Well it’s that special time of year again where you look at the love of your life, gaze into their adoring eyes, and say, “Fuck, is CVS still open because I forgot to get you something?” Or maybe you’re single and feeling society’s absurd pressure that being alone means your lonely because no one likes to admit the deepest loneliness you will ever feel is in bed next to a person you’re sick of fucking. No matter what your predicament, Valentine’s Day is ready to make you feel inadequate! Yet even though I think Valentine’s has become a commercial nightmare of modern materialism that infiltrates expectations and manipulates minds into feeling eternally unsatisfied regardless of relationship status, it’s still cool to celebrate love I guess?
I love you, because you love me, and I need you to love me so I can love myself… so thanks for that! As such, here is my gift to you. My Valentine’s guide of relationship advice that I think will make you less of an asshole. You’re welcome!
1. Treat Others How They Wanted to Be Treated: There is the common cliché to treat others how you want to be treated, which is all fine and dandy with strangers, yet I think you can do better with your partner. You can’t just treat your partner how you want them to treat you because you are different people with different needs. I for one, find unloading the dishwasher an aphrodisiac. Nothing gets me wetter than a clean kitchen! Yet I can’t expect the same of my partner! The key to showing love to the one you love is knowing them well enough to understand THEIR love language. The more you observe what makes THEM happy and what makes THEM feel loved, the more you can speak to them your adoration with your words and actions. It’s not enough to know what you like and what you want, you have to take the next step and learn what THEY like and want. Just because you like a finger in your ass doesn’t mean your partner does! You can’t just go around blasting asses without knowing the crucial information of this being an appreciated act! The key to being a loving partner is having curiosity about how your partner wants to be loved and appreciated. If this feels mysterious to you, then ask your partner how and when they feel most loved by you and I’m 100% sure they will have some suggestions.
2. Just Because You Feel Mad Doesn’t Mean You Have To Act That Way: People fight in relationships. This is normal. Sometimes you get mad at your partner. Sometimes your rage is reasonable, and sometimes it’s your own fucking problem. Yet when you’re angry it can be hard to differentiate if your reasoning is rational, or merely a product of your own unresolved issues. But guess what you guys? Just because you’re mad, doesn’t mean you have to act that way. You can easily express with words, “I’m upset by your actions and need to take time to process my feelings,” yet still act cordial. There is literally no reason to ACT like a dick just because you’re hurt. You can be hurt, yet simultaneous treat your partner with respect. They aren’t going to hear or understand your pain more just because you’re huffing and puffing, slamming doors, yelling, or breaking computers. You don’t have to put your partner down with insults, or have that aggressive guarded energy where your face is all contorted and your body language resembles Mike Pence. You can be mad and act kind at the same time!
3. Only Argue When Your Heart is Open for a Solution: You know that feeling when you’re really upset about something, and you’re just not ready to not be upset? Well that’s the worse time to talk to your partner. When your heart is closed and your holding onto your anger, bad day, frustration, nothing your partner says is going to change that. It’s fine to have your heart closed and wallow in self-pity, but that doesn’t mean you have to inflict that energy on the person you love – that’s what Fiona Apple is for. When you don’t feel like feeling better, then fine! Stay in that mode and listen to music, or punch a punching bag. Yet there is no need to argue in that state of mind. It won’t go anywhere! You’ll just go round and round in circles in a merry-go-round of past resentments. Only talk to your partner about problems when your heart is open to finding a solution.
4. You Don’t Have To Join Every Fight You’re Invited to: Sometimes your partner is in a pissy mood and ready to pick a fight, yet that doesn’t mean you have to accept their invitation. Nine times out of ten we inflict pain because we feel pain. So rather than getting seduced into a blame game about not filling up the car with gas, instead try and show compassion that the person in front of you that is being really argumentative, and annoying, and making you want to pinch in the genitals is probably hurting from profound unsettled past traumas. This is a great opportunity to take a step back, breathe, and see if you can help them uncover what is actually causing them suffering.
5. Get Ready for A Life Time of Forgiveness: You’re going to have to forgive your partner for their bullshit behavior… a lot. Just as you’re going to have to forgive yourself for your own bullshit behavior. Getting close to someone and fostering intimacy means that people will let their guard’s downs, and sometimes get emotionally lazy. When you’re around someone a lot, it’s hard to always be your best self, and that’s understandable. When you feel truly comfortable around someone, you tend to have moments where you try less hard, which leads to lame behavior. So when your partner acts wack, the best way to forgive them is coming together to understand WHY they acted that way. Dissecting the motivation of destructive behavior will help change the pattern. The more you focus on the “why,” and not the “what,” the easer it will be to understand each other and ourselves. So the next time you do something that you later realize was pretty unnecessary, figure out why you acted in that manner, do your best to understand how to improve that part of yourself, and forgive yourself for not always being your best self because you can learn a lot from your worst self too.
6. You Don’t Have to Change to Be Loved, Just Suck Less: A lot of people feel the pressure to change in a relationship. You have to change to be a better partner. You have to change to be a better person. But guess what? You don’t have to change. Change in an insane expectation. We aren’t grasshoppers that can morph into locusts to create ecological mayhem across the grasslands! We’re humans, and no matter what, we can’t change that fact. I’m telling you to stop expecting yourself to change because change feels very daunting and basically impossible. Thinking you have to change is exhausting, and will probably make you not even try. How about you see things this way? You’re already a perfect being of light with infinite potential. All the things you want to be, you already are, or have the latent talent to be. You want to work harder… well; there is a part of you that already knows how to do that. Just be that part of you more often. You want to eat better? There is also a part of you that knows how to do that, so be that part of you a greater percentage of the day. You want to be kinder, more patient, more loving?? You already are those things somewhere inside you, just be that way more often. You don’t have to change; you just have to be your best self for a greater part of the day. You don’t have to change because you have so much beauty inside you already because you are perfectly capable of being your best self more often.
7. You Have to Share Reality With Your Partner: This one is key, and has a lot do with self-reflection. You have to be open with your partner and yourself about the wounds of your past. You have to understand your inner child, how they were traumatized, and how they act out in your adult life. You have to take the time to unpack your conditioning, and deprogram yourself from society’s socialization. This is no easy task and most people avoid asking these hard questions because it’s emotionally taxing to truly take the time to know yourself. But the more you know yourself, the more you can be vulnerable and honest with you partner about your inadequacies. This is crucial because the worst thing you can do to your partner is hurt them deeply, and then not understand the pain you caused. But you can’t understand the pain you cause, unless you understand the pain you were caused. It’s like a bio feedback loop of suffering that Elon Musk should make a car from and then blast into space. When you know yourself, you can better understand your impact on your partner, and share their reality about how you’re perceived. Maybe you’re really jealous because a past love has cheated on you? Maybe you take out that jealousy on your partner because you’re scared of losing them? Maybe your jealousy manifests in a destructive way that pushes your partner away? You have to own that you’re like that, share why you’re like that, and work together to heal from past pain. Maybe you feel love is conditional because your parents didn’t emotionally invest in you and you felt abandoned? Maybe that makes you hyper needy and subsequently smothering? You have to embrace the truth of your fears around love because you are unconsciously punishing your partner because of past pain. You have to share in the reality you create with your partner, and both equally understand the parts you play. You can’t be playing Othello while your partner is playing King Lear. Those roles don’t share a common reality. You have to be in the same Shakespearean saga with your partner and develop a mutual understanding of both the love and pain you share.