Sunday is my first single Valentine's Day since eighth grade - and that's OK
How being single leads to finding yourself
When I was in ninth grade, my boyfriend at the time created a scavenger hunt, in which he skipped class – so romantic – to leave notes at all our significant spots around school. Each note led to me to another place, eventually leading to our shared locker where he stood with a dozen roses.
When I was a freshman at UB, my long distance boyfriend came to visit me with a 5-foot teddy bear in tow. We spent the weekend ice skating and exploring Buffalo, a city I had yet to appreciate since I had only been living there a few months.
Every year since eighth grade, I’ve had a boyfriend, or something like it, to spend Valentine’s Day with.
I initially didn’t believe this myself, but upon further reflection I realized this year is my first real single Valentine’s Day. This year I’m not even trying to mingle and am spending Valentine’s Day in a completely different way. Besides finishing up homework for the upcoming week, I’m having a superhero movie marathon with my roommate and we’re making dinner together.
Being single is a new experience for me. My last relationship ended a few months ago and though I tend to “boyfriend hop” or eagerly jump into the next relationship, this time around is different. I went home, hung out with my friends and took the time to really evaluate myself: Why was I always in a relationship?
While I never answered that question, I did promise myself that I wouldn’t jump into something too soon with a guy again. I needed time to experience something I never had before: a life without a significant other in which I was completely independent.
I’ve always been an independent person in general. I moved eight hours away from home for school, I’m a leader in many aspects of the university and I enjoy my alone time. Constantly being attached to someone else meant I constantly needed to be concerned about someone else, which isn’t very independent at all.
At first it was difficult to adjust to this new lifestyle. It was strange to sleep alone, to have to make plans or even make an effort all the time to engage with new people and look nice. I don’t know how to flirt or to have interactions with guys that would lead to something, other than being friendly and then casually name-dropping whoever I was dating at the time.
I’m not trying to sound self-righteous – I knew single life would be something different than what I had ever known. That was my problem for not ever giving myself time to figure that out. I never gave myself time to be alone before now and I was left to feel the full effects of being un-attached.
Over time, it’s gotten better. My girlfriends, some of whom are perpetually single and love to be that way, bring me out with them and introduce me to new people. I’ve actually started going to the gym consistently, which is something I told myself I’d do for years and never had time to until now. The time I would be spending with a significant other I’m now spending furthering my education and experiences, helping others to become better and more fully enjoying all of the different organizations I am part of.
These may sound like excuses or just me rationalizing my super-single-life, but it’s true. I’ve accomplished things I seriously never would have if I had the distraction of a significant other in my life. While I made it work in the past, I also sacrificed some level of responsibility to be with the person I cared about. At some point, I needed to learn to focus on myself and on furthering my own education and career.
I don’t plan on being in any sort of serious relationship any time soon. I graduate next year and plan to move, so committing myself to someone would just tie me to a place I don’t want to stay in.
I love Buffalo, but I need to move forward, for myself. For the first time, I’m looking out for me.
Tori Roseman is the Senior Features Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.