A Valentine for Singles (You Are Victorious)

It’s February. You’re single. Unless you’ve held yourself hostage binging on Netflix and Domino’s since New Year’s Eve, you’ve been exposed.

At first glance, the damage is nominal. You enter the grocery store for paper towels and laundry detergent and get your first glimpse. Petite floral displays paired with heart-shaped balloons have replaced the clearance-priced holiday wreathes and pine cones.

Red and pink carnations cover the display section near the entrance, along with heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates. 

For singles, Valentine’s Day is a welcome mat of I am unlovable. It’s right there waiting; ready for us to wipe our lonely all over its face. But guess what? It doesn’t have to. We can just as easily be wiping awesome all over this day, leaving a trail of “I’m not settling” glitter in the air. A kind of pheromone-dust released only after making it to the other side of anguish born from heartbreak. It wreaks of well deserved, long overdue happiness. And why shouldn’t we be happy? It’s far better to be alone than with the wrong person.

When it comes to love, being alone and happy blows doors off of feeling alone with the wrong person. Why tread water in a crowded pool when you can save yourself alone in the ocean?

Whatever our story, when it comes to love not being right – it’s never easy to let go. Breakup casualties are everywhere. But we always survive the pain. And when going through the darkness after a breakup, the very best thing to do is remind ourselves of just how loveable we really are.

We love ourselves enough to know when it’s time to let go. We deserve to be with the one person who will make us realize why it didn’t work with anyone else.

But for some, Valentine’s Day when you’re single still feels like a trap. So many of us define ourselves by our relationship status. That’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous.

Whenever I’ve been single on February 14, I’ve called it “Victory Day” – makes more sense. When we survive emotional land mines of true love’s demise, we are victorious.

Still feel like shit on Valentine’s Day? Read this list of love lessons and remember: you’re worth more than what some candy-filled display wants you to believe.

~ ~ ~

 

  1. If someone wants you, nothing can keep them away. If they don’t, nothing can make them stay.
  2. Stop making excuses for anyone’s behavior.
  3. If you have ANY doubt in your mind about someone’s character, leave ’em alone.
  4. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.
  5. Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that’s not meant to be.
  6. Don’t force an attraction. And remember – sex isn’t love.
  7. Never live your life for anyone.
  8. If you feel like you’re being strung along, you probably are.
  9. There is nothing wrong with dining out alone. It’s sexy, even.
  10. Don’t stay because you think “it will get better.” You’ll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not.
  11. Actions speak louder than words.
  12. Never let anyone define who you are.
  13. Don’t knock masturbation (it’s sex with someone you love).

Christine Macdonald

Breakups: 5 ways to keep your sanity (and help heal your heart)

It’s been nine years since the shittiest break-up in the universe was aired on Sex and The City. You remember. In season 6, episode 7, when the dude (Jack Burger) Carrie was just talking to her BFFs about ending it with (unbeknownst to him) beat her to the punch by splitting in the middle of the night, leaving a seven word break-up post-it in the dust. Yea, that break-up.

“I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.”

Sure, its fiction, but being a die-hard SATC fan, I felt a little something when Carrie whacked that vase of carnations to the floor after her discovery. A wave of sorrow, anger, frustration, and empathy crept through my bones and I was once again impressed with how the writers of the show were able to hit a nerve.

Most of us have been there. Whether on a post-it (or these days, text message – both are equally gross), email, phone call or gasp in person, being told our love-partner wants out is one of the scariest and heart-breaking moments in our lives (surpassed only by the feeling you get when a nurse calls to schedule a timely in-person appointment – because your test results can’t be discussed over the phone – but that’s another level of scary).

Some would say the pain of a break-up is (in some ways) even harder to survive than losing a loved one to death. With loss of life, you have the brutal fact that the person is physically gone from this world – and however painful the process of accepting this fact – it’s that much harder to have the knowledge that your lost love is still walking around. Happy. Without you.

I remember my first heart-wrenching break-up. I was in my late 20s and we had been living

Christine Macdonald

Saying no, to say yes

There’s no easy way to break up with someone. Regardless of who comes to the point of realizing the relationship isn’t working – even if you both agree – someone always gets hurt.

While going through my first, [significant relationship] break up at the age of 28, I cried so hard my eyes were nearly swollen shut. I whaled in agony on the shoulder of one of my closest friends.

“I can literally feel my heart being ripped apart.”

Kimmy was all too familiar at the time, as she recently weathered a divorce, which often left her curled up in her walk-in closet, while her toddler was at day care. If anyone knew heartbreak, it was Kimmy.

“I know, honey. I know. What do you think all those songs are about? All those sappy movies? Everybody goes through this – and it sucks.”

I appreciated her trying to talk me off the ledge, and taking me in when I couldn’t bear sleeping alone.

The months following my newly found single status were a mixture of tears, alcohol, and sleeping way too much. Too depressed to eat, I dropped a few dress sizes, and lost an insane amount of energy. I don’t recommend the Heartbreak Diet to anyone.

Fast forward fifteen years, and it isn’t any easier. Sure, we’re wiser in our older age, but when it comes to matters of the heart – aren’t we all just as fragile?

I don’t have much experience playing offense in a relationship. I’ve always been the one on the receiving end of the news that I wasn’t the one. As I work on myself in therapy, I’m learning that my love patterns make perfect sense. I chose unavailable men to avoid getting hurt. It’s an emotional oxymoron, I know, but if you’re dealing with trust issues or come from a long line of unhealthy relationships, you’re probably nodding in agreement.

Self-esteem is something that happens when we take care of ourselves. We stand up for what we believe, protect our hearts from abuse, and surround ourselves with people who live their lives with dignity and respect.

As I write the chapters in my story, the low self-esteem is so apparent, it sometimes jumps off the page. I’m often frozen in my typing tracks, hovering between tears and head shakes, realizing, with every story, just how obvious my choices were.

Sometimes it takes looking back, to realize just how much you want to move forward.

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My relationship rear view mirror has never been clearer these days. I am learning that for me to say “yes” to myself – for my own personal growth and self-esteem, I sometimes need to say “no”. We don’t have to allow ourselves to be in unhealthy situations. We have the choice to walk away.

It’s far from easy, and the tears still fall, but the reward for knowing we are worth saying “yes” to, far outweighs the reasoning of why we’re in unhealthy relationships in the first place.

“Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is believing you’re worthy of the trip.”

_______

Here’s the part where you tell me – have you ever said “no” to someone, to say “yes” to yourself?

Christine Macdonald