I walked through the halls, girls smiling from ear to ear, arms filled with chocolates, roses, and balloons.  They reached out and hugged the boys who had remembered them on Valentine’s.  Each year I secretly hoped that someone might admire me, and each year I was left empty handed. I think this was the beginning of my feeling of having to be something special to be admired, and I saw myself as quite plain.

Flip forward to college, I walked into my room after being in classes all morning.  I smile, and get a giddy feeling, he remembered me.  A CD with one of my favorite songs, a heart paper punch, and a rose.  I’m ecstatic!  My first Valentine’s from a boy.  Wow, it feels as good as I imagined it would.

A year later I am married to that man.  On Valentine’s he buys us a surround sound stereo system.  I’m not happy, I don’t really care about that kind of stuff.  I feel sad, knowing that the system was really purchased for himself not for me.

Many years to follow I go back to watching girls at work get flowers and chocolates and I fall back into the pattern of nothing.  I wonder if I blew it…..I should have been more grateful for the surround sound.  It is my fault that he doesn’t celebrate me.  I cry year after year feeling worthless and unimportant, eventually learning to shut down my emotions.  I hear women saying, “who cares about Valentine’s, or my husband isn’t really into that.  I relate to them, yet I still hope each year. Wishing that he would do something for me…something that I would love.  A note expressing his affection, a card telling me that I matter.  I feel forgotten and I feel like I deserve it. I come to the conclusion that he stays because he is loyal not because he loves me.  No wonder he doesn’t want to celebrate a holiday that celebrates love.

Fast forward, after my divorce…I learn that I can celebrate me, and I buy myself roses.  I smile each time I see them.

A year later, I have a cute boyfriend.  He buys me a diamond necklace and roses.  I feel so important and loved and valued.  I want to share with the world that someone saw that I had worth and value and felt me deserving of being noticed and loved.  It is beautiful and kind and appreciated.

I’m remarried now, and my new husband remembers me every year, however, Valentine’s day is still triggering.  My husband had roses, a gift, and a card waiting for me when I got up.  He made breakfast for me and my little boys.  I went to help at my son’s kindergarten Valentine’s party and when I returned home he had made the bed and scattered hearts all over it.  Then I went to my office and he had done the same.  All of his gestures of affection, how I longed most of my life for those kindnesses.  I longed to be recognized and seen.  I longed to be admired.

AND, I am still triggered.  I am still having a rough day.  It is like past triggers have returned trying to haunt me.  I feel leery and unsure of his affection.  Almost wondering what it is that he wants.  I don’t feel deserving of his affection.  I don’t feel like I am perfect enough for it to really be for me.  The worst part, is I don’t understand me.  I don’t understand why it is hard, and why I struggle with accepting all the beautiful good things that he has offered today.  He is a good man and I am grateful!

Does anyone else feel this way?

Sending Love,