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Sex + Relationships

You Don’t Have To Be In A Relationship To Feel Complete

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and social media and advertisements are already pushing the vendetta that you need to be in a happy relationship to enjoy the holiday. For many single people, this can prove to be quite daunting and overwhelming. 

As you walk down Grafton Street, every shop window screams at you through their unapologetic pink and red window displays. From societal to familial pressures, it seems as though love is all around, and you are all alone. 

There has been a common misconception in society for centuries that if you are single, there must be something wrong with you. As a society, we are culturally conditioned to believe that in order to be happy in life, it is necessary to be in a committed relationship. 

The term ‘spinster’ dates back to the 14th century, meaning a woman who spun thread and yarn for a living. Throughout the 17th century, the term was coined and became an official term in legal documents associated with unmarried, single women. 

The term has been dotted through modern literature and films for decades, and it is often used as a derogatory term to describe single women in their thirties. This can be seen in films like Bridget Jones Diary where she alludes to the fact that she could  “accept a permanent state of spinsterhood and eventual eating by alsatians.”

The term is thrown around flippantly and doesn’t acknowledge the women who choose to live their lives independently, devoid of the notion that they are incomplete.  However, our single-male counterparts enjoy the luxury of being referred to as bachelors. The word single is not synonymous with being in a state of loneliness. 

Research from Match dating site found that 52% of single people had experienced single shaming since the beginning of the pandemic, while 38% said they had been pitied for not having a significant other.  

However, being single allows you to go on a journey to reach a greater understanding of yourself. To be single in your 20s affords you the freedom to trial different career paths, travel the world and spend your time as you wish. 

Additionally, it allows you to explore your sexuality and to try new things that could be limited by having a significant other. It is important to figure out what your pleasures and desires are in order to be a better, more fulfilled partner. 

Through experimentation, when or if you choose to settle down, you can be certain of what it is that you truly want from a romantic and sexual relationship. 

The self love journey can often be seen as the road less travelled for many, but it is a journey of self enlightenment. In the words of Ru Paul, “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you ever going to love anybody else?” 

Leslie Pope, the Parks and Recreation fictional protagonist, created Galentine’s day in 2010. Galentine’s day is celebrated on the 13th of February and allows women to celebrate the platonic love in their lives. It’s not an official holiday, but arguably it should be. 

Valentine’s day is ultimately about love, don’t get too hung up on the hallmark holiday if you are in the singles club. Instead celebrate love, whether that be with your friends or by yourself. Everybody deserves to celebrate love, whatever way they see fit. 

It’s better to be alone for the right reasons, than to rush into a relationship for the wrong reasons or to conform to society’s expectations of you.  

So go forth and redefine Valentine’s Day in a way that suits your agenda. After all, society has decided to define it one way. Now is the time to take back your power and create your own unique definition.

DCU journalism student Email: kathleen.keane9@mail.dcu.ie
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