As some of you may painfully be aware of, Valentine’s Day is on Saturday. For one reason or another, this holiday is a big deal. Couples are expected to extravagant things to celebrate their relationship and those who are single are almost required to grumble about the stupidity of it all. No matter what your relationship status is people expect you to feel strongly one way or another. To an extent I understand the people who bitch about the holiday; it’s fun to hate things. But what I don’t understand is when people make a point of wallowing in self-pity or feel compelled to make themselves feel crummy about being single.
People shouldn’t apologize for being single nor should they feel that something is wrong with them for being it. You shouldn’t feel as if you need to hole up in your apartment on Saturday or tweet about how you’re crying and eating Ben and Jerry’s. While being in a relationship can be great, we shouldn’t aspire to be in one or feel empty when we aren’t. If you feel that something is missing from your life, examine it from within first. It may be your feelings are triggered by self-doubt or by low self-esteem and it’s possible that a relationship could only distract you from dealing with any of those kinds of issues. The best relationships, as far as I’ve seen, are the ones where the two people bring out the best in each other. They’re partners in crime who push each other to be better and support each other when things get rough. But more importantly, they are two people who can stand independently but choose to be interdependent. They aren’t looking for an emotional crutch or seeking companionship because they are terrified of being alone.
People hardly ever believe me when I say that I’m happy with being single. They assume it’s some defense mechanism or that I’m lying to cover up any shame. And while I do miss having sex (regularly), I don’t think I’m missing anything by not having a boyfriend. Being single means I have the clarity to make important life decisions on my own. If I want to go to California after I graduate, I can do that without worrying about my boyfriend or what it’ll do to our relationship. And more importantly, I won’t have some excuse to get out of doing something big. I won’t be able to say “my boyfriend is here, so I’ll stay here” just because I’m afraid of exploring the world and falling flat on my face.
Finding someone to be in a relationship with is a time and place type of scenario, although you do have some say in how often you’re in that continuum. I’m not looking for a relationship because my life is too uncertain. I’m graduating in December; I don’t want to begin a relationship knowing that I could be leaving Boston soon. I don’t want to start something that I can’t commit to. I’m not looking for a relationship because I just don’t have anything to share right now. I don’t have free time nor do I have the emotional resources necessary to sustain a relationship.
But if you are someone who wants to be in a relationship, know that you have to be proactive. Don’t sit on your couch and complain about how everyone sucks. Go out to a bar, start a new activity, or get on a dating app. You can’t complain if you don’t try. But if you’re like me, don’t apologize for being single or think that something is wrong with you. Remind yourself that you’re intelligent to know what will and will not work in your life at this moment. Remind yourself that you’re kind enough to not toy with people’s emotions by engaging in a half assed relationship. Remind yourself that you’re strong because you can stand on your own, even though having a crutch would be so much easier. And remind yourself that if you’re single, you don’t have to share your pizza with anyone else.