I’ve been asked to write a post about a topic that I was really hoping no one would ask me to write. But, I knew, sooner or later, that it was coming. It was inevitable. We’re humans, after all, and this thing has so much influence on our choices, our lives, that I might even go as far as saying that most of us are completely controlled by it.
Romantic love, love for another person, the kind responsible for giving you the most supreme of all bliss and the most dreadful of all depressions.
And hey, Valentine’s Day is coming up, so what the hell.
I don’t hate or protest Valentine’s Day, but I don’t really celebrate it (in the way America wants me to) either. Alex and I are planning to make fish tacos and drink a lot of wine. That’s what we did last year, and well…that’s pretty much what we do every night we are together. Valentine’s Day just means that we will probably drink a lot more wine than usual. But definitely no gifts.
I don’t look down upon or see couples that do exchange gifts as materialistic. If they have the money and the desire to do that, then that’s good. It just so turns out that Alex and I are both pretty damn broke right now, so the whole gift giving thing just doesn’t work for us.
Our culture is really good at making us feel like shit about not fitting into the cookie cutter example of a relationship. It tells us, if you’re forty and not married–wow, something is wrong. If you (especially guys) don’t have limitless money to spend on your significant other–you’re not worth it. If you’re long distance–why bother? If you only see each other once a week–adjust your schedule. If your relationship is interracial or same-sex–forget about it. Oh, and if you like both men and women, you’re probably just confused and “going through a phase.” And if you’re…ya know…single….then damn, something is definitely, without doubt, wrong with you and your social skills.
Because NO ONE has the relationship that America tells us we should have, we all start feeling like ours isn’t good enough, that something is dreadfully wrong. And then we get angry at the other person (or ourselves) for not being more available, richer, younger, straight-er, white-er.
WHO MADE THESE RULES?
I have had a hard time with the very thing I am writing about today (I usually write about the thing I personally need to be learning at the moment, FYI) in my own relationship. Yoga, especially when adjusting someone, has taught me that every body is 100% different from the next. Our bodies, minds, and perspectives are influenced by the lives we lead. There is not one recipe for happiness, especially when it comes to loving another person, because now you have not one but two varying lives to balance and accommodate.
I didn’t want to write about this topic because I don’t really know much about this kind of stuff. One thing that I have learned is that when you’re in a bad relationship, you know it. You can feel it, if you listen. Respect that. But, if the other person is treating you well and it all feels right, I use my go-to rule of thumb–Don’t Let America Make You Feel Like Shit.
Following this rule will also help you from forming expectations about your relationship, and this is where we can really get into trouble. See my post called “The Should Mindset” for more on this.
So celebrate the reasons why you can call your relationship different from others. Remember that what works for you and what makes you happy is probably not going to be the “perfect” relationship as described by our culture. And thank god for that. America has succeeded in creating the most boring of all relationship standards to strive for. Figure out what works for you and the other person, or maybe you alone, and love it–it’s already perfect.