Clinical psychologist and author of the acclaimed “In the Therapist’s Chair”, Dr. Jacqueline Simon Gunn explains that Valentine’s Day is often the most anxiety-provoking day of the year. “For some people Valentine’s Day, and the days leading up to it, can be very anxiety-provoking and even depressing. The constant reminder of this day as a celebration of love can induce feelings of loneliness, regrets over past relationships and even feelings of worthlessness if one is not in a relationship.”
In her private practice in Manhattan, Dr. Gunn discusses the paradox of helping her patients define the perfect relationship. “Defining a relationship as perfect, paradoxically requires the acknowledgment that no relationship is perfect.” Dr. Gunn suggests that a more appropriate expectation is to be in a solid, healthy relationship.
In her clinical experience with patients, Dr. Gunn has witnessed the propensity for many people to confuse a sustaining love, which includes the six fundamentals, with passion and lust. For many, the perfect relationship is no longer perfect after the honeymoon period is over and the six fundamentals supercede the unbridled passion which exists in the early stages of the relationship.
Ultimately, as February 14th approaches, it is okay to be alone on Valentine’s Day. As Dr. Gunn explains, “It is better to be alone then be with the wrong partner.” It all depends on the significance and importance one chooses to impose on this particular day. Dr. Gunn’s immediate advice is that if you don’t want to be alone there are many events specifically for singles or you may want to create your own get together with other single friends.
The dreaded question for many is “What are you doing on Valentine’s Day” if indeed you’re doing nothing. “Saying you are doing nothing on Valentine’s Day is entirely respectable as long as it doesn’t evoke a sense of shame,” says Dr. Gunn. Most importantly, do not confuse being alone as being unlovable.
Dr. Jacqueline Simon Gunn is a Clinical Psychologist and Author of the critically-acclaimed “In the Therapist’s Chair”. She has a private practice in Manhattan where she specializes in Trauma, Eating Disorders, Alternative Lifestyles, Interpersonal Problems and Sports Psychology.