At the end of another Valentine’s Day you’ve either had a lovely time, feel miserable because you’re on your own or couldn’t care less either way. Unless you’re a florist or chocolate seller then you’re at home counting your money! It’s a funny thing this Valentine’s Day stuff. It’s been around for a long time, going back to Chaucer in the 14th Century, although these days it seems to have been over-taken by commercialism.
Why just one day to celebrate love? Didn’t The Beatles sing ‘All You Need Is Love’? If that’s true why is it such an elusive thing to find? I kissed a girl for the first time at 13, I’m almost 48 now and in all that time I’ve been in love 3 times – spanning 18.5 years, just over half of the 35 years that have passed. And yet, as I sit writing this I don’t feel lonely. I have been lonely many times in my life, but today I’m lucky and that cloud doesn’t sit over me.
It is often said that you only truly miss something, or someone, when they, or it, is gone. I think this is true. How often have I felt that I needed more time to myself and that the other person wasn’t giving me ‘space’, well now I have all the space i could want. I think we can conclude that space isn’t what I need. As a therapist I often ask what someone wants from a relationship and the answer is usually ‘to sit on the sofa on a Saturday night watching tv with the person I love’. When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time how often does that just seem daft or soppy? Passion in a relationship is vitally important, but true love – that feeling of being wanted and wanting that person – is in feeling at one with your partner. Sometimes to hold hands is as passionate as the wild and crazy sex of the new couple and the most intimate moment in any relationship is the first kiss. The feeling of electricity that happens when the gap is broken between two people for the very first time. Once done it can never be found again. A barrier has been crossed and your lives change.
Is Valentine’s Day a cynical ploy by supermarkets, card shops, chocolate and flower sellers? You could see it that way or you could thank those people for giving you the chance to give a token of what you really feel. And what of the single person? The person who hates this day because the world seems to be mocking them for their lack of companionship? It is just another day and you have no idea what tomorrow brings. I have a close friend who told me for over two years that she would never find someone. She was committed to growing old and lonely and one day late last year a man came into her life and turned her heart upside down. I dare say she has had a most wonderful day. Sometimes it takes a while and sometimes we kiss the frogs and the bunny boilers, but if we keep open to it then the fairytale can come true. You just have to believe and never let go of what it is that you want. Love is a wonderful thing and, in my experience, the pain has always been worth it.