[OPINION] Relationship status: Happily single
Valentine’s Day has become an annual commemoration of love that unites people together. Loving and being loved by someone could be the most wonderful feeling in the world. Lovers are excited to celebrate. Historically, singles are a part of this celebration, but are unintentionally excluded.
If that’s not the case, why do singles mourn this celebration? Some singles may feel the social pressure to find someone to date.
This celebration as a tradition has shaped human social realities which want us to believe what they want us to believe. Believing the ideas of this celebration could be empowering or devastating. Is this celebration really uniting or dividing us?
With today’s capitalized standard of beauty, stereotypical definitions of Mr and Ms Right, “follow your dream” philosophy, rampant individualism, the hookup-crazed culture, and the KonMari Method (Does this relationship spark joy?), commitment becomes difficult and obscure for those who want to find true love and continue being in love.
Romantic relationships become a struggle. How could someone be committed and stay committed today? Being single could be one's best option. (READ: Date night suggestions for any relationship status)
In a society that glamorizes romantic relationships, I find this view problematic. Assuming someone’s life is lonely and miserable just because they're single is an unfair conclusion. People must also realize the consequence of this belief as a harmful coercive label as it changes how people view their self-identity. It results in resentment towards couple culture.
During Valentine’s Day celebrations, one may notice the retaliations posted on social media or in personal conversations about #WalangForever and other ways to invalidate couples.
It is true that it is hard to find the right person to share our lives with. Others prefer to wait for the right person than to waste time with the wrong one. But society doesn’t understand this. In fact, society has a notion that single people are lonely, miserable, and incomplete.
There’s an assumption that those who engage in romantic relationships are happier because they have someone to share their lives with. It’s like having a romantic partner is far more meaningful. This powerful narrative invalidates the happiness of singles.
Despite the pressure of couple culture, #MayForever, and relationship goals, singles remain single because of diverse reasons. Others may prefer being single, or others prefer to be like the inspiring Ms Vietnam H’hen Nie who said, “I was told to find a husband, but I had to follow my dreams.”
One might have this kind of thinking: Once you know how to take care of yourself, company becomes an option and not a necessity. (READ: Things I’ve learned about love)
Singles may not be committed romantically, but are committed to other meaningful relationships – family, work, advocacy, or religious life – that require full-time commitment. One should understand that singlehood is not a disability but a deliberate life choice. Besides, who wants to live a life being stigmatized and discriminated?
Society should not consider couple culture as superior and others as inferior. As much as we celebrate romantic relationships, we should also celebrate singlehood.
Love may have different forms but it still is love. No one monopolizes it. (READ: Life was hard, love was easy)
To quote the Dalai Lama, “Compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness."
May this season of love remind us all to free everyone from suffering and spread happiness in the world, to set aside our differences, and to love. The world needs it as much as you do. – Rappler.com
Jade Harley Bretaña is a college instructor teaching sociology subjects at Bukidnon State University. He is also a volunteer at Diocesan Commission on Youth and a member of Diocesan Youth Formation Team – Bukidnon.