GETTING WHAT YOU REALLY WANT ON VALENTINE’S DAY
Sedie lives in Massachusetts and owns a business called Yarn Obsession. Her area has been hard hit this week with piles of snow. With the kids out of school and schedules disrupted, Sedie had to get creative with ways to stay in touch with her social media community and care for her family during a somewhat chaotic time. She made a fabulous video to show her followers just how much snow they have and the fun snow maze that her husband dug out for the kids to play in. This was a genius move. It allowed her to stay connected, but provided some explanation as to why her attentions may be more divided than her clients are used too. Anyone who sees the video clearly understands in a fun way that they are dealing with some serious conditions.
This made me think about wishful thinking and the consequences that come with getting what we think we want. For those of us who love snow, we go around singing let it snow, let it snow, let it snow every time we hear of the possibility in the forecast. As long as that snow does not interfere too much in our daily routines, we are perfectly content. Once the kids start to get bored and the joyous snowball fights turn into complaints of frozen hands, our excitement begins to wane just a bit. Over the next day or so as the snow turns from a blinding white to a dirty brown, the excitement fades a bit more. Once the snow reaches epic proportions and we begin to count just how many meals we can make with the few rations we have left, we might begin to rethink our let it snow chant. This could be the moment that we actually form the thought, “what was I thinking?”
Valentine’s Day seems to bring on this type of wishful thinking. With advertisers selling flowers, fancy dinners, weekend trips and diamonds everywhere we look, it triggers our brain cells to start thinking about things that we may not be ready to consider, but the message is clear that we should be. Add to this the stress that comes from family and friends who want to know all our juicy details. While a simple Valentine’s dinner with no strings attached might be what we really want, it does not make a good romantic story the next day. With this kind of Valentine’s Day pressure placed on what we should expect, it can confuse what we think we want with what we really want.
This can happen at any stage in a relationship. Singles feel the pressure to not be single. You may be perfectly content in your world where you live on your terms and have to answer to no one. Then February 14th rolls around and all of sudden you catch VD Syndrome. This is a horrible condition to suffer from. It is one in which you begin to think that just because you are single, everyone around you assumes there must be something awful about you. You must have some big secret, like a venereal disease that you are hiding.
The only way you can possibly squash this unfounded belief is by scoring a Valentine’s Day date, whether you really want one or not. Then before you know it you are dodging calls, making excuses, and trying anything you can to get rid of this Valentine’s date that you never wanted in the first place. All you wanted was for people to not see you as a complete loser. No matter what you try you just cannot get this person to get the message and go away. It was just one date on a day when everyone is expected to have a date, except this person thinks everyone expects you to fall in love on Valentine’s Day, so they did. They fell in love with you. Nothing works to get rid of them, so you finally resort to telling them that you have a venereal disease.
Great! Before everyone just suspected that you must have a venereal disease, because no one really wants to be alone. Now you have actually told someone, who is going to tell everyone, that you really do have a venereal disease. It came straight from the horse’s mouth, so there is no denying it now and you will be alone for the rest of your life even if you change your mind somewhere down the road.
Boy that really snowballed out of control. Before you were just content to be single, but then you buckled under the pressure of society. You thought you just wanted one date on Valentine’s Day so you did not have to explain yourself to everyone. Somehow you ended up with a venereal disease.
Then you have those budding relationships that quickly blossom on Valentine’s Day. You have been dating for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months. Things have been going well, but neither of you have actually spent the whole night at the other person’s place. The boundaries are clearly drawn on this is my home and you go home to your home. Then Valentine’s Day comes with the romantic dinner and the “oh so sweet” taste of the bubbly. She is in your bed and you have no complaints. This is kind of fun. Things are a little spicier. Who wants this to end? Besides, she has had more to drink than usual. It is a Saturday night. How often does Valentine’s Day come on a weekend night? There is no harm in one little sleep over.
The morning light comes. You turn over and BAM! She is there with her bedhead, makeup smeared, alcohol breath, and smiling a sweet beautiful smile that says “I’ve got you now.” Surely that is just an overreaction of your brain. It was one night and she will go back to her house today. She sweetly says, “Good morning, babe. Let me go freshen up.”
