Anti-Valentines Day Celebration

White Bleeding Heart FlowersWatching some “boob tube” (as my mother calls it) on Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but notice the most common themes on sitcoms were pitiful rejections and absurd self-deprecation glorified by favorite characters on Will and Grace, Becker and Scrubs.

Though I have trouble understanding the comedy of some of those characters, I can relate to the anti Valentine’s sentiments. Valentine’s Day is perfect for lovers, who already have something wonderful in their lives, to masturbate the genie bottle some more, and for the greeting card and flower business to suck up love’s dysfunctional dollars. Love is often based on co-dependency, on passion rather than committment or understanding. Bottom line; Valentine’s Day crates a lot of pressure to love someone now, or else.

So what does it mean to “love” someone? Do you have to love them all the time, unconditionally, for it to be real love? Should you fake it when they need it and you don’t feel it?

Those who have read my two most recent posts know I was in a very passionate love affair which blew up, for good reasons, in the end. The passion was there, full Valentine’s force, 24 hours a day for two months; then, poof, it wasn’t. End of story. You can’t turn love on and off like a spigot. It comes and it goes on its on.

Last summer, I had lunch with a long time friend/acquaintance who was born on the same day and year as me. Through Junior and High School she was a steady soul in my often turbulent psychic life. Even at 15 or 16, she could look me in the eye and care deeply for me without expectation. No wonder she ended up becoming a psychologist.

Seeing her again after a space of 20 years was like coming home to an old, comfy home I had forgotten about. The same steadiness was there. I felt a natural trust I rarely feel with anyone.

At one point in our mellow conversation about our lives, I blurted out that I think I’m incapable of feeling love for someone. I really do feel this way, always at a deficit compared to the love I am given by so many close friends and family. I’ve been called all sorts of names: selfish, self-indulgent, petty, uncaring, unaware of others feeling, etc. Perhaps these are true at times, but it doesn’t make me an unloving person.

Her answer changed how I feel about love. She said something to the effect of, “Of course you are capable of loving. But no one feels love for someone all the time. I don’t feel it for my husband all the time, but I know I love him none the less. Just because you don’t feel it when you’re “supposed to” doesn’t mean you don’t love them in your own way“.

Feeling love and/or caring for someone has to come naturally, unforced. Over the years of feeling guilty for not feeling love when I was supposed to, I had lost touch with the times I really felt something for someone. Someone once told me that saying “I love you” to a person is like holding a gun to their head. Well, maybe it’s not quite that drastic, but it can feel forced.

So let’s call all the days of the year other than Valentines Day the “Show Love when EVER you feel it” Days.

Happy Show Love when you Feel it Days, all 364 of them.

12 thoughts on “Anti-Valentines Day Celebration

  1. David…you have a way with words. Or is it that words have their way with you. In any case, hope you are well and staying warm. 18 inches of fluttery whiteness in Cleveland. Best wishes, Don

  2. Don, your kind words are also words of a kind. Thank you for your thoughts.

    Love is such a sticky subject. Do we have our way with love, or does it have it’s way with us? For some, self-acceptance is the rockiest road to travel, more so than success, career or family. At least that’s what my experience is. If you don’t feel much love for anone, does that make you a bad person?

    We’ve been iced in for a few days, but nothing like Cleveland’s lake effect snow. Stay warm yourself.

  3. Yeah, Lori and I protest Valentines Day. We feel that it is a trite holiday. Everyone is forced to “buy” something and that is somehow supposed to express your love for the other person?? Plus, since when did it become a holiday just for women?? It seems like it’s all about the ladies and that’s not right. We men need love and pampering too!! Yet another reason to protest V-Day.

    As you suggest, we celebrate our love for each other all year round when it doesn’t feel forced and when not everyone else is doing the same thing on the same day. We especially use birthdays as special days to honor each other with our love.

    Great post.

  4. James, nice to see you. Good point about V-day also being sexist. It’s nice to know that even a happy couple sees the shallowness of the holiday.

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are well and happy.


  5. I like Valentine’s Day myself. I like all holidays and I LOVE giving presents and choosing greeting cards. In years when I don’t have a lover to share the holiday with I buy my own gifts for myself and I treat myself extra special on that day. Yes, perhaps its a shallow holiday but its fun and flaky and well everything in life can’t be deep and meaningful. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who happen to be happily and deeply in love then its a day to celebrate that not just with each other but with the whole world!

  6. Desiree- That’s a beautiful, meaningful interpretation of V-Day. Thank you.

    I don’t think I meant to bash it as badly as it came out. It was mainly an intro to my own issues with love in general, how my own ability to feel love becomes confused by feeling obligated to give it when it is “needed”, or to be “consistent” in feeling love all the time.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  7. David,

    It’s in the nature of love that it has its ebbs and flows. Nothing makes us more vulnerable than loving someone, and this vulnerability is almost always pretty scary. So, it’s alltogether normal that we sometimes feel intense love for a person, and then, suddenly, nothing at all, or even repulsion.

    I have been in a very happy relationship with my partner for almost ten years; I have no doubts that I love him very deeply, but sometimes, even almost directly after feeling very intense affection and passion for him, I fell strangely indifferent. This feeling passes rather quickly, and I once again feel the same warmth for him. Although I trust him and am confident he would never take advantage of my vulnerability, I can’t help that automatic, brief, protective withdrawal. I see him sometimes going through the same process. We recognized it very early in our relationship, and it soon ceased to bother us. We see the “cool” periods as also a function of our love.

    The process is very similar to what occurs in a psychotheraputic session, when the patient hits upon something particularly revealing. Frequently the patient will comment upon an emotional numbness, as through the session had never taken place.

    David, I come from a family of musicians, and I understand the fear that led to the break- up of your romance. (I, in fact, am the only non musician. My father told me that I had the talent, but not the passion for music. He understood that other things in life mattered to me more.) It’s none of my business, but couldn’t the relationship be saved? There are some people who could understand that loving and being loved by a musician requires certain adjustments, but is, in fact, possible.

  8. Bruce,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and supportive comment. Though your idea to rekindle the relationship is a good one, and it crossed my mind, it cannot happen in this case. Unfortunately, he had some serious problems with alcohol and drug use. Love cannot heal someone like that. I did’t want to cloud my post with such a depressing fact, but I’m sure it clarifies my decision for you.

    I now know the kind of passion I am capable of with someone. I am grateful for having had it. It’s unfortunate it can’t continue with him, but the search continues.

  9. David,

    I’m somewhat of a prude when it comes to alcohol and drug use. Zero tolerance. When I’m with my partner, I want him to be present for me, as I am for him. If there’s a screen of booze and drugs between us, well, he simply isn’t all there, is he? You’re absolutely right, love can’t heal someone like that. They have to heal themselves.

  10. My father died on Valentine’s Day this year. I know it’s trivial, trite etc., but for me there’s a certain appropriateness in the fact that a much-loved man was finally released from his suffering on the day devoted to love (obviously I’m not talking about eros here, but also about agape, storge and the rest). That is the way I will prefer to think of it in future.
    I really like your site, btw – I would like to link to it, if I may. As it happens, I used to be a professional clarinettist (specializing in bass clarinet) myself until I had an accident and had to stop.

  11. Carwyn- I’m sorry about your fathers passing. You will have a poignant reminder each Valentines Day.

    How cool that you played bass clarinet. I love that instrument, and would have specialized on it if I hadn’t gottn a principal job.

    Please feel free to link to me. I will stop by and say hello as well.

    best wishes,

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