Not to make you jealous, but I’m in a pretty serious relationship. It has lasted for about 22 years, and we’re very committed. My partner makes me happy every day and we rarely ever seem to fight; things are just perfect. What is this special person’s name, you might be wondering? Well, his name is Daniel Coffey. This Valentine’s Day marks my 22nd anniversary of being single.

This is usually the part where a person shoots me a saddened look and apologizes for the embarrassment they are probably feeling for me. If you’re like most of the students on this campus, you would probably put your hand on my shoulder and give me a look that clearly says “Wow, 22 years of being single? You must be the type of person that talks through movies, one-ups your friends’ stories and sends annoying Candy Crush requests on Facebook.” Fortunately, however, none of those are actually true for me.

Unlike so many of my peers, I actually enjoy being single. Instead of begrudgingly calling Valentine’s Day, “Singles’ Awareness Day,” I celebrate the reminder that I don’t have a significant other. Don’t get me wrong, it might be nice to drop a pretty penny on a romantic dinner with someone I love, but I would much rather enjoy a night out dancing at Brew Brothers than be attached to only one person.

While I respect the decision by college students to find lovers in their four to five years, the commitment just seems too great. I hardly even have the time to clean my cereal bowl out in the morning, let alone devote my undivided love and attention to somebody. I can’t be expected to remember a person’s favorite flower, when I can hardly even remember to pay my overdue parking tickets (sorry about that, Parking Services).

Throughout college, we are going to be tested academically, socially and ethically, so we should aspire to bring positivity into our lives. Unfortunately, I tend to notice that student relationships only create more stress for those involved. More often than not, I watch my coupled-off peers scream and argue about things they probably won’t even remember the following day.

Being single means that I don’t really have much to worry about other than myself. I don’t aspire to #RelationshipGoals like you see on Twitter or to break into love songs like in “Frozen.” Instead, I have the ability to focus on areas of self-improvement — making sure I love myself before attempting to love another person.

I am not naive enough to believe that all relationships are destructive or stressful, but there seems to be a fine line between when things are happy or just cordial in a relationship. It would be difficult to deny that when you dedicate your life to somebody, your happiness will likely be dictated by how that person feels about you.

As college students, we should be more focused on making bad decisions for ourselves — not forcing other people to deal with the decisions we make. These four to five years might be the only time that people are willing to forgive your mistakes, so don’t place undue pressure on yourself by bringing another person’s happiness into the equation.

Some might argue that love is worth the pain, but we have the rest of our lives to fall for someone. At this point in our lives, we have the privilege of only having to focus on our education and future careers. My best advice is to establish a sense of identity and find reasons to love yourself. Only when you feel comfortable with the person you are becoming will you be able to fully appreciate the value of love.

This Valentine’s Day, don’t worry about how many chocolates you receive. Don’t stress about the reminder that you’re alone because, in fact, you are the lucky one. There is nothing stopping you from traveling, getting a new job or moving to a new city. You’re unencumbered and you should celebrate that. Take refuge in the love of your friends and family and leave the romance for the future.

Daniel Coffey studies journalism. He can be reached at and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.