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Valentine’s Day is the epitome of our romantic love fantasy. It represents all that we wish love could be and would be 365 days a year. Valentine’s Day feeds into our notion of romance….every romantic comedy, every heartfelt love song, every “We’ll always have Paris.”

by Susan J. Elliott J.D., M.Ed. Copyright ©  2005-2019

But like the movies and songs, it’s a fantasy. It’s not real and it’s not going to be real. Ever. I make this point over and over again in Getting Back Out There. Although people are thinking it’s a book for when you’re ready to date, it’s NOT (I keep saying this). It’s to change how you think about “love” your “type” good relationships and romantic fantasies like the ones that surface on Valentine’s Day. If you want to rethink the relationship you had and the relationship you WANT, that book is the second place to look (after GPYB). You have to smash these ridiculous notions hoisted on us by movies and songs.

I have a lot of days of the year that upset me after losing Michael but Valentine’s Day isn’t one of them. We sometimes did things but more often than not, we didn’t. It wasn’t necessary. We did a lot of little things for each other all the time. We bought gifts and sent cards for no reason. We didn’t need Hallmark to tell it it’s time to send overpriced roses. Sometimes I would see something that I could only find around Valentine’s to give to him (like one year a pair of boxer shorts with a devil whose pitchfork ended in hearts) and get it but if he didn’t get me something, it was fine. And visa versa. We never made Vday a big deal. We didn’t need to.

I wrote a post on here once about good sex in bad relationships. There are so many people who hang on because “the sex is incredible.” but intimacy, TRUE INTIMACY, happens in every room in the house. Love making happens every day all day. It’s not sex, it’s not just the physical, it about loving and caring for each other ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Love is an action. It’s not simply good sex.

And to give up being treated with love and dignity for a physical act, no matter how electric or toe-curling it is, is simply wrong. It’s selling yourself so short and is tantamount to pimping yourself out. Good sex is part of a good relationship otherwise it’s simply more settling for less.

Valentine’s Day is a similar notion. To couples who truly love and cherish each other 365 days a year, Valentine’s Day is another day. You don’t put a lot of stock into it. Michael and I did the first one or two and then we would usually watch a movie together, maybe get something to eat, and only did a few small gifts in the first year or so. We went away some years when it fell on a weekend. We kept it light and fluffy because it should be light and fluffy…it should be no big deal. Neither Hallmark nor the roses industry should get to dictate when you express your love. It’s pretty twisted that they do and no one objects to it.

Further, some people “test” the other on that day. “Let’s see if he remembers…” “Is she that kind of person who thinks only women get gifts on Valentine’s Day?” “Will he take me out?” “Will she demand a dozen over-priced roses?”

It should never be used as an opportunity to trip up your mate or try to see how much you are loved. If you want a dozen roses sent to the office and you can’t ask for that, why not? (better yet, why are you so high on getting roses sent to the office?). Valentine’s Day is not a test. If you don’t know on February 13th whether you are loved or not, Valentine’s Day isn’t going to clear things up.

My first wedding anniversary (to the mother of all bananaheads) was February 9th. I used to say if you forgot our anniversary, you can make it up on Valentine’s Day. Well, I never got anything for either date. Not a card, not an I love you. Surprise! There was no test or strategy needed. This was not someone who was EVER recognizing either date. The week became torture for me. Is it amazing that I ended things for good on February 10th? Not really. But the real question to myself should have been “Why did it take him missing these two dates in February to get you to see that he was a dysfunctional bananahead who didn’t treat you right any day of the year unless it was in his favor? And why did it take you TEN YEARS of that?” Those questions didn’t get asked. Instead it was why oh why, poor meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee …. without Valentine’s Day! without Anniversary love! We broke up the 1st of Feb and I expected him to come back home on the 9th and he didn’t because he wanted to spend Valentine’s Day with the new girlfriend (who had become the new gf while we were still living together)…so that whole nonsense backfired in a HUGE way. Stupid. stupid. stupid.

People who play games in their relationship any other time of the year can go both ways on Valentine’s Day. They can use it to test you, use it to proclaim some sort of love that is not in their actions the rest of the time, or use it to zing you.

