Looking For Love...In All The Wrong Places?

By Nancy Pollard, LCSW, LLC
Nancy Pollard

Valentine’s Day is a barrage of hearts, love, chocolates, roses, and romance.  Hallmark and Hollywood have really done a number on our expectations, hopes, fantasies, and our core belief of “they lived happily every after.”

We actually believe that we are supposed to fall in love and literally live happily ever after.  Remember the book and movie Bridges Over Madison County?  I know this sounds harsh, but that movie was a farce.  It was not actually a love story, but rather an account of not being honest, open, and up front with the one you love.  Not telling your husband what you need and expecting him to read your mind, that is not love.  Hiding away fantasy ideas that some gorgeous hunk of a man posing as a photographer will actually appear on your ‘bridge’ is folly.  Love is not a quick fix and a fantasy.  Love takes work, takes action, and is a continuing process in real life.

Looking for love in the ‘love stories’ found on movie screens and in trashy novels is commerce.  It has nothing to do with real love.  Love is not found in a bar, in a bottle, or even necessarily in bed.  Love is not sex; love is making love.  Love is not a momentary act or day; love is an ongoing work in progress.

This Valentine’s Day, if you are alone:

  • Do your eyes deceive you and you truly see everyone holding hands and happy?
  • Do you believe that everyone has someone but you?
  • Do you believe that all those couples out to dinner are romantically in love and blissed out?
  • Does your heart bleed, ache, and painfully yearn for “that special one?”
  • Do you dread the day and feel like you can’t wait for it to be February 15?

If you are with someone:

  • Do you feel safe and calm in your heart?
  • Do you love the one you are with?
  • Do you wish that he or she were someone else?
  • Do you believe that you are the only one that DID NOT get roses this year?
  • Do you suck it up and say, “it doesn’t really matter if we’re not romantic?”

I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for love.  I love to love someone and I love having someone to love.  Try as I may, I am unsuccessful at feeling fulfilled alone.  Oh, I am fine, I am good enough alone, but at the end of the day, I want someone special to love and to be loved back.  I can’t help it.  I also want the damn roses.  I had no idea I cared so much about them until the day I didn’t get a bouquet, and I was crushed.  I’m not proud of that fact, but it’s true.  And yes, I am a romantic - romance is fun and beautiful.  But it needs to be real life romance, not Hollywood style.

How many times do we get disappointed with our partner on Valentine’s Day? 
Expectations breed disappointment.  So does believing that if your husband loved you, really loved you, he would be able to read your mind and know how to woo your heart.

If you are alone this Valentine’s Day:

  • Set the table with a candlelit meal
  • Buy a long stemmed rose for yourself
  • Eat some comfort food – mac and cheese, chicken potpie, a juicy steak
  • Have ice cream or chocolates in bed
  • Make your bed special with ironed cleaned sheets
  • Treat yourself as you would want to be treated

And if you are with someone:

  • Cut them some slack
  • Let go of being right
  • Stop being the martyr and ask for what you need
  • Give them what they want, not what you want
  • Know their language of love
  • Take the high road

If you are looking for love in all the wrong places on Valentine’s Day, you may come up short.  Love is something that can happen everyday in tiny acts, sweet words, acknowledgement of what is working between the two of you, appreciation and gratitude for what your partner does contribute, not what you think he or she should.

Find the good.  Focus on it, praise it, and be grateful for what you have, not what you think you want.

Find love this Valentine’s Day in your own heart.  Start there.  Open your heart to those around you.  Be happy.  It could be a very Happy Valentine’s Day indeed.

Just a little Mountain Therapy

Copyright © 2016 Nancy Pollard



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