Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pavlovian Response

My lovely friend Jennifer (scroll up one entry after the jump) is calling me out on my Valentine's woes. Since one of the reasons I started this blog was as a therapeutic device, let's see this through to some sort of conclusion. Let us therapize me. And by using the plural "us" I mean me and the voices in my head. Bring 'em on psyche.

It's not Valentine's Day in and of itself that is my problem. I was in Walmart last night (yes, I know, I know) and there was no way to avoid the commercial, niknak, why the hell would anyone buy that or think it was a good idea to buy that, Valentine's Day frenzy. It was fairly disgusting. Hallmark and their minions have pretty much turned every holiday into a marketing extravaganza. However, I do not accept to phrase "It's a made up holiday" as an excuse to disregard it. All of our holidays are made up. But, they are made up to celebrate something. In Valentine's Day's case it is love. Love is not a bad thing to celebrate, no?

In a perfect world, a world free of "issues," this would be a nice, lovely day to gaze into another person's eyes and think, gosh I love this person. In fact, I got to do just that with Friendster Guy last night. And him simply saying, "Will you be my Valentine?" was, really, all I was looking for. An acknowledgement that we two are in this together and it's something to celebrate. Simple.

However...What Valentine's Day does in an unperfect world is bring into sharp, glaring focus the fact that we are either not currently in love, were in love and have lost it, are supposed to be in love but are not, or are in love but the other person doesn't give a rat's ass about you despite the fact that you are married. Guess which one is my issue.

As I was telling my friend NPapaya, issues, no matter how logically we would like to face them, defy logic. No matter how much we'd like to think they are controllable and we can compartmentalize them, in reality they jump out and make us do crazy things. Like freak out about Valentine's Day.

If I were to do self-analysis, which I am, my issues stem from the fact that I was neglected in my marriage. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the man, who was supposed to love me, to actually show me the kind of affection I needed. And I'm not a needy person. Truly. I've met needy people and I'm not it. FG would probably tell you I'm a pain in the ass sometimes (right back atcha babe), but I don't think he'd say I'm needy. I simply wanted at least the minimal amount of affection and attention one gives to one's wife. But it wasn't there. Even on the one day a year when a person is reminded constantly by all the red bunting everywhere to show affection to their significant other it wasn't there. Nuthin'. Nada. Zilch. It was more like, "oh, you're still here?"

Eventually, I wised up, and said, "I don't want to be married anymore." The reason my divorce was amicable was not necessarily because we are two fabulously forgiving and nice people (although I would argue that I sure as hell am) but because of apathy. We just didn't care about each other anymore. I tried, but when it isn't returned you eventually get it. The way a bad puppy figures out they shouldn't pee on the rug because their owner whacks them with a newspaper.

I guess I'm still in piddling puppy mode. I'm waiting for that whack on the backside. That telltale sign that I am not loved. In fact, I'd say I'm expecting it. Which is why I'm all in a tizzy. Waiting for that other shoe to drop, especially when it means indifference from someone I love, does not lend itself well to rational thinking.

I'm not looking for "A", I'm looking for "B." I just don't yet know what to do with it when I get it. But I'm working on it. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks Hill Lady for the link.


Josh Shear said...

Yeah, I'm doing Valentine's Day, and doing it without putting money into American Greetings' pockets. I'm making dinner, we're playing Scrabble, and then Thursday morning I'm putting her on a bus bound for somewhere in Vermont where she's going skiing with old friends.

Sassy Pants said...

Exactly what a Valentine's Day should be - personal, together, and thoughtful of the other person. Perfect.

pagalina said...

Here I go sounding like a psychologist when all i gots is an art degree, but it sounds a little like you blame yourself for your ex's jackassery. You don't say it outright, but it sort of peeks out here and there. He didn't ignore you cause you weren't worthy of affection, he just wasn't the right guy (to be nice) and just an ass too. We are all worthy of being loved.

[steps off of soapbox]

Sassy Pants said...

Hmm...Sassy says from the couch.

I don't think I blame myself for him being an asshat. I suppose I do wonder, on some level, when the indifference started and why I didn't notice it and/or put a stop to it sooner. That being said, I am willing to acknowledge my role in some aspects of the downfall of our marriage. Which, may or may not sound like I'm placing blame on myself. There's not much a person can do when someone doesn't love them anymore. It would have been nice if the X had noticed that fact and not let me keep living my life hoping for a love handout. I believe the words "starved for attention" might fit here.

I sure as hell think I deserve some love and affection. I guess the VDay reminder that the someone who was supposed to be there to provide that love and affection, wasn't, still gnaws at my craw a little. (Is that even a saying?) Like the puppy I mentioned, I'm conditioned. Until that puppy (me) learns that VDay does not always mean a smack from the newspaper, I think I'll continue to cringe. But, as I get further and further away from (in both time and space) the newspaper wielding asshat, I think things will get better.