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How Many Pounds of Chocolate Do Americans Buy for Valentine’ s Day?
How Many Pounds of Chocolate Do Americans Buy for Valentine’ s Day? (Arina P Habich/Shutterstock)

As Valentine’s Day approaches, millions of people are feeling lonely pangs of the “I Ain’t Got Nobody Blues” and putting themselves through all kinds of angst and uncomfortable emotions because they fear that they are missing out on something. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, can hijack your heart and make you feel less than, just because someone else is doing something you think you might want to do someday.

Most people want to be in a romantic relationship, but the truth is most people are single and have had more breakups than they care to remember. Many try to steer their gaze away from all of the Valentine’s paraphernalia that hits the supermarket shelves on Jan. 2. And that’s understandable.

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I don’t think there’s another holiday that makes more people feel left out than Valentine’s Day. When I was a child, at this time of year, the teachers would ask everyone in the class to make an envelope out of construction paper and tape that we would decorate, write our names on, and hang over the back of our chairs.

Then we would put our heads down on the desk, and be tapped on the shoulder, one at a time, to put Valentine cards we’d brought into the envelopes of the other kids — the ones that we liked. This was cute, unless you didn’t have many friends. I remember one year getting a card from the teacher and one from the kid whose mom told them to make a Valentine for every student in the class (Thanks, Mrs. Kibby). I was no Ferris Buller. It was heartbreaking, and it still stings a little to remember it.

Fortunately, we have evolved and this horrible ritual no longer takes place, as far as I know. But Valentine’s Day still stirs up pain in the hearts of those who long for companionship but just can’t seem to make it work. I get it. I was there for too many years, and the only thing I can say is, hang in there. If a relationship is what you really want, you can make it happen, and counseling will help.

On the other hand, there are millions upon millions of the so-called quirky-alone crowd, whooping it up with their other quirky-alone friends at events all over the world. Other singles groups are doing the same — I am sure the new self-partnered gang will join in — and it all sounds good to me.

In my alone years, there were no fun things to do for singles, but now the tables have not only turned but been set and topped with a spread fit for royalty (or ex-royalty). All kinds of singles events are out there. You just have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and go out and play with other’s in the same boat.

Just remember, it’s far better to wait for the right person to come along than to be with the wrong one. It worked for me.

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Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith.

©2020 Barton Goldsmith

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