Valentine’s Day! Ugh! I dread it every year. I don’t know why it bothers me so. My husband and I see this holiday very differently. He thinks it’s just a marketing ploy to make people spend unnecessary money. I think it’s a time to show your significant other how much you care. I know that it’s just a regular old day and I know that caring goes beyond February 14th. But, I just want my husband for once to let go of his conspiracy theory about this holiday and do something that pleases me. It’s ok if he doesn’t believe in it but why can’t he just get me something or do something for me? Am I being irrational? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Should I let this go?
Dear Just Once,
You are not making a big deal out of nothing because this means something to you! We are aware that there are those that think Valentine’s day is a holiday for businesses to make money…and that is not entirely false. However, it is a holiday that many use to express their love in various ways. Our first thought when reading your inquiry is, how is your marriage throughout the year? Do you feel heard? Do you feel like he makes an effort to do things that please you throughout the year?
In the book, “Be My Wolff,” by Emma Richler, there is a conversation between friends: “He wonders aloud at the origins of valentining. 'You're right,' Rachel says. 'It is a verb. Can be. And birds valentine each other, make mating calls. And usually mate in mid-February. You see?’ ‘But why Valentine?' asks Zach. 'Why valentining?' 'There were many Saint Valentines,' offers Tasha. 'I don't know what the link is between their martyrdom and love letters.' Zach is not very interested in the old tradition or the archaic verb. He is not bothered by the mating calls of passerines or the saints named Valentine and their associated symbols—he is merely fishing. Does Rachel think the tradition silly? If he were to send her a valentine, how strange would that be?”
We empathize with the disconnection between you and your spouse around this issue. And we do not believe you are being irrational. May we suggest you speak with him on this matter and ask that he, instead of buy something for you, do something nice for you? If that doesn’t work, would you and he consider marital counseling? This Valentines issue could be a sign of something more amiss in the relationship and receiving support with an objective person and trusted professional may assist you both in reaching a place where you both feel understood and heard. We hope that you feel heard and cherished Valentine’s day and every day!
I have recently moved to Atlanta from the Midwest for a job opportunity and it’s better than I imagined it would be. I love my job, love the variety of restaurants and things to do BUT there’s one thing that is missing. I have a best friend back home that I miss so much. It’ not the regular kind of missing, though, I don’t think. I think I love her. I think I love her more than a friend. It took me moving to realizing that, perhaps, she is the one. How do I broach this topic without it becoming weird between us? We’ve been friends since middle school and I don’t want to lose her as a friend by professing my love. At the same time, I don’t want to pass an opportunity to be with someone that I could spend the rest of my life with.
Friend to Future Mate
Dear Friend to Future Mate,
Congratulations on the recent move and job! What an exciting time in your life! And wow! What a revelation! As quoted in “Beauty and the Beast” by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, “Alas! I thought I had only a friendship for you, but the grief I now feel convinces me, that I cannot live without you.” Any big transition can make one see situations with a clarity greater than ever before! And if this is the case, do tell her. We believe in love and believe that there is much to lose when we don’t speak our truth. We also wonder if the love you feel for your friend feels like something more because you are grieving your life and friend back home. We have to wonder why you didn’t realize this before and if you had reasons (conscious or unconscious) for not pursuing the relationship before.
As expressed in the quote, grief can convince us of many things. Ask yourself, “Is there a reason I didn’t pursue it before?” The more information you have for yourself about yourself and your decision, the more present you can be when or if you decide to have this conversation with your friend. It may get weird if she doesn’t feel the same BUT the upside is you can still be friends. AND if she does feel the same…well, you have the opportunity of spending the rest of your life with your best friend! Wishing you a sweet conversation with your best friend!
Pegge Riley, LPC and Angela Wacht, LPC are Counselors and Directors of Sage Center: Counseling, Consulting, and Creative Community Wellness. They are here to provide suggestions and guidance about everyday life. To submit a question or concern to Sage Advice go to www.SageCenterAtlanta.com and click on the Sage Advice tab. The advice in this column is general and is not intended as actual counseling for specific issues or concerns. If you need to address more specific issues requiring more intensive focus, please contact Sage Center at 404-419-6221 or visit our website at www.SageCenterAtlanta.com