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Single during the holidays? Why it's OK to long for love

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The desire for a relationship can be strong during the holidays. That's nothing to be ashamed of: love and connection are universal human needs.

Even if you don’t think about your single status all that much, in December, there’s always a family member, colleague or touching commercial that makes you aware of it. Having a relationship is often seen as the highest ideal. That makes (some) sense, because having a relationship is great. Someone’s arm around you, a warm body next to you in bed, a loyal ally who tells you they love you on a regular basis. Being able to share your life, with all its ups-and-downs, feels good. So there’s nothing wrong about a strong wish for connection,

Desperate or honest?

We need to be reminded of that every once in a while, though – because in our society, relationships are put on a pedestal; sometimes it feels like you’re failing when you don’t have a partner. In December, this feeling can be stronger than ever. For instance, when you’re the only single person at a christmas dinner. Or when everyone around you has plans – as couples- for New Year’s Eve. Of course, these situations can make you feel shitty for a moment. But we hardly talk about that. If you speak up about feeling lonely, or wanting to have a partner, you risk being called ‘desperate’. And nobody likes to be pitied.

Denial is not a solution

That’s why many people suppress the nagging feeling of loneliness in December. Instead of sharing how they feel, they just focus on surviving Christmas and keep answering patiently how they ‘just haven’t found the right person’, when the third person asks them about their relational status. Feelings of sadness or loneliness are suppressed. And when they do get the best of us, destructive and judgmental feelings follow. These are unnecessary. Not having a relationship is not failure, and longing for love doesn’t mean your desperate. Love is one of the most universal needs. Besides, suppressing difficult emotions doesn’t make them go away. They keep slumbering and make all the happy energy disappear. The trick is to embrace your own desires.

Embrace your needs

Accept every emotion – both the happy ones and the sad ones. Just allow them to exist, and if you want to, share them with someone around you. By being aware of these thoughts, you prevent them from taking over.  Be sure not to fantasize too much about what life would be like if you had a partner, because fantasies like that cause a distance between you and the world, and make you forget about all the loving, interested, thoughtful people you can enjoy life with right now.

There are many single people for whom the holidays are just a nice period, and good for them. The point is: we shouldn’t punish ourselves for having certain feelings. Once we accept them, we treat ourselves like a good friend would: kindly and loving, without judgment.

Text: Joanne Wienen - Photo: Neven Krcmarek