Though there are hundreds of reasons to love being single (here are a few), solo status gets a bad rap this time of the year. But it’s important to remember that finding “the one” doesn’t guarantee happiness so much as it guarantees the likelihood that you will be made miserable by someone else’s issues. We’re kidding (kind of), but the point is that coupled-up people have just as many problems as singles, so there’s no reason to spend Valentine’s Day in despair about your relationship status.
One day, your married friends may be divorced, your single friends may be married and everyone, including you, will ultimately remain at their same baseline happiness level regardless. So instead of mourning the dream relationship you don’t have this February 14—in which your significant other makes some sort of over-the-top gesture of love and affection that belongs on The Bachelor—we suggest you hunker down with a healthy dose of reality and laughter, and celebrate how awesome it can be to be single. Here are 13 non-fairy-tale films to counterbalance this weekend’s singles-shaming love fest.
How To Be Single
We recently caught this film on HBO (you can watch it free with a Go or Now subscription) and we have to give it major props for making us laugh out loud pretty consistently. It's not a perfect film by any means and—like most of its genre—doesn't escape stereotyping, but to be honest, we'd be single forever if it meant that Rebel Wilson could be our best friend. For now, we'll have to settle for watching this feel-good comedy with our IRL cohorts (read: wine) this Valentine's Day and beyond.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
If you really dwell on your worst heartbreak, you might find yourself relieved to be totally single, with nary a crush in sight, rather than in the throes of that kind of torture. If you're safely out of the woods from your most crushing breakup, we suggest you watch this film as a reminder of how much pain can come from romance. Sometimes, it's a relief to find that your strongest emotions are triggered not by a man but by things like Nutella and Taylor Swift.
We all want to be saved from the trials of our lives by a big hunk of man like Marky Mark, but let Fear serve as a personal reminder of how much better this fantasy is in theory than in practice.
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
Our society tends to hold marriage up as the ultimate prize to be won in life, one of the greatest achievements to which a woman can aspire. The gajillion-dollar wedding industry only furthers this mentality by hiding the realities of marriage behind a giant, highly Instagrammable party that gets to be all about you. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the perfect antidote to all of this brainwashing, as the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor–starring film about one seriously toxic marriage goes very far in the opposite direction in its portrayal of what you might "win" on your wedding day. Sure, this marriage is the worst-case scenario, but isn't that exactly what you need to see this Valentine's Day?
You could watch the similarly themed Fatal Attraction, but this version has Beyoncé in it—and is so bad it's good in a way that will make you feel good, too. Think of this 90-minute movie as a spa treatment for your emotions.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
This is one of our all-time favorite post-breakup films, so it's a fitting choice for single-girl viewing on Valentine's Day. The thing to remember if you've been dumped recently: One day, you will realize that your ex is a douchebag the way Jason Segel's character eventually does in this film. Because he is. Trust us.
Waiting To Exhale
If you haven't watched this film in a while or have (gasp!) never seen it, we suggest you start here on your V-Day binge. There is something so therapeutic about this film—perhaps it's the image of Angela Bassett watching her man's car burn—that you'll seek comfort in the "Shoop Shoop" theme song forever after.
Last Tango In Paris
We're including this film on our list because it manages to make even hot and steamy sex-based affairs look ultimately disappointing and not worth the hype. It's one thing to know, as you sit alone on Valentine's Day, that your married friends are by no means guaranteed to be happier than you, but it's another to realize that love itself, in all its myriad versions, is a smidge overrated. The highs are high, the lows are lows, and as a single person you get to step off the roller coaster and relax for a bit.
(500) Days Of Summer
Those of you pining over someone who just doesn't feel it for you—for reasons you truly can’t grasp because in your mind, you're soul mates—might want to give this one a watch. Unrequited love is one of the most devastating experiences in life, but it's also universal. Think of it this way: Someone, somewhere, is feeling those unrequited feelings for you, too.
You might be tempted to peruse Instagram or Facebook on Valentine's Day, but we strongly suggest you avoid images of the seemingly perfect love lives of your peers in favor of engaging in this raw and dark portrait of the love lost between married characters portrayed by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. If you're still desperately wishing you had a boyfriend after spending two hours with this film, you might want to see a professional.
"You know what I want, babe? Cool guys like you out of my life." Amen, sister. For all those sitting at home alone this Valentine's Day because of an unhealthy addiction to bad boys—or those who just have a little angst to expel—this is the film for you.
Much like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Last Tango in Paris and Blue Valentine, this excruciatingly bleak portrayal of relationships will make you feel super happy not to be in one.
If you were single when this film came out and most of your friends were not, there's a good chance you heard a lot of "You should go see Bridesmaids! The lead character totally reminds me of you." Turns out, this wasn't exactly a compliment, but watching this film will make you feel better about all of the admittedly petty things you feel when watching your besties partner up and leave you behind. Besides, in the end it all works out for Annie—just as it will for you, too.