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Toxic Positivity Around Being Single: Navigating the Impossible Expectations of Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year where everything we see on social media is “Best Valentine Date Ideas" and “12 Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Your Partner.” However, when you are single these can feel like a judgement from everybody in the world reminding you that you are alone on this holiday and everyone else is not. And then there are people telling you to celebrate your singleness and sharing how blissfully happy a single life can be. It’s okay to not be over the moon in love or thriving in “hot girl summer” or “BDE” culture. It’s okay to be single and not happy about it.

It’s Okay If You Are Feeling Needy

Humans are wired for connection. As social beings, we all want to love and to be loved. It’s hardwired into our brains to connect with others and feel like we belong. So, when Valentine’s Day comes up and you are single, looking around at other relationships and longing for that is completely normal. Your need to be cared for are what makes you human. You are not being needy, you’re being human.

It’s Okay If You Are Sad About Being Single

Recently there has been a lot of pressure for us to be happy about singlehood. The media raves about all the benefits of being single and the need to accept our relationship status – especially if you are single. There is a pressure to become hyper independent, to be proud of being alone and to be proud that you don’t have to depend on anybody. If you don’t feel like this, don’t pressure yourself into believing this. It is completely normal to be sad about your relationship status.

It’s Okay If You Are Happy About Being Single

Are you living your best life as a single person? Are you taking yourself on a date and showing yourself all the love that you deserve? That’s awesome! The same way there is pressure to be happy being single, there is also a hidden message that single folks should be sad on Valentine’s Day. Although, being single on Valentine’s Day may be a relief or not even a thought for some people.

It’s Okay If You Are Missing Your Ex

In moments when we feel lonely, it is common for us to start missing our past relationships.

Maybe I shouldn’t have broken up with that person.”

“Maybe I was asking for too much in that relationship.”

“Maybe there was something I could have done for that person to love me and not leave me.”

These are all common sentiments to have when you are wanting to feel loved and cared for. And although you might be missing your ex, remind yourself there is a reason why it didn’t work out. If you miss the person, let yourself miss them. Like with everything in life, feelings come and go.

Valentine’s Day can bring struggles and difficult emotions for both partnered and single folks. Realistically, this day creates ridiculous expectations and pressure without much reward. It’s okay to skip this holiday this year or show love towards yourself and the people around you. Most of all, there is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship and feeling some grief during this holiday. Feel what you feel and don’t let a holiday or societal expectations tell you how to feel!

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