Valentine’s Day is a time of year when many of us long to be in a relationship, but for those of us
already in one, sometimes the day of love only makes us realise how much we’d rather be alone.
This was the case for me during one cold February. We had started dating just two months before and
while having someone to snuggle up to through a dark and miserable winter was appealing at
first, the approaching excitement of warmer days made me question if this was someone I looked
forward to spending my summer with. I explored my fantasies of days spent sunbathing with an ice
cream in hand, strolling through parks, and organising picnics, and quickly realised my special
someone wasn’t so special in any of these scenarios at all.
I think new relationships are so much easier to cultivate in the wintertime. The fairy-tale glow of
Christmas lights sets the perfect mood for romance, and you can hide all your flaws in the shadow of
short days and endless nights. But you cannot live in this dream forever. The truth was we didn’t
really get to know each other very well at all, having spent most of our time indoors with a film on to
escape the chill and frostbite. And now as we discussed all the things we looked forward to doing
when the ice melted, I realised how little we had in common. It became clear to me that this wasn’t
a relationship I was interested in continuing, so next came the big question.
When do we breakup?
Many people would argue that it is heartless to breakup with someone around Valentine’s Day, but
the idea of giving a performance of the perfect girlfriend for the month, knowing that things would end,
felt deceitful (and like a lot of hard work). Besides, how did I know that they weren’t feeing the exact
This was the key question, and it was answered for me in a meeting by chance that was so laughably ironic it
could have been a scene in a Wes Anderson movie. While on a walk to Tesco, considering my
conundrum, I bumped into my beloved. It felt like the worst possible thing that could have happened
at the time, but fate sometimes has a funny way of coming to your rescue. We walked in together
and were instantly bombarded by aisles full of heart-shaped chocolates and pink teddy bears. It felt
like being dragged to a party without the time to change out of your work clothes, or rushing for a
train only to realise you’re on the wrong platform, at the wrong station, and an hour late. And we
shared a sympathetic, awkward look that made it clear we were thinking the exact same thing. After
we were done with our shopping, we stopped to share a cigarette and have the talk. Maybe the right
Valentine was waiting for each of us somewhere, but this year Cupid missed his mark.
This year, still single and no closer to finding my funny valentine, I will leave the celebrating to the
lovers. This holiday can put a lot of pressure on us to be in a relationship, and it can be tempting to
rush into something to quell those fears of loneliness, but when your heart’s just not in it, you’re
better off alone.
By Paulina Wisniewska
Image from Unsplash