Valentine's Day can either be an enjoyable occasion or stress filled with high expectations and disappointment. If you have that special relationship, Valentine's Day can be a time to show love and affection. For singles, the day can be a reminder of loneliness or a missing relationship.

Even people who do not have significant others can wind up hating Valentine's Day. The problem is that Valentine's Day often comes with a predetermined set of expectations. Someone may expect a certain gift, a special night out, or some other gesture. Disappointment results whenever expectations are not met.

Surviving for Couples

Valentine's Day isn't a day of amnesty or a single opportunity to fix problems in a relationship. Issues don't pop up overnight nor can they be fixed that way. If you anticipate repairing a relationship in one day, you will be disappointed.

Don't get caught up in the commercialization. Relationships portrayed in advertisements don't necessarily reflect reality. You can show you care with the use of your heart and imagination. Do simple things that say, "I'm thinking of you."

Don't rely on your partner to read your mind. If you have specific desires, share them. Give without expecting anything in return. Small, thoughtful gestures mean a lot, don't overlook them.

Not everyone gets enthusiastic about Valentine's Day.

If your partner isn't that excited, don't read too much into it.

Do whatever feels comfortable and be OK with it.

You don't have to do anything you are uncomfortable with. Simply saying, "Happy Valentine's Day. I love you." sends the message that you are thinking of your partner.

Surviving for Singles

Accept your emotions. If you are sad and lonely, it's OK. You feel what you feel. Just because you may not happen to be in a relationship for Valentine's Day does not mean there is anything wrong with you.

Be social. Organize a group of other singles for dinner out or some other social activity. You may not be involved romantically, but you have more people in your life who care about you than you realize.

Treat yourself.

--This bit of special advice was saved for this issue of the NCTnews to be the most timely. Although our paper is dated Wednesday, Feb. 15, it is always in the hands of most readers on Mondays and Tuesdays each week. Wishing you a very Happy Valentine's Day.