There might be a very good reason you don’t have a Valentine this year.
I’ve spent a lot of Valentine’s Days alone in my time.
It never bothered me too much; I can buy my own chocolate and flowers. And the truth is, most of my worst Valentine’s Days were when I was with someone. Feeling alone when you’re part of a couple is the absolute worst.
If you’re single as V-Day approaches this year (or if you’re with someone, but still feel like you’re alone), it’s worth asking yourself why you are where you are. What choices have you made along the way that resulted in your being alone at this point in your life? Often, when you’re really honest with yourself, you realize that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be in this particular moment.
We learn something from every relationship we’re in, and hopefully, we’re able to move forward with greater self-knowledge and a better understanding of what we want in the future. Maybe you’ve decided being alone isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you keep jeopardizing your chances at happiness because you’re scared. Or maybe deep down, you believe you’re not worthy of real, lasting love. There are as many reasons people are alone on Valentine’s Day as there are cards in a Hallmark store. Is one of these true for you?
1. You’ve given up on love.
Most of us have to wade through a lot of BS before we find “the one.” After living through a few horror stories, it’s easy to get cynical and decide the whole dating thing isn’t worth it.
2. You’re not looking in the right places.
For a while, it seemed like online dating was the way to go: an algorithm would match you up with the perfect person and you’d live happily ever after. Turns out, dating apps aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
3. You’re comfortable being miserable.
It’s human nature to burrow into our comfort zones – even when they’re not actually that comfortable. Sometimes it’s easier to complain about being lonely than to actually do something about it.
4. You’re scared to put yourself out there.
Dating these days can feel like selling a product: dating apps have made the whole thing feel commodified and transactional. It’s totally reasonable to feel shy about putting your heart on the line – especially after you’ve been burned a few times.
5. You think you don’t deserve love.
Until you truly believe that you deserve a loving, committed, wonderful partner, you’re likely to accept a lot of poor approximations of “love.” When you refuse to put up with game-playing, gaslighting, and other bad behavior and demand to be treated well, things will change.
6. You’re looking for someone to “fix” you.
It’s tempting to believe that finding a romantic partner will magically fix everything that’s wrong with your life. In reality, this belief tends to lead to problematic, codependent relationships.
7. Your person isn’t ready for you yet.
The right person for you – the one who could be the one – might be out there somewhere, working through his shit so he can be a great partner to you. Have faith and be patient.
8. You’re not ready for your person yet.
Maybe you’re the one who isn’t quite ready yet. If you’re struggling with your mental health, addiction, or other issues, you absolutely are worthy of a great relationship. But focus on yourself for a while, before focusing on someone else.
9. You’re stuck in the wrong relationship.
Feeling alone when you’re in a relationship is so much worse than feeling alone when you’re single. If you’re in a dead-end relationship, there are so many reasons to end it.
10. You ignore red flags.
If you constantly end up in toxic relationships, it could be that you’re falling in love too fast and missing some serious warning signs. There are some people we just shouldn’t be with, no matter how great the chemistry is.
11. You think everything is a red flag.
On the other hand, no one is perfect. Chances are, the person you wind up with will be wrong for you in many ways. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be together.
12. You don’t want to do the work.
A great, healthy relationship doesn’t just happen by magic. It takes commitment, communication, and the courage to be vulnerable. This often feels like work – but if you’ve got the guts for it, it’s worth it.
13. You don’t know what you want.
Maybe you thought you knew what you wanted, but when you got it, it turned out you didn’t really want that after all. Humans are not great at knowing what will make them happy. And it’s hard to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for.
14. You’ve just had bad luck.
Sometimes there’s nothing you’re doing wrong, and you just keep meeting the wrong people – or not meeting anyone at all. Practice good self-care, get busy pursuing your passions, and know that when it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen.
15. You’re not ready to settle down.
It’s a lot easier to travel the world and have adventures by yourself. Maybe you want to enjoy life to the fullest on your own terms, before worrying about adding another person into the mix.
16. You’re truly happy by yourself.
Who says you need a partner, anyway? Being part of a couple is no guarantee of fulfillment or happiness. Sometimes life doesn’t look the way you thought it would – and it’s wonderful.
Image via shutterstock.com.
Comment: Are you wishing there was someone special in your life this Valentine’s Day?
Elizabeth lives in Brooklyn with two daughters, occasional mice and innumerable to-do lists. She runs a nine-minute mile, bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie, and can always be persuaded to sing at a karaoke bar. Follow her on Twitter.