It’s Valentine’s Day: Do You Know Where Your Sweetheart Is?

Heart & Sole by elainevdw.

Not my feet, but wow, this looks like fun!   Photo by elainevdw; creative commons license.

For a born romantic, I’ve never really been a fan of Valentine’s Day.  Maybe that’s because, to me, the best way to show me affection is throughout the year rather than with a dozen roses on the same day everyone else gets a dozen roses and a card  from Hallmark.  I have much fonder thoughts of Valentine’s Day in terms of the birds, to be honest.  The birds here in North Florida start scoping out nesting spots around mid-February, and that’s a sweet thought for me.  It’s natural, yes.  Biology-driven, yes. It’s also without pretense.  Good for those birds!

Being single and not in a traditional relationship is not always easy come mid-February.  Annoying, most of the time, because the women at work want to preen over the flowers on their desks, sent to work to show everyone that someone loves them (or succumbed to guilt).  And that’s another part of my impatience with February 14th–the ads that say “Show your love”…with flowers, candy, cards, etc.   To me, the sweetest of sweethearts have shown their love in little things, special things that no one else would notice but mean the world to me.   Can you tell how much I hate the commercialization of what should be special occasions?

This year, I have a choice of lovers to spend Valentine’s Day with, but I’m thinking of taking a trip instead, partly because I don’t want any of these men to feel an undue pressure about our relationship on this particular day, and I know them well enough that they will and I don’t want them–or me–to feel awkward.  I also don’t want to have to choose one over the other and risk hurting feelings.

I won’t get into my usual rant about how Valentine’s Day is a form of prostitution or either a form of forced commerce by florists, but I’d like to note two things for other single women to take to heart:

1.  Ignore books about how he’s just not into you.  This is just another way to beat yourself up and bruise your self-esteem because your relationship doesn’t look like someone else thinks it should.  Adult men with real obligations, particularly of the family sort,  can be very into you and not act on it in the way that an 18-year-old without any family responsibilities would.  The men in my life about whom people have uttered, “Maybe he’s just not that into you,” were VERY “into” me but had to make sacrifices in their relationships for family and career.  Just because  I haven’t legally married any of them doesn’t negate their feelings for me or mine for them during our relationship.  On the other hand, I was married for many years to a man who really…truly…just wasn’t that into me.  Only you know the real feelings between you, and they’re not always obvious by your relationship status on MySpace or Facebook.

2.  If you’re looking to attract a sweetheart into your life, the best way to do it is by just being happy.   You don’t have to go bar-hopping or join a local hobby group.  If you’re happy, someone wonderful WILL show up.  When I look back at the sweetest romantic relationships of my life, I was at a happy, glow-y place in my life and when and where I least expected it, someone wonderful showed up–in a random group of friends, in a random online forum, in the reception area of a professional’s office, standing in line at the grocery store at midnight.  These were all men that were so perfect for me that I couldn’t have had them personally designed for me any better than they were.   Some had been under my nose for years and I never knew.  In none of those cases was I out desperately looking for my Valentine or fretting over being alone.  I was content with what I was doing and who I was, and they found me.

So if you don’t have a sweetheart this year or your sweetheart isn’t in town to celebrate, be your own sweetheart and go celebrate yourself.    Happiness first, then everything else falls into place.