Once she is done in your bathroom, you head in to clean up for the day and there is no room for your shaving stuff. She has a toothbrush, hairbrush, curling iron, and makeup bag all arranged nicely on your counter, which she now calls a vanity. Your first instinct is to run right back out of the bathroom and set her straight. She needs to collect her things and take them back to her house. But who wants to overreact, remember last night was pretty good and you do not want to do anything that is going to keep that from happening again. She will take this stuff with her when she goes.
Before you know it, it is dinner time and she is asking what you want for dinner. You want to say, “Dinner at my place or dinner at YOUR place.” You know, just as a reminder that she has a place of her own. Maybe it is still too early to point that out just yet. If it begins to look like she is going to stay another night, then maybe you will give a gentle nudge toward her place.
Well, now it is July 4th and her place really does have a better view of the fireworks display. This could be the best time to suggest that you guys go to her place for the evening. But is this a good idea? Does she even have her place anymore? You are not sure if you want to know the answer to that question. As long as you think she still has her place, you can have hope that one day the vanity will transform back into your bathroom counter. You can even keep telling yourself that you do not have a live in girlfriend. She just spends the night every once in a while, which just happens to roll around about every 24 hours.
By Thanksgiving surely you have this worked out. After all, you are now discussing which family to visit and when. Since things have gotten to this point, you decide that it is time to accept that you really do have a live in girlfriend. You have not asked her to pitch in toward the bills, because you have understood that she still has to pay for her place. But wait, does she even have this place anymore? What if she has been living with you all this time for free and saving her money? It is definitely time to have a talk. You do not want to ruin Thanksgiving, so you hold off for a week or so.
Finally, you sit her down and say we need to talk about where we stand as a couple. She has no idea where you are coming from since clearly you have been living together for 9 months. What is there to talk about? You discover that she has not had her place for 8 months now, but she has never, not once, offered to help out with the bills. She thinks you are being ridiculous. Everyone knows that the man pays the bills and the woman uses her income for womanly upkeep. That is how all relationships are supposed to work. This is not how you ever imagined a relationship working. There is big blow up fight. You tell her to get out.
Now she is so distraught over having to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve alone that she loses her mind. She becomes your worst nightmare. She moves in with a friend that feeds her fire with venomous statements of what a terrible uncaring person you are. What kind of man breaks up with his girlfriend just before Christmas? She spends Christmas day crying into a bowl of nuts as she slowly and methodically pretends that each nut she cracks is yours.
By New Year’s Eve, she dries her tears, pulls herself together, and realizes that if she heads over to your place to pick up a few things she left behind, she may be able to get you to remember what you guys once had. New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to not want to spend the night alone. She could use that to her favor. If she could just convince you to spend one more night with her, maybe you guys could get back on track. She convinces herself that it was just the pressure of the holidays that become too much and broke you guys up.
You, on the other hand, feel a weight off your shoulders. You have your freedom back. Just to prove it, you ask the beautiful new neighbor down the hall to go out with you on New Year’s Eve. You and this lovely new lady are sharing a glass of wine and discussing where to go for dinner, when there is a knock at the door. It is HER. She sees you with this new lady and becomes violent. She grabs the cherished baseball bat from your childhood displayed on the living room wall and beats you to a pulp. She runs off while your new friend calls 911.
You thought you wanted a hot night in the sack and you were willing to make a few concessions along the way to get it. You ended up with a body cast, missed work, court dates for the restraining order, and almost a year of your life wasted.
If you think that is bad, it can get worse. Let’s say you have been dating for a year or so when Valentine’s Day rolls around. It has been an appropriate amount of time for a possible engagement. With all the jewelers seeking your attention, you could not help but look at some engagement rings. They are really pretty and a few would be much prettier on your finger. Neither of you have brought up the subject of marriage, but he knows that it is time. Valentine’s Day is when everybody gets engaged. Does not matter that you have not talked about how you handle finances, how many kids you want, or confronted the fact that he is Catholic and you are Jewish.
He plans a special get away weekend filled with the adventurous stuff you love, including skydiving. As you guys plunge through the air, he asks you to take the plunge of your life and marry him. You are thrilled! You get so excited that you forget to pull your cord on time. Before you know it you are landing in the tops of trees. You get pretty banged up and lose an arm, but at least it was not the left arm, so your ring still looks really good on your finger.
