Today our social media newsfeeds will be full of sickening, ‘Boy done good’ statuses and pictures of flowers, chocolates, cuddly toys and perhaps even more extravagant gifts filtered to within an inch of their lives to celebrate the holiday for lovers – St Valentines Day.
Cold. Like my heart.
But what goes on behind the pictures really? I remember back to a couple of Christmases ago when I was with my ex boyfriend. I posted a photo of a Virgin Atlantic flight ticket that had been bought for me (a trip to New York) and it elicited plenty of, ‘lucky girl’ responses. Except I wasn’t all that lucky. The giver of the holiday had been caught cheating on me one month prior.
Today, as I wandered listlessly around Zara, craving black ankle boots and leather jackets, I spotted a ridiculously good looking couple. They joined the queue behind me and I automatically spotted a small Mulberry carrier bag in the guy’s hand. My immediate thought was, ‘lucky cow, he’s bought her something expensive for Valentines and FML what am I going to get?!’ But the more I watched them with sheer envy on my face, the more I realised that for an entire 15 minutes of queue waiting, they hadn’t spoken a single word to each other. Nope, muscly dream boyfriend had been on his phone the entire time.
It made me take a minute to think. Am I a little bit gutted to be waking up alone on Valentine’s Day? Yes. I like being with someone, having company and feeling loved up but would I be even more gutted to be spending Valentines Day with a total knob – even more yes.
The pictures and presents never represent what truly goes on in a relationship. Obviously we are nobody to judge what anyone else does but the more I look around, at friends, at colleagues, even at strangers, the more I see people settling for less than they deserve.
Take my friend Max (we’ll call him that), on a recent text chat he told me how he was feeling a bit miserable. After a bit of probing as to why, he revealed he wasn’t having sex with his long term girlfriend any more because she said she didn’t find him attractive. Now you would hope that would be the end of a relationship. Once the flame has been put out, surely it’s time for it to be put to bed? But not Max and his girlfriend. When I asked why they were staying together he told me he loved her and wanted to be with her. Of course I understand the heart wants what it wants but my brain felt for Max, settling for a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling.
Let’s look at another friend, we’ll call her Lily. Lily has been seeing someone for 2 months, I say ‘seeing’ but I mean going to his house because he never wants to go out. The guy spends money on weekends of boozing with mates but never has enough to take her out to a restaurant or even to go halves on a night out. He will sometimes not text her for days and he’s still on all of the dating apps. When I’m done banging my head against the wall for the 27374th time and I ask Lily why she’s putting up with that behaviour, her answer is always, ‘l like him, I want to see where it goes.’ She then checks her phone to see when he was last online because she hasn’t heard from him.
We all know someone like Max or Lily. Someone who’s in a relationship purely because they’re too scared not to be in one. To lots of people, being single, especially as you inch ever closer to 30, is something to be looked down on. ‘What makes you so undesirable that you can’t find someone?’ is the thought that often goes through people’s minds.
Is being single all that scary though? Scarier than being with someone who treats you like shit, who won’t commit o who doesn’t want to have sex with you? I’m not so sure.
I’ve been single for nearly 4 months now. I jumped straight onto the dating bandwagon after my previous relationship, and to be honest, I’ve hardly looked back. Do I get lonely? Of course. Do I wish I had someone who was about to knock on my door with a bottle of perfume and/or gin? Absofuckinglutely. However, do I wish to settle for someone who’s not right for me just because being single is sometimes a bit shit? No way.
My point, this February the 14th, is that we should stop seeing being single as something of a disadvantage. Ok we might not be waking up to someone cooking us VDay pancakes but we’re also not waking up, looking into the face of someone who makes us miserable.
Stay safe out there today gang and if you’re one of the lucky ones, in a relationship that is truly and wholly fulfilling, grab that person a little bit tighter today, maybe even give them a cheeky bum squeeze of appreciation.