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5 Signs that this Valentine’s Day Will Be Different from All the Rest

single on Valentine's DayValentine’s Day can be such a cliché. Flowers, chocolates, and love-struck couples, year after year. Not that I have anything against flowers or chocolates, and love-struck couples can be unwittingly entertaining.

The holiday, though, is just so narrow-minded and unimaginative in the kinds of love it deems worthy of celebrating. Just the sex-based couple. If you are single, you are invisible at best or pitied at worst.

Not this year.

All around us, there are signs that we are not going to play by the usual rules any more. Big-time media outlets are asking single people how they really feel about their lives, rather than presuming to know that we are all miserable. (We aren’t.) More and more stories are about single people who are living their lives fully and joyfully. You will even find the phrase “single at heart” in places other than the title of this blog. So here are five signs that we are awakening from our typical Valentine’s Day stupor.

  1. Occupy Valentine’s Day.  Brainchild of wise and clever Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Occupy Valentine’s Day is based on the premise that “Celebrating love is a beautiful thing but should not depend on if we are in a relationship or not, our sexual orientation, our class background, our citizenship status or our marital status.” Check out the Occupy Valentine’s Day tumblr for some great images and quips.
  2. survey respondents do not provide matrimaniacal answers. USA Today just published the results of a survey of single people. Only 34.5% said that yes, they want to get married and they are sure about that. What’s more, only 12.7% said they were actively seeking a (romantic) relationship. Those are not the kinds of results that support a pity-the-poor-single-people type of story, and happily, that’s not the story Sharon Jayson wrote.
  3. Single and happy. That’s the theme of a story in See Magazine that really gets it about what it means to love your single life. It also acknowledges all the unsingle people who just don’t understand the concept of being single-at-heart.
  4. Single beyond a certain age. Coming to the Washington Post on the Sunday before Valentine’s Day will be a story about people who are single beyond middle age. I bet that won’t be a matrimaniacal story either.
  5. The Washington Post wants to hear from single people. The paper is conducting a survey of people who are single, asking them things such as how happy they are and what they like and dislike about their lives. Here’s the link if you want to participate. [CAUTION: For some of the questions, one of the alternatives is already selected, and usually (though not always) it is one that says something bad about being single. Once you record your own answer, that’s the one that gets counted, so it is only a problem if you skip an item and end up getting recorded as saying that living single is a bad, bad thing.] The survey results will be described alongside the article mentioned above in #4.

On a different topic: Judging by the page views, many readers seemed to like my previous post on the 12 things you didn’t know about living alone. Other singles bloggers are also discussing that topic. You can find those posts (and more) at Single with Attitude.

Red heart photo available at Shutterstock

5 Signs that this Valentine’s Day Will Be Different from All the Rest

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single," Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at

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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2012). 5 Signs that this Valentine’s Day Will Be Different from All the Rest. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from


Last updated: 3 Feb 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Feb 2012
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