“Me” Time: A Valentine’s Day Guide for Singles

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By Alissa Medina > Freshman > Media and Cultural Studies > University of California, Riverside; Photo by Arsh Raziuddin > Sophomore > Graphic Desgin > UMBC
 
The pressure to be in a relationship plagues us as Valentine’s Day approaches. Singles turn into couples as the day creeps closer, while those who are single are left alone to watch cheesy romantic comedies, painfully washing their tears away in a bowl of Häagen-Dazs.

California State University, Northridge freshman Frank Rivero said there “really shouldn’t be any pressure” to be with someone on Valentine’s Day unless the individual has feelings for a person.

But for some, the pressure could be beyond their control: Co-author of The Shy Single Sandra Gordon said the feeling is biological. You may naturally feel as if you are “missing out” on relationship opportunities, she described, but you should instead approach being single as a time to explore yourself before committing to a relationship later in life. Here are our tips on making it through the holiday in solitude:
 
For the Still-Single and Still-looking
Instead of wallowing in self-pity this year, Susan Page, author of If I’m So Wonderful, Why am I Still Single? encouraged singles to advocate “self-love.” Singles should make a point to buy gifts for themselves on Valentine’s Day that will sustain loneliness or plan an event with other single friends; it is ideal to remain in the presence of others rather than in a lonely setting. “Think of everyone as a potential friend and go out and meet as many interesting people as you can and just have fun,” Page advised.
 
For the Just-Got-Out-of-a-Relationship Single
“We often let go of important parts of who we are in relationships, and getting those aspects of self back is essential to making better relationship choices in the future,” said Dr. Laura Brown, clinical and forensic psychologist in Seattle, Washington. Brown suggests for students to understand “college is a transformative experience that could leave you very different.” Realizing your own needs will lead you into a positive journey to find out who you are and exactly what you want in a partner, so take time to adjust and learn from the responsibilities and pressures you had in a relationship. Grieving from the remains of a relationship is normal, Page said, and being alone – on Valentine’s Day or any other – gives the heart time to unwind.
 
For the Ambivalent Single
If you find yourself alone this Valentine’s Day as a result of commitment phobia, Gordon – who admitted to fleeing from relationships in her 20s for fear of settling down – has the answer. “Commitment issues could be about the person you’re with or it could be about you, or it could be a mix of both,” she said. She attended numerous therapy sessions, which she recalled helped her recognize internally-haunting feelings and advises college students to do the same. If you find you’re not yet ready to commit, use the meantime to assess relationship opportunities at hand. “There is no need to rush into a commitment when you are in college,” said Page.
 
For the Experimental Single
Though she described the college dating pool as “vast,” Gordon said the campus atmosphere is an ideal place to cultivate interests and experiment before finding the “one.” Often, adding another person to the equation of finding oneself can allow distractions and deter from self-development. “Lots of doors are wide open,” she said. “The challenge lies in balancing your own needs as an individual and your personal need to ‘find yourself’ and what the world has to offer with your social life.” This Valentine’s Day, aim to find that balance by remaining social. Attend a singles-only party or ask a special someone out for a romantic fling.
 
 As Brown suggests for February 14, “assert your independence from this corporate message.” Being single is not the end of the world on Valentine’s Day or in college. Allow yourself the opportunity to find what you want from life and the many choices you encounter in a susceptible partner. “You should play up your single years and consider them a gift,” said Gordon

 

College Magazine Staff

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