People who play games in relationships are going to play them on Valentine’s Day. People who are insincere are going to be insincere on Valentine’s Day (and that can work for or against you, but it’s not REAL.

And remember, more people file for divorce on February 15th than any other day of the year. When I’ve looked into it, it’s often the ones who were ready to breakup before the holidays who hung on, never finding the right time, and then it’s the middle of January and then they hung on for Valentine’s Day. Then when Valentine’s Day hearts and flowers failed to save their relationship, they ended it. Relationships that end on February 15th do not suddenly unravel on February 14th, but it can be a trigger that “Hoo boy, don’t want to sit through another dinner feigning romance or interest like I did last night!” and people get ready to run for the hills.

For me, one year in a relationship that was about 8 months old, I did not buy the reason why we weren’t seeing each other ON Valentine’s Day and it gave me pause. He said he had to see his kids and his ex WAS manipulative enough to demand his presence on Valentine’s Day because she knew he had a girlfriend, but it still didn’t wash with me. Something was going on. I never did find out what but I went to the dinner on the 13th and received a rose (one) and a card and tried to have a good time. The relationship was well over by March (ended by me). I don’t know what was really going on in February, but because of the shady character of Valentine’s Day, I’m still convinced, after all these years, that something was.

So all those relationships you have romanticized in your head? Not so much. More CRAP is being played out on Valentine’s Day than good stuff. So just be glad to be out of the drama.

If you’re alone this year, you might have a romanticized version of Valentine’s Day. You might think the whole world is getting hearts and flowers and you’re getting zilch, nada, nothing, bupkus. You might think the rest of the world is enjoying candlelight dinners and walks on the beach.

Well, get over it, it’s not like that most of the time and when it’s like that, it’s not really real. And remember all those people about to file for divorce…not exactly the happiest of campers on Feb. 14th. No matter what they are projecting.

I KNOW couples who are having the biggest of problems that go out on Valentine’s Day like it’s lovey-dovey night. Time to show the whole world what we are made of! I know a woman who fell for the Valentine’s Day hearts and flowers show every year because her bananahead boyfriend (then husband) threw balloons in as well. She would talk about those stupid balloons all year long. Really? How about the fact that he’s a jerk most of the rest of the year? Nope. Didn’t count. But…those ballllllooooooooonnnnnnssssss……

But remember Valentine’s Day should not be a big deal whether you are in or not in a relationship. It should not be a day of gestures that don’t hold up the rest of the year or a day of tests for someone who is failing the rest of the year or a day to be passive-aggressive toward your mate


if Valentine’s Day is bothering you because you are still somehow hooked into the Hallmark/roses fantasy, NOW is the time to think about how much you have done for YOU.

Well, what is the answer?

Have you been good to yourself?

Have you been spending time with yourself?

Have you been making you your Valentine?

Not just February 14th but every day? If not, now is the time to start.

If it’s bothering you or even if it’s NOT bothering you, go out and get yourself something special. Book a massage or a half day at a spa. Order something nice for you. Take a bubble bath and drink champagne (just a few sips. :)). Get yourself a piece of jewelry or a new golf club or a new sweater. Something nice, something different, something WOW. Do your affirmations and tell yourself how FABULOUS you are. Because you are.

Use Valentine’s Day as a day to be good to you and to start loving yourself FIRST…and get rid of the notion of romantic love that exists only in movies and on posters and in Hallmark commercials.

All healthy love starts with caring about yourself FIRST. Not waiting for the prince or princess to come along and tell you how great you are.

Love yourself like all get out and others will follow your example. Not just one or two days a year, but ALL YEAR.

Get a copy of Getting Back Out There and make a list of Standards and Boundaries, the acceptable and unacceptable and the “may be” acceptable. Do those lists and change them as you review your last relationship, your history and your life inventory.

You MUST MUST MUST know what kind of partner you need long before you’re ready to date again. You have to become committed to yelling “NEXT” if someone doesn’t live up to what you absolutely MUST have in a partner. You MUST become committed to that list and become committed to walking if someone doesn’t measure up and that takes TIME – a lot of time before you are ever ready to date….so DO IT starting today.

Be good to YOU.

Start today and plan for tomorrow. BE GOOD TO YOU NOW.


Copyright © Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author


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