It’s Okay to Feel Sad on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day sales in the United States are expected to reach about $27.4 billion this year. That’s an increase of $6.7 billion from last year. Overall, a great year for the purveyors of teddy bears and heart shaped chocolates. Given these statistics – let’s not pretend that V-Day at its core is anything but another opportunity to worship at the shrine of capitalism.

I have had a complicated relationship with Valentine’s Day. As a child I used to throw literal tantrums about going out with my family on Valentine’s Day. When I was old enough to be left at home, my parents and sister would go out without me and I was perfectly happy. Not sure why I was morally opposed to Valentine’s Day at age 8 but I like to think I was disgusted by the commercialism (even though I didn’t know what that word meant).

Since I have identified as SingleTM for most of my teen and adult life, V-Day has always felt more geared towards celebrating the friendships in my life (shoutout to Leslie Knope). Not to sound that that girl, but I’ve always felt that romantic love was not intrinsically necessary. Love as a whole, whatever form it came in, is. But if you’re single on February 14th, it can be a bit difficult to remember that.

In recent years I’ve seen a lot more people uplifting other “truths” of Singles Awareness Day, such as:

  • You need to love yourself before you love anyone else.
  • You need to learn to be alone before you can be with someone else.
  • If you just find happiness in being single, you shouldn’t feel the tiniest twinge of sadness on Valentine’s Day.

Quite frankly, all of these are false. While learning to love yourself and learning how to enjoy alone time are extremely important, they’re not prerequisites to being loved and they’re often an evolving life long journey. And regarding the last one, even if you are totally killing it being single (aka like moi), you can still want to be in a relationship. Both things can be true. Wanting and needing romantic love are two different things.

The other thing is that the feelings brought on by being single on Valentine’s Day – loneliness, sadness, not feeling deserving of love – don’t exist in a vacuum! We’re basically conditioned since birth to tie our self worth to a romantic partner. Especially if you’re AFAB (assigned female at birth), those feelings of desirability are so intertwined with how we view ourselves.

Most of the time, I’m pretty happy that I’m single. The three most important things in my life are my friends, my job, and myself. Dating is fun (most of the time). But occasionally, mostly on Friday nights when I make myself stay in to recover from the week/practice enjoying my own company, I feel a little despondent about my relationship status. I worry about dying alone and how long it will take people to find my body. In reality, I call my mom everyday and am extremely active in the groupchat so honestly it will probably take them 45 mins.

I have plans tomorrow night involving sushi and tequila with friends. And you know what, I will probably still feel a little emo around 2 am. And that’s okay!

For those happily partnered up – enjoy tomorrow. Celebrating love is never a bad thing. Maybe this is your first single V-day in a while, maybe like me you are used to being unattached, maybe tomorrow will bring up feelings of loss and nostalgia about who you used to love. Feeling lonely tomorrow will diminish everything else that your life is, it will not make you any less independent or strong or brave or confident. Try and spend it with people that you love, or spend it showering yourself in love.

You’ll be okay, and even if it doesn’t like you will, all that sappy themed chocolate will be on discount Saturday. That’s one thing to look forward to.



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