a special tradition, change it up," she says. "A simple change in routine can make you feel better."

Faber notes that holidays can bring up a lot of memories and heighten one's grief after losing a spouse. "I think it may be helpful to acknowledge one's loss (and) pain, and use the day to appreciate all the great memories you had with your spouse," he says. "Some may find it helpful to visit their spouse's grave site on Valentine's Day to feel connected (not so alone)."

And if your feelings of loneliness or sadness aren't limited to Valentine's Day, talking to someone can help. Burger says when those feelings start to overtake your life, that's the time to seek help. She says, "if you're unable to function, isolating yourself, not finding joy in day-to-day activities," it may be time to speak with a professional.

Get out there!

Don't give yourself a chance to feel sad on Valentine's Day. Here are some fun things happening locally on Feb. 14 to take your mind off the holiday:

Beginning to Knit: This knitting workshop teaches the basics of knitting, including types of yarn and stitches. Classes are held on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Contact the Southeast Missouri State University Office of Extended and Continuing Education at 573-986-6879 or visit

Tuesday wine tasting: Grab a pal and head to Primo Vino, at 1610 N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, to sample Spanish wines from 6 to 8 p.m.

Self-defense classes: Learn to protect yourself by taking a self-defense class from A Discreet Solution. Classes are held at several locations and on various dates, including 7 p.m. on Feb. 14 at 2nd Chance Bail Bonds in Jackson. Call 573-547-1008 for more information.

Zumba workout: Boost your mood with a fun Zumba dance workout from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Shawnee Park Center in Cape Girardeau. Classes are $3.50 per visit, but your first visit is always free.

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