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What’s a victim to do on Valentine’s Day?

By Angela Espinoza, Contributor

“They say that the world was built for two/ only worth living if somebody is loving you” – Lana Del Rey, “Video Games”

Like any other “holiday,” Valentine’s Day is only as meaningful as you make it. There are certainly couples and single people alike who couldn’t care less about what February 14 is supposed to represent. But if you let the feeling get to you, it does indeed suck to be single on what is essentially a national day of romance. Even worse, if your last relationship happened to involve cheaters, emotional abusers, or physical abusers, “sucks” is a bit of a light term to describe the feelings that come up when Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon.

Now, it’s not my intention to rip Valentine’s Day away from anyone excited to celebrate. My intention for this article is to try to find some kind of light in what, for a lot of people, might currently be a difficult time of the year. For some, Valentine’s Day might not mean anything. But for anyone else feeling weighed down by the visual representations of love everywhere, Valentine’s Day is a little depressing.

Whether you’re still in or have since left an unhealthy relationship, the feeling of love, whatever it meant to you, might have since been skewed. I’m not sure what I used to think victims of abusive relationships did after the relationship ended—perhaps most people don’t think about it, since that’s a dark place for somebody’s mind to wander. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, especially on such a sensitive topic, but I don’t think I’m alone in deciding that one’s early 20’s are an unrealistic time to abandon all notions of romance—regardless of whatever horrible things some partner might have done to make you think that love is out of the cards for you.

There is a terribly broad range of lousy things one partner can do to another; lying and cheating are shitty, but they’re not illegal. Others are a crime, like physical or sexual assault. What they all have in common is that someone has been severely hurt; their self-esteem, their ability to trust, and myriad other aspects of their lives have been damaged.

What makes the coping process all the more difficult is that it’s uncommon to think that a victim of an unhealthy relationship might actually want to love or even just be sexual again—and this being a traditionally romantic time of the year, one might be thinking, “What do I do now?”

No one, not even the great minds at Yahoo Answers, can tell you specifically how to move on from the experience (or even the person). Not to sound like a pompous ass, but this sort of process does require a great deal of soul searching. There are going to be a lot of bad days, and there are going to be a lot of good days, but, to get to the point, what are you supposed to do on February 14?

Personally speaking, I’m likely going to be feeling a little crappy on Valentine’s Day, because I’m the kind of “post-shitty relationship” person who puts weight on that sort of thing. I don’t recommend doing the same; I’m not insisting you seek a date if you’re not ready for one, but I’m not insisting you sulk and feel sorry for yourself, either.

If you’re trying to move on with your love life and leave negativity behind, Valentine’s Day is just another day, albeit one with more pink and red (and couples) everywhere. The only person who matters on Valentine’s Day, or any of the other 364 days for that matter, is you, and you take each of those days one at a time.