By: Emily Fehrman / Opinion Page Editor

Alrighty, ladies and gents, it is once again “cuffing season” and we’re all hurting. Either you’re hung up on someone who doesn’t want you, or you’re so single it hurts.

But I’m here to give you a friendly reminder: it is OKAY to be single. You don’t need someone else to define your happiness or well being. Learn to be alone with yourself, if you don’t, you won’t know who you are without another person to rely on. You have to find your happiness from within yourself first and figure out who you really are as a person. I honestly can’t stress that enough.

And not to be a Debby Downer but on most occasions, you need to do this alone anyway. If you’re the type of person who jumps from partner to partner trying to find happiness but all you find is heartbreak, maybe take a step back and assess your worth (example: do I deserve to be treated the way I am right now?) and what you bring to the table in a relationship. Is it helpful or harmful? You might not want to hear this, but you could be the problem and not even be aware of the signs.

The four horsemen in relationships are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Now, if you do these things, I’m not saying you are the issue. These are just factors that can lead to a harmful partnership. They always say “everything in moderation,” and that statement is as true as ever in this situation.

As long as the criticism is helpful and healthy you should be in the clear. Focus on if you make “I” statements, or “You” statements. Starting off a complaint with “You never do blah blah blah…” is held in contempt. But expressing an issue like: “I feel a bit excluded when we’re with your buddies” is better than “You never pay attention to me when we’re with your friends!”

Contempt, in general, isn’t a good thing, and if you harbor it for your loved one or partner you might want to reevaluate things. Contempt goes far beyond criticism. While criticism attacks your partner’s character, contempt assumes a position of moral superiority over them.

Defensiveness is very clear once someone is irritated or aggravated. Pay attention to how both you and your partner handle these feelings.

Stonewalling is different from just taking a short 30-45-minute break during a heated conversation to cool down and assess what’s been said and how it made you feel. Stonewalling is when one partner leaves the conversation completely before the other person is even remotely ready.

Instead of thinking about all the fall festivities you could be doing if you had a boo, and getting all emo about not having that special someone to share it with, think about all the amazing memories you could be making with your friends or family. If only you weren’t so busy moping about and wishing you had someone.

Take this spare time you have to share it with the people who really matter. Just go out there and find the beauty and love in the small things, you never know how long you’ll have them.

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