Once everyone has both feet on the ground and wedding plans begin to take off, you discover that his family expects you to convert to Catholicism and raise any kids that you may have as Catholics. This puts a real damper on things. How could you guys not have discussed this before now? You have already started planning the big day and big bucks have been paid. Besides, that sure is a beautiful ring on your finger, so maybe this one compromise will not be so bad. You do not really practice your religion anyway and once the kids come maybe he will change his mind. By then you will have him convinced to at least allow the kids to learn about your religion and decide for themselves. It is not like you just decided one day that you were going to become a Baptist or Methodist. You were born a Jew. Your religion is your heritage, so he cannot deny you teaching your kids that. Also, the world is changing and Catholics are becoming more open minded. When the time comes it will be different.
Once you are married, you guys begin to look at houses. You find a beautiful home that you cannot live without. The down payment is an arm and a leg. It has always been the practice in your family that when a girl gets married the family pays for the wedding. When a boy gets married, since the family does not contribute to the high cost of a wedding, they provide an equivalent sum for the down payment for a home. Therefore, you expect his family to do the same. However, his family does not have the finances to do this. They believe that the husband and the wife should each contribute equally to purchase a home. This is a huge stumbling block in your relationship. After all, you already paid an arm for the ring. If you contribute equally, you will use up every bit of your savings. It will take you a long time to recover financially, if you ever do. You are committed to your marriage and you really want this home, so you give in.
As a little girl you imagined yourself as the perfect mom with two perfect kids, a boy and a girl. Then a day came when you agreed to forego your religion for his without considering the impact that had on your use of birth control. A decade and seven kids later you are worn down. You have always been a little on edge with some anxiety issues. Seven kids with one arm pushed that to the edge of no return. You have slowly, but surely lost, a little more balance in your life with each new kid. You lose your temper easily, make a lot of mistakes, do not care for yourself, and have little connection with your kids, let alone your husband. You have been unable to hold a steady job with your health problems and inability to focus on work when you are at work. You are on prescription medications for several mental health issues, but those do not seem to be working. One day it all becomes too much and you just lose it.
You just wanted an engagement ring. Instead, you ended up losing sight of who you were. You lost your arm, religion, money, and family. Had you been more careful about what you wished for the wish would have been for the right kind of relationship for you, rather than the engagement ring.
Moral of the story is do not allow Valentine’s Day expectations or pressure from others confuse you about what you really want.
Do you really just want a date for one night, or do you just want others to not perceive you as a loser? If you do not want a date, then do not go on one just because it is Valentine’s Day. If you really want a date so that you can share in a special night without it getting out of hand, then simply ask a friend to go out with you. Choose someone who will not read too much into it, and make sure they do not by stating upfront what you really want. You would be surprised to discover that there are men and women who want the same as you.
Do you really want the person to spend the night, or do you just not want the sex to end? On the front end, it is probably wiser to forego the alcohol consumption to avoid anyone having the excuse that they cannot drive home. If you find that it is too late for that and you really do not want to wake up beside this person, then you should pay for the cab. In today’s wacky dating world, it is wise for men and women to always keep enough cash on them to pay for a cab. You never know when you will need to escape from someone or need to send someone on their way. But no matter what happens, under any circumstances, do not ever allow anyone to stay in your bed longer than you want them there. This may mean that you never see them again, but that is better than a body cast.
Do you really want to be married to this person, or do you just want a shiny ring and a big day that is focused on you? If you have not discussed the important factors that come with marriage, then it does not matter what day of the year a ring is presented to you, you cannot accept that ring. People think there are only two answers to a marriage proposal, yes or no. It is perfectly acceptable to say, “Yes, I would like to talk about marriage before accepting your ring and announcing it to everyone else.” If you are in a relationship you are comfortable in, but you only want a ring at this point, without the commit of marriage, then strongly hint or ask for a ring that is not an engagement ring.
If you are the one feeling pressured to make a proposal just because it is Valentine’s Day, you should also think about what you really want. Do you want to propose, or just make a grand romantic gesture? It is on trend to make grand gestures of proposals. Unless, you have had all the important conversations and know for sure that the answer is yes, never, ever, and I mean NEVER, propose in public. You may set a ball rolling that does not stop until well beyond someone losing an arm. If you just want the excitement of a grand romantic gesture, it does not have to include an engagement ring no matter how long you have been dating.
Hopefully this helps you figure out what you really want before Valentine’s Day arrives. Stay true to your needs and desires. Above all else be honest with yourself about what you want, and then do not be afraid to live with it. Others will just have to get over themselves.