PSA: It’s Okay to Feel Sad on Valentine’s Day

Author's own

I’ve always felt the best when I’m alone. Ever since I was a child, reading Nancy Drew novels curled up in the corner of my mum’s quilting group, I’ve really enjoyed my own company.

But now, as I sit in my apartment, drinking an iced coconut water and nursing a hot water bottle on my throbbing period cramps, I can’t help but think about this time last year — when I was in a relationship and in love.

I loved being in love. I mean, who doesn’t? Long-term relationships come with plenty of challenges, but the simple knowledge that someone is there, in your space, willing to love you every day is pretty goddamn nice. And it sucks when they’re not there anymore.

Today, I’m finding it almost impossible not to think about my ex. It’s not consuming me in an unhealthy or overpowering way. But Valentine’s Day makes you reflect on the love in your life, no matter your relationship status.

And right now, my relationship status is: going through a break-up. Although the relationship broke down over time, the break up itself was five months ago. I don’t regret the decision, but I still feel sad.

I Want to Feel Sad on Valentine’s Day

Yet, I can’t help but look around and feel the presence of his absence. He was my best friend, the person I shared everything with. And yes, I could sit here all day and think about the things that annoyed me, or remind myself why we’re not together anymore. I could listen to all the TikTok babes who are preaching self-love and feel guilty that I’m not a self-partnered queen or buying myself flowers today.

But I actually want to feel sad.

To me, feeling sad means there was a lot of love in our relationship, which makes it true and something to be celebrated. Plus, it’s healthy to feel sad in moments like these; to sit in them and give them the space and time they deserve.

I used to cover up my negative feelings with a hair flick, a glass of champagne, and a flirtatious exchange with the nearest cute bartender. But as I get older and experience more kinds of love, I feel compelled to be honest with myself.

And honestly, I’m just not feeling that brave today. I know I’ll be okay and I have confidence in my own independence, but right now I’m really f*cking sad.

There’s Nothing Wrong With It

The truth is, I want to love and be loved in the way I deserve. And, today especially, I’m highly aware of the fact that I don’t have that love from someone else right now. I think a lot of people feel the same way.

But being sad that you’re single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t make you bad at being alone, or weak, or unempowered.

Feeling sad on Valentine’s Day is not taking a step backwards. You’re not doing yourself a disservice by missing your ex, perhaps mourning the fact you’ve never been in love, or feeling upset because that babe on Hinge ghosted you after your second date. Feeling sad about not having the love you desire in your life doesn’t take away your strength.

We’re changing the narrative about being single, and I applaud the fact that “self-love” is trending on Google today. I think it’s amazing that we have beautiful, strong, and independent women in the public eye who are being loud about the fact they’re okay with being alone. They inspire me. They symbolise the important shift in relationship culture, gendered stereotypes, and how we identify with love. But that doesn’t mean I have to spend my Valentine’s Day being an unbothered queen who takes herself out to dinner and puts on a brave face — and it doesn’t mean you have to either.

It’s OK to Be Sad

You can be sad just because it sucks to lose love. It sucks for things to change and for structures to break down around you, and it sucks to find yourself in a more isolated place than you were a year ago. You can just be sad because life is hard sometimes, and because navigating changing relationships is really complicated and a little bit lonely.

I don’t need to put on red lippy to feel good today. I know I’m beautiful — and that red lippy looks great on me — just as much as I know that I have the capacity to love and to be loved in return. Instead, I feel the urge to go braless in a linen dress, to not leave the house all day, to listen to self-indulgent jazz, and write my feelings out.

Today, that is my form of self-love.

So, happy Valentine’s Day. Be kind to yourself, and know that however you feel today doesn’t define you, your romantic future, or your worth to be loved.

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