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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day: A Personal Love Story

Valentine's Day 2016 and 2017: A Personal Love Story

Romantic Candelit Dinner

Valentine’s Day. Single Awareness Day. Hallmark Card/Florist/Candy Maker Appreciation Day. The day has many names. People go out with their significant others, get married, get engaged, hang out with friends, go dancing, deliver gifts to workplaces. People tend to either love or hate this holiday.
I have been one of those that never really enjoyed it that much. I felt it was just another day that people happen to do romantic things on because it’s a holiday.  But the events of last Valentine’s Day, and all the days between then and today, something happened that I will continue to celebrate for many years to come.

Valentine’s Day 2016 I had set up a coffee date with someone I had “met” on a dating site. I wasn’t particularly excited about meeting him as I didn’t feel we had much in common, but I really wanted a date that day. Come Valentine’s Day, however, I had a guy messaging me that I was pretty excited about. Things we talked about led me to believe I had a lot in common with him (let’s just call him Mr. Sloth). He asked if I wanted to go get froyo. I knew I had that coffee date with the other guy, but I really wanted to break the date. So I made up some excuse to coffee guy and decided to go out with Mr. Sloth instead.

I felt bad that I had lied to coffee guy and broken an arranged date. I’ll never know how that date would have went. But the alternative happened to turn out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far.

Mr. Sloth and I hit it off right away. We spent quite a few hours just talking about things. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone I had so much in common with. We set up a date for the next weekend and became a couple soon afterward.

I was so happy. I had finally met a guy who I felt I went very well with. He had a healthy way of life, and he also had a healthy outlook on relationships, and had strong mental health. (He was very much the kind of person I wanted to be.) Without going into the reasons why, I broke it off with him after a few short months. Now, if you know me and my history, breaking off a relationship after a few months is something that has happened many a time before. But this breakup was different from many of the others because it was a healthy relationship.  It seemed to be the kind of relationship I had been looking for for years.

I was very sad that I broke up with him. And for months I regretted it and wondered if I made the wrong decision. I actually asked him to take me back and try again, but he refused for his own valid reasons. I was crushed and I took it very personally. After that, I felt horrible about myself, told that I didn’t deserve a healthy relationship. I did some things to try and sooth my pain- went back to some old habits of mine that reinforced this idea that I wasn’t good enough for real love.

I cannot tell you exactly when I began to change. But I worked through a lot of my issues, read books and watched videos about relationships and did relationship inventories. I quit dating. I quit drinking my problems away. I started to work out a lot more. Suddenly I was dealing with life in healthy ways. I was dealing with my issues in ways that I never knew I was strong enough to do. I wasn’t spending all my time and energy on thinking about men and romance. I began to recognize my patterns that led to my love addiction.  

Valentine’s Day 2016 I had hoped that I had finally met the guy who I’d eventually fall in love with and spend several years or more with.

That did not happen. What did happen was better than anything I could have imagined. I met an incredible friend who gave me strength to change my life.

Mr. Sloth of course did not change my life. But by his example and advice, I was able to figure out the tools I needed to change my life. Because I met him and learned from him, I know that my life will never be the same.

I love myself more now than I ever have. I treat myself better than I ever have. I forgive myself for my faults and my mistakes more easily. For the first time since I was a teenager, I am very happy being single. I feel free. I feel free to be myself. I find that I really enjoy my own company now. I enjoy hanging out with people as friends. I love having ample time to go out and do a variety of things in my life. I have never felt better.

Maybe one day I will find that person I will want to spend years or the rest of my life with. But for now, I am overjoyed to just be me. Maybe some of us are content to spend our lives without a romantic partner. I might just be one of these people.

No matter what happens in any future love life I have, I know one thing for certain. I love myself. I love my life. Valentine’s Day 2016 forever changed me. Valentine’s Day 2017 was a celebration of me and the most incredible year of growth I’ve had. I know my life will never be the same.