It’s not your fault I’m single on Valentines Day.
It’s on me.
You see, I’ve been through many iterations of romance in my life. Puppy love. Teenage infatuation. Playing House. Unwanted attention. Unintended trysts. Unrequited love. And pretty much everything in between.
Throughout them all, I’m embarrassed to say, I have always been at the center of my own story.
I’ve been the ‘handsome prince’ looking for a idyllic princess. Sometimes I’d find a promising prospect, and she’d stay with me for a while. Yet on every occasion, it would eventually end in goodbye… at least so far.
Sometimes those goodbyes would start a new phase of friendship. Other times it would herald the start of an awkward, painful separation in my life.
The truth is that when it comes to romance, the ending of something is rarely as exciting as the start.
Nowadays, as a single man, when I watch couples strolling along, arm in arm, I wonder whether I still have enough innocence to truly love someone for who they are. I wonder whether all my baggage of the past won’t somehow try to make the relationship into something that just serves me.
Most of the year, this doesn’t worry me. I go about my business, and think of things other than love. But on Valentines Day, love is forced into focus.
It’s the time of year we’re supposed to be coupled up, finding solace in the arms of another. For those of us who are single, we publicly roll our eyes, and privately wish we had someone to call our own.
A wise mentor once told me something profound about finding love.
He said: “You can do a lot to make love happen for you.”
And then he said: “There’s nothing you can do to make love happen for you.”
For almost a decade, I never really understood that dichotomy.
To me, being a proactive type person, I figured ‘if it was to be, it was up to me’. I could say hello to women I was attracted to, seek out dates with them, make myself into a well-dressed, healthy, interesting, attractive man who had his life together. I could fill my life full with social activities that would bring me closer to meeting that special woman.
Yet, on the other hand, I finally saw that it didn’t really matter how much I did.
The truth was that love worked in mysterious ways. It hid from you when you were looking for it, and would catch you off guard whenever you weren’t looking.
In short, no matter how hard I tried to make it work, it just had to happen when the time was right.
This brings me back to my point: why it’s my fault I’m single on Valentine’s Day.
It’s because up until this point in my life I haven’t really valued love. I’ve seen love as a ‘nice to have’. A bonus feature that accompanies my ambitions and experiences.
Thus, love has treated me the same way.
Romance has given me some amazing times, some tender moments that have filled my heart, some fleeting glints of what could be the higher purpose of existence. Yet somehow, love still eludes me. At least for now.
So, on this Valentines Day, I am finally admitting it.
I am alone today, because I’ve never had the courage to truly love. I always had one foot out the door, one eye on the horizon, one more thing to do, be, or have before I was ready to settle down.
Along with this admission, I must remember the paradoxical truth:
“You can do a lot to make love happen for you.”
“There’s nothing you can do to make love happen for you.”
I understand this now: I must continue on my path, being the best man I can be, open to the hope that love will find me.
And then, I must let go. Have faith that when the time is right, and the moment arrives, love will find me.
When the time is right,
when you arrive in front of me,
I will value you,