Column by LilyWeindel
Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day filled with roses, chocolates and unhealthy relationship standards. This holiday, with origins that can be traced back to the fifth century, causes a lot of problems that are plaguing us today. It’s a day where being single becomes the worst possible option and those without dates are imagined to be at home, being sad and watching “The Bachelor” with a pint of ice cream. Valentine’s Day has evolved, along with our culture, with a mentality that being single is equivalent to a failure. This isn’t true by any means and creates an unhealthy relationship standards at a young age.
There’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship. If you’re in a healthy relationship and are growing with another person as well as an individual, you go girl! But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being single, either. Holidays like Valentine’s Day drill the idea into our head that being in a relationship is the norm and the goal of our teenage years, or lives if we’re being a bit dramatic.
I hear the comments, “I wish I had a boyfriend,” or “I just wanna be married already,” in the halls, and though I’m guilty as charged for complaining about my lack of boyfriend with my friends, those ideas are just plain toxic and not worth my time thinking about.
Even at the young age of 18, marriage is sometimes brought into dinnertime conversations, which is something I’ve never had a legitimate thought about. But with reality TV and condescending questions from our great-aunts asking if we have a boyfriend, relationships seem to be what makes someone complete, almost as a goal.
This push that being in a committed relationship is important, or that it’s something we should constantly be on a lookout for, shoves unhealthy expectations down our throats. We have middle schoolers feeling like they should be dating, which is a little weird, and people donating their own self-esteem and time to other people in hopes that they like them back, which isn’t okay.
This mindset isn’t helping anyone find their sense of purpose, but instead it enforces sexist stereotypes, even if they are rather subtle. As a girl, your journey in life isn’t to be settled into a relationship, it should be doing what you can to improve yourself as a person. If a relationship is something that does that for you, that’s cool. But if it’s not, that’s perfectly fine, too.
So don’t worry if you’ve never been someone’s Valentine or have to tell your Aunt Trisha that you still don’t have a boyfriend, eat that double chocolate chip ice cream and watch “The Bachelor ‘’ alone. Maybe consider what Sullivan says on Friday afternoon announcements about your boyfriend and look up a cheesy self-care routine, kick your feet up and remember to take care yourself.