By Valeria Vilar, MA, BEd, LMHC
This month romantic hopes and expectations arise in Valentine’s Day. Singles expect to find the special one and couples expect to enhance their relationship through expression of affection and gifts. The tradition of giving red roses and chocolates hearts or by sending valentines has made the 14th of February a very joyful day in the calendar. Like every other day, like every other celebration, Valentine’s Day brings opportunities, not always wishes made true. We find on February 14th a precise mirror of our identity, the sum of our virtues and defects, and a new learning opportunity to improve our lives. Singles and couples are frequently facing disappointment with unmet expectations based on false assumptions and lack of communication.
For unattached singles or those that recently went through a break up, divorce or death, Valentine’s Day can be particularly challenging, but also the best moment to refocus their energies in other types of relationship that are not romantic, to appreciate those closest to them, to clarify their relationships goals and help calibrate their expectations and hope for this celebration.
For those recently going through a break up or are single here are some tips:
· Think clear and you are sure to arrive at the conclusion that Saint Valentine stood up to defend love and not romantic partners
· If you are single this year due to a recent loss of a loved one or partner its ok to admit to your family and friends that it's a rough day for you, ask for their support and they will be there for you
· Don’t press to make a relationship happen. Try to relax and enjoy your “singleness”
· Be compassionate to yourself. Eat right, exercise, take it easy, concentrate in managing your stress
· There are other types of wonderful relationships that aren’t romantic. Embrace them.
· Allow yourself to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Plan out a dinner or movie with friends. You may also invite o promote a “singles party” and have a blast.
Couples can also mitigate the possibility of disappointment planning something together, talking about what they both would like to do to celebrate or not. Getting “on the same page”, expressing their desires early, is a mature way to make the day or evening an enjoyable one for both of them. Successfully expectation management is an important life skill. It is not always simple; some people require more support and training than others. But it can be the difference between joy and disappointment, between fulfillment and frustration.
For couples here are some tips:
· Concentrate less on your expectation and more on enjoying the experience
· Communicate how much you care for your significant one
· Have a conversation about what initially attracted you to your partner. Take your time to talk about characteristics, specific events, or how those characteristics that were so attractive at the start are still attractive years later
· Based in those traits plan an intimate get-together,
· Forethought and planning can illustrate just how much you care your significant one
· Take advantage of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity express how much appreciate each other.
This Valentine’s Day could become a celebration of love in all its forms, geared toward the people who are close to you, friends, children, parents, siblings, mentors, even colleagues and neighbors. You can broaden its meaning beyond the realms of romance, turning into an active journey of kindness, an occasion to increase your skills and develop effective communication, an asset that will be yours for the rest of your life, longer than the roses and chocolates.