Opinion: The harsh reality of teen romance

Valentine’s Day sucks.

How inconvenient is a holiday based entirely off of romance and finding that special someone in a world where the majority of people are undeniably lonely? Moreso, the main age group that is struggling with loneliness is teens, like myself.

Scrolling through Instagram, I see posts of couples every now and then. I see an array of photos displaying them hugging, kissing, laughing and enjoying each others’ presence. I feel happy for them, seeing that they are in love. At least, that’s what they are hoping to present to their followers.

As I am currently navigating through my first romantic relationship, the experience thus far has definitely opened up my eyes to some of the unspoken expectations couples deal with, most notably how they are perceived by their peers. Unfortunately, I’ve become a victim of this harsh criteria. 

A few weeks ago, I decided to remove a few posts including my partner and I from my Instagram feed because I felt self-conscious about them. While I didn’t think much of this at the time because it had nothing to do with our relationship status, my messages were suddenly flooded by my friends asking where he was and if everything was OK. I thought to myself: Did a social media post truly have that much of an impact? Sadly, it did. 

With Valentine’s Day just a week away, multiple friends of mine have asked me about my plans to celebrate. In the past, I would always be alone on the holiday. Sulking in my bed and watching incredibly bad rom-coms, I would be envious of my friends and family who had somebody special to buy them chocolates, flowers and stuffed animals. 

This year, however, was going to be different. It would be my first year celebrating with a valentine if I wasn’t stuck in driver’s ed class. How romantic. 

Even if I were able to spend the annoyingly cheesy festivity with my partner, I would undoubtedly feel guilty telling my single friends that, instead of eating a whole box of chocolates myself, I would be sharing it with my special somebody.  I have been in their shoes, looking at that little screen with jealousy, wishing it was me. 

There is such a stigma against being alone on Valentine’s Day. Being alone, in general, is a part of life. Teens shouldn’t have to worry so much about frivolous things such as love in a crucial time of their lives. Teenagers are still trying to figure out who they are as a person. 

To my peers: you’ve still got the rest of the year and your whole life to find that special someone. So, enjoy that tub of ice cream and cuddle up in your favorite blanket this Valentine’s Day. As someone who did it for 15 years, it’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.