Valentine’ Day Expectations

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Expectations of Love

valentinesday
Of all the market-based holidays, Valentine’s Day is perhaps the worst for expectations. It’s such a loaded day. If you don’t have a partner, there’s a whole day dedicated to love and romance to make you feel bad. People walk around comparing how much their partner loves them, based upon the gifts they receive and rating of their romantic experience. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be difficult if you’re away from family but here’s a day that’s based upon the notion that without a lover you are less of a human being. Complete nonsense, of course.

For those with partners, this is a day when they rate their relationship. Does my partner truly love me? How much does my partner love me? Of course, the answer is based upon whether the individual’s expectations are adequately satisfied. In other words, whether the partner can gauge those expectations properly and perform them perfectly (with each person reacting in sync).

It’s as if the other 364 days of the year don’t matter. Whether your partner, treats you respectfully and loving throughout the year or not, Valentine’s Day is the big test. For some, the ultimate test when feelings are hurt and arguments damage the relationship.

Okay, we all like when someone goes out of their way to make us feel special. It makes us feel like we are worth the extra effort, that we are loved. More so, that we are loveable.

Getting gifts is also fun. It’s like opening presents at Christmas except with more chocolate. Who wouldn’t like that?

Still, I think that when acts are forced or processed, they lose their value. Indeed, they lose that genuine quality that made them special in the first place. The sentiment might be real but the act itself becomes fake.

Life is about moments. Some of the most loving feelings that I’ve experienced were quiet moments. When I was exhausted and the baby (first ours, then now our grandchildren) wouldn’t calm down. Despite that he was tired too, my husband and I tag-teamed.

There have also been plenty of times that the two of us have been watching a good hockey game. I’m really into it (something I probably would never have said in our youth). My husband looks over to me and there’s a connection. His version of “hey, we do fit together”.

While it is nice to get gifts, feel special, and be able to show others (prove to ourselves) that we are lovable, relationships are probably better based upon mutual respect, communicating your needs, and enjoying those little moments. Like life itself, every relationship has its natural flow. So, ultimately, a relationship should be based upon what happens 365 days a year, over the long haul. Not a one day test.

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Tami Brady

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