Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day!

 (PS  added) 

Ice and snow be danged!  (Except, of course, if you live someplace warm, like Florida or Southern California; in which case, which I was there!)

And if you can't be with the ones you love, this COVID Valentine's Day, make sure you treat yourself to something wonderful today!

Wishing all the best and much love, 

~Chrystal and Mark


PS -  I just want to say something, here, after hearing or reading a few horror stories about Valentine's Day today.

First of all, Valentine's Day doesn't mean that much to me, it never has, for whatever reason.  I guess if I wasn't at least wished a Happy Valentine's Day by my husband, I'd probably be disappointed, but it's not like our anniversary or my birthday or Christmas or something lol.

However, I'm pretty lucky, my husband never does forget - he's usually awesome on days like today :)

However, we've both had "forget" moments on special days, but neither one of us have ever forgotten them entirely.

Perhaps just an aspect of a special day, sometimes the death anniversary of people or pets, etc., or a memory or moment that meant much more to the other person than it did us or vice versa - and don't forget, forgetting happens when there's something really stressful going on, for both men and women. 

Yes, we women are better at remembering special moments, and I address more about women and this stuff below -  but it's NOT because we're "better people" than men, or that men are selfish overall - let's not always assume the worst, right?  

Give men the same benefit of the doubt you'd like men to give you, until proven otherwise - and read below before assuming the worst?

So ladies and gents?

If I may just say something in the interest of men and women better understanding one another - mostly to the ladies - from my 52-year-old perhaps limited wisdom and perspective, having learned from doing the wrong way, many times, when I was younger?

First, to the ladies ...

Ladies, our culture - and perhaps our larger corpus collosums - make it so that most men are task-oriented and we women are the multi-taskers (not all men or all women, of course).

Neither way is more valuable - and in fact, both are necessary - and ideally, create balance in relationships and families - and IMO, why women's input should be equally important in government or business decisions - because both business and government institutions also rely on relationships formed, and both business and government are also responsible for the lives of many people - like a family :)

In addition to cultural/socialization, these differences were also likely born out of evolutionary necessity (which may have resulted from socialization/culture, but who knows which came first, the chicken or the egg;) 

Because think about it - women historically have been  the primary caretakers of children.  If we women were single-task oriented -  and we weren't able to integrate and process emotions and logic at the same time (most men can't, or at least not as fast) - we probably would not have survived as a species, because you need to experience both logic and emotion at the same time as primary caretakers, and you have to multi-task as a primary caregiver.  

Conversely, sometimes being able to integrate emotion/logic faster isn't a good thing, particularly when quick, decisive decisions need to be made immediately - in situations where there's no time to process all options AND feelings - it just needs to get done, right now - devoid of your or anyone else's feelings about it.

FYI, Ladies - the larger corpus collosum is likely also the reason we women often have to wait for men to calm down, first, before we talk ;)

That's because most men can't integrate logic and emotion and experience both at the same time (again, attributed to corpus collosum size) - some even say they physiologically can't.  

This is also the reason why men will tell us to calm down, because they assume we can't experience logic and emotion at the same time, because they can't - but in fact, most women can ;)

(The exception being extreme anxiety or panic, of course - nobody can think well when panicked, male or female lol.) 

Regardless, this single-task orientation that men have, whether it's nature and/or nurture at its root, means that most men have "prioritized mental lists" as to what most needs addressing and their primary focus, and it's very difficult for them to not stick to that list and stay focused on item #1 on their list, allowing the rest to wait.

Thus, it actually can be construed as a compliment if men forget certain holidays, etc., because it can mean that neither you, nor your relationship, is stressing them out lol. 

That doesn't make it okay, or that you "shouldn't" have feelings about that -  but it also doesn't mean it's okay to automatically assume that they don't love you anymore or appreciate/value you anymore - it can often actually mean the opposite - that they feel very safe and secure in the relationship; it's one less thing they need to worry about.

Conversely, our culture has socialized us women to interpret these "forget" moments first as we must've done something wrong or that we're not attractive anymore, or even as punishment for doing something wrong - because for whatever reason, our culture determined long ago that women were responsible for relationship keeping, when in reality, the responsibility actually belongs to both men and women.

However, the truth is, their forgetting Valentine's Day or your anniversary or your birthday actually could be the complete opposite  - it could be they feel safe enough with you and not feel the need to have to "impress" you anymore, you get them.

Not that there aren't selfish pricks, out there, but some women are selfish B's, too ;)

However, most of the time, these mistakes happen even in happy relationships because of the above - they actually feel safe in the relationship, they're happy - your relationship is, in fact, NOT the biggest thing stressing them out on their prioritized task list  :)

So ladies, they're not always trying to "take you for granted" - they just feel safe and secure, that they don't need to stress about your or your relationship, at least anymore.

That doesn't make it "okay," but it's less dastardly, and has more of a biologic and cultural reason behind it, right?

Regardless, Ladies - this does NOT mean we need to force ourselves to suddenly be #1 on his task list and make everything about us - i.e.  resort to manipulative efforts to make them appreciate us, make them jealous, or start demanding appreciation.

Those tactics may work temporarily, but not long-term - and you may feel better, but now your partner doesn't - and the idea is resolving things so you both feel happy and appreciated in the relationship, and a more balanced work-family life :)

Not to mention, there's an easier/less dramatic way to do this than those things?

However - it also doesn't mean that we sit there like a sacrificial martyr wife, acting like it doesn't bother you and it's your long-suffering duty, because it's not - and it also never works - because it's not all about him, either, and resentment can grow, sometimes unaware.

