Monday is the day many people in the hospitality and retail industries have been counting on for big sales - the 14th is Valentine's Day, otherwise known as an excuse to buy your sweetheart chocolate, flowers and a socially-distanced dinner.
I used to feel sad for people who were uncoupled at times like these, even during a commercially-manufactured event.
I would think how unfortunate it was that people lived partner-less lives.
But flying solo the past few years has disabused me of the idea singles were mostly lonely people pining for connection.
While I know those folks exist, I also know quite a few Kiwis who are happily un-coupled, some by circumstance, others by choice.
Census data released in 2019 shows that 405,000 people live alone in Aotearoa. That's 36,000 more than in 2013.
One-person dwellings were the second-most common household type, behind two-occupant households - at 519,561.
Even though singledom is reaching new highs, thanks to longer lives and more autonomy for women (and men), the myth of the lonely single persists. You can't possibly be happy; it's unnatural to not have a partner; you'll die alone are all things I've read and heard.
Some romantically-attached people cannot conceive of a life different from the one they're living; others resent the idea of anyone making their way in the world without the presumed safety net of another human.
Many studies have shown that those assumptions about lonely, unhappy singles are wrong: German research published last month in Psychology Today found single individuals are, in general, satisfied with singlehood and with life.
Of course, singles are not a homogeneous group: A 2016 Statistics New Zealand report showed within the category of living alone there was great diversity in people's socio-economic and demographic characteristics and their social outcomes.
The same study found people who lived alone were more likely than those not living alone to say they had felt lonely the last four weeks (50 per cent compared with 34 per cent). This was true for men and women regardless of age.
The German study found that typically, those less satisfied with their singlehood were "men, people with more education, worse health, and lower life satisfaction". Individuals with higher singlehood satisfaction, the data showed, were more likely to be women, younger, have less education, and be in better health.
Yet another analysis published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life in 2019 found that unmarried people have a unique advantage: They are more active socially, which means they're sometimes even happier than their married counterparts.
Data was pulled from surveys conducted in 32 European countries over more than a decade. It found while married people were happier on average than unmarried people, those unmarried people who showed the highest levels of social interactions were happier than the average married person.
What do conflicting findings mean? That we need more research into the lives of single people, a subject which is growing in tandem with the number of one-person households.
Whether you're happy or less-than-satisfied, coupledom is no cure for discomfort.
People whose unions have permanently fractured often say their loneliest times happened within the confines of a ruptured relationship.
Many solo flyers still dabble in dating and romance. But we may also not feel the need to leap at any offer.
The older I get, the more I question whether there's someone for everyone.
It's not only that the pickings are slim past mid-life, but also that it's easier to appreciate holding space for yourself and for people who matter to you when you like your own company.
To find ease and agency as a sole trader rather than half of a corporation.
Another myth about single people is that the absence of a romantic partner equals the absence of love.
Those of us who have family, friends and/or children know something the Greeks revealed to the world through language early on - that love has many guises: not just eros (romantic), but also philia (authentic friendship); storge (familial) and philautia (self-love).
It is difficult to integrate love for anyone else into our own paradigms if that last element, philautia, is missing.
This kind of knowing and acceptance makes it possible to open our hearts to others and to reject people who would do us harm.
It's also better to try to find someone when you feel complete - you're not trying to fill a hole, but to complement the rich life you already lead.
Cupid needs a break, too, to catch up with friends over strawberry slushies and guacamole. It's not a bad way to recharge.
Single? Buy some flowers for that special someone: you.