By: Lillabeth B.

A certain scene comes to mind when one thinks about being single on Valentine’s Day. The young woman lies on her couch watching a rom-com, eating Valentine’s chocolates she bought for herself and sobbing. "I'll never find love," she cries miserably, "And I'm nothing without it!" Right? Wrong! While relationships can provide much-needed companionship, they can also be emotionally draining and time-consuming with the wrong partner. But here's the deal: you don't need a partner to be happy! Understanding the downsides of relationships, learning how to find support elsewhere, and discovering how to be happy on your own will help you be satisfied and self-assured without a partner.
While it’s true relationships can bring those involved much happiness, if one is too eager to find a partner, the resulting relationship may be strained and taxing. If the partners aren’t as suited for each other as they originally thought, the best case scenario is a mutual decision to dissolve; the worst is a long, dragged out string of awkward dates and uncomfortable public displays of affection. In addition, relationships can be time-consuming, which leaves partners with less time to build and maintain bonds with family and friends. Partners are essentially sharing their life with someone else, and too much privacy or too little communication can strain a relationship to the point of breaking. Overall, relationships can be complicated and draining under the wrong circumstances.
            What many of those looking for partners don’t realize is that almost all of the perks of relationships can also be enjoyed in friendships, without many of the aforementioned disadvantages. Not only are friendships necessary to fall back on when relationships fall through, they also provide a vital support system that can outlast any relationship. Additionally, friendship offers a chance to be depended upon. To be relied on for support is the greatest honor that can be bestowed on a human, and the greatest opportunity to grow. Friends can build self-confidence just as partners can, close friendships provide the one-on-one support of relationships that many crave, and throughout all of this each friend is a separate individual and remains autonomous.
            Those searching for love have a complicated relationship with autonomy. The ones who have it want to lose it, and the ones who have lost it covet it. The fact is that in most scenarios, partners are essentially conjoined at the hip. No decision can’t be made without the consent of both, and many choices will affect both partners. However, once the couple has broken up and autonomy is regained, loneliness and longing are common themes. But confidence in separation is possible! It’s important to remember friends will always be there for support, and any discontent should be discussed with them. Going out with friends also help to ease heartache. But it’s also important to learn how to be happy alone. Learning to entertain oneself is a difficult skill for many to master, but the internet has made it easier than ever. However, it’s crucial to make sure that the activities are productive and not a waste of time, and while social media is a great tool for procrastination, it isn’t very worthwhile and can sometimes add to feelings of loneliness. Books are an entertaining and educational option. Alternatively, taking up a new hobby, such as cooking or writing, will burn daylight while also being informational.
So what scene would rationally describe a single woman on Valentine’s Day? The young woman sits at a large table at a diner, surrounded by her other single friends. They all joke and laugh, making fun of their exes while snacking on sliders and fries. She feels so grateful to be single, avoiding all the disadvantages of courtship while relishing in all the advantages with her amazing group of friends. She loves making decisions on her own and has recently taken up rock climbing, a new hobby that she wouldn’t have even tried had she been in a relationship. “Who needs romance?” she asks her friends. “I have all the love I need right here.” And they agree. Sounds alright to me.

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