In fact, it doesn't mean we need to "do" anything, and more it likely means you may need to talk, to communicate with each other - ask questions as to why rather than assuming ... 

"So today's Valentine's Day, and I noticed you didn't do ___, like you usually do.  Is something wrong?  Are you mad at me?"

Maybe he is, but he didn't want to say so and ruin the holiday?

Maybe he is, but not aware he's mad, until that conversation, and that can be discussed/worked through?

Most likely, though, he is not - again, he's just singular focused on task #1 on his list - and when he finds out you're asking because he forgot a holiday, he will likely answer:  

"No, it's not you, I'm so sorry ... I promise, I've just been busy, work is really stressing me out, that's all I think about lately" ... ? 

Lots of people will tell you when apologies are given, don't make excuses and that's true - but sometimes people need to know the reason wasn't their fault, too.

This is why I "try" to ask first, when giving an apology - i.e. - 

"Would you like to know why? Not that it's an excuse, but just so you know, it had nothing to do with you."  

Regardless, after he's made clear it's not you, then it's okay to use "I messages," which almost always put the other person at ease/less defensive.

Because no one "made you" feel anything - the fact is, what they did (or didn't do) left you feeling this way, and stating it this way puts people less on the defensive -  "When you do ____, did you know I end up feeling ____?"

Because it's likely he doesn't know - because he's not a mind-reader, after all.

So the response could be something akin to validating his perception, plus an "I message" validating yours, because both are important:

"I know your work has been stressing you out, and I'm sorry it has been.  And I don't want to put extra stress on you on top of it.  However, did you know that when you allow your work to push out of your mind important dates between us, it ends up making me feel less valuable to you than your work?"

"I know that you don't mean for it to, but that's how I end up feeling, like I've done something wrong, like maybe I'm less attractive to you, or you're mad at me or something, or I'm last on the list of importance." 

If he loves you, it's likely he never knew you felt this way - and it's okay to tell him, if done similarly to the above. 

Regardless, now he does know, and he likely will make sure that you understand that it's not you, and you learn and move forward - the hopefully happy ending - no drama, just a conversation :)

Also realize, this is NOT second nature to him to spin a lot of plates at once, like it is for women in our culture, and allow some slips, right?  Give him the same benefit of the doubt you'd want others to give you.

Remember, holidays are NOT all about you - men like to feel appreciated too, don't forget!

Also, people do not all express their love in exactly the way you think they should - and they should be allowed to, without being forced to show love your way!

And you may certainly ask for appreciation or an apology -  but I would highly recommend against "demanding" or "ordering" to be shown appreciation or an apology - men OR women - because that's really, that's just a form of bullying the other person into who and what you want them to be!

And if they DO forget the holiday - and you still know they love you - know this - more likely than not, it's because you made him feel so appreciated and safe that it wasn't at the top of  his task list, which is actually a compliment for you (albeit backwards lol). 

Now, to the gentlemen ...

Hopefully, you read the above - and it may be big news to you that that's how we women interpret forgetting these dates - that we've done something wrong, we're not as attractive to you, that you don't love, value, and appreciate us.

Even the sort of women who won't get honest/vulnerable and tell you that straight up, and instead, manipulate you, guilt-trip you,  or play games of punishment or "make you jealous" games, or make you prove it - or the silent treatment and making you mind-read/guess what's wrong with them - that's how they're actually feeling, underneath all of that - that they're being taken for granted, you don't value them anymore - did you know that? 

That's why I highly recommend the women getting vulnerable and asking you straight up the reason, rather than playing "make-you-jealous" games with you, throwing fits,  or sitting silent like a martyr or to make you guess what you've done wrong.

Confrontation doesn't have to be contentious, and it doesn't always create drama - in fact, it is the only way to actually resolve anything at all - if done with the motivation of wanting resolution, rather than just someone demanding their own way ;)

Anger is never the first emotion we feel, men or women.  The process happens quickly, but actually, underneath anger are one of 3 emotions - sometimes all of them and/or a combination - that we feel first, before we get mad  - pain, fear, or frustration.

Therefore, if you're both willing to get vulnerable and honest -  with both yourself and them - and talk about experiencing that pain, fear, or frustration, rather the anger on top, you'll have a better chance of actually resolving the issue - a "tell me rather than show me", kind of thing ;)  

You understand, though that I'm just talking about intimate relationships only - because your competition at work, the other team, etc., does not need to know your vulnerabilities, nor will they care, if you feel hurt or scared, and they'll likely use it to win, even if not personal ;)

I always tried to tell my daughter (but perhaps didn't always do correctly) - those more vulnerable feelings are precious pearls - pearls that you don't just give anybody.

However, if you do give someone a pearl, allow them to accidentally drop a pearl sometimes, as you probably will - but if they deliberately stomp on it, twist it, or throw it back in your face, repeatedly, and never apologize?

Well, then they're nothing more than precious pearls cast before swine as depraved men (and women) -  just like Christ said ;)

Gentlemen, we love it that you feel safe and comfortable enough with us in the relationship that you feel like you don't have to worry and "woo" us anymore - that makes us feel like we've "taken care of" you well :)

However, just be aware that we often misinterpret your singular-focus on a more worrisome task as "He doesn't love me/I'm not attractive to him anymore" or "lack of appreciation" or "being taken for granted" - so it would be awesome if when you're happy and safe in relationship, such that it's not at the top of your task-focus list anymore, then let us know you feel happy, safe, and appreciated - and that we're appreciated and valued,  too?  :)

Does that make sense?


Good talk, lol. 

I'm not saying there aren't some selfish jerks out there, both men and women, that really are devaluing and not appreciating what they have - but most of the time, it's NOT that - it's the above.

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