Like most holidays, Valentine’s Day can be fun for some people and painful for others. If you’re in the midst of a budding romance or deeply in love with your soulmate of 30 years, it can be a sweet time of celebration. But if your Valentine has never shown up, your marriage is strained, or you have lost your spouse to divorce or death, the day is a vivid reminder of what you’re missing.
If you’re in the latter category, here are a few pointers for surviving Valentine’s Day. (You folks who are love-struck, don’t tune out, because some “sensitivity” tips for you will follow.)
“Maybe you’re the girl thinking you’ll end up alone.” These lyrics from “Someone Worth Dying For” by Mikeschair still make me cringe when I hear the song come on the radio. While the overall message of the tune ultimately has good intentions, it sadly puts singleness on a short list of worst-case scenarios.
I’ve seen an unhealthy fear of singleness drive many women (and some men) to a desperate pursuit of marriage. This was especially true when my peers were in their 20’s and 30’s. When I parted ways with a guy I was dating in college, I remember him gasping, ‘Will I EVER get married?” He was 21, and the next gal he dated said, “I do.” When I was 39, I received a note from a friend in her early thirties. In it she described her plan to lasso a man. Clearly forgetting my age, she stated emphatically: “I will NOT be 40 and single.” She was not.
I, on the other hand, breezed into my fourth decade decidedly unmarried. Surprisingly, I did not turn into a pumpkin, a reclusive cat-lady, or whatever other fate-worse-than death scenario people believe will happen if you don’t marry by a certain age. Now in my mid-fifties, I can testify that remaining single is nothing to be feared or avoided at all costs. That’s why it concerns me that there is still a subtle, yet prevailing attitude that singleness is an inferior destiny – or worse, abnormal. Continue reading →