Read more : Read more : Ryan Shorthouse: Valentine's Day

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Valentine's Day

Today has not been good: my daily jog around St James's Park, which re-started on Monday for the first time since October, was suspended because of the return of winter weather. And, of course, it's Valentine's Day. I belong to the 48% of the population who are single. You know the ones, queuing in supermarkets this evening with a bottle of red wine, a Whitney Houston CD and a ready meal for one.

The libertarian type’s boast how good being single is: freedom, freedom, freedom. A chance to try something new, to spend more time with friends, to focus on the all-important career. Let’s face it: this list of so-called benefits is an elaborate sales pitch. Most of these things can be done whilst in a relationship. Having someone special is a bonus.

People in relationships are generally happier than singletons. Psychologist and Nobel-laureate Daniel Kahneman did a study showing we derive, on average, more happiness from interacting with a partner than we do from being alone. In fact, being alone derives similar happiness levels to spending time with your boss.

Let's not pretend singlehood is somehow better than being in a happy relationship. Queen got it right: ultimately, we do all need somebody to love.

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