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I know, I know, I’m rolling in here, girl in a steady and healthy relationship, to tell you all about why it’s fine to be single on Valentines day. But bear with me!
I’m going to say this, nice and loud for those in the back: “I DON’T GET VALENTINES DAY!“. Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
I’m not saying I hate Valentines day. But a lot of the stuff that goes with it is just irritating. The idea that men have to send their girlfriends huge bouquets of roses that wilt before they get delivered and cost stupid amounts of money. The cuddly toys that come onto the Clinton’s shelves once a year and have huge red hearts sewn to them in such awkward ways that you can’t even cuddle them. Yet another occasion that I need to buy someone a present simply for putting up with the fact I leave all my clothes in a pile on the floor. Making a restaurant booking months in advance only to be rushed through a set menu because all of the tables need to be reused.
I love my boyfriend, and I love living with him. But a present and a whole day just for labeling him as my boyfriend? Hard Pass!
But on top of all the commercialized crap, is the idea that you cannot participate unless you are in a relationship. Valentine’s day is often put out as being some magical day and that if you are in a relationship, you must make a show of it. And if you aren’t, you should spend the day crying into a box of chocolates because even though being single doesn’t affect you any other day of the year, on Valentines day you must feel lonely and devastated at your lack of partner because only on this day can you cry out you’ll be alone forever.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned I don’t need hundreds of photos with my significant other, and I don’t need to shout about our relationship being amazing from the rooftops. We have a healthy relationship, built not just on unconditional love, but compromise and respect. We are not perfect. We are not like the movies. We don’t scream at each and then passionately make up as the screen fades to black. In fact, we rarely argue. Valentines day is just another example of how relationships are expected to be unrealistic in society. And although we have plans, I’d be just as happy staying at home.
At the end of the day, you can ignore the special flowers and chocolates strategically placed by the supermarket queue, and you can stop manically swiping through Tinder trying to find someone, anyone to spend Valentines day with you. The idea that it’s not okay to be single fuels unhealthy, unbalanced relationships that make you unhappy. You don’t need to be held back by a man that is moving from being taken of by his mother to being taken care of by you, because God forbid he grows up and learns how to do his own laundry. Or the guy that looks good on paper but is emotionally distant and only needs you for appearances. Or the clingy one that won’t let you go anywhere without him. Or the one that takes you for a ride. It’s not worth being unhappy to fit some societal norm that it’s not okay to be single. Because it so is.
I have spent most of my adult life in a relationship, but I really did relish the 8 months I was single. Over that time period I tuned out the constant sympathetic comments about how sad people were that my last relationship had ended, laced with imposing questions about when I’d be bringing the next one home. I knew I wouldn’t settle for anyone for the sake of being in a relationship. I set limits as to who I’d let into my life. I spent time establishing who I was, without being half of one identity. I planned my future. And when I fell in love again, it was with someone who fit a huge amount of narrow boundaries, and someone who I wanted, not needed.
You do not need to define yourself with a relationship. And if Valentines day continues to make you feel like less because you don’t have a partner, kick it in the teeth, grab a box of heart shaped chocolates, eat them all without someone pestering you to share, and remember exactly who you are.
An awesome person, who is worth so much more than a section on Facebook that links your profile to another. Don’t settle for anything less than that!
Pinterest: @Word of Rachel