Anjali LevertonCounselling in Wickford, Essex & Online

New. valentinesblog

What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day?

As a young person I always dreaded being asked what I was doing for Valentine’s Day and even in more recent years, the thought of it approaching would fill me with unease.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in those feelings but if you’re wondering why I’m making such a cynical or “anti-romance” statement carry on reading.

It’s because I believe that Valentine’s Day has evolved into something that has very little to do with celebrating love and romance but has instead become a measure of the quality of romantic relationships and how successful your relationships are; something that we need to compete about.

Given all the commerciality around the occasion it’s easy to find yourself asking if your partner really cares about you as much as they say they do if you haven’t got the gifts and restaurant booking, along with time and intimacy that you desire on February 14.

Of course this question is perfectly valid if you’re unsure in the relationship but even the most secure and fulfilling relationships can feel “not enough” on occasions like Valentines where you're surrounded by images of what others think love should look like.

Relationship choices
What about the people who choose not to be in a romantic relationship or with a significant other; it can be really easy to feel like the odd one out or like you’re somehow failing.

Is there an underlying assumption that there’s something wrong with a person who chooses to be alone and is this what’s given rise to the galentines, fralentines or similar trend?

Is it not okay to choose to spend the day/evening on our own and is it right that we should feel embarrassed or ashamed in sharing this decision with others when we get the dreaded question especially when the response is one of sympathy and pity?

Those whose relationship has ended
The other aspect of Valentine’s Day that’s really hard is if you’re grieving the end of a relationship. It could be because your partner has died or because one or more of the people in the relationship chose to end the relationship.

Whatever the circumstances there might feelings of;

Loss, sadness or emptiness
as well as anger and frustration,

to name but a few, and occasions like Valentine’s Day highlight the aloneness you might be experiencing.

There’s nothing easy, whimsical or romantic about loneliness; quite the opposite especially if it starts to “feed” negative beliefs you might hold about yourself. Thoughts along the lines of “do I even deserve to be in a healthy relationship”.

Loneliness is well known for the negative impact it has on emotional wellbeing and can easily give rise to anxious thoughts and feelings as well as low mood and depression.

If this is the case for you, opening up with some you trust can be really helpful in reducing the “weight” of all the heavy feelings you’re carrying and details about the professional counselling support I offer are below.

My other concern with Valentine’s Day is that there seems to be little emphasis placed on happiness.

How often have you been asked “what did you do/get for Valentines?” rather than “how did you feel at Valentines?”…why do we never ask that second question?

Surely it’s more important to feel loved, secure, valued and appreciated than it is to have cards and gifts if there’s no genuine sentiment attached?

I know that some of you will read this as a rant against relationships or commerciality but that’s not actually what I’m saying here because I know that things like cards, gifts, meals and other tokens and actions can be a beautiful way of expressing our care, respect and appreciation of others and how we feel when we are with them; I’m all for that. In fact, I wonder if we do that enough particularly when we’ve been in relationships for a long time.

However, I wonder if we need to rebalance the doing what we think we SHOULD be doing with the doing what we WANT to be doing.

Do we have to conform to other’s people’s ideas and measures of what love looks like and when it needs to be demonstrated or can we find our own unique way of showing those who are important to us that they matter….and does that demonstration have to be limited to just once a year?

Hopefully this blog has given you some food for thought and acts as reminder that you have choices about how you express your feelings towards others and how you might want to spend Valentine’s Day this year.

But actually my biggest hope is that if you find yourself dreading this day coming, you now know that you’re not on your own; I get how incredibly triggering, difficult and heavy it might be feeling.

Get in touch for one to one counselling
If you’d like professional, sensitive support in managing the emotional issues that are arising for you, please get in touch. The issues don’t have to relate to relationships, loss or managing special occasions.

The first step is to text 07848 160971 or email

I respond to all messages within 48 hours but please note that my emails sometimes get diverted to Junk mail folders.

We’ll then look at setting up either a free 20 minute telephone call or an initial 50 minute counselling session that can be online or in person.

I really look forward to hearing from you.

February 10, 2023
Photo credit: Jez Timms on Unsplash

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