February 15th, 2009

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War over love?

Who knew that there could be such dissent over something as cheerful as Valentine's Day?

I am trying to understand the perspective that celebrating Valentine's Day is the same as intentionally being mean to single people. I didn't feel that way when I was single. [From 1983 to 1996, with short unsuccessful romances along the way!] I didn't feel deficient because I couldn't enter Noah's Ark with my other half. I felt that love was out there for me somewhere, and celebrated the day and the possibilities. I celebrated the love I already had in my life, good friends, wonderful children, and I looked forward to someday adding to that list. I exchanged Valentines with my loved ones and even went out to Valentine--centered events and readings of erotica. If I made love to no one but myself, I at least had that, self-love.

Is celebrating Mother's Day unkind to every woman who wants children she can't have? Should women with children never mention them for fear of hurting childless (not by choice) women? Should those with parents not mention them in front of people like me who've lost theirs? If you have a great relationship with your dad should I demand that you censor any mentions of him because mine abandoned me? No, not at all, and I will be happy for you because I know how fortunate you are! I am glad that someone somewhere has such a relationship with their dad, even if it makes me sad for a moment or two.

I remember sometimes being discouraged and doubting that romantic love would happen for me. Sometimes my faith lagged, as an abandoned daughter, a large woman, an outspoken and stubborn person, I couldn't imagine I'd find someone who valued my traits. The very things other people have a problem with are the things Dave is attracted to. I can't believe he is the last man on the planet who loves strong women.

But if I hadn't done a certain amount of work on myself to be open to a wider variety of people, I might have overlooked him. His qualities weren't on the narrow list I had made in my head years before. I also had done some work on learning to be better at relationships, something I wasn't taught in my family at all. I practiced on my friends. [Thank you all for your patience!] Without that work maybe I couldn't have sustained this relationship. It hasn't always been smooth sailing but we've managed to communicate well enough to get through. Maybe I couldn't have done that even a few years earlier.

Also, if I had met him sooner, HE wouldn't have been ready, because he was entangled with someone who rather exploited his good qualities and had him tightly hooked. So I had to wait, though I didn't know there was someone specific I was waiting for.

Perhaps another way to look at it is that if all these other people can find love, I can too, I'm just as smart as they are! They don't have any special quality that I haven't got!

Romantic love isn't better, just different. I can't say I love my husband more intensely than I do my children or grandchildren, or friends, for instance, or delight in him more. He fills a different role, certainly, but I was just as quick to buy cards for my family as for him this V Day.

I don't know if it helps anyone, but that's how I looked at V Day when I was single. I celebrated the love in my life then, even while hoping for more. On a planet of over 6 billion people, I do believe that not only is there someONE for everyone, but more than 1 someone may be compatible with any prospective lover.

I certainly don't wish to hurt anyone's feelings. Perhaps I can set up a V Day filter and those who don't wish to hear about it at all each year can choose not to be on that filter. I could even use the same filter for those who don't want to hear about my anniversary. But I'm not going to stop delighting in Valentine's Day, even if fate should find me single again one day.