Should Valentine’s Day Still Be Relevant? A Mental Health Expert Lends Their View

Did you know that individuals navigating Valentine's Day without a romantic partner commonly encounter emotional hurdles such as loneliness, isolation, envy of those in relationships, and self-doubt regarding their own deservingness of love and companionship?

Published On Feb 20, 2024 | Updated On Mar 05, 2024


It’s 2024, people are getting married to their AI partners and enjoying one’s singlehood has become a power move. The traditional idea of romantic love has changed as well, as open relationships are more and more prevalent and the pressure’s off for people in love. Which brings us to the question: is a whole month dedicated to romantic love just to make sales on V-day presents and experientials relevant anymore? Especially when you see all the lovey-dovey merry-making having a not-so-lovely effect on people without romantic partners. We believe it’s time V-day got an upgrade and here’s what a mental health expert has to say about it.  

According to Archana Singhal, a seasoned counsellor, family therapist, and the founder behind Mindwell Counsel in Delhi, India, the societal spotlight on romantic relationships during Valentine's Day can profoundly influence the mental well-being of those who are single or separated. This heightened emphasis might trigger sentiments of loneliness, inadequacy, and even sadness, as individuals may grapple with feelings of exclusion and societal expectations. Does a generation that feels loveless and lost something we should risk for the sake of big sale days? We think not. 

Time for a quick history lesson! The most widely accepted origin of Valentine's Day can be traced back to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated in mid-February. During this festival, fertility rites were performed, and men drew names of women from a jar, forming temporary partnerships. Call them modern day situationships, if you may. But V-day's link up with love and romance began in the Christian era with a popular legend of saint Valentine, a Roman priest, defying Emperor Claudius II's ban on marriages for young men by secretly marrying couples. His actions led to imprisonment and execution, forever cementing his reputation as the symbol of love. Modern day takes this macabre tale and equates this with overpriced bouquets and melodramatic chick flicks; one can only question is this marketing holiday is getting stale?

Archana believes that valentine's day in the media often spotlights romantic love and grand gestures, potentially making single or separated individuals feel a tad left out or not measuring up to societal expectations. The sight of blissful couples can amplify these sentiments. While strides have been made in LGBTQIA+ representation during Valentine's Day marketing, there's still room to grow. Brands should up their game by ensuring campaigns are inclusive, showcasing the full spectrum of identities and relationships within the LGBTQIA+ community. A little shift in perspective could mean Valentine's Day marketing that celebrates all kinds of relationships, promoting self-love and empowerment alongside romantic tales. Make it more inclusive and tell diverse stories, that's all we're asking for! 

If the pressures of V-day has ever made you ring up that problematic ex, we've got some healthier ways to cope instead. Speaking directly to people without romantic partners, Archana emphasizes the need to reframe the narrative. Shifting the focus from romantic relationships, she champions the celebration of all love forms, including self-love and friendships. For those flying solo, fostering positive mental health involves self-care, quality time with supportive friends and family, gratitude practices, and embracing hobbies. Recognising the significance of self-love and self-care becomes a potent antidote to potential Valentine's blues, promoting self-compassion and elevating self-esteem. Additionally, for those seeking companionship, a plethora of resources like online forums, singles meetups, community events, and counseling services offer support and connection not just on Valentine's Day, but all year round. 

Archana concludes by saying, “friends and family members can support those who are single or separated on Valentine's Day by being sensitive to their feelings, avoiding making assumptions or judgments, offering companionship or distractions if needed, and reminding them of their worth and value beyond their relationship status.” Because it doesn't make sense to beat yourself up for just one day when you've been doing great by yourself all year!

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