Psychotherapist Hilda Burke says, “Many singletons imagine their coupled-up counterparts are having a better time of it, particularly on Valentine’s Day. It’s human nature to think that the grass is always greener. But the fact is that being single is no better nor no worse than being in a couple.”
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Syeda is a writer for Cosmopolitan who likes to analyze and improve the way we look at sex as a way to topple the patriarchy. She also writes for Bustle.com, Muslim Girl, and Muslim.co. You can follow her on Twitter here and Instagram here.
The best part? When you’re celebrating you, that means you get to celebrate on your own terms. In other words, being single on Valentine’s Day means you get to spend an entire day doing whatever TF you want. In case you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are a whole bunch of ways you can make the most of February 14 as the wonderfully single and sufficient person you are. You’re welcome, babe.
Try a New Recipe You’ve Had Bookmarked Forever
There have got to be at least a few recipes you’ve bookmarked on Instagram. Pull ’em up and make a night of it! Run to the grocery store, buy what you need, and get to work. The women who came before you might have you convinced that the “way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” (*gags*) but the only heart that really matters here is yours. Make something hearty and delicious that really hits the spot and sets you up for The Best Night In Of All Time. (Bonus points if you Google the best wine pairing for said meal or whip up an at-home version of your favorite cocktail/mocktail.)
Or Take Yourself Out to Dinner
That said, it’s only natural to wonder what exactly you’re supposed to do with yourself when you’re single on a holiday that’s all about being coupled up. The way I see it, you have two options. You can either ignore V-Day completely—which is totally valid and not even that hard—or you can use it as an excuse to celebrate you and/or the meaningful if not necessarily romantic relationships you do have in your life rn. And because I am a major proponent of taking advantage of absolutely any excuse to have a good time, I’d go with the latter.
Sadie Allison, founder of sex-toy boutique TickleKitty.com, encourages women to enjoy their alone time while they can. “Sexual self-pleasure is a perfect tide-you-over between relationships and you can make a whole date out of it,” she says.
Start a Valentine’s Day Secret Santa With Friends
You don’t have to have a partner in order to take some fire nudies of yourself. Valentine’s Day is all about love, but it’s also a super-sexy holiday—even if you’re celebrating it alone. There are plenty of lingerie sales going around, so pick up something for yourself and have a sultry photo shoot. You don’t even have to send it or post it anywhere. Sometimes all you need to feel better about being single on Valentine’s Day is reminding yourself how freaking hot you are.
Have a Regular Day
Yes, you read that right. If you were looking for an excuse to stay in, turn your phone on Do Not Disturb and veg out for 24 hours—Valentine’s Day is the most perfect reason ever to do so. “Sleeping all day alone in your room doesn’t mean that you are depressed and lonely,” says Chris Pleines, of Dating Scout. And the fact of the matter is, with all the burnout and stress from your everyday life and school and balancing your platonic friendships, you’re likely in need of a rest anyway. “It’s one good way to recharge and enjoy some quiet time for yourself,” says Pleines, adding that it can also remind you to be happy with yourself and independent, not to mention focus on self-care.
You don’t have to sit by and watch as the world around you celebrates romantic love and couples. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn, what better day to go out and do it? Whether it’s a cooking class, a language class, or even a workout class, focusing on yourself and putting that energy into a new skill is a great way to pour all that love into your brain.
Get Some Retail Therapy In
Just like every other holiday, it’s important to remember that it’ll soon be over. “It’s just a day,” clinical psychologist Rebekah Montgomery, PhD, tells Cosmopolitan.com. “It’s just a commercialized holiday—engage in some extra self-care and TLC to make it through the 24 hours.”
Relationships editor Christal D. Jordan says it’s important to remember that people who hurt you are better left in your past: “This year, you aren’t in a relationship with a cheater, which is actually a step in the right direction. Would you rather be spending Valentine’s Day with someone who is disrespecting you?”
Use the Time to Connect With Your Single Friends
It might not be spring yet, but get ahead of it! Clean out your closet, make a “donate” pile, throw out expired makeup and skincare, go through your fridge and throw out the banana that’s been sitting in the back for the past month (I’m not judging you, this is a mental note for me too)—you get it. Have your favorite movie on in the background or queue up Midnights, order your fave sushi, and at the end of the night you’ll have both a clean space and a clean slate.
Have a Sexy Photo Shoot
Valentine’s Day isn’t exclusive to romantic love, says Robert Vandor, of LunchDates.com. If you’re not getting flowers this year, give them! “Pop into a Trader Joe’s after work and scoop up affordable flowers to distribute at a nearby nursing home,” he suggests. “Nothing feeds the soul like making others smile.” Afterward, you can reward yourself with fancy takeout from a high-end restaurant and relish in the fact that you spread love in an unexpected and authentic way, he adds.
Remember That Being Single Legit Isn’t the Worst Thing
While you might be single, that doesn’t mean you only have to spend Valentine’s Day by yourself. Even if your friends are relationship’d up, plan ahead to make separate plans with them to have the best type of celebration there is: Galentine’s Day. Sip on some fun drinks, munch on little snacks, and take the time to appreciate the wonderful friendships you have with the women in your life.
Have a Long Facetime Catch-Up With Another Single Friend or Family Member
Not that anyone needs an excuse to spend some quality time alone, but if you don’t have any plans for Valentine’s Day, then staying home with a battery-powered companion could be just what you need.
Sometimes, a holiday like Valentine’s Day is the last thing you need, especially if you’ve recently been through a breakup or you just can’t seem to pin down your crush. But there’s absolutely zero reason to feel bad or ashamed about being single. Just live your life and keep on being your fabulous self.
