Happy Valentines Day? Well it depends. When singleness strikes, most of us don’t feel very happy at all on V Day. The barrage of happy couples on TV, reminders every time you turn around to buy the latest jewelry trinket for the relationship that you don’t have, and this feverish feeling that everyone but you has a picturesque relationship. In fact, Valentines day, aka Singles Awareness Day, often feels like the stupidest or the saddest thing ever. The end of this week simply cannot get here soon enough.
Hearts-and-candy-tastic? At the risk of popping any bubbles, relationships are far from roses and gumdrops. Often. Sure, they can be beautiful and one of the most rewarding undertakings that we ever set our hearts to. But there are plenty of metaphorical scrapes and bruises along the way.
In fact, relationships can produce some of the most acute pain ever experienced. One of my favorite analogies for dating and relationships is that of a marathon. None of us roll out of bed ready to run 26.2 miles. It requires regular training, beginning with a 1 mile run, building up to 5 miles and so forth. With persistence, perhaps some good coaching, and sufficient training, anyone can take on a marathon. To connect the analogy, dating is the training and the relationship is the marathon. In both cases, there are spills and injuries and setbacks. And in both cases, the marathon or relationship are incredibly satisfying goals to achieve. Once we’ve run the marathon or chosen a relationship, we have to continue the training process to stay marathon/relationship ready. And the good news is, whether you talk to the marathon great Dean Karnazes (aka Ultramarathon Man who ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days) or anyone who’s been in a relationship for many years, it does get easier.
And I would add to what Dean says, “Every Dater Can,” or “Every Relationshipper Can.” It starts with a step, then a mile, and with persistence, the sky is the limit. Just ask Arthur, who was crippled and told by Doctors for 15 years that he would never walk again, and now he does things that many of us only dream about. So whether you are single or in a relationship, perhaps feeling a little crippled, tired, frustrated, or uncertain and wanting to take your next step toward your marathon, I would love to hear from you.
Jeremi McManus is a Relationship Coach, Psychotherapist, and Couples Therapist who works with people who want more fulfilling and satisfying relationships. His own ups and downs in dating and relating were instrumental in leading him into this field. If you feel like you could use some perspective, he looks forward to hearing from you. Jeremi is a Licensed Psychotherapist and delighted to call San Francisco home.