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Love is in the air, it’s everywhere. Popular culture has tirelessly pounded the sad and single character trope in nearly every single movie, song, or book we consume. It has advertised to us this idea that we have to be in a romantic relationship to truly experience love, or that life’s end goal is scoring that special someone.

I would like to argue this kind of attitude towards love is misleading. Being in a romantic relationship always has the potential to be extremely rewarding, and we are given plenty of examples in the media we consume. But the mentality that love can only be experienced through romantic relationships is also promoted, with frequent portrayals of single people as sad and incomplete because of a lack of a romantic partner.

Lana Condor Peter Kavinsky GIF by NETFLIX
Netflix / Giphy

In reality, popular culture tends to glaze over the nitty-gritty of being in love. There is a lot of compromising, communicating, and humbling experiences going on behind the scenes that come with relationships. And I believe life can be just as fulfilling and wholesome without someone to call your significant other.

You might nod this off as a rant from a single person trying to justify that being single is better. But I don’t think either is better than the other. I just think that being single should not be given such a negative representation when it can be equally as enjoyable as a relationship can be.

I fell in love with being single. When I was younger, I definitely adopted this over-romanticized idea of what being in love was going to be like: I was going to meet the love of my life, and that person would just understand me perfectly, and we would do all the coupley things that couples do. But as I got older, I saw people around me getting in and out of relationships and quickly came to realize that maintaining romantic relationships can become complicated really quickly.

When I entered college, the drastic change in my environment put me further into a state of reflection and I realized that being single has allowed me the opportunity to better understand myself and openly accept change without having to second guess how my decisions and actions would affect my partner (if I had one). I have seen friends become hesitant to change in fear of disapproval from their significant other, and I saw their missed opportunities for growth and self-discovery fly over their heads.

Valentine heart candy
Photo by Laura Ockel from Unsplash

I went on and reflected about my friends: the ones I see on a daily basis, the ones I don’t get to see as often, as well as friendships that have ended. I found that through these friendships, I have been able to experience what it is like to really care about someone. They were and are the source of some of my happiest moments, and they also have supported me as I have supported them. Seeing their growth into young adults has been so fulfilling, and I found my relationships with them to be quite similar to that of a romantic relationship, just minus the romance part of course.

I believe every person has the ability to lead a fulfilling life without having a significant other. As I have seen in my own single life, I’ve grown to learn so much about myself, and I still have a long way to go. I have also learned to appreciate how much my friends, old and new, have been a huge support system that is irreplaceable. Yes, being in love can be amazing, but being single can be just as gratifying, if you choose to let it. 

Emily is a third-year at UC Davis, pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communications and Cinema & Digital Media. She is currently Design Director for VITA at UC Davis and Digital Media Director for Her Campus UCD. She enjoys thrifting and getting coffee with friends.
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