the romance of you


illustration by katelyn niester

There is no denying that love offers some of the most unique, exciting, complicated, awkward and sometimes painful experiences that a person can live through. It is no surprise that so many of us are desperate to find a relationship to envelop ourselves in. Especially when almost every type of media has posed a fictional romance as a mystical, all-encompassing force that makes sense of the world and cures every character flaw or shred of incompatibility through the power of love. It’s a glamorous promise most of us are willing to risk our hearts for, but outside of the facade of movies, books and love songs is a humble longing as old as time; we want to feel loved and seen. Yet it is unavoidable that at some point, if not many, a person will be single. Recently, “Self-love” has been a popular topic on social media, a buzzword that is often associated with fancy skin creams or ice cream sundaes or yoga classes and while all of these things can be an act of care or pleasure in one’s life, self-love is both quieter and grander than the act of consuming something. It is a life-long act that takes awareness and compassion and there is no better time to appreciate and explore oneself than when you are not in a relationship. Appreciating your own company along with the company of your friends and learning to develop self-love ultimately can be more special than the time spent in a relationship. Getting to spend a long time experiencing life outside of romantic relationships is a gift rather than a punishment.

There is no perfect guide to living without romantic love. Sometimes we cry, text our exes, set up Tinder profiles we don’t actually want or find ourselves renegotiating our standards to make them more palatable to someone else. We second guess the lessons we learned from our previous experiences and set aside standards to maintain a romantic relationship. It’s not until we are outside the relationship that we see all that was compromised for the other person. We can see the little ways we stopped asking for things that we needed or altered our behavior or opinions to match theirs. It is easy to get caught up in trying to be the most likable version of ourselves for a partner that we stop questioning the quality of our experience. 

When it’s late at night and your stomach hurts from laughing in the kitchen with your best friend over something that would not be nearly as funny in the morning you are reminded of how much love exists outside of the romantic framework. Even beyond friendship are the little moments you spend with yourself. Your bedroom in the dark before you fall asleep, your commute to the library on a gray, dreary day, 15 minutes after getting dressed for plans that were canceled, making yourself breakfast on a Sunday morning, who are you in these moments? What do you want from someone that loves you? How do you feel about yourself when no one is around? Real self-love is what should pour into these spaces. It is the acceptance of ourselves exactly as we are and the pursuit of showing ourselves kindness and building relationships that are kind and true. No romantic relationship is required. So if you find yourself single, know you are not alone, and also know that there is no one more deserving of your love than you.


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Hi, I’m Grace Avery, the Editor In Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.