Feeling Blue, Valentine’s Day Woes

Alexandria Smith, Web Master

As a holiday that has long been marketed toward couples as a once-a-year testament to their love, Valentine’s Day can be very difficult for singles.

Alternatively known as ‘Singles Awareness Day’ (SAD), people’s negative feelings have manifested within popular culture, including internet memes, blogs and even the 2010 film “Valentine’s Day.”

But these anti-Valentine’s Day sentiments did not just come out of nowhere.

“There are many more people on campus that do experience the sad feelings [of being alone] than what people realize because of the commercialism aspect. You just get blasted with the images [of consumerism] on TV, in magazines, on the radio, you know, and the stores [saying], ‘Get your gifts now!,’” said Dr. Cindy March of the CAPS Center.

The urgency of consumerist expression surrounding the holiday is very real and very much alive. As recently as 2013, the Los Angeles Times projected that the average person would spend $9.9 billion overall – $134.08 on dinner, with sweets, flowers and jewelry as the next major purchases.

March worries that students who do not have a significant other may harbor feelings of inadequacy.

“I often feel that people do get sad on that day because they do feel that if they don’t have that partner in their life, that they’re not lovable, or they’re not worthy of someone, you know, thinking or recognizing the goodness of who they are,” said March.

She also believes that, for some students, basing an entire relationship on a single day can create a misconstrued sense of love with serious emotional consequences.

“I think there is a false recogni- tion sometimes among those that have partners [among women] that, ‘If I get that box of candy and I get those flowers, that’s the symbol I’m loved. That means I’m loved.’ But, you know what? It could be great on Valentine’s Day in terms of getting those flowers and candy, maybe going to dinner, going out for coffee, whatever, but then what about the other days of the year, or the other days of the week? How does one assess the quality of a healthy relationship at that point because flowers and candy do not equal a healthy relationship, you know? It might be a bonus, there’s nothing wrong with it, but you can’t gauge the health of your relationship on it,” said March.

Health & Wellness Center Director Angela Evans feels that romantic love is something that does not stay the same over time and having certain expectations can be detrimental to a relationship.

“Romantic love waxes and wanes. Even when you’re in a romantic relationship, it’s good, it’s bad, it’s good, it’s bad. Just think about any of your friends who are currently in relationships,” Evans said. “They might be in a relationship and feel totally alone, and then, trust me, those who are in relationships and are alone are jealous of their single friends on Valentine’s Day because they probably wish that they were by themselves on Valentine’s Day.”

Evans encourages students to get out of unhealthy relationships even if Valentine’s Day is when they come to grips with troubled pairings.

“There are kids on campus that are being physically, mentally and emotionally abused by their boyfriends and girlfriends, but they don’t know how to get out of that situation, so here comes Valentine’s Day and they feel all alone. So, romantic love waxes and wanes.”

Evans believes that while romantic love may shift, real love does not change.

“True love – agape love, love for one another, love that God showed for us – that’s what lasts. That’s what your parents have for you, what you have for your grandparents, what you have for your dog. That’s what lasts.”

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