Dating Over 40: You Can’t Blame Hallmark for Valentine’s Day

Chilly February brings warm thoughts of love with Valentine’s Day smack in the middle of the month.  Whether you’re single, dating, or married, most women have significant expectations associated with this holiday.  From jewelry and flowers to chocolate and candle-light dinners, the romantic stakes are high on Valentine’s Day.  But how did all this get started?

Valentine's Day 2011

Interestingly enough, Valentine’s Day dates back to ancient Rome.  A Pagan tradition, the original holiday honored Juno, Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses on the eve of the festival of Lupercalia.  Girls’ names were selected by boys in a lottery and the pairings remained for the duration of the festival.  Sometimes the matches lasted longer, blossoming into love and ending in marriage. 

Then on February 14 in 269AD, a priest named Valentine was put to death for marrying couples against the emperor’s wishes.  (It’s a long story.)  About three hundred years later, the Roman Empire and Church recognized Valentine as the patron saint of lovers and the holiday was renamed Saint Valentine’s Day.  Overtime, rather than selecting a name randomly, a man expressed his love for a particular woman through written verse and that is how cards became a tradition.  Sorry ladies, you can’t blame Hallmark for this one. 

While some people love the sentimentality, others dread the sight of little Cupid and his bow.  However, since this practice has been around for centuries, it appears this love fest is here to stay.  The question becomes: How can you make friends with Cupid? 

First, expand your definition of love to include your close friends and family.  Having been linked to romance for eons, the month of February comes with a lot of loving energy.  Tap into that spirit and be thankful for the love that does exist currently in your life.  Celebrate as if your life is brimming with love and share that spirit with everyone you encounter on the 14th (or any day).

Second, if you are single and feel jealous of people in love, reframe those feelings.  Lift your feelings to be happy for these couples.  They represent positive evidence that love is still possible!  Being happy for others helps you share in their good energy and feelings.  It’s like seeing the glass half-full vs. the glass half-empty.  The more couples you see in love, the more open you can be to finding a love of your own.  If so many others found a partner, so can you!

Third, buy yourself a gift of love!  Whether you want a heart-shaped necklace or a dozen roses, make your vision a reality.  Purchase something marvelous and appreciate what a wonderful, loving person you are.  You might also treat your single girlfriends to some flowers or candy too and spread the appreciation around.  Self-love is often the first step to finding a loving partner.

Fourth, if you are in a relationship, be realistic about the level of romance you expect.  Real life doesn’t often replicate a juicy romance novel and if your expectations rival Danielle Steel’s, you’ll likely be disappointed.  Be grateful for the romance that does come your way.  It might appear as a single rose, a small gift, a quiet dinner, a thoughtful card, or a special dance.  For a true expression of love, it truly is the thought that counts, not the price tag.

Cupid wants you to be happy.  That’s his job; to bring people together.  Make friends with Cupid and maybe he’ll send one of his arrows out for you.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

photo credit: Stephen Fulljames


1 thought on “Dating Over 40: You Can’t Blame Hallmark for Valentine’s Day”

  1. Great ideas! I couldn’t agree more! A couple other ideas that go with these would be to volunteer somewhere where people are lonely.. maybe a nursing home. Or make surprise valentines for someone who is sick or is in need of encouragement. I have found many of the Valentine’s Days when I’ve been single have been better than those when I was married because I had no expectations, so every little surprise.. whether it be from a friend, family member, or flirt buddy was an unexpected treat. And if I didn’t get any, then I still had fun doing little things for the people in my life. No need to be in a relationship to celebrate love…

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