Keeping Valentine’s Day Real

Are you one of the millions of readers who had a disappointing Valentine’s Day? Maybe you didn’t have a date and you mildly reflected on the scores of happy couples who did. Perhaps you had a date, but found that it lacke zest and passion. Well the reality of the situation is that millions of people will be disappointed with this holiday because it doesn’t measure up to what they think a romantic holiday should. Not only is it your own expectations but societal expectations that add to the frustration.

Did you know that Valentine’s Day can be the most disappointing holiday of the year? I see an influx of couples and individuals who are situationally depressed after this holiday. Undoubtedly, their depression is a result of an anticlimactic Valentine’s Day. Although this day is set aside as a celebration of love, for many couples it turns out to be just another day.

Many of my single clients report that they didn’t have a date for Valentine’s Day, which left them feeling discouraged and lonely. It reminded them of their fear that they would never find Mr. or Ms. Right. I tell them that their work is to enjoy their single life and ignore the holiday that focuses on being part of a couple. I reassure them that this holiday is a disappointment for many couples. At least 50% of the clients I talk to have no plans for Valentine’s Day. They need to put a new spin on the day by expressing love to people who hold a special place in their life.

My married clients complain that the holiday does not meet their need for romance. They hope for a special evening of dinner, a thoughtful present and a passionate kiss to no avail. Their expectations are undoubtedly too high. As a result, they end up feeling taken for granted and unappreciated.

Why do we expect so much from our partners?
In developing healthy relationships, you need to be realistic about what you need and want from your partner. Many people enter a relationship hoping that the other person will “complete them”. Although having a partner may make you feel like you are “a better fit” in society, most often a partner will challenge you emotionally.

Marital therapist believe that the greatest insecurities, wounds, and unmet needs manifest when you couple up with someone. They explain that old childhood wounds surface when you are in a relationship. Often, you will see a pattern where your spouse disappoints you in the same way that a parent did. It is not uncommon to pick a partner who unconsciously triggers the same issues you experienced in childhood.

The good news is that you get a second chance to work out the conflict or work on the issues that originated in childhood. When you are in a one-on-one relationship you have the greatest opportunity to grow. Why? Because being part of a partnership triggers those unmet needs and requires that you figure out how to resolve old issues.

Regardless of whether you agree with this premise or not, it is important to have realistic expectations—whether you are single or married. No wonder Valentines Day can trigger so much disappointment. It is the only holiday that epitomizes the perfect relationship. And we all know, there is no such thing as the perfect relationship!

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