Living Through and Recovering From a Relationship with a Narcissist

Main Menu
32 Home » Narcissist Abuse Tactics » Narcissists and Valentine’s Day: A Romantic Nightmare

Narcissists and Valentine’s Day: A Romantic Nightmare

Valentine’s Day is a sensitive and dreaded day for many people, regardless of relationship status.  Single people may dislike it. People in relationships can feel a lot of How narcissists use Valentine's Day to hurt their partnerspressure to “do it right.” And it can definitely bring on negative emotions for those who are going through any type of breakup. Yet Valentine’s Day with a narcissist can be an absolute nightmare. 

Narcissists are notorious for ruining big days such as birthdays, anniversaries and other holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas

But everything about Valentine’s Day is tailor-made for them to wield it as a weapon to inflict maximum pain. 

Valentine’s Day can be triggering for those coming out of abusive relationships with narcissists because it is a day specifically dedicated to the very emotions the narcissist distorted to gain our trust and then violate us using those emotions. Because the day is dedicated to love and relationships, everything about it is can be used fraudulently in their illusion in a multitude of ways with little effort, depending on where we are with them in the narcissist cycle of abuse.

In the narcissist abuse cycle of idealize-devaluation-discard-and hoover, there’s always something cooking up on Valentine’s Day. 


Narcissists and Valentine’s Day: Love as a Weapon

1. Devaluation and Discard

Starting huge arguments just before or on Valentine’s Day was not uncommon.  I have mostly negative associations with the day in our relationship because of these arguments, as they were some of the worst.  They occurred over alleged misunderstandings and things for which I was blamed and often had no control. I felt very confused about how they became so destructive. He was vicious during these arguments and all plans were completely ruined.

For our first Valentine’s Day together, he told me he threw gifts he had bought me including an “expensive bracelet” out the car window in anger while driving. This happened the night before Valentine’s Day when an incident started at a bar because another man talked to me. 

I will never know whether the gifts ever existed or whether he wanted me to feel that if I had only “behaved” and not reacted to how unfair he had been, I would have gotten the spoils of his love.

2. Deflection and Guilt  

Speaking of reactions, he liked to say I didn’t appreciate anything he did for me–as if being grateful for times he was good to me canceled out abuse and gave me no right to speak up. 

Valentine’s Day gave him a specific day he could point to so it eliminated any vagueness on his part and gave him more ammunition.  When he did love-bomb me and made Valentine’s Day special in any way, he threw it back in my face or brought it up in front of other people.  He would mention it and then say I was selfish, never happy, or liked to cause problems, if I, for example, brought up a new lie he told me when he claimed to be earning back my trust.

3. Triangulation

If he was giving me a silent treatment or I didn’t want to spend the day with him, he made comments letting me know he had others to spend it with.

He would post comments on Facebook knowing I would see them to indicate a disengagement between the two of us and that he was “single now” and ready to include someone else in the plans he had supposedly had ready for me. He would hide or even delete our pictures.  

4. Hoovering And Future-Faking  

Ah, his favorite.  Here’s are the kinds of things I heard:

“I was thinking about last Valentine’s Day when we…”

“Are you free on Valentine’s Day? I’d like to take you to brunch and see you one last time.”

“I got you [something he knew I liked that was hard for me to get myself] and I’d like to give it to you on Valentine’s Day.” (My, how presumptuous of him, right?)

He E-mailed me the day before the last Valentine’s Day we were still in contact (although we hadn’t been talking at the time) to send me a picture of himself on his wedding day wearing a bracelet I had given him, telling me that he will always love me and that a trip we had once taken on Valentine’s Day was the best time in his life.

The hoover game is strong around Valentine’s Day, so please be prepared. Once they get their foot in the door, then can come the lavish promises for the future. More trips they’d “have liked” to take you on or things they wanted to do with you if you were still together.  They still love you so much.  Won’t you see them one last time?

Stay strong. Valentine’s Day is the one day you can potentially predict contact. It doesn’t mean that they will definitely reach out, however, try to keep in mind how predictable they actually are and how similar their hoovers can be. There are reasons there are common hoovering techniques to be aware of

5. Control and Harassment

If Valentine’s Day passed during a silent treatment, I was subject to endless questions and jabs about what I had been doing with other men during that time.  

