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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

How It Feels to Spend 21 Valentine’s Days Single

For the past 21 years of my life, I’ve been single on Valentine’s Day. Because of that, I’ve always referred to February 14 as National Single Awareness Day or Galentine’s Day. I’m not going to lie–spending Valentine’s Day single hasn’t been easy, but I’ve also accepted the fact that it’s just an ordinary day, and I don’t need a significant other to spoil me or contribute to my self-worth. Getting into that mindset took time though, and I definitely experienced my share of struggles along the way.

When it seems as though everyone around me is in a relationship, not having a romantic Valentine’s date planned can feel like torment.

One year it got to me so much, I started questioning what could be wrong with me–and then I started changing things such as my physical appearance, personality and my friend group in hopes that someone would love me romantically. I tried to spontaneously change up my hairstyles and my wardrobe to incorporate designer brands and sexier attires. Suddenly, I became an idealized version of myself and tried so hard to be someone who I am not, all in pursuit of finally having an SO. 

My friends around me would comfort me by saying, “Good things come to those who wait,” or “You’re such a beautiful and friendly person, anyone would want to be with you.” Those words went in one ear and out the other.

Now, I’m realizing that I can’t let my relationship status define who I am, nor will I let it take over my life.

I was raised to be an independent woman, and as an only child, I’ve been brought up to feel secure in myself and by myself. So, I’m not going to sit here and cry over not having someone to spoil me on an arbitrary day, a day that society has decided we should use to show our affection. I’m not going to let myself be jealous of boyfriends surprising their girlfriends with flowers, human-size teddy bears, chocolates or jewelry. In fact, I think that you should treat your partner every day how you would on Valentine’s Day when you’re in a relationship. 

Though I’ve spent 21 Valentine’s Days single, I really am OK.

I’m living my life to the fullest, I’m pursuing my dreams and embarking on new adventures and challenges each day. Plus, I’m grateful that I haven’t yet experienced any of the heartbreaks and relationship problems that my friends have, to the point where it takes a toll on their academics and daily life because of the emotional damage done.

So ladies, I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you, and it’s 110 percent OK to be single every Valentine’s Day. I’ve survived it! If a date comes, that’s great. If they don’t, it’s still great, because you’re strong and you are enough for yourself. We will not let our relationship statuses define who we are as individuals, and Valentine’s Day is no different.

Hello, everyone, my name is Shirley Toy. I am a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a Bachelor's in English, concentrating in Professional Writing and double minors in Spanish and Communication. I am an alum of Her Campus at UIC, where I served as a writer, Co-Campus Correspondent, and Editor-in-Chief. At the National level, I served as a Chapter Advisor for the 2017-2018 academic year. These opportunities are perfect because I get to merge my passions for writing, leadership, and technology together. Follow & Tweet me on Twitter @_shirleyst!