Be Mine? Be Alone.

The adage “you always want what you don’t have” is always true.

Yet, it is even more accurate around Valentine’s day.

Singles are painfully reminded that they need to be coupled to be considered a successful member of society. Meanwhile, they are trying to work up the courage to sign up for a dating site or be forever humiliated by their “encouraging” (nosy) parents.

Couples, no matter how long they’ve been together, feel an annual pressure to reveal their undying love in one expensive, romantic display. Even if they agree not to exchange, someone reneges and buys a really awesome gift for the other and further seals the fact that he or she is far, far too good for you, making you wish for not only the single life but for a private island where you can be ashamed of yourself, by yourself.

And this is all in the name of love.

Now, I know we’re a couple of weeks away from V-day, but I need to make something clear before we’re lost in a haze fueled by chocolates and romantic comedies. Before everyone starts asking you why you haven’t found someone “nice” to “settle down with.” Before you feel the overwhelming pressure to conform with society’s orders to share your life with someone else.

Before you ever involve yourself romantically, you need to learn to be alone.

That’s right, all that “love yourself before you love someone else” isn’t really helpful advice. If you really want to be successful in a relationship, you should know what it feels like to be by yourself. What it is like when you only have you.

You should teach yourself how to solve your own problems, how to feel better after your own temper tantrums, how to unwind after a long day. Then, when your significant other is unavailable, emotional or otherwise, you won’t have a complete meltdown. And you won’t completely cling to them when they come back.

In the end, the biggest problem you face in a relationship is when you think your partner should be there to fix things for you. But a good boyfriend or girlfriend should be like aspirin: they are able to ease the pain but not keep it away forever.

Of course, I don’t often consider myself in a position to give out romantic advice. Although I have been in a relationship for 9 years, I don’t suggest that what may work for me will work for you.

But this Valentine’s day, I wouldn’t ask yourself why you are still alone. Rather, ask yourself if you’re ready not to be.

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