Listen, I understand that it sucks to be single on Valentine’s Day – I’ve been there, I sympathize – but can you please not take out your bitterness on those of us who do have someone to share the holiday with? It’s not coupled people’s faults that single people feel bad about themselves on V-Day but somehow, we’re the ones who are supposed to answer for it. And I, for one, am tired of it.
It’s not like there isn’t perfectly good reason for single people to be pissed about Valentine’s Day and the messages it sends about how they should view their “sad, lonely” lives. The whole marketing uproar between Christmas and Valentine’s Day is basically aimed at hammering into people’s minds that they should be in love. It tells them that their participation in special events doesn’t count. It tells them that their lives are not quite valid enough because they aren’t currently engaged in a romantic relationship. It’s annoying and unfair, and even as a person in a relationship, I completely get that. I’ve been single on Valentine’s Day and although I don’t tend to celebrate the holiday too much even when I am seeing someone, it still felt like I had no choice but to be a little extra bummed out that day.
So I certainly don’t begrudge single people their fair opportunity to balk at the ridiculousness of Valentine’s Day and the implicit judgment it leverages against anyone who isn’t coupled up. But here’s what I hate: When single people decide that instead of being angry at the corporations who perpetuate this idea that you really are no one until someone loves you, and start throwing their bad feelings at people in relationships, everyone suffers.
I hate the idea that I’m supposed to lessen the enthusiasm with which I celebrate my relationship. I am crazy in love and after spending (at least) my share of time being lonely and full of doubt and being in and out of bad relationships, and generally questioning whether I would ever be happy with someone – it happened. And that is miraculous to me.
I’m obviously not talking to every unattached person. A lot of you are single by choice, and a great many of you are perfectly able to be happy for other people even if they have something you want but don’t yet have. Which, to be clear, is the well-adjusted, sane way to look at this situation. On behalf of coupled people everywhere, let me say “Thank you” to the respectfully single people of the world for not love-shaming us.
But there are other single people for whom the mere existence of people in relationships is felt as a personal attack against them. It’s like every time we walk down the street holding hands, or post some benign evidence of our relationship on social media (even just a picture of our partner), they act as though we are doing it to them, and in judgment of them, or to “rub it in their faces” that we have someone and they don’t.
This, obviously, is infuriating and untrue, not to mention completely self-involved. Like, my relationship is not about anyone other than the two people in it.
Especially around Valentine’s Day. So much is said and written about being single on this day that it feels like the focus is entirely on protecting single people from possibly getting their feelings hurt by the fact that they’re single (which, by the way, is just as presumptuous and degrading as telling them that they should be in a relationship – how do you know they’re sad? The media should stop telling people what to feel.) And in the end, the people who are in love and would enjoy celebrating that love on Valentine’s Day – as cheesy and stupid as it is – are left feeling like doing so would be insensitive and offensive to single people.
So I’m calling it: I’m going to celebrate my relationship on Valentine’s Day. And more importantly, I’m going to try to celebrate it every other day. Because I know how special and rare it is to even find someone who you can honestly, truly, sincerely love. It’s an incredibly fortunate thing and is worth celebrating – it’s far too amazing to let the bitterness and misdirected anger of others spoil it.
If you’re single and feeling shitty about how Valentine’s Day makes you feel about your otherwise awesome life, then get angry. Get angry at the jewelry companies and their stupid engagement ads. Get angry at the media for constantly telling you how sad you’re supposed to be. Get angry at your ex. If you have negative feelings about being single on Valentine’s Day, there are a lot of legitimate places to direct your anger. But my relationship isn’t one of them.