IN THIS ISSUE:
Valentine's Day: It's Not Just Made for TwoBy Anita Myers
Single and in my 20's on February 14 - the month and day I dreaded for 364 days in a year. Since first grade and through high school, I saw girls who always had boyfriends, were showered with romantic gifts, and had thoughtful dates. My position was to stand back and watch with an awkward, "I'm really happy for you, but also kinda hate you for having what I want and don't have yet" smile.
I wasn't the girl guys hoped to date. Wasn't the Barbie doll or the girl next door. I was simply a tall, lanky, Indian girl who worked really hard at exhibiting confidence in everything else to make up for the insecurity I suffered. I wanted the kind of relationships I saw in the halls of junior high and high school so badly. Those coming-of-age movies that John Hughes excelled in during the '80's didn't really come to my age, I guess, and so I felt my love life kinda sucked.
The only real relationship I had was in college, and it had recently ended, and I felt miserable. I found myself in front of Chicago's adored department store, Marshall Field's.
On Valentine's Day...
Vendors hit me with a slew of questions,
"Would you like a chocolate rose?"
"Try this new fragrance on for your date tonight..."
"No. No thank you."
"Have you found something for that special someone in your - "
"Nope. I'm good."
Verbal attacks. Okay, they weren't really verbal attacks, but being in a funk on a day emphasizing love for two, I felt attacked. But as much as I hated the holiday due to my circumstances, I discovered a loop-hole that permitted me to smile: Frango.
Anytime I was melancholy or irritated, Frango found a way to make me smile. Frango was the most delicious chocolate mint that only sold at Marshall Field's. I've had a box of them at Christmas time since my childhood. They were available year-round, but I hadn't had any since I left for college years before. Frango was my bestie. I froze seeing the Frango mints counter. We were two loves on opposite sides of a field, gleefully running in slow motion toward each other. As I reached the counter and purchased a box, my perspective shifted.
Valentine's Day wasn't so bad.
Valentine's doesn't HAVE to be about having a boyfriend. THAT'S the point I missed as I soaked in years of media, community and consumer seduction to believe that if you don't have someone on Valentine's Day, then you basically suck - and it's just not true.
I had put so much emphasis on having a Valentine that I missed out on enjoying the time I could've had exploring, playing, and having fun - and I didn't need a significant other to make the experience complete! My head for decades had been conditioned to me + someone = happiness, and while it's a joy to have a plus 1, there is also 1) joy in independence and 2) comfort in good company.
I called my single friends and laughed with them. Called my Mom and told her I loved her. Went with my friends to a comedy club and turned what would be considered a dreary, salt-rubbed-in-wound kind of day into a day filled with self-appreciation, celebration of life, friendship, and acknowledgement of what love is supposed to be about on days like today - and every day.
Valentine's Day can be a time to raise our glasses and toast to the beauty of our independence through the love we build for ourselves and the friends and family who share their lives with us.
Love begins within, and we are given many signs, triggers and prompts to remind us of everything that has potential to unveil our hidden happiness.
I had been looking outward for love to come to me, when I needed to look inward to love myself and what I already had in terms of love. As random as that delicious nibble of Frango was, it nudged me to redefine Valentine's Day into a day that can honor a special kind of love that I needed to give to myself.
Even now, happily married for 14 years and mommy to our sweet little daughter, Valentine's remains a day I celebrate with those whom I love, and who love me, because Valentine's Day should not be a day just made for two - it's a day that should be made for you.
Copyright © 2015 by Anita Myers. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
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I suspect my boyfriend is cheating. What do I do?
Help! I'm so confused. I'm pretty sure my boyfriend is cheating on me. I don't know why but I feel powerless and I have no idea what to do.
And what's worse is that when I started suspected things, I did some things that I regret and don't even want to think about.
What should I do?
Dr. Dar responds ...
The feeling of being betrayed in any way is disheartening and disempowering for sure. And, if you don't talk about it, and make some different choices, the situation won't change.
Notice, I did not say he won't change or that he will change. It is the situation that is a problem. If your boyfriend cheats, and you are not supportive of an open relationship, meaning cheating is a deal breaker for you... then it is time you have a heart to heart conversation with your boyfriend about whether or not he can be faithful. If he says yes, but does not honor his word OR if he says no, then it is time for you to love yourself enough to end the relationship today.
Dr. Dar | www.StopBeingSingle.com
Linda responds ...
You're in a challenging situation. I'm curious as to why you think your boyfriend is cheating on you. What are the clues (the facts that are present, and behaviors or absence of behavior) and what is your gut telling you that indicate that he may be cheating on you?
Once you have your facts in order ask him to meet with you to discuss a few things you have on your mind.
You may feel powerless, but you have power and control over what you say, your reaction to what he says and what you do with the information once it's out there. That's a lot of power.
Deal with one thing at a time. First, deal with the concerns you have around his behavior, and listen to him, then if required, take time off to digest the information. You will also want to be truthful about how his behavior affected you and that's when you come clean about what you did. Always stay calm, start with facts and add how your emotions are affected by these facts, then be quiet and let him talk. This process should give you enough information to help you decide on your next move.
Linda G. Robert | www.lindagrobert.com
Anita responds ...
Suspicions can come from previous experience and knowledge, an inner-compass "sense" we tend to call our "gut feeling," or both. When you have this red-flag feeling, what do you do?
1) Remain in control. Keep logic in the driver's seat and buckle up your emotions in the backseat. Putting emotion in the driver's seat will feel like driving 50 miles over the speed limit, during a torrential downpour, on black ice, at night, on a busy highway. Bad idea. Logic needs to be driving.
2) Be clear. What facts do you know? What have you recognized? Write it down, and grab a trusted family member or friend to help you. Keep your vision and knowledge clear to recognize the situation as it really is.
3) Focus on your perspective and self-worth. If cheating is occurring, it is not a reflection of you. It is a reflection of the cheater. It reflects a lack of integrity, honesty, and maturity needed to maintain a stable, healthy relationship.
When you recognize your value and the logical information, you'll gain the power of truth to confront and make the proper decisions based on what you do and donít deserve.
Anita Myers | www.innerscopeconsulting.com
Judith responds ...
Have you ever discussed with your boyfriend if you are exclusive? That means that you agree not to date anybody else for the time being while you are considering whether you are right for each other and move towards becoming a committed couple for life.
If not, you may have assumed this based on your own level of commitment, but in a partnership communication is vital.
Check out the Communication Map which will help you to be open and pro-active about your requirements, needs and wants, and to listen with curiosity to learn about your boyfriend's world. It will help you check if your suspicions are founded on reality, and will allow you to respond appropriately.
Judith Halmai | www.judithhalmai.relationshipcoach.org
The opinions stated are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the staff, members, or leadership of Relationship Coaching Institute.
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
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