Valentine’s Day Reflection

For many of us who have had many decades of relationships, Valentine’s Day is a time to reflect.

Personally, I am glad for every relationship in my life, whether or not it turned out to be right for me. Each one helped me refine who I was, what I had to give a partner, what I was looking for, and what sustained me and stimulated me vs. what boxed me in or hurt me.

I’ve remained close friends with past lovers and my first husband, and I treasure them in my life now. These are men whom I’ve loved and love still, and I know they feel that way about me, too.

Other past lovers I’ve lost touch with, but would love to bring back for a conversation about the past and the present.

Of course Valentine’s Day is also about missing Robert, as it is for you if you’ve lost your love. But instead of today being all about loss, let’s let it be about what we’ve found over our long life of loving.

I’d love to involve you in a discussion of how we see past and present relationships, what we’ve learned from them, what we see — or hope to see — in our future. Please comment and get the conversation going.

If you don’t want to use your name, please identify yourself with a first name of your choice — let’s not have a string of comments from “Anonymous,” okay? Please include your age.

(Do I really need to say that “please comment” is NOT an invitation to be spammed by purveyors of pills, porn, jelly toys, escorts, or other products and services? I moderate comments, and my community trusts me to keep the spammers out of the conversation. If, on the other hand, you’re an author, educator, or blogger in a relevant field, I’m happy to have you include a link with your comment.)


  1. tomtec77 on March 1, 2014 at 5:01 am

    If we are so favored, we have that one who is above all others….

    Not to belittle the lesser, who wander into our memories at odd moments…bringing fleeting moments of remembered pleasure…

    But to cherish, to grasp, to ache for the presence of that one person… matter the toll…grant me that wish…. Please……Please…..

    As life follows life, belittle not our quiet time for that one that we hold so dear…

    We are indeed, the lucky ones……

  2. Dan on February 21, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Joan, thanks for making us look back. And forward.

    An ex hurt me once and I could not say her name out loud for 25yrs. Honest. And that was a 3month/8 wk marriage! I married again and lasted three decades before a heart break Both like a death to me. Dating again I started falling for a lover that laid down a new rule for me at the outset. Life changing. "I've never entered a relationship unless we agreed to be friends if it didn't work out. Very important to me." Wow. She taught me a lot, this lady. I've had 11 lovers in my my 66 years; each one a heart education. I am grateful for every one. You are right: all our lovers are teachers.

  3. S Reis on February 14, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    age35 this month I've heard from my HS sweetheart, the only woman I ever loved and my ex husband. My most recent LTR ex is my best friend. My past helps me stay focused in my current relationship which is very challenging. My partner is inexperienced and at times rigid. I am a poly, kinky, queer free and loyal spirit who hopes to be loved by him someday for exactly who I am. In the meantime my amazing friends, many of whom are exlovers, extend friendships to me everyday that reminds me to embrace all of who I am and never settle for less than that in love from another…even if that takes time and tons of patience and FORGIVENESS.

  4. Mindy Mitchell on February 14, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I have been doing work around relationships of all kinds, past and present. Time is giving me the gift of seeing patterns, which is very eye-opening. I want to do better, be better and learn from past experiences so I can move into my future unfettered. In my current love relationship I am allowing myself to be more vulnerable than I ever have before. I am learning a lot. Thank you for your thoughtful posting, Joan.

  5. Rae Padilla Francoeur on February 14, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you, Joan, for a very heartfelt and thoughtful blog. I haven't necessarily liked the lessons I've had to learn in my relationships, but I'm grateful today that I was able to take away valuable knowledge even from the most difficult pairings. Valentine's Days are easier, for instance. I can appreciate exactly what I have in front of