Reclaiming Valentine’s Day + Online Dating Adventures

All the Single Ladies

I remember back in high school, my single friends and I proclaimed Valentine’s Day an international day of mourning and sported black clothing to school when February 14th rolled around. (Ok, so this may have only happened once, but you get the idea). Meanwhile, girls with boyfriends (or overzealous parents) strolled the halls with balloons, flowers, candy and stuffed animals toted proudly on their shoulders or clipped to backpacks like prizes won at the fair.

As I face another Valentine’s Day as a single lady, I have to ask the question: why is it that we so often measure our self-worth by who we’re with? I have spent so much of my life trying to prove I can survive on my own that it’s difficult to see a relationship as anything but a step back into the comfort zone.

We owe it to ourselves

I strongly believe that before we can commit to someone else, we have to first discover who we are. I hear so often, “He/she completes me.” Or, “He/she is my other half.” Since when were we not complete people on our own? I get it, you love each other, you complement each other, but shouldn’t you be able to complete yourself?

So I recently joined

I know, this seems odd considering what I just wrote above. But I do think it’s about time we all got over our squeemishness and just admitted that online is a good way to meet people. Now, I could give you all kinds of excuses as to why I joined the site, but I see enough of them on guys’ profiles. It gets old. Bottom line, I’m interested to see what’s out there, and I’m not going to limit myself because some people think online dating is weird.

The beauty about Match is its simplicity. There is no guesswork involved. No looking for wedding rings. No wondering if he’s interested in you, and no mustering the courage to talk to him. You can confidently assume that all of the guys and girls on there are single. And if he sends you a message, he’s interested in at least meeting you. It’s that simple. Who knew such a complicated thing as dating could be streamlined so nicely?

The Catch

I think where people go wrong on Match is by using it as a “last resort”. If you’re desperate, you’re not going to find a good relationship anywhere, least of all online. This brings me to my earlier point. Have you figured out who you are? If you’re unsatisfied with your life, chances are it has nothing to do with who you are (or aren’t) dating. Maybe you should start with you.

Reclaiming Valentine’s Day

Having never been on a Valentine’s date ever, I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the holiday (although my bitterness has evolved into a twisted sense of pride). Valentine’s Day has become a contest in a lot of ways: who got the most cards, flowers, stuffed animals, romantic dinners etc. Competition on a day that’s supposed to be all about love? That’s a little backwards, no?

Here’s an idea: as an alternative to buying all of those useless things, why not donate that money to a charity? As Americans, we are (mostly) an incredibly selfish culture. We so often rely on material goods that most people in the world only dream about. So on this day that you would normally spend money on your honey, how about letting him/her pick a charity instead?

In the Meantime

This is still a day of love. Let’s show appreciation for all of the people who are important in our lives. Give somebody a hug. Reconnect with an old friend. Say thanks and count the multitudes of blessings in your own life.

6 responses to “Reclaiming Valentine’s Day + Online Dating Adventures”

  1. Liz says:

    Happy Singles’ Awareness Day! I seem to remember we wrote some classic boy-hating newsletters for Vday…

  2. Lucas says:

    Couldn’t agree more with you on all of this.

  3. Vee Cee says:

    Dear Author,
    I think your take on Valentine’s Day, love and most importantly, self, is not only accurate and entertaining, but developed and quite mature.

    Some of us learn ourselves right in line with normal progress and maturity. Others, such as myself, stumble a lot longer and with quite a bit more difficulty. Either way, I believe part of our journey is to continue to learn about ourselves through every age and chapter of our lives. At some point, maybe even multiple, we find someone to take that journey with…someone to love, respect and make the experience even more rich.

    The other element, and my favorite one to despise…timing. If I was held at gun point and had to tattoo one cliche saying on my body, that applied, it would definitely be “Timing Is Everything”. Because it is. I’ve loved someone sooooo hard before, just ‘knowing’ she was the one. I did everything correct…the courting, the pace, the give and take, the respect…everything. But then she just completely disengaged and disappeared. Although I didn’t understand it at the time, it just wasn’t good timing for her. i finally understood that when I was in her spot a year later and the girl I was hanging out with professed her love and total commitment to me after a few months. Although I really like her, I was the one who wasn’t ready for that. ugh, timing.

    So yeah, put yourself out there…, bars, grocery stores, whatever…anyone that is lucky enough to snag you and your beautiful mind is just plain lucky, or has really good timing.

    Vee Cee

    • hswinson says:

      Thanks for the response! I have to call bullshit on you though. IMHO, poor timing is just an excuse. It’s like playing the “what if” game. What if you had met her at another time? Would she still have been into you? Does it matter? All it does is prevent you from moving on.

      I like to think that every person comes into your life at exactly the right time. Even if you don’t believe “everything happens for a reason”, you can still bring good from an unfortunate situation by controlling your reaction to it. Instead of moping, ask yourself, “what have I gained from this experience?” We’re all addicted to our personal tragedies. I think it’s about time we got over it.

      • Vee Cee says:

        I like that you don’t pull punches or hold back. Allow me to swing again, even though I still think we are swinging at the same target.

        I don’t think ‘timing’ is an excuse at all, so if I mis-Illustrated that in the earlier post let me correct that now. Timing is timing. No matter if it’s good or bad, it’s all just timing. I completely agree with you that everyone and everything comes into our lives exactly the way and time it is suppose to. However, just because timing is what it is, and no more or less, doesn’t mean I have to like it :) I do believe that when it’s suppose to happen for me and whoever that it will. And that will be the day that me and timing become best friends.

        There is a big difference between “moping” over something/someone and spending the proper time with that part of your life in order to move on and progress.

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