Is it a bad idea to enjoy Valentine's Day alone with Netflix and ice cream? What are the signs of a healthy, respectful relationship? University of North Texas experts are available for interviews to discuss these topics ahead of the upcoming holiday.
Valentine's Day can be difficult for those without a spouse or significant other in their lives. Julie Leventhal, UNT educational psychology lecturer, said a popular stereotype is that single people stay home and mope while eating ice cream and watching movies – but that isn't necessarily a bad idea.
"If that is something you can have fun doing, go ahead," Leventhal said. "It's a fairly typical stereotype, but there isn't necessarily anything harmful about it if it makes you feel better. It can be difficult to be alone on any type of holiday; what is important is figuring out a way to process through it that works for you."
Leventhal also suggests doing something special to celebrate your single status. Maybe enjoy dinner and a movie with other single friends, have an anti-Valentine's Day party, or give back to your community by finding volunteering opportunities.
"It ultimately comes down to personal preference," Leventhal said. "I think people are realizing that Valentine's Day is not just a day to celebrate couples. If you don't want to be alone for Valentine's Day, then don't be alone. If being alone on Valentine's Day makes you unhappy, find someone you can enjoy spending time with," Leventhal said. "Find your friends, be with your family, go on a date, try something new or unexpected."
Leventhal can be reached at Julie.Leventhal@unt.edu or 940-369-5405.
UNT Survivor Advocate Renee LeClaire McNamara is available to discuss common traits of healthy relationships and the importance of respect, equality and support.
"First, healthy relationships are based on equality and respect," McNamara said. "These traits can be demonstrated by listening, paying attention to each other and accepting the other's wishes and feelings. Respect also is shown by honoring the other person's boundaries and space.
"Next, people feel they can express their feelings openly and honestly in healthy relationships," she said. "Conflict is a normal part of any relationship, but can strengthen a bond if disagreements are resolved in a constructive manner. In a healthy relationship, a person does not fear another person's reactions or feel like they need to walk on eggshells. Also, healthy relationships are built on trust. People in a healthy relationship encourage each other, support each other, and value what is best for each other. A healthy relationship requires ongoing effort and maintenance by those in the relationship."
McNamara recommends visiting http://www.loveisrespect.org/ for more information.
She can be reached at Renee.LeClaire@unt.edu or at 940-369-6027.