12 Feb 2021

How to get through Valentine's Day

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:25 pm on 12 February 2021

Neuropsychologist Dr Hannah Korrel has some handy tips for people navigating Valentine's Day solo or with a significant other.

She joined Afternoons to talk about enjoying the day and navigating relationships in a digital age.

Korrel tells Jesse Mulligan it’s normal for single people to feel a bit put out by the day.

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Photo: 123RF

“There’s this thing called Valentine’s Day anxiety in the lead up to Valentine’s Day where you get that apprehension of, are you going to be let down, are you going to be feeling really alone on the day.

“It’s pretty standard whether you’re in a relationship or single and that’s usually because of expectations.”

She says that, for single people, it’s best not to bury your head under a pillow and feel sorry for yourself, you can organise to see friends or family that day or get yourself something nice.

“Don’t allow that day to consume you. You can do something proactive to make sure you’re OK on the day.”

Korrel says it’s not unusual for people to feel scared they might never find ‘the one’.

“We’ve all had those days where we’re crying in the shower thinking, I’m never going to find ‘the one’, but it’s all about perspective. There are thousands of people out there who also feel that way and that’s why matchmaking apps are a million-dollar industry.

“You can think ‘I’m alone’ or you can think ‘I’m single’ and I’m single because I’m not settling for just anyone, I don’t want just anyone to have a relationship with. Waiting it out for the right person means you’re not settling for anything less than you deserve. That’s a good thing, that means you have self-respect.”

Conversely, people need to not stress about finding ‘the one’ or their ‘soulmate’.

“It’s probably a better or more healthy attitude to aim for having a soulful connection with someone and swapping your mindset from ‘I want a soulmate’ to ‘I want to have a soulful connection’ because that puts a lot less pressure on you to find the one right individual.

“There are many people you might be able to have a soulful connection with, so there’s less pressure to find ‘the one’ and it also puts less pressure on your partners to be everything to you and that’s a much healthier way to start a relationship.”

For couples, Korrel says both partners should be aware of each other’s expectations for the day instead of using it as a test to see how romantic their partner is, or whether they remember the day.

“Communication is a cliché because it actually is so very important. You can actually communicate to your partner that you’d feel really special if they did something special for you.

“You can communicate what it is you want from your partner rather than hoping they’re going to be a mind reader and figure it out, then you end up being disappointed.”

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