Happy Valentine’s Day! That phrase just doesn’t hold the same weight with me as it once did. What once was a celebrated “holiday” has now become just another day for me. I’m not bitter, or sad, or angry about the events that led up to February 14, 2012. No, I’m past all of that. I doubt Valentine’s Day will ever be the same for me though.
One year ago today the judge signed the paperwork stating that I was divorced. The decree had been set forth and I was no longer a married man. I’ve written about that entire experience in length in my blog, ‘Dissolution of Marriage‘. Today, one full year later, I don’t even know where that paper is. I’m sure it’s packed away with all of my other important life documents somewhere in a box labeled “John’s stuff.” Anyway, that’s not the point of this entry.
A lot has happened since I officially became newly single as I like to call it. I’ve seen people come and I’ve seen people go. I’ve tried keeping in mind all of the mistakes I had made in the past as to not make the same ones over again. I think in doing so I’ve held onto a little more than just the lessons learned. I think I’ve held onto a bit of each person who has come and gone. I’m still trying to decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
I’m far from a relationship expert. Actually, whatever the exact opposite of expert is when it comes to relationships, that’s what I am. I’ve read so many books on the subject; thinking each time that I’m learning some valuable information. Yet every time I attempt to apply that information, something different goes wrong. I’m not trying to lay blame with anyone (certainly not myself!) Again, that’s not the reason I’m writing this. I think the big overall lesson I’ve learned this past year is that no two people are the same. Even though they might appear to be similar circumstances, chances are, things just aren’t the same.
Amber and I have been officially divorced for a year now. The crazy thing is, I would still consider her one of my best friends. We are far better friends than we were husband and wife. I’ve yet to find someone else who cares to take the time to get to know me; the real me. Not the me that I put out there for public consumption. I’m fairly certain that girl knew me better than I know myself sometimes. It’s the little things that really stick out too. For instance, whenever she would go pick up something to eat, she already knew what I was going to order. I know I’m a creature of habit and all, but that meant something to me. That she cared to take the time to learn that about me.
If you’ve been following along with my Chronicles, or if you know me in real life, you know that I’ve hit a rough patch in my life. While my friends are great, and some of them have definitely stepped up and helped me out, Amber has continually been the one who has lent me her ear. She’s one of the very few people who knows where I’m coming from and where I want to go. And quite honestly, she’s one of the very few people I feel comfortable enough with to talk candidly about some things.
I remember the day we were getting married, one of her family members was filming us before the ceremony and as he was interviewing me he asked me why I wanted to marry her. The one thing that I kept saying was that I wanted her to be in my life forever because she was my rock. She was the one who kept me grounded and she was the one I could always turn to when I needed someone to listen. I guess the point of that small tangent was that, through everything, including our divorce, Amber has been there for me when I really needed it most.
Some of you might think that’s strange. That I still talk to my ex-wife about things that are going on in my life. That I share my woes with her still and that I lean on her from time to time. I don’t think it’s strange at all. I’ll always love Amber. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m in love with her. She may have done things that completely and totally upset me and made me downright angry at times. But at the end of the day, she’s helped me out more than some of the people I consider friends.
The last Valentine’s Day I celebrated was with Amber, last year. We hadn’t received the divorce decree at that point. We went to Fogo de Chao, had a wonderful meal and shared in some great conversation. The mood was light that night and we both knew how it was going to end. We were going to catch a movie after dinner, but we had lingered at the dinner table just a little too long and ended up missing the movie. We called it a night and went our separate ways. Obviously not the most romantic ending to the evening, but this is real life, not a Hollywood film. It was just a couple days after that when I received the decree in the mail and noticed the date next to the judge’s signature. 2/14/12. Valentine’s Day. I thought to myself, “How ironic.” I think it was at that moment that everything sunk in with me and I knew then that I had spent my last Valentine’s Day with my best friend.
Don’t confuse my lack of enthusiasm for Valentine’s Day with me not being able to love. That’s not the case at all. I’m just not overly joyous about a single holiday where everyone is expected to express their love for each other. Love is so much more than just one day a year. If it’s not expressed, spoken, shown or otherwise felt by the object of your affection every single day, then there will be problems that arise. Take the time to get to really know the person you love. Make it your goal to know them better than they know themselves. Express your love for them every single day – not just today. There I go again with the advice, now if I could just learn to take my own advice. 🙂
And remember; if you celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 15th, you can get your gifts for half off! Saving money – now that’s love!