Are you dreading Valentines Day because the dream of romance never quite pans out? Rather than a reminder of romance-gone-bad or a partner missing in action, make this Valentines Day a true celebration of your love — whether you have a partner or not.
Here are three ways to conquer your Valentines Day cynicism.
1. Don't ignore Valentines Day! Unless you have taken vows as a monk or nun — or your house is on fire — it's important to recognize this day. Most of us want to be with a loving partner either right this minute or in the future. Whether that is a reality for you now or not, it can be energizing to focus on your dreams and the steps you can take to make them a reality. Even if you're depressed about your dating situation or the state of your marriage, focus on your hopes for your future and your recommitment to being the happiest you.
Here's how: If you're single, keep the dream alive by taking a quiet moment to contemplate or journal what a partnered future would look like for you. If you are married or partnered but feel alone in your relationship right now, do the same. If you and your partner are so distressed that you don't plan to celebrate together, use the evening to have a long talk, negotiate going to couple's counseling or spend some dedicated alone time to focus on what you want. Valentines Day can be a built-in reminder to give yourself an inspiring "state of my life" address.
2. Color outside the lines of tradition. Romance is built on a sense that you and your partner like each other, that you mutually want to be together and most importantly that you've been paying attention — you really know and understand your partner. Rather than adhering to the traditional symbols of romance, offer something that represents your deep recognition of your partner. A mother with young children might feel the romance and attention from her partner with a hassle-free bath with some candles, because 30 minutes of uninterrupted "me" time far outshines the dinner date that she would need to find a sitter for.
Rather than the splash of red roses, maybe an orchid tells your partner that you have been paying attention to her interests. Proactively expressing desires for how you want to spend the day would take the pressure off your man to ignite romance, and set the stage for a truly enjoyable celebration. Instead of cards or chocolates, express a simple sentiment out loud such as, "I'm so happy and grateful for our life together!". This can make Valentines Day rise above all others that came before.
If you're single, go against the tradition of saying, "I don't have a Valentine, and I don't have anything to do that night." Instead, be your own Valentine! What would make the day meaningful and enjoyable for you? Celebrate the day of love by showing love to you.
3. Rearrange your expectations. It's easy to succumb to the usual picture of romantic love magically appearing like a gallant knight on a white horse at your front door to declare his love and eternal fidelity. But it doesn't work that way. And when did Valentines Day become a day for men to prove themselves anyway? Let go of the burdensome expectation that it is the man that is responsible for saddling up his white horse and demonstrating his love in order to create the romance. Keep reading ...
More Valentines Day advice from YourTango: