Post Valentine’s Day musings

February 15, 2009

I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. I just didn’t feel like it. In years past I’ve celebrated as part of a couple, when I was in a relationship, or celebrated my happy single self with other single friends. This year I actually pondered renting a bunch of horror movies and avoiding anything remotely romantic, but didn’t follow through.

I am not one of those who hates Valentine’s Day, single or not, though I do recognize that it’s a completely artificial holiday. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking a day to pay special attention to your significant other (or others), or with finding other ways to celebrate or enjoy the day.

When in a relationship, I haven’t really felt that Valentine’s Day was a day when one partner was supposed to pull out all the stops for the other. (That’s what birthdays are for. But everybody has a birthday, so that tends to work out equally. :)) Romance really should go both ways and both partners should make an effort, whether on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary or just a special surprise.

I don’t think Valentine’s Day should be the only day we stop to honor our relationships (when we have them), but I learned long ago to be suspicious of men who don’t want to celebrate the day. My experience has been that men who protest that Valentine’s Day should be ignored, in favor of making time for their girlfriend year round, don’t actually follow through. Maybe that’s just my bad luck, but to a man, the men who were good boyfriends the rest of the year didn’t express reservations about celebrating Valentine’s Day and the ones who didn’t want to celebrate the day turned out to be inattentive in general. I don’t know if same gendered couples share this experience, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

What bothered me about Valentine’s Day this year was the extent to which I was made aware of the way our society is geared towards couples and how some people seem to think that single women simply cannot be happy. It’s not that I dislike being in a relationship. Dating can suck, certainly, but having someone special to spend time with, snuggle with and all those other things is nice.

On the other hand, I have grown attached to certain aspects of being single. It’s really nice to have my space and freedom. I’m one of those people who requires a lot of “me time” and it’s often difficult to get when in a relationship, particularly a new one. It can be hard to make your significant other understand that you need some time alone. It can be difficult to even find a way to broach the subject.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn just how much better it is to be single than it is to be in an unhappy relationship. I’m not being facetious. I see so many people stay in relationships that make them miserable, even getting married to people they don’t love, simply because they are afraid of being alone.

Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but I’m holding out for the right person. Even if it takes me until I’m 60 to meet that person, I don’t want to settle. In the mean time, I may miss certain things about being in a couple, but I’m content with myself and all this me time I get. Nobody should feel bad for me or doubt that I’m happy, though I’m sure the doubters will never be convinced.

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2 Responses to “Post Valentine’s Day musings”

  1. towp Says:

    Now here’s a thought and it may sound weird but its worth a try. Now first understand my wife and I have been together for 40 years, but still we need our “own” time every now and again, and this is how I get mine..I take myself out on a “date”. Just do something I really enjoy, go to a favorite or new resturant, see a movie, go to a play whatever but I just enjoy my own company. The first time you do it you might feel a little strange but we’ve been doing this once or twice a year for a long time and it really seems to keep us in balance.

  2. 42ndwavefeminist Says:

    Hey towp! I am actually one of those folks who needs a fair bit of me time also. And I think your idea is actually a great one. I will file it away for when I can use it. 😀


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