Okay, so Valentine’s Day is over. It’s been over. The kisses have been exchanged, the chocolates have been eaten, the flowers are starting to wilt. You’re feeling a lot of feels. If you’re in a relationship and your Valentine’s Day was what you wanted it to be, you’re probably wondering what it takes to build a relationship where every day feels like Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a relationship and you were disappointed with how your Valentine’s Day turned out, either because your boo didn’t live up to the romcom ideal that you’ve built in your head or because he actually displayed some less-than-savory behavior, you’re wondering if the relationship is worth holding on to and what you can do to make it better. If you were alone and didn’t want to be, then you’re trying to figure out how to squash all the feelings of inadequacy and despair that seeing everyone else loved up brought up. You’re ruminating and reflecting and wondering where to go from here.
My advice would be to go inside. If you’re in a relationship and Val’s Day was great then sit down and make a list of all the things you liked about the day. Not the things that were done specifically. How they made you feel. If getting a teddy bear made you feel loved then make a note of it. If getting some lingerie made you feel desired then note that down too. Once you’ve got down everything that made you love the day figure out if there are other things, smaller things that are not such a production, which could make you feel that way. Maybe getting a passionate kiss makes you feel desired, like the lingerie does. Getting you sexy underwear every day might not be possible but the kiss is. Maybe the big bouquet of roses made you feel good about being claimed so publicly. And getting referred to as “his woman/his lady” when he introduces you to people makes you feel as claimed. Getting you flowers everyday may not be feasible but the introduction thing might be. In figuring out precisely what emotions were evoked on your awesome V-Day you’re putting yourself in a better position to come up with ways to reproduce them.
If you’re in a relationship and Val’s Day was not so great, figure out why it wasn’t. Not in terms of the logistical or physical things that didn’t come together—he didn’t bring flowers, he forgot to make reservations, he was distant—but in terms of how things made you feel: you felt neglected, you felt rejected, you felt unattractive etc. Think back on the course of the relationship and see if you can identify other times you’ve felt those ways. Were they a bunch? Do incidences like that seem more common than times when you felt good? Thinking about stuff this way gives you a basis to talk things through with him in a way that doesn’t seem like you’re just complaining about that Day and a particular mistake or misunderstanding. Having this kind of mental list also helps you evaluate if the relationship makes you happy more often than it makes you sad and if it’s worth sticking with or if it’s time to throw the deuces up and hit the door.
If you’re not in a relationship and Val’s Day just made you feel alone and unlovable despite all your attempts to pamper yourself then go back to the drawing board. Figure out what it is about being single that you find depressing. Is it the not having someone to wake up to? Is it the lack of frequent and consistent dick? Is it the societal stigma of seeming like there’s something wrong with you? What specifically is it that hurts? Coming up with that helps you figure out a way to combat it even in the event of not having a mate. If it’s the empty apartment you hate a pet or a roommate might be the answer. If it’s the sexual starvation that sucks finding a sex buddy, joining a kink group or taking your sex toy game up a notch might help. If it’s the stigma of being seen as unworthy of being wifed up or girlfriended reminding yourself of your accomplishments and taking stock of other things you’ve been chosen for, other ways that you have value as a person, can be the answer. What I’ve learnt about being single is that a lot of the time we can form a community of people to fill the different roles a mate would fill if we learn what we need and how to outsource the different tasks.
Valentine’s Day is over but the rest of the year is just beginning and figuring out how to find and feel love consistently, well, that ish is forever. So the sooner we get to it the better off we’ll be.
F.N. is a thirty something free-lance writer from Ghana. Currently, she is trying out a new life in Washington, DC