Are you are counting down the days until next Valentine’s Day because it was so special with your significant other? Or are you are now celebrating because the holiday is over? Did you recently change your relationship status on Facebook, for better or worse? According to a Time Magazine article “Why Married People Are Smug and Singles So Carefree,” you will most likely be embracing your new relationship status before long.
For all of the psychology majors, cognitive dissonance is a term that you have probably been tested on. Cognitive dissonance is the process that you have to thank for mentally justifying your splurge on salon shampoo or a new pair of boots that broke the bank, but you swear will match every outfit you own. Though you will probably feel guilty at first, time will pass, you will adjust your attitude, and be wearing those boots without even thinking about the exorbitant price. In terms of relationships, people are likely to be positive about their status if they don’t see any changes in their love lives in the near future.
In a study among college students that was conducted on Valentine’s Day in 2011, vignettes of people in relationships or single were read, and students responded with how the people would spend Valentine’s Day, and their estimated levels of happiness. Single students were more likely to create a positive situation for vignettes of single people than couples. Students who were in committed relationships were more likely to respond with happy stories for the vignettes of couples than single people. This can explain why single people are likely to gather together, and why double dating is a plus for couples. This can also be the reason for frowning upon third-wheeling and why friends of split-up couples sometimes find themselves needing to pick a side.
I’m not saying that you have to spend every minute adoring your significant other, or know all the steps to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” dance, but your well-being is truly about a “healthy perspective and how you respond to your own situation.” If you occasionally find yourself contemplating on what it would be like to be single, or searching for wedding ideas on Pinterest without a clue as to who the groom would be, do not fret. Count the things you are thankful for and enjoy the life you’re living, with best friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, or both!