Ahhh, February! The month of romance. It’s when significant others feed into the consumerism of Valentine’s Day and forget the actual reason for celebrating it- much like Christmas and Carnival. (If you’re single, scroll down, there’s something in here for you too.)
Over the years we’ve been fed this idea of what romance is. The guy bringing us flowers, making proper dinner reservations at a beautiful location, chocolates and uhh, I can’t even bring myself to finish this rubbish. Ok, it’s not total rubbish. I, myself love big romantic gestures. I love all those things I listed in fact. But what maddens me is people’s fantastical idea in general about the day.
With social media, it’s worsened. It’s more so become this trend to post what your boo did for you on Valentine’s with a big dramatic post about a love like no other.
But when last have you looked at your relationship dead in the face?
Is my relationship meeting my emotional, romantic, sexual and other needs? Am I meeting my significant others needs? Have we fallen into complacency and just sort of...exist in the same space together doing traditional couple things to make us believe that we are still very much still connected the way we used to be?
Valentine’s Day should also be a sobering day. It’s a time to reflect and communicate (so should it be that way year round but more auspicious, you know?). If you determine things aren’t healthy (because things can never be perfect) maybe it’s a time for some conversation and rekindling.
By rekindle I don’t mean all that fancy bullshit about candle lit dinner and spicing up the sex.
I mean rekindle your soul connection. You both are likely not the same persons you met a year ago or 20 years ago, so who is this beautiful individual in front of me now and how do I meet them at their needs and how do they meet me at mine?
Relationships force us to face ourselves and if they don’t, you’re not doing it right.
What defines healthy relationships? A lot of things but here’s a short list:
Raw, honest communication.
Poking fun at each other but never touching an insecurity.
Equal power dynamics. Know where person A calls the shots and person B does and where you both come to decisions. Eg person A may be better with money and should therefore do most of that with person B’s considerations and opinions mattering.
Being open about past traumas.
Remembering YOU are responsible for healing from those traumas and your partner is there for support, not to actually stitch your wound.
Honesty with yourself, your changes and who you are.
Words of affirmation,
Acts of service.
Making sure to pay attention to wins and losses and knowing how to celebrate or support both of those.
These are just some ways of having a healthy relationship. It’s okay to admit failure as a significant other because admitting failure is the first step to changing behaviour and working toward being a better you and partner. Don’t let Valentines come and go and all you did was eat dinner and post a picture. Use this month as a month to make some changes, so a counselor or whatever and improve on making this a life partnership and not just a “relationship,” where two people just have someone to do couple things with.
For the Single One.
I’ve been single three years to just a few days before Valentines Day (YUP). I’ve had maybe 2 potential somethings where myself and both individuals say, yea, we’re exes but...I still don’t count them since I had been in a committed relationship that was a hot minute. So technically single 3 years.
I have had to realllllllllllly learn to love MY own company.
I went from texting someone everyday for a long time to having no one to talk to all day everyday. Someone to go to gym, church, clubs and suddenly I was doing it all alone. No more waking up Saturday 7am to go by him and take a nap together till 2pm. No more staying up late well into Friday night just talking. I would come home Friday and be confused, what do I do with my time? I’d wake up Saturday and have to go back to my own bed. It was a major transition for me that took time.
Valentines Day used to be hard for me. Not only was he my first and only Valentine, but he made a big deal about it the years that we had them.
Then we ended quite close to the day.
This year I will be happily home, wrapped up in my covers watching anime. To reach here took a lot of self care. To be so ok with being alone that Valentine's Day feels like a day to love up myself: no phone, no guy to go on a date with, no Galentines (celebrating Valentines with a girlfriend(s))...just me.
Valentines Day, I know better than anyone else can be hard when you’re single. The place is full of love and couples and you’re reminded of loneliness. But who decided that your own company was lonely? You have hobbies, you have TV shows you love, books even, you can make your company great! Valentines isn’t a time for anyone to be lonely, you can celebrate it with your family, with your friends, with your pets or just yourself. Love comes in so many forms, it’s hard not to spend Valentine’s Day with someone you love. Even if that someone is just you.
Like I said, it took me some time to reach here but I promise you can too. One day I’ll write about the steps I took to heal but for now, I hope this helps you this Valentines.
You, my dear- you have a galaxy inside of you: stars and comets. When you let the black hole of loneliness swallow you, you allow your stars to die. Relax and be at peace with your company because many people laugh and smile when you are around, so why don’t you do that with yourself?
The world has so much more to offer than a candle lit dinner or a good morning text.
Don’t trade your stars for butterflies.
Caribbean Spyce is a proud alumni of Hillview College and graduated Bsc Psychology, First Class Honours, UWI, St. Augustine. A member of honours society, Psi Chi.
Follower her on Instagram! @caribbeanspyce