Here we are. Some call it Valentine's Day, some call it Single Awareness Day, some just call in Wednesday. Call it what you want *que T-Swift*. Regardless of how you view the day, restaurants are packed, candy companies are thriving, millions of flowers are dying, and social media feels like a series of short chick-flicks.
I'm not one to hate on Valentine's Day. I like the idea of a day dedicated to love. Love is the best.
Except for when love isn't the best.
True, selfless, sacrificial love is the best. But the love our culture tends to depict, the love we see in movies, tv shows, and social media, is not a accurate picture of love.
It's a lie. A very convincing and appealing one at that.
I love a good, sappy love story and the romance of a fairytale. I get "all the feels" when a guy sees a girl walking towards him (in slow motion, with wind in her hair even though they are indoors), falls in love with her (even though they don't know each other), pursues her, never gives up on her, worships the ground she walks on, and they live happily ever after. It's all about the passion, the excitement, the "I can't live without you" mentality.
...And there would be no problem with liking these stories and tales, until we start viewing them as truths, and expect them in our life. It can actually have a real, negative impact on our relationships.
Have you ever watched a romantic movie, or maybe observed another couple in public and thought, how come I don't have that?
We start wondering why our significant other isn't more romantic, why they don't put more time into making us feel loved and special, why they don't look at us or desire us the way other couples do with each other, and why things aren't more exciting.
And it can also turn personal. We wonder why we aren't good enough to be treated like that.
But... no one is. At least not forever.
For me, it's Noah from The Notebook, Edward (okay.. and Jacob) from Twilight, and Jack from This is Us (RIP). Yes, I know they aren't real (in particular, the vampire and werewolf are likely fictional) but when I see how they "love", I want it!
It may seem silly, but if any part of us is comparing our partner or love to these stories, we are comparing them to something that isn't even real. We are putting expectations on them that are not realistic, and will leave us BOTH feeling disappointed.
This also holds true for when we compare our relationship to other couples we may know personally. Unless you are with that couple 24/7, you actually don't know what their relationship is like or how they treat each other, therefore have no real grounds to compare.
Here me out, I am absolutely not saying that if you are in a relationship with someone who disrespects or belittles you that you should just lower your expectations. Especially if you aren't married, you should reconsider that relationship. No one should be treated that way.
But for those of you who know you're with the right person that you love, and want to spend your life with, consider where your expectations for them are coming from.
Real love sometimes looks like ordering a pizza and watching a crime show. Sometimes it's arguing about something silly because you are grumpy from a long day, but apologizing and hugging it out before bed. Sometimes it's walking through some really tough stuff with your partner, and even though you don't understand, being their shoulder to cry on. Sometimes it's listening to a person talk about sports you don't care about (love you, hubby).
It's USUALLY NOT what we see in movies, tv, or the "perfection" that is depicted on social media.
So on a day like today, when love is supposed to be so glamorous and grandiose, it's easy for people to end up feeling disappointed in their partner.
It's easy to see how other people are being "loved" today and feel like you aren't getting as much. It's easy to fall into the trap of comparison, even when you are comparing to something that is fictional.
If this resonates with you, consider if there are any cultural lies about love you are believing. Could it benefit your relationship to stop comparing your partner to other couples you see? If your expectations for them are too high and unreasonable, try to lower them. You may find you are both much happier. It doesn't mean that they can treat you poorly, it just means that you aren't holding them to an unrealistic standard that will naturally leave you feeling disappointed.
There are many different ways people show love. Try to focus on why you love your partner and how they love you in THEIR way, not how their love compares to Ryan Gosling.
Happy Valentine's Day, Single Awareness Day, and/or Wednesday to all of you!