By Thomas Whitfield

Americans drop almost $20 billion a year on Valentine’s Day. This includes 180 million cards, 224 million roses and 58 million pounds of chocolate. What this doesn’t include is the price of the emotional pain and stress of Valentine’s Day. For many, suddenly the city that never sleeps can feel lonely, isolating and leave you thinking that everyone else is happier than you.

I hate Valentine’s Day. Point f*ing blank, hate it. I’ve never been in a relationship, and I’m so tired of people shoving it in my face every f*ing year. What’s even more irritating is that my friends who are in relationships act like they’re perfect for 24 hours with all their social media posts. I’m like, “Hello! You’ve been cheating on him for the past six months.” Ugh, it’s such BS, and I’m tired of it. Look, I know that I’m a little bitter, and I’d prefer not to be, but the day just gets to me. I can already feel myself getting annoyed. – Male, Gay, 26

Yeah, you’re more than just a little bitter, but you can make it easier on yourself. First, if the social media posts bother you, just don’t look. For all of the 14th, and probably the 15th, just don’t go on. Second, part of the reason you’re irritated is that you’re jealous you don’t have an outing to look forward to for that day/night. You can change that. Talk to your friends that are also single and plan a fun activity. One year for V-day, I had a “F* Love” party for all my friends, and it was awesome. It gave me something to look forward to and amazing people to party with. On the flip side, my crush showed up and interpreted it as I didn’t want a boyfriend, so maybe avoid inviting someone like that.

Right now I’m casually dating two guys. One of them I made plans with for Valentine’s Day; he asked me first. Then the other guy asked me, so I told him that I already have plans. I didn’t want to lie to him, so I think I made the right call. He said he’s fine with that, but now he’s being really passive aggressive, and the other night he told me he’s mad because he didn’t think I was seeing anyone else. That’s something we’ve never discussed, and now I feel like a jerk. Did I do something wrong? – Male, Gay, 23

Dating more than one person can be pretty tricky, but there’s nothing wrong with it. I like that you were up front with him and didn’t lie. He may not have liked your response, but you were honest and should get some points for that. It’s clear this second guy likes you, but it’s also telling in how he handled the conflict. If you want to continue seeing him, I’d suggest you ask him to celebrate Valentine’s Day with you on a different day. But also be aware, it sounds like he wants something more than casual.

Sex/Love/Relationship advice? Send your questions to: Instagram: @ThomasWhitfield84