Celebrating love without a partner

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love for those you care about. It takes many forms, and the act of choosing to celebrate at all is a personal one. Imagine though, being surrounded by hearts and flowers as couples exchange kisses while holding hands and stare longingly into each other’s eyes, when the closest thing you have to a relationship is snuggling with your cat.

What if you are recently divorced or widowed? Do you sit on your couch crying and wishing that life were different, or do you make the most of the day, dedicating it to loving yourself and honoring what you bring to the world around you? As more people are choosing to remain single around the world, maybe it’s time for single people to take back Valentine’s Day, redefine it and use it to remind the world that they are equally as loved and valued as those who are partnered.

So often we choose to put others before ourselves, sacrificing our well-being for our work, neighbors, community organizations or places of worship. When was the last time you did something for yourself without feeling any guilt or believing you should be doing something productive rather than caring for yourself? In a culture that values money, consumerism and power, it is hard to accept that it is okay and beneficial for us, as individuals, to take time for ourselves and do nothing.   

As a single person, Valentine’s Day has been handed to you as a gift—if you choose to see it that way. As everyone else is waiting in long lines to be seated at overpriced restaurants or going into debt spending more money on a gift for their partner, you get to do exactly what you want to do and when you wish to do it.

If dancing in the living room like nobody is watching brings you joy, then put on your favorite song and dance away! If you’re into reading books by a warm fire while drinking a glass of wine, go out and treat yourself to a new book and a pricier than typical bottle of wine, while reminding yourself that you are worth it. If you have friends who are also single, plan an adult slumber party, play games, listen to tunes from your teen years and watch movies that scare you to pieces.

If you are recently divorced or widowed, being alone has good reason to feel difficult. Offer yourself some compassion. Consider paying tribute to the person you lost by celebrating their life and all they loved in it. If you have children, create new memories and traditions that acknowledge the parent they lost while also showing them that Valentine’s Day is what you make of it.

Whatever it is that brings you joy, know that you don’t have to be partnered to experience all that life has to offer. Being single on Valentine’s Day can be amazing if you are courageous enough to make of it what you wish.