Long billed as the most romantic day of the year, Valentine's Day can feel like a directive for having plans with a significant other and exchanging declarations of love. But the real definition of love is more expansive than what that understanding of the holiday might suggest. After all, platonic love is a thing, and plenty of people mark V-Day with "Galentine's" or "Palentine's" day parties. And for people who consider themselves their own valentines, the holiday offers an opportunity to practice self-love.
In this week’s episode of the The Well+Good Podcast, host Taylor Camille speaks with Tiffany, Megan, and Becky, three single people who are self-described “late bloomers”—a term used for a broad swath of singles in a Facebook group where they've found community. Everyone in the group started dating and entering relationships later in their lives compared to their peers and are currently single, having followed various roads to being so.
“It’s interesting that we're all [somewhere] on the spectrum from having never been kissed at 40 or being a virgin at 40...to having lots of experience with dating, but nothing ever stuck,” says Tiffany. What they all embody is that modern womanhood certainly doesn't have to include being someone's partner.
Listen to the full episode podcast episode here:
Each of the late bloomers has a unique perspective on romantic relationships; some are open to entering relationships but haven’t had the right opportunity, while others are healing from past trauma and consciously choosing to be single.
During the episode, they discuss how being single later in life than others in their sphere has affected them, touching on how their relative upbringings have influenced their approach to the single life, and how practicing self-love helps them combat loneliness whenever it may creep up. One of the primary ways they do that is by planning solo dates, which allow them to build fulfilling lives undefined by a partner or significant other—which is an empowering act, in and of itself.
“There is so much more to you [outside of a romantic relationship]…you can make cool choices to do cool things [on your own].” —Megan, self-described late bloomer
For example, Megan travels solo and often spends time at the beach near her home, making a “conscious choice and decision to be as happy in my singleness as I can,” she says. She's also proud to model independent behavior for younger women like her nieces and the foster-care children that she worked with at a previous job. “I'm not teaching them to hate men, but I want them to know that there is so much more to you … you can make cool choices to do cool things [on your own],” she says.
All the late bloomers certainly admit to having tough days and getting lonely every once in a while, just like anyone else might. But they find that going on solo dates really helps; it demonstrates to themselves and others that you can live a meaningful and enjoyable life without a partner by your side.
Tiffany, who loves going on solo dates to concerts and on trips, also uses gratitude as a self-care practice, reminding herself of all the great parts about having full autonomy over her life as a single person. “Once I start to notice I’m getting really sad, I try to focus on what I do have instead of where I’m lacking,” she says.
To hear more insights from the late bloomers about how they use solo dates to feel satisfied and empowered in their singledom, listen to the full episode here.
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