“When are you going to show up with a boyfriend?”
“I really don’t understand how you can still be single…”
“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone soon enough!”
Valentine’s Day is about love, but what if you don’t have anyone?
What if so called serious relationships seem to run away from you? What will your mother have to say about this? And your friends, aren’t they still waiting for you to find your prince charming or your princess?
Everything around us, in our social contacts, pressures us to find the one, or at least someone for now. It’s the American dream, the absolute goal of everyone’s life. Hollywood and Disney tell you that the ultimate achievement is marriage and it looks like everybody waits for you at every corner of family and friend gatherings to check on your romantic life. But do you really need another half to be happy, or are you already complete and capable of achieving happiness all by ourselves?
Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and Zen priest is also the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. In that 75 year study, the main thing he concludes is that what makes us happy is not money or wealth, but rather the quality of our relationships, all kinds included. So good friends and good love partners makes us happy, and a happy divorce will always be a better choice than a sad and energy draining relationship. Following that logic, what would be the point of finding someone quickly except following society relationship’s guidelines?
Psychology Ph.D. Bella DePaulo wrote a book on being single, Singled Out. The book explains “how singles are stereotyped, stigmatized and ignored, and still live happily ever after.” So don’t lose hope, fellow single friends! We slowly start to realize the key to happiness is not marriage and that being on your own can actually be a pretty good deal!
Social pressure about settling down can be hard to deal with, but take some time to recognize how you are affected by it and put your desires before what your father or your best friend wants. Nobody can decide what’s best for you. The human species is a social one, so it’s perfectly normal to wish for fulfilling relationships. But, don’t forget that being alone is also a beautiful occasion to know yourself better and to learn what you need in a partner or in multiple partners. Don’t let society dictate your needs and obligation in a romantic relationship.
Women are particularly pressured into committing in relationships because, of course, how can a woman be fully happy without a man to save her? It’s not only more common to assume that men have no desire to commit into a relationship, but also it’s more socially acceptable. The point is you are the only one who can decide what’s best for your happiness. You want to be alone? Be alone! You want to wait until meeting someone really important to have sex? Wait! You want to have sex everyday with lots of different people? Go for it you sexy creature! You don’t think having only one sexual or romantic partner fits your needs? Read about open relationships and polyamory. You are the master of your life and even if society tries to tells you how to live it, happiness is ultimately what you are searching for, so why take apparent shortcuts when you know they will not make you happy? If taking the long road is best for you, recognize it and make choices from that realization.
Don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is about love and not about having a boyfriend or a girlfriend. So use that occasion to tell your friends and family you love them and, most importantly, take some time to appreciate how amazing you are and to love yourself!