When you’re single and over 40, Valentine’s Day can seem like the longest day of the year. Either you’ve never had a great love and at this stage it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change, or you had a great love who you either broke up with, they broke up with you, or who sadly passed away.
Whatever happened, you now have none of the starry-eyed romanticism of the 20 and even 30-somethings that splash their perfectly filtered love all over Instagram. You have bills, kids, grandkids, stretch marks, grey hair and more aches and pains than dates. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, you just try to get through the day until it finally ends.
But here’s what you should do instead. Focus the day on your greatest love – you. Or, enjoy a Galentine’s Day or Palentine’s Day outing. Or treat a child, a parent, or a your best friend to a great Valentine’s Day.
Here are 7 things you can do to survive V-Day.
TAKE THE DAY OFF:
No one needs to know that you haven’t had sex or a significant other since the first Bush was president. If you keep your personal life quiet, your coworkers and even your friends may think you’ve taken the day off to rendezvous with a secret love.
Well, you have. That love is you. Plan for the kids to be babysat, order in, take a bath or do some pampering you’ve been putting off for a long time. Yes, fellas, you too, can do this, even if your ideal day off consists of watching ESPN in your boxers all day with a remote in one hand and a brew in the other. You might be able to get that hair, barbershop or mani/pedi appointment you’ve wanted since a lot of people will have already done their pampering in anticipation of the big day. Or you can put on your favorite trap or old school music and dance naked when no one is there to judge you.
Don’t go out unless you have to, and stay off social media, unless its to go on the Whisper app or website where people anonymously tell their biggest secrets. After reading a few entries in the Love and Relationships category, you’ll be happy you’re single.
PLAN YOUR EXIT:
It’s not just single people who can be miserable on Valentine’s Day. It’s married people and people in relationships who know their relationship is coming to an end or should come to an end. If you’ve been putting off the inevitable breakup or divorce, you can spend Valentine’s Day planning The Conversation and your exit. You can find a lawyer, make sure you have your financial information straight, look for a place and figure out solutions for the kids, but you have to start making the calls.
If you know he/she is cheating, never going to get a job, won’t ever treat you well, or you’ve just grown apart after so many years, it time to make this the last Valentine’s Day you have to deal. If you know you are divorcing and your divorce is uncontested, legalzoom.com can help you do it online. Yes, you can get divorced online!
While everyone else is coupled up with balloons and flowers on Valentine’s Day, you can be planning a getaway. Using sites like Travelocity or Expedia or taking advantage of the V-Day airfare sales via JetBlue and Southwest, spend your day initiating the process of taking a trip solo, with your girlfriends or your family.
Look up flights, hotels, and double-check your unused personal time and make a commitment. If you’re months away money-wise from any travel that doesn’t involve your work commute, try the Qapital app, which allows you to connect an account to save from. You can develop rules that allow you to save for special goals without even thinking about it.
Meetup is a great app for one reason – it connects like-minded people without the stress and drama of using a dating app. It’s exactly what it says – a website where folks form affinity groups to meet other people. There are book club meetups, brunch meetups, Black women meetups, Black networking meetups; basically it’s a place where you can join whatever group sounds like the most fun and hang out. There are very likely other singles looking to meet up on Valentine’s Day so it’s a low pressure way to meet new people. It also works well for meeting people when traveling or at any time when you want to connect.
CELEBRATE WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the movie Valentine’s Day (worth the Netflix time) Jessica Biel plays a PR exec who hates being single and throws and annual Anti-Valentine’s Day event. I won’t spoil it for you, but her party, which at first looks like a bust, turns out surprisingly well. Re-appropriating Valentine’s Day as Galentine’s Day and Palentine’s Day were meant for people who want to embrace the day but not the forced coupledom. Enjoy it with your friends. Look in local listings for friend and single-friendly events in your city or throw one yourself.
GO OUT ALONE:
If you hate the thought of being around lovey dovey couples out on V-Day, then think about this – if you get dressed to the nines and go out alone to an upscale bar or lounge, it’s likely that if you meet anyone else alone, they are also legitimately single. Since Valentine’s Day is a holiday where even cheaters have to be with the person they are in their primary relationship with, chances are higher that anyone you meet alone on Valentine’s Day is unattached.
If you’re buying a gift this year, it’s likely you are a man, because men are twice as likely than women to spend $100 or more on Valentine’s Day. If after all these years, you’ve run out of ideas for what to get for V-Day, then give the gift of flowers. But ones that last. Boxed flowers are the new way to give because the flowers are guaranteed, through some kind of floral magic, to last a full year. And there are different styles and colors and options for all budgets.
PHOTO: Think Stock
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