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Tips for Coping with Loneliness on Valentine's Day

I'm afraid I was a bit insensitive with my Valentine's Day newsletter last year. Here's some reader feedback that I received:
    Oh, right, a depression newsletter talking about Valentine's Day and promoting the sending of Valentines. I would think that there could be one oasis where my grumpy, depressed self could be free of that crap.

I'll admit my first reaction was, "How rude! If you don't like the newsletter, unsubscribe!" Then I thought some more and this guy is totally right. I've completely lost touch with what it's like to be a single, depressed person on Valentine's Day. Looking back, I remember many days when I would see happy couples walk by and I would be eaten up by jealousy and anger. If you're feeling lonely, Valentine's Day is just a painful reminder of how alone you feel.

During the month of February, everywhere we look there are hearts, cupids, and pictures of romantic couples exchanging deep and meaningful glances. Single people feel as if they have no place on Valentine's Day. It's just another day to trudge through life without someone to share it with.

When it comes to the Holiday Blues, Thanksgiving and Christmas don't have a corner on the market. In fact, Valentine's Day depression is so common, it has even spawned it's own Web sites. For the more cynical we have such sites as The Anti-Valentine's Day Page (cupid rhymes with stupid), Anti-Valentine's Day Central (colored black in protest), and Bittersweet (language may be offensive to some, but contains a guest book where you can vent your feelings about why you hate Valentine's Day).

To my friend who wants an oasis where his "grumpy, depressed self" can "be free of that crap", I must apologize for being insensitive to your needs. Rather than falling into the usual "hearts and candy" commercialism, I should have offered you these strategies to create your own oasis from loneliness:

    Don't feel there is something wrong with you if you're not in a relationship. Your worth comes from what you are, not who you're with.
    Don't look back at old relationships as missed opportunities. Look to the future. Even those happy couples you see were single before the met their current love. Unless they're with their childhood sweetheart you can bet that they've had their share of romantic failures too.
    Treat yourself to something special on Valentine's Day. You deserve it.
    Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love. Do you know someone who's recently widowed or divorced? Do you have a friend who's just gone through a rough break up? Spend the evening with them and cheer each other up.
    Take some time to reevaluate what you really want in a relationship. Are your relationships not lasting because you're choosing partners who aren't capable of maintaining a mature, loving relationship?
    Be willing to take a chance. Like they say, you have to play to win.
    Be a friend to yourself. If you like yourself, the chances are better that someone else will like you too.

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