The Part of Valentine’s Day I Didn’t Talk About

Photo by Rachel Claire on

I’ve been back and forth for years on how to handle my relationships, particularly my marriage.  I’ve been with my husband for 20 years this year.  We’ve grown up together, we’ve lost together, we’ve won together, we’ve loved hard and fought harder.  When you’re in anything long term, it’s easy to get frustrated with things…like, everything.  I mentioned about a month ago that we have been seeing things differently and I’ve felt that building up. 

I woke up on Sunday feeling like I had a choice: accept that we are on different paths and learn to separate and end this knowing we both have things we want to do.  I don’t want to feel trapped waiting for someone to be on the same page as me. The other option is to lean into my flexibility and my adaptability and fully believe, in spite of our differences, that we are heading somewhere we are meant to be together.  I’ve spent so much time fixating on what HE needs to change and my vision of the future that I never looked at where I needed to be willing to bend.

I also often forget that my family has a long history of martyr syndrome: we like to pretend that we are the victims, the ever-holy self-sacrificing angels there to save our loved ones.  We’re pretty good at it—like, I think we may have brought it over when my great-grandmother came here from Italy and shared it as an ancient family secret.  It drives me INSANE, both to experience it and to recognize that I do it as well—even though I hate it being done to me.  Sometimes I cling so desperately to my vision of how things should be that I completely lose sight of how others may feel or what they want.

For every aspect of my relationship that I’m tired of and “over,” there are so many other facets that I appreciate.  I struggle with being the fiscally responsible one, the one who has to say no to everything because I’m looking out for our future.  But my husband does help in his own way.  I definitely wish he would contribute in the ways that take some weight off of my shoulders, but he does important things for our family. 

After really thinking about it, maybe the choice wasn’t about staying or going—it was about letting go of my bullshit stories and expectations and own that THIS is who I am.  I need to stop controlling what I want other people to do and accept my role in this.  For example, I love a clean and organized house—but I hate maintaining it.  So sometimes things get really disorganized and it makes me anxious, but I know those times I let things get messy, I’ve spent time with my kid or I’ve been working on things that I want to accomplish.  It has been my flexibility and adaptability that I need to work on.  Life can be so much more enjoyable when you let go.  When you align with who you are and what you really want.  A gift I gave myself on this Valentine’s day was to promise to connect deeply with who I am, to be honest with every facet of myself, loving me, not apologizing for the life I want, planting both feet firmly on my path and never looking back.  I came to terms with the fact that I need to see what’s on the other side of my control and fear.  If I want to see what I’m capable of, then I need to give myself that chance.  Happy Self-Love day—which can be any day 😊   

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