As told to Fasiha Nazren.
I'm Jasmine and I have never been in a relationship all my life.
Nope, not even playful, monkey love like the ones people have in kindergarten or primary school. I'd like to think I'm one of the rare ones.
But that doesn't mean I've never had dreams of being in a relationship when I was young.
I'm sure most girls grew up on romantic Disney movies, happily-ever-afters and what not -- I'm no different, of course.
When I was younger, I thought I would have started a family by the time I am in my late twenties, but look where we're at now: 28 years old and still single.
That doesn't mean I'm not open to meeting new people, I am... But I'm not exactly "putting myself out there" either.
Even now, as an adult, I would still like to think that I can be in a long-term relationship one day.
Valentine's Day is just another day
How do I celebrate Valentine's Day?
Well, I'm truly a romantic at heart but Valentine’s Day has been so commercialised and exploited that I’m quite meh about everything happening on Feb. 14.
But to answer your question, I used to do "Galentine's" with my single girlfriends but as the years go by, everyone started getting attached so.... Hahaha.
Nowadays, I just treat it like any other day.
Used to be against dating apps
I haven't been on too many dates to have any memorable ones, but that's not to say that I had a bad time.
I used to be quite against dating apps (for myself) as I didn't want to have to tell my future kids, "Oh yeah, I swiped right on your dad, that's how we met."
But I've also come to realise that that's how things are going to work in the digital age... So I have been on Coffee Meets Bagel (a dating app) on and off for a while, and I do get matches.
Unfortunately, the conversations typically end once the initial small talk phase is over as I am, admittedly, a lazy texter.
Working in the creative industry might have also played a part in me being single.
I am a Capricorn, so I am a natural workaholic.
On most weekdays, I just want to have some "me time" after work and weekends are spent resting at home.
The thought of going out to socialise just... sounds like so much effort to me.
Subconsciously tried to change myself
Being single has definitely made me think of myself as a less attractive person, both in terms of looks and personality.
I tried to dress better. I even became nicer to people to the point that I became a pushover.
I went through such lengths so that people would overlook the fact that I'm "unattractive".
Obviously, I figured that it's all in my mind and over the years, I have gotten a lot more comfortable in my own skin.
Nowadays, I try to avoid all that negative space that I used to be in by working with what I've got.
Never apologise for knowing what you want
You know, there are a few things that I won't compromise on when looking for a life partner: We must share similar values and outlook in life.
It is also very important that we vibe or are on the same frequency.
Actually, this applies to a lot of close relationships I have in life, even friends.
If I can't even imagine hanging out with you as a friend, then what more as a lover?
I won't say that these are obstacles preventing me from getting into a relationship, but as I grow older, my expectation of the person I date also becomes higher.
Naturally, this would make me seem more "picky" in finding a partner.
But I'm not going to apologise for knowing what I want (in a partner).
"It's not in my timeline for now"
Right now, I'm at that stage where peers my age have either found a life partner, are married or even starting a family.
For sure, I have felt FOMO (fear of missing out) and some pressure from this.
And I'm not going to lie, it's a sucky feeling when I attend weddings of friends from the same clique and come to a realisation that I'm the only one left who's not married... Let alone be in a relationship.
With social media, it is only natural to compare yourself to all your friends and acquaintances who are celebrating anniversaries, getting engaged/married and becoming parents.
I look at all of that and tell myself: "It's just not in my timeline for now."
Sad days like these do come, but I just have to remind myself that my worth is not validated by my relationship status.
No pressure from parents, thankfully
In one's late twenties, most Asian parents would probably start nagging at their child about when they are getting married.
Thankfully, my parents are not too fussed about my singlehood.
I've been very open to them that I might never get married and they didn't seem particularly affected by my stance.
And even during Chinese New Year, I didn't really receive a lot of "Where's your boyfriend?" questions. Granted, I didn't have to do much visiting.
Besides, my dad has always believed that if it's meant to be, then it will be.
Of course, parents will always be parents. I do think they are starting to worry and have been asking my brother in recent years if he knows anything about my dating life.
(Note to Mom and Dad: There is no dating life.)
A happy singleton
But as I said, I still believe that there is someone out there for me.
*Recites dad's mantra: "If it's meant to be, IT WILL BE."*
But if I don't, then I still need to continue living my life. Finding a life partner is not all there is to achieve in life.
I won't deny, it would be nice to have someone as your automatic plus one, but I'm in no rush to find one.
I'd rather do it on my own terms instead of feeling like I need to be in one just because that's what society expects of me.
And at this moment, I'm definitely happy to be a single woman.
To quote American drag queen RuPaul:
"If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"
Jasmine's account has been edited for clarity. Top photo by Fasiha Nazren.