Written by Mr Gary Bloom for Doctify

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Either a day to spoil your chosen mate with heart shaped boxes full of chocolates and stuffed toys embroidered with saccharine messages embroidered on their tummies like ‘I love you beary much’. Or day that only serves to remind you of your failure to couple up in time.

Whether or not you choose to embrace all of the corporate corniness of V Day, it can still be something of an emotional minefield. And not just for those who are single – couples can feel pressure to define their relationship or may find that this day of love and romance only serves to highlight their own perceived failings.

Luckily, we have Psychotherapist, Mr Gary Bloom to help us with how to cope this Valentine’s Day. So, here it is, your guide to navigating this year’s 14th of February mayhem.

If you are single (recently or not), how can you deal with feelings of loneliness on this day?

Accept that it’s a day of great hype to make money for a select few.

You might be feeling lonely for all sorts of reasons including lack of relationship or bereavement. The most important thing to remember is firstly thousands of people are feeling the same way you do. When you’re ready to meet someone they often appear from the most unlikely sources like a gym or a book group or walking group.

But if you are alone on Valentine’s Day, remember that the most important person to cherish is yourself. Treat yourself to the chocolates or champagne. Only share with the right person, who has proven they are the right person.

Are there ways for single people to celebrate and feel empowered on a day like Valentine’s Day?

Treat yourself! A massage, yoga or sport, a trip to the theatre or cinema – whatever floats your boat.

Talking of which, I recently visited a Floatation Tank near Reading – best hour of relaxation ever. Floating in warm salt water in the near dark with soothing music. I would recommend it!

If you are in a new relationship, what are some ways to deal with a day that is all about proclaiming your love?

First of all don’t feel pressurised into saying something just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

It’s important that your new partner (and you) build up trust in a new relationship. The psychological view is that it takes eighteen months for the starry eyed stuff (the posh word for this is projection) to fall away. Essentially we want to see an idealised version of ourselves in our new partner, and after about a year and a half we really get to see the true ‘them’ and they, us.

Also, accept that falling in love (and note the word fall here!) is a giving up of power and accepting your own vulnerability in a relationship. If it doesn’t feel right, then it’s certainly not a good idea to have that huge set piece Valentine’s Night plan that you might regret!

For those going through rough patches in their relationship, what are some ways to deal with the pressure of Valentine’s Day?

Be real! Say to your loved one that Valentine’s Day has come at an awkward time for you both. However, maybe it’s a fantastic opportunity for you both to put your relationship under the microscope and work out what’s working – and not working. Do you want to be together next Valentine’s Day? Because if you do, the hard work starts now.

If things are not going well, try not to over compensate with that lavish meal out. If money is an issue, try cooking for each other – the most important thing is to start talking to each other again.

Keep it simple!

What are a few ways to improve communication and affection in your relationship long term?

Romantic love in a long term relationship is really difficult to manage, especially if you’re looking after kids or have a busy work schedule. I often talk to my clients about making sure they have a regular ‘date night’ ; a night of the week just for the two of you. No kids, smart phones off and no work. Just talk and remember why you two got together.

Asking yourself ‘WHY you are with your partner and what you love about them’ is a great way to reconnect. You’re with them for a reason!

 


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