Friday, February 8, 2008

Ugh, It's Another Valentine's Day and I'm Still Single

9 empowering things you can do to tone down that "ugh" feeling
By Caroline Presno

So, you are not in a relationship at the moment and Valentine's Day seems to be putting a big red spotlight on your singleness. Here are some practical and empowering things you can do to tone down that "ugh" feeling.

1. Wallow, But Just a Little
It's important to acknowledge your real feelings, so give yourself permission to wallow a little bit if you're feeling extra sad or lonely. The key words here are "a little bit." Don't allow yourself to dwell or obsess. Confine your wallowing to a certain time period -- say, 15 minutes of self-pity and that's it.

2. Watch "Love Actually"
The movie "Love Actually" (rated R) is great cinematherapy for V-Day because it shows that romantic love is important, but other kinds of love are just as important, such as the love of family and friends. Don't let Valentine's Day be co-opted by couples. Send valentines to all the people you love in your life!

3. Go on a Trip
A new trend for singles is to elude Valentine's Day by taking a short getaway with friends to a place where they are not constantly bombarded with images of hearts and cupids. There is nothing wrong with this trend as long as you are using it as a fun escapade, rather than an escape.

4. Re-energize Your Relationship Search
If you are feeling down at this time of year, channel your negative energy into something positive. Have you been browsing online profiles but never send an email? Have you been using work as an excuse that you are too busy to meet people? Have you been dating the wrong types of men or women for you? Use Valentine's Day as a new start to self-reflect and be proactive.

5. Ask Someone Out
If you really want a date for Valentine's Day, don't wait to be asked -- go ahead and do the asking. Even if it's someone you think of as "just a friend," you'll still have fun going out and celebrating.

6. Cuddle Up to Something Warm and Fuzzy
Warm fuzzies just make you feel good. Those V-day stuffed animals are great. So are warm cozy blankets and floppy slippers. Many would agree that the best warm fuzzies are pets. If you have a pet, get him or her a Valentine's Day treat. If you don't, maybe it's time to consider a dog or cat... now that's unconditional love!

7. Eat Some Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is good for our hearts in more ways than one. Besides containing potent antioxidants, it has the power to boost endorphins, the "happy juice" in our brains. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better. On Valentine's Day get your friends together for a chocolate tasting -- including chocolate fondue. Enjoy in moderation!

8. Don't See the World as One Big Happy Couple
"I see happy couples!" And that's all many single people see around V-Day. But it's a trick your mind is playing on you because that's what you are focused on. Not everyone is in a relationship and, certainly, not everyone is in a happy relationship. Keep your focus on the millions of single people out there just like you!

9. Remember This Is Just ONE Valentine's Day.
Maybe you've been single for one V-day. Maybe you've been single for ten. Don't get completely discouraged and project into the future that you are going to be single for every Valentine's Day to come. No one has a crystal ball and life has a way of surprising us. Help make a good surprise more likely by keeping a positive attitude and being persistent about finding the healthy, happy relationship you want.

Caroline Presno, Ed.D., P.C.C., the "Date Doctor," is a psychotherapist and author of "Profiling Your Date: A Smart Woman's Guide to Evaluating a Man." Find her online at

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