I will admit, love and relationships were not what I expected. And, after admitting that, I will tell you that I am not really sure what I expected. Something more like a movie, where this totally hot guy sees me from across a crowded restaurant, beelines it to me, sticks around after I give him the run around and then we live happily ever after. Something like that...I am pretty sure.
Let me get out in front of that delusion and tell you that has NOT been my experience.
Relating requires a great deal more work than sitting passively in a bar or restaurant and then being pursued by someone until you acquiesce and then live forever in the bliss that only true love can blossom.
My experience with love and relationshiping is more like the movie Titanic. I have survived...barely. And am now growing into a old woman with a great many secrets.
Of course, I jest.
As our annual reminder that love and relating isn’t ever what we think it is, rapidly approaches, I thought that perhaps a blog about what love and relating looks like in my life currently would be warranted.
This year love has taken on new meaning for me. This year will be my first Valentine’s Day launching Erin Schaden Coaching. This will not be my first Valentine’s Day coaching others through the perilous heartbreak of relating gone wrong. But it will be the first time I do it under the new regime. I am totally excited about this.
I am grateful that I can use all those misfires, unrequited shitshows, breakups, near misses and mildly successful relationships to help others find their way through their current demise.
Business is booming and I feel ridiculously lucky to be of service on this most auspicious day. Valentine’s Day has always been such a mixed bag for me. I have gotten engaged on Valentine’s Day, I have been broken up with the day before and I have spent many miserable days with a partner that seemed to believe that this “holiday” was the best day to let me know exactly how little I meant to him.
For me, Valentine’s Day, was a day I re-invented in the mid 90s. Galantines Day was not a thing. Except it was for me. I turned towards my other single women on this day in an act of solidarity to celebrate that being coupled was not always what it was cracked up to be. And that, at least for me, I felt very blessed to be out of that proverbial shitstorm for another year. My expectations were achievable because they were mine. And I was the only one that was going to make shit happen. And so I did.
I have historically bought myself expensive chocolate, flowers and taken myself out to dinner. I wear lingerie daily for myself. Regardless of whether or not I am in a relationship because it makes me feel hot and sexy. I care not at all if anyone ever sees it. Valentine’s Day has long been a day that I celebrate the love I feel for me. And it has turned out to be a great day of self love and care.
I find myself in the somewhat awkward situation this year, in that I am currently coupled. And so there is this whole other person to think about. Which is kind of my whole experience in relating all together: I am pretty much great on my own, it is when you add another that I founder and struggle.
But something happened to me years ago (like 1997) when I took back the day that belonged only to the coupled lovers and made it mine, solo. I slowly over time made Valentine’s Day about relating first to myself, then to others. This year will be no different. It isn’t up to the boyfriend to find the magic combination of flowers, chocolate and romance to make my night a success. I can do that all by myself. Instead, I will try this year to make sure that the people I love feel the love I feel for them. With some gifts, of course chocolate and maybe a sexcapade for me and my guy.
Valentine’s Day is no longer an idle, not really a holiday, holiday, where I just dream up crazy expectations and then sit in silent horror as those expectations die right there on the vine in front of my eyes. Valentine’s Day has now long been something I have taken back, redefined and hopefully I can now share this former shitty day in a new light with others who suffer from the Valentine’s Day massacre of being loved and wanted.
This year in the ultimate act of self care and love, I will launch my new website for Erin Schaden Coaching. I hope that you will check it out. And if you find yourself in a relationship that isn’t dazzling you or is making you fucking crazy, you might think about giving me a call. Not because I have it all figured out, but because I know the path through. I can help you find a way to be content in your own skin, loved to pieces or utterly alone. Either way it is ok, really.
What I have learned is that the most and best relationship I will ever have is with me...and well maybe God. And that this is the foundation of all my other relationships. And as my relationship with myself and some Divinity has improved, so has my experience of relating and loving others. I have learned that the only way I have a prayer of being able to get my needs met is to know what they are and then to have done the work to be able to share that information with another. I used to have relational hostage situations. Now, I am pretty sure that everyone I love knows that I want them in my life, but if their path requires them to go for their own well-being, I am ok with that. And I have learned, finally and with a great deal of hardship, that I am responsible for my own happiness and experience of love. Me. Not him. Not you. Not by the things I have in my life. But on the inside of my being, the place where all relating must start.
So this year if you find yourself in a relationship or marriage that isn’t really serving you, take the the first step toward relational freedom and call me. I certainly don’t have it all figured out. But I do have the knowledge and skill and know how to help you find a path that better suits you. And perhaps a love for yourself and then others that makes living a little better, a littler easier and a little less hard. Perhaps, maybe, this year Valentine’s Day can be the day you commit to finding a new path towards a more present and whole you. One where the love you feel for yourself radiates and reverberates in all of your relationships.