Taking yourself out to dinner is majorly underrated. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as making a reservation at your favorite restaurant, getting dressed up just for you, and ordering everything that makes your mouth water, just because you can. Bring a good book or your favorite magazine (ahem, might we suggest ours?) and bask in how good it feels to treat yourself the way you want to be treated. You are your greatest valentine!
Plan a Galentine’s Day
Kayla Kibbe (she/her) is the Associate Sex and Relationships Editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers all things sex, love, dating, and relationships • She lives in Astoria, Queens and probably won’t stop talking about how great it is if you bring it up • Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
If you’ve said or texted the words “we’re overdue for a catch-up!” in the past six months, go ahead and put it on the cal. Whether it’s a friend you haven’t seen in ages or a family member back home who’s also kicking it solo today, grab a glass of wine and get the low-down on how they’re doing. It always feels good to be there for someone, and to catch them up on all the new happenings in your life.
Go On a First Date
Okay so I know this story is all about how to be single on Valentine’s Day, but hear me out: Go on a first date. You heard me! That dating app match you’ve been chatting with? They’re single too (presumably!) and most likely don’t have plans tonight either. Take advantage of the lovey-dovey vibes that come with V-Day and go to dinner, grab a drink, have a fun hookup—whatever the vibe calls for! Get to know someone new. It’s not much different than what you would’ve done on a regular, non-Holiday night either, so you don’t even have to lean into the Valentine’s of it all if you don’t want to.
Take a Fun Class
A Valentine’s Day dinner = pricey AF. Take the day as an excuse to spend less than you would on a fancy date or romantic getaway to get something totally unnecessary but fun for yourself. Like these cheapo pens on Amazon! Or this amazing foot scrub! Or some makeup!
Remember That Valentine’s Day Happens Only Once a Year
You don’t even have to do anything special on Valentine’s Day to get through it. Wake up whenever you usually do, brush your teeth, have some breakfast, and go about your day just like it was any other. Because sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself to avoid feeling sad is to pretend that the holiday doesn’t even exist. There’s always next year!
Write Yourself a Love Letter
And if you’re feeling FOMO from not having a significant other to spoil on the holiday, why not treat your friends instead? “It’s always important to treat yourself and the important people in your life,” Perry says, even if they’re not necessarily your romantic partners.
Spend the Night With Your Vibrator
Reflecting on past relationships isn’t always the best thing to do, especially if you’re still remotely into any of your exes. But for better or worse, Valentine’s is the perfect opportunity to think about why things didn’t work out with your ex and realize that you deserve to be happy too.
Real talk: The most important relationship you can have is with yourself, which is why spending V-Day solo can be a really great opportunity to connect with your mind. Licensed psychotherapist Markesha Miller suggests writing yourself a love letter. “Celebrate you and the progress you have continued to make in your life. Talk about the future that you anticipate for yourself,” she says. “This is the perfect time to fall in love with yourself.”
Take the Day Off From Instagram
If seeing other people’s #CoupleGoals pics on the ’gram is going to make you feel even more salty about your situation, delete the app entirely or be mindful of your scrolling. “Don’t spend too long on social media if images of romantic Valentine’s Day gifts and pictures are going to haunt you,” says Keisha Blair, author of Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness.
Spread Love by Gifting Yourself or Others Flowers
In the past, Valentine’s Day might have been a celebration for couples, but you don’t have to stick to that. Venessa Marie Perry, MPH, founder of The Love Write, tells her “clients to plan something special for themselves or with other single friends.” As Perry explains, something as simple as hosting a dinner with other singles so that you can enjoy some laughter among friends can take away any negativity you might have about the occasion.
One of the best parts about being single on Valentine’s Day is that you don’t have to pretend to be excited about a gift from a significant other that you actually hate. I mean, who knows you better than you? Need some new jewelry? Clothes? Makeup? Nothing feels better than gifting yourself something you know you’re going to love. In the words of Ariana Grande, “I want it? I got it.”
Focus on Your New Year’s Goals
Let’s just start by getting the very obvious (but very important!) out of the way: Being single on Valentine’s Day—much like being single on literally any other day of the year—is very much not a big deal. (And, TBH, I kind of don’t understand how or why we’ve even been conditioned to think that it is?) It’s also not a reflection of your attractiveness, your value as a human being, or any of the other things Hallmark movies, rom-coms, and/or the Valentine’s Day Industrial Complex want us to believe it is. Whether you’re single by choice (hi, yes, that is a real and valid choice that people make!), getting over a breakup, or stuck in an ambiguous situationship, there’s literally nothing weird about not having a romantic partner—on Valentine’s Day or any other day.
You can also volunteer at a youth shelter, soup kitchen, or animal shelter. “Give away your time, energy, and skills unconditionally to serve others,” says Alexis Taylor, sex and relationship expert. It’s easy to feel bad about yourself when you’re single on Valentine’s Day, but “we don’t see others and recognize their basic needs when we are higher in the Maslow hierarchy and self-absorbed,” adds Taylor. Take that energy and spin it into something positive to help those less fortunate than us because there are problems worse than being single on Valentine’s Day.
Do Everything You’d Do if You Were Coupled Up
After all, being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day comes with its own set of anxieties and pressures. If you’re single, you have the luxury of being selfish and putting your own needs first.
Remember Your Ghosts of Valentine’s Days Past in a Productive Way
It might feel like the world is out to get you when stores are decorated with red heart balloons and cheesy love songs are playing on every car stereo. But come February 15, all those cards with heartfelt messages in them will be lining a dumpster somewhere.
Also Remember That V-Day Wouldn’t Necessarily Be Better Spent With a Partner
Veronica Lopez is the sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers and edits stories about single life, dating, relationships, sex, identity, and more. Previously, she was the sex and dating editor at Elite Daily. Originally from Venezuela, she grew up in Miami and is now based in Brooklyn. Follow her on Instagram here and on Twitter here.