There’s No Wrong Way To Feel On Valentine’s Day

VALENTINES DAY IS STUPID!

Hm, mature.  Why is it stupid?

It’s just a conspiracy by Hallmark!

Well Jesus wasn’t resurrected to sell chocolate, and Christmas day was a political move by the Roman Empire to satisfy the Christians and the pagans, what’s your point?

You can’t just have one day to show how much you care.

Ah, I remember who the last person I heard say those exact words was.  The guy who cheated on his girlfriend with me and convinced her that I’m just a crazy stalker when she cottoned on (I’ll save that sordid tale for another time.)

Well k, (since when are we on speaking terms anyway?) I can’t help but wonder if it would be a colossal ask even for a seasoned player like you to pick up a vulnerable girl a decade your junior every single day of the year.  You know, just to demonstrate how much you clearly respect and care for your partner.

There’s just so much pressure.

You don’t know what’s expected of you?  Here’s a novel idea, how about you talk to your sweetheart?  I hear this communication business does wonders for relationships.  There’s no such thing as a stupid question as far as expectations go.  Don’t ever assume – hurt feelings are based on assumptions.

You’re just making single people feel inadequate.

Um, WUT.  Explain.

By being all lovey-dovey up in our faces.

Well, yeah.  I’m in love and love spending time with him.  This day gives me another excuse to do that, and a reminder to appreciate what we have.  Notice that this is about two people – me and him.  Why would you insert you into that?

It just makes me…sad.  Angry but mostly sad.

Aha, progress!  And is it my fault?

No, it’s everywhere.

Yeah it is.  Ok you so you’re sad.  And there’s a lot of this, uh, lovey-dovey trigger around today making you sad.  That sucks.  But why does it happen?

Pft isn’t it obvious.  I’m alone.

Oh come on, unpack that a little further.  Owning your feelings is the first step to healing.

I feel like a failure.  Like people think that there must be something wrong with me because I don’t have someone.  I want a partner so bad it’s pathetic.

Don’t call yourself names.  Why are you pathetic?

Why do I need to rely on someone else for my happiness?  That’s why I’m pathetic.  I want people to believe that I’m happily single.  And I should be, shouldn’t I?  If I can’t make myself happy, how will I be able to satisfy someone else?

Whoa, that’s deep.  Be careful thinking in ‘shoulds’ I once had a psychologist tell me that behind every adult temper tantrum, there’s a ‘should’…anyway, you raise a valid point, it’s important to establish independent identities as adults separate from x’s partner who participates in x’s hobbies and hangs out with x’s friends.   But just because you can get by as a single person, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to like it.  You could be perfectly capable of supporting yourself and pursuing separate interests and still prefer the particular companionship that comes with a long term relationship, the same way that some people are truly better off single.  It’s not pathetic, it’s the way you are.

What I’m saying is…there’s no wrong way to feel.  There’s a wrong way to manage and express those feelings sure, but you’re not pathetic feeling sad on Valentine’s Day.  Lots of people do.  I am.

Excuse me, you have no right to be sad.  You have a boyfriend.

Well if the annual dedication to relationship bliss is a trigger for you despairing over your singledom, don’t you think that it might also be for those in abusive relationships?  Or relationships that are on the rocks?  Wouldn’t it be a painful reminder of the shame and disappointment that comes with trying to come to terms with all of that?

I’m not throwing my boyfriend under the bus, he’s awesome.  But I have a lot of emotional baggage from encounters from other men – an example of which I pretty much spelled out above – that I’m still struggling to work through.   Even though BF and I love spending time together that is always hanging over us, intruding on my thought process.  It’s eating me alive.

So what do you do?

I just…sat with it.  I’ve realised that I’ve got to let myself be sad and acknowledge that that’s what I am.  Otherwise the sadness turns into anger and unhelpful actions.

Like saying Valentine’s Day is stupid huh?

Ha, yes.  Something like that.

What you felt, isn’t pathetic.  It’s valid.

If you are feeling sad, let yourself be sad.

If you are feeling lonely, let yourself be lonely.

If you are feeling grief over a lost or dying relationship, allow yourself to feel grief.

It’s tempting to push down your feelings with anger and acting out but it’s not helpful.  There are far more constructive ways to distract yourself then shitting on everyone who is minding their own business enjoying the day.  Date yourself.  Date your friend.  Throw and anti-valentine or gal-entine party, as long as it’s fun spirited.

And for the love of God stay off social media, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Mac