What to Do if You’re Single and Bummed Out on Valentine’s Day

Updated: Feb 23, 2024 10:32
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Illustration created by Heather Atles using AI

Hi, I’m Shameless Heather Atles, an expert relationships, sex, and intimacy coach. With years of experience guiding individuals through the complexities of love, connection, and self-worth, my approach combines humor, practical wisdom, deep insights, and actionable steps to empower those navigating the twists and turns of modern romance. 

Ask me anything!

Dear Shameless,

I’m single on Valentine’s day and really bummed about it. I’m burnt out on the dating apps and I feel like everyone has a boo but me. What should I do?”

-Bummed & Boo-less


Dear Bummed & Boo-less,

Firstly, it’s perfectly normal to feel a mix of disappointment and frustration about being single on Valentine’s Day, especially when dating apps seem more draining than promising. Acknowledge those feelings—yes, even the urge to throw chocolates at happy couples. It’s okay; you’re human.

Today, let’s give your thumb a well deserved break from swiping left on what feels like the entirety of San Francisco.

There’s a lot of social pressure to be partnered on this holiday, but consider that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples—it’s a day to celebrate all forms of love, including (as Whitney so eloquently put it), the Greatest Love Of All: Self-Love.

Self-love is the foundation of all loving relationships because it sets the standard for how we treat ourselves, and sets the model for how others are allowed to treat us.

So to that end, treat yourself, baby!

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Sure, it’s nice to have a boo showering you with the love and affection you desire, but you can romance yourself today. Treat yourself like the love of your life because, well, you are! Whether it’s a solo-hike, a dance class, or simply cooking your favorite meal, do something that sparks your passion or at least gives you a good laugh.

Illustration created by Heather Atles using AI

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Self-Care is Self-Love

Whether on your own or with your Galentines or Bromances, a day of pampering can be nourishing to your soul and foster the bonds with your buds. You can unwind at one of San Francisco’s spas or saunas, or low-budge-it with some facial products from the skin care aisle at Grocery Outlet and do a spa day at home. Another fun (and free!) option: check out Wellness Wednesdays at the Ferry Building. Take in the no-cost yoga class overlooking the Bay, and make sure to fill your atriums and ventricles with “Hearts in San Francisco.” See if you can find all 21 Hearts at the Ferry Building, and at each you find, send some love to your own heart, to those of your friends, family, your community, those healing or dying at hospitals, and to all the souls, near and far, joyous or suffering, on this day.

Exposure Therapy

Gather a gaggle of fellow singletons and play “relationship bingo” with the various types of couples you’ll inevitably encounter. It will remind you that being in a couple isn’t always roses and romance, everyone has challenges and you’re not alone. Squares can include things like “Obviously Awkward,” “Burnt Out Parents on a Too Expensive Date (babysitters are $35+/hour!),” and “#CoupleGoals.” Mix in the “I’m glad that not’s me” options with aspirational duos to spot so that you not only savor your single status, you summon up your higher self and you open your heart to appreciating the possibilities of romantic love you are calling in for yourself. Might I suggest San Francisco Botanical Garden? It’s free with San Francisco ID and the magnificent Magnolia bloom is at its peak right now.

Illustration created by Heather Atles using AI

Cure Your VD Symptoms

While the acronym has been updated to STI, perhaps you actually need some relief from the whole lovey-dovey vibe (and don’t want to risk contracting more than an earworm song or feathers in the face)? San Francisco has got you covered with the Anti-Valentine’s Day 80s Power Ballad Sing-Along at the Roxie Theater or the infamous Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight at Embarcadero Plaza. Both promise a night of laughter, the chance to meet people IRL instead of on the apps, and perhaps a bit of catharsis.

Remember, Valentine’s Day is just one day out of the year, and your value and happiness are not determined by your relationship status. Focus on what makes you feel fulfilled and you will be a magnet for others!



Heather Atles is a Somatica™ trained sex coach who turns love lives from meh to magical. With a knack for transforming relationship ruts into romantic renaissances, she’s your go-to guru for all things love, lust, and laugh-out-loud life changes. Let’s just say, she’s not your average therapist!

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Heather Atles

Heather Atles

Heather Atles is a Somatica™ trained relationship, sex, and intimacy coach who turns love lives from meh to magical. With a knack for transforming relationship ruts into romantic renaissances, she's your go-to guru for all things love, lust, and laugh-out-loud life changes. Let's just say, she's not your average therapist!