He loves me, he loves me not? That is the question many people ponder come Valentine’s Day, or perhaps Cupid has not made his mark on their love life. For many people, Feb. 14 can cause anxiety, but Dr. Kate Roberts has ways to help you get through this romantic day whether you are single or in a new or struggling relationship.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 53 percent of U.S. women 18 are single and 47 percent men are single, making that a total of the 102 million single adults.
“Try to do something about being single in anticipation of Valentine’s Day,” advises Roberts. “Sign up online for dating sites or try a seven-minute dating event. Push yourself to strike up a conversation with people when you have opportunities.”
Dr. Kate completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from Boston University and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island. She completed her pre- and post-doctoral training at Brown University and Butler and Bradley hospitals.
Many people would say that being single is not as stigmatized today as it has been in the past. However, there are lots of people who are single and come Valentine’s Day their loneliness is even more evident, with all the commercials, cards and candy flaunted in their face.
“When I was younger, Valentine’s Day was very special to me,” said Anne Marie, a college administrator from Cranston. “I am a very sentimental and romantic sort. If I had someone in my life like a boyfriend, or later on my husband, I loved the holiday because it was a special day to show your sweetie a little extra love and attention. Many people say, ‘Well, I do that every day of the year, why do I have to do it on a special day?’ I say, ‘Why not?’ Special nuances means a lot to your partner. As I grew older, it became more about the kids. It was special to tell your son or daughter that you were their valentine.
“Now, at 50, and divorced for three years, I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I’m not involved with anyone at present, as much as I would like to have a special someone in my life, the cards have just not been in my favor. So I guess right now, it’s just another day for me, but I’m hopeful that it will one day become important to me again.”
In today’s culture, with people living longer and reinventing themselves often, being middle aged or older doesn’t mean love is out of the question. On the contrary, today there are almost 400 established online dating sites that address dating needs of all ages.
“I am single and I love St. Valentine’s Day,” said Alessandro of Cranston. “Not just a day for lovers. It’s also a day to spend with family and good friends that you love also. Being single is wonderful; I meet so many people, we become good friends. Usually on St. Valentine’s Day a bunch of friends and I go to dinner or go for drinks, etc. We go out and celebrate our friendship. We have a blast. I am a bartender/concierge and am 30 years old.
“Also, St. Valentine’s Day is a religious holiday. It’s not just a holiday to go out and buy flowers, cards and candy. It has an extreme importance in other ways. St. Valentine was martyred because he saw a young couple in love. He married them. Then he was executed because of compassion for a young couple in love. So for me, it is not just a day for lovers. It’s a great day to celebrate your love for friends and family.”
So what do you do if you’re single on Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is about love, and being kind to yourself is a perfect way to celebrate. Consider your favorite activities or past times and arrange for one or two to be part of your Valentine’s Day. You deserve a treat as much as anyone in love.
If you tend to hold up in your home feeling sorry for yourself when you’re not in a relationship and it seems like the rest of the world is, make plans for this Valentine’s Day. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in the “singledrums.” Go out and be with supportive family and friends or see a movie. Do something that you know you’d enjoy and commit to a plan in advance, advises Roberts.
Most importantly, remember that being in a relationship doesn’t define you. Being in a relationship is one aspect of your life. Relationships are not there to make you complete, rather they should provide additional fulfillment. The most successful relationships are those that consist of two people who are already self-fulfilled and can add to each other’s lives and worlds by being a couple.
“I’m in my 50s, and divorced for quite a few years. Two adult daughters. Own my own company, Tapestry Communications, a full service marketing and public relations agency,” said Nancy from Cranston.
“How do I feel about Valentine’s Day? That’s an interesting question for me, because for over 20 years I worked for the American Heart Association (AHA), and Valentine’s Day and the whole month of February were filled with activities and events all around the heart and love. An event many Rhode Islanders will remember was Hearts in Bloom, a wonderful exchange of Valentine’s Day flowers people could give to each other, with the proceeds [to] support heart research and education,” she continued. “That day started at 5 a.m. with flower packing of thousands of bright pink tulips and ended in the early evening, often with dozens of extra bouquets placed all around my house. It was a thoroughly desensitizing experience. Valentine’s Day was a big work day and a wonderful third-person event. We used to tell people that coming to the AHA to work ruined Valentine’s Day forever. I neither get depressed nor excited, as I don’t have someone special in my life. I do get very excited when I hear great Valentine’s Day stories and I really do look forward to enjoying it as a special day once again in my life.”
For more than 25 years, Roberts has helped couples and parents navigate through the ever-evolving world of relationships. As a licensed psychologist, family therapist and couples counselor, and wife and mother of two, Dr. Kate offers a unique and highly qualified perspective in her practice, in the media and in her blog
Dr. Kate has worked as a consulting psychologist to school districts throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She held a faculty position at the Brown University Medical School Department of Psychiatry as a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry. Currently, she works full-time coaching children and families in her private practice outside of Boston.