Guess what?  These can be hoovers too. 

Nothing I said was ever believed and having a specific date for which people tend to go on dates, express their feelings for one another and give romantic gifts fed his imagination and allowed him to persist in harassing me with his extreme jealousy.  

Valentine’s Day with a Narcissist Can Be an Isolating Experience

Because of how Valentine’s Day was treated in our relationships with them, we probably don’t have a lot of positive associations with it.  Again, it may not be positive for many people, but for us especially, it may be traumatic

We may end up in emotional turmoil. Anxiety may especially run our lives if we wonder what’s going to happen: Will they start an argument?  Will the day go smoothly? Will they hoover? 

It may stir up old questions about the narcissist and love, or left us back in a confused state trying to figure out if the narcissist actually ever loved us or not.

It may be especially difficult to receive support during this time period from others, as Valentine’s Day is perceived as a light-hearted holiday, even frivolous by some. It’s common knowledge that people sometimes suffer depression during the Christmas holidays, but Valentine’s Day? 

People who experience negative emotions around it may be perceived as just being bitter or jealous. Everyone is supposed to pretend to be happy on Valentine’s Day. If they are in relationships, they are supposed to pretend to be in a happy couple. If they are not in relationships, they are supposed to stifle their grievances and let the “happy couples” celebrate. 

Any complaints are perceived as envy– either of those in relationships by singles or those in “better” relationships by the attached. 

So if you don’t feel as if you can reach out to anyone or others don’t understand, I hope you will at least recognize that you aren’t alone. You aren’t alone either in experiencing the trauma of how the narcissist has used it as a form of emotional abuse or of feeling that others don’t understand.

If you can, try to take care of yourself in the way that your partner never really has. Maybe not on Valentine’s Day, or maybe it provides the perfect opportunity, but the ultimate transcendence of the narcissist’s control is to reflect on love beyond what we experienced in the relationship when we are ready as part of our path to recovering.


Kristen Milstead

Kristen Milstead is a narcissistic abuse survivor who has become a strong advocate for finding your unique voice and using it to help others find theirs.


  1. I don’t even really know how to begin this, but I guess i may as well just throw it right the hell on out there. Please know that I unfortunately only make guesses as to how anyone other than myself is thinking and or feeling. What an absolute shitshow. Excuse the language but this sucks.
    My wife (soon to be ex is my guess) and I have been together 20+ years. Not always the best of times. I could go on forever. I was coming from a relationship that had sort of put me against getting into another. Then along came my wife. Who claims to have fallen in love at first sight. Which I believe wholeheartedly. I wanted none of it. I just couldn’t. For more than a year we had remained friends but I refused to go to the next level. She had taken this time to stalk me. Not in a freaky way but she just wanted to always be near me. I get it.
    Jumping forward, along came a time when she went through another abuse at the hand of the man she was In relationship with. And something just clicked in me.
    I came from a childhood where I imagine I didn’t get much love. Shown. I knew I was of course, but I never knew how love ‘felt’. She made me feel as special as a person that I could imagine could be felt. Euphoric. The thing was I didn’t have a physical attraction whatsoever. But I entered into a relationship with her under the guise that ‘hey this chick loves you, really LOVES you’ and even a fool knows that doesn’t happen every day. Still very guarded it took me almost 2 years before I ever said those words to her. Sounds odd I know but that’s the way it was. I’ve always tried to be the most honest thing going. In all aspects.
    Shit , this could go on forever. I guess if you give a hoot you’ll , hell I don’t know. Email me ? Who knows. I wasn’t alwAys the best of husbands. Faithful absolutely. Her ? No. There were problems. But I was always trying to improve. Would spend my days thinking thinking thinking of how to handle things. To make strides towards betterment. I have no problem talking. Opening up. Her not so much. So arguments would arise.
    2 years ago now we separated. I just couldn’t do it anymore. But she fell ill and I just couldn’t . I just couldn’t bail on her. Couldn’t . See over 20 years I fell so madly in love with her. Or the thought of her. I’m not even sure anymore. So I made sure that she was set up with specialists for her illness. In another state. I came home to get stuff in order. I used the time away to get my head right. Think about the things that had gone wrong in the marriage. And regardless of any blaming, what I could do to make sure those circumstances didn’t arise when I got back to her. Easier said than done on the time frame of getting back. More than a year. I again felt she was seeing someone else yet knew her love for me and felt that as soon as we were in eyeshot of each other that everything would be fine. Now please understand I in no way bullshit you when I say that I worked on bettering myself to the point that now I realize how unhealthy it was. I was so excited that I was coming back to my wife. Unreal. I mean personally I didn’t care, but the excitement in me for her to see how I had become. Like me 20 years ago with a super in tune feminine side. And I was ready to give it to her. I had spent the time away falling more in love with her than I ever was. And I have always taken my marriage very seriously. I just wasn’t always thAt good at it.
    Well 2 weeks prior to my arrival after having sold everything I owned plane ticket in hand. She tells me it’s not a good idea. Threw me for a loop.
    Here’s how I know we will be exes soon. Hell I may as well face it. It’s already happened.
    This was February of this year. I’ve spoken to her on the phone maybe twice. After driving myself actually bonkers trying to figure out why what and everything else I ran acrosss some of her Pinterest pins. That’s when I saw she was taking an interest in narcissism. Best part? For the past however many months I have pretty much followed the narcissism how to list. Without realizing it of course . And realizing that she has followed every single step known to get out of a relationship with a narcissist.
    I’ll finish with this. I love my wife so very much. I just do. If it’s another person she wants I’m good with that as well. Seriously. But I’m not a narcissist and just the thought of it makes my skin crawl. But even worse Is the fact that I will probably never again get the opportunity to even hear her voice again. Over these monthss I believe she is so fixated on my being evil that she has grown to hate me. My wife. The one that always swore best friends. Soulmates. Be together through anything. Our love would never die. Hating me. For ………. ? She won’t talk to me.
    And me . So afraid of love . Relationship. Women. Made a dedication to a woman. A serious transformation to be the best husband a woman could know. Stuck in the wind with nothing but ……. nothing.
    I can’t imagine anything worse. Without her I could live. Not happily by any means. But if she’s good? I’d get by. But knowing that she moved on in life on the pretense that I was a monster? It’s eating me alive. Every day.

    1. Hi Jess: I’m so sorry for the loss of your wife and that you’re in so much pain. I cannot comment on why your wife made that determination but I would encourage you to focus on yourself and your own healing right now as that is what is under your control. If you can, find a mental health care provider who can help you sort through the emotions. Take care of yourself. -Kristen

    2. Jess,
      I had the same experience as yours. Both my ex-husbands, especially, the second husband, I weren’t physically attracted to him, even though everyone thought he is so hot and 14 years younger than me. Coming from a family with too many children and I didn’t have much love either, so I didn’t know what is real love and I didn’t care to look for one. It was odd that he gave me so much attention, intense love ( as time I thought it was too much for me to handle), flatter, new flowers every weeks for no reason, romantic over the top. One thing it was a hige red flag, he was extremely jealous with no reason. Constantly accusing me cheating! Well, he cheated on my in the end. In my opinion and experience, no counselor therapy works. I posted to share the supplements that I took that cured me. I got over it 2-3 months. Please try it! Take care!

  2. As much as I wish no one else has experienced traumatic Valentine’s Days, this article helped me realize I am not alone in this experience, and that it is yet another terrible feature of narcissistic abuse. I don’t care to rehash any of the details, but suffice it to say devastating, escalating fights and ridiculous drama and blatant meanness and lack of love have no place on a day that is supposed to be a celebration of love.

  3. The first valentine’s day, my new lesbian lover made me a beautiful paper object with beautiful adjectives about me, and we spent a loving evening together. By the end, some seven years later, she announced that she was taking me to a food court for valentine’s dinner, then as a gift, presented me with a cut out newspaper article about how valentine’s day was a crock of shit, basically.

    This website has helped me to regain my sanity, and start out on the long road of recovery. It took me two years after I left her to realize that what I had experienced was extreme emotional abuse. I confronted her. She denied that it was emotional abuse then said, “OK, alright, I admit it, you happy now?’ At no point did she show any empathy, any remorse, and has never apologized. I was vulnerable to hoovering, and maintained contact. Then in Fall 2018, another two years later, something happened that clued me in to the narcissistic aspect. Since then, I have been educating myself through resources like this, and the pieces continue to fall into place. Thank you so much for your work.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.