When I first fell in love with the man who was my husband for 22 years, I loved him totally, completely, absolutely and thoroughly. I thought he was wonderful…an amazing gift…and I was so excited to spend my life by his side. Valentine’s day had never meant anything to me before him. But suddenly, I had a real valentine! I was happy. I was going to celebrate this day meant for lovers like it had never been celebrated before! We were engaged in the early winter and planned an early April wedding. That first Valentine’s day together was lovely. I had so many dreams; so much optimism. I had no idea that only a few months after we married, he would admit to me that he didn’t love me. That he never had. And that the Valentine’s day we celebrated before our wedding was the only one I would celebrate with someone who I believed loved me.
A couple of weeks after we married, we moved to Santa Fe, NM, which was where he was from. His father had driven his pickup truck out for our wedding and left it for us to use during our move. My new husband drove the pickup, loaded with our belongings, towing his Toyota Celica that was also loaded down with more of our things. I followed behind in my Renault 10 that was also packed to the gills, completing our little parade. My heater was stuck on and it was hot in the car, even with the windows down. I was fighting to stay awake almost the entire trip. But the thing that bothered me more than the heat and my sleepiness was this horrible premonition and dread that I just couldn’t shake. I could feel it; taste it. He didn’t love me. I suddenly knew it just as clearly and completely as if he had spoken the words to me in person. It was coming off of him in waves as he lead the way in his father’s truck, the vibes blowing back on me as I dutifully followed behind. I was sick at heart, hoping against hope that I was wrong.
When we got to his parent’s house, where we were spending the night, I timidly ask him if what I was feeling was true and he denied it. He claimed to love me and told me I was being stupid. It was just fear talking and I shouldn’t listen. But it wasn’t very many months afterward that he finally fessed up. Well before our 1st anniversary. To say I was crushed is a massive understatement. I could barely bear it. Something inside of me crumbled. I began to die that day. Inside. Deep in my soul. It was a death blow. One from which I never recovered.
So though we went through the motions for most of the 22 Valentine’s Days we spent together after that time, I always knew I wasn’t his love and he didn’t cherish me…not even a little bit. Certainly in the 9 years since he left me for another that he did love, there haven’t been any romantic celebrations. I haven’t even had so much as a date. My life is one of isolation and fear.
There has been far too much lonesomeness in my life. Far too many painful times and empty years. Far too little love. The lack of love and caring is taking an awful toll.
Valentine’s Day, for me, is an empty promise. It rubs salt in the wounds. It promises so much but never delivers. I’ve never been loved, wanted, treasured. And those things are the kind of things that give the day a positive meaning. Without those things, there is nothing there to experience. Nothing to rejoice over. Nothing to celebrate.
I used to be very “in” to celebrations. But over the years, the empty years, I have stopped believing in special occasions. I’ve not had anything to celebrate. And I don’t know how much longer I can bear this empty existence. Not being wanted. Not being special. Not being cared for. As yet another Valentine’s Day passes me by, I find I am losing all hope of ever finding joy in life and reason for being. All I’ve ever wanted was to be loved. I have always believed love would make everything different. Better. I have foolishly hoped it would happen for me. But it hasn’t. And now that I’m old, the chances are dimming even as the years of my life are winding down. I can’t stand the pain much longer. I honestly don’t know how I can keep going on this way.
I love my little dogs more than life itself, but I’m not sure they are going to be enough to keep me breathing. They love me, but their love is not like the love of a person. I need arms to hold me, a mind that appreciates mine, a person to be with when the day is hard. I need someone to share this journey with; someone who can love me in spite of my many flaws. Someone who can still find something good and wonderful about me. Someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the way it was meant to be celebrated.