By: Linda Nusbaum, LMFT is the founder of COUPLE MAPPING
Valentine’s day, it’s the ultimate love holiday. So why is it that so many of us feel emptiness and longing even though we may be receiving candy hearts and flowers?It could be because we are all expecting to feel great on this day. On a day dedicated to loving your partner, aren’t we supposed to feel loved through and though? Aren’t we supposed to feel happy and elated just to be in a relationship or to have a significant other?
It would be great if all of us guys and gals felt this completion and wholeness and attachment to our mate. The truth is many of us just don’t.
And here are reasons why. Are you expecting a particular gift or moment with your beloved? If you haven’t communicated with him or her, chances of your person giving you exactly what you have been thinking about are pretty slim and you may become disappointed if you don’t get it.
A lot of us end up here. I remember the early part of dating my husband to be. We celebrated our first Valentine’s Day 9 months after we met. Now, we had a slow start up to the relationship, but I was really thinking this was going to be a significant moment. I was hoping for a piece of jewelry. That would cement something for me. I wasn’t thinking it would be a ring, but I suspected my gift could come in a small box.
Instead I got soap. It was fancy soap, but still soap. I remember feeling sad, and thinking he wasn’t as into me as I was into him. For the rest of the dinner I had to play it off like I was happy for the gift, (which of course I wasn’t).
By the way, I got him a very clever framed collection of pictures of the two of us, (hint, hint) from one of our weekends away. That felt significant to me.
I don’t know where his head was at that time. Maybe he thought that soap was a safe gift that wouldn’t commit him. I don’t know because in those early days of our relationship we didn’t really talk about what we were thinking and feeling and wanted.
I imagine a lot of young relationships are actually the same. Every one is trying to look good, show the good face, only the good face. As if only that part of ourselves could be loved. I think many couples end up feeling sad and disappointed because they didn’t get what they had expected.
So often the holiday can set couples up for something that they haven’t even discussed. It’s hard to talk with a new person about your secret desires. I get this. But it’s harder to live with disappointment and sadness and thoughts about not being loved enough.
If you aren’t in a relationship, you might think that you are alone again on this love holiday and that by itself could make you feel like a failure at relationships You might be hopeful that someone, anyone will make you their Valentine.
Every one wants to feel special to someone. On this day we almost can’t help but feel the pressure. You don’t have to feel that way! I vote that we take back Valentine’s Day for ourselves. Tell your friends, your family, or your loved one what you really want for Valentine’s Day and have a discussion about it.
Let us decide for ourselves how we want to feel and do what we need to do to achieve it. After all, love is meant for all of us all the time, not just when Hallmark says so.
BOTTOM LINE: Stop relying on what the media tells us we should buy, wear, eat and drink. Instead, make a big day of recognizing your partner in life by celebrating the small moments you cherish. Talk about what you want from each other and surprise your loved one with an original creation, something really from the heart.
Two-Time Emmy Winner Linda Nusbaum, LMFT is the founder of COUPLE MAPPING, a made-for-you service that instantly connects the dots to help solve your relationship problems. For 23 years, Linda excelled as an award-winning television journalist, reporting on thousands of news events. Naturally compassionate and analytical, Linda then turned her focus to the study and practice of psychotherapy. For almost a decade and a half, Linda has successfully helped thousands of couples in Southern California as a licensed marriage and family therapist. Linda has offices in Beverly Hills and Long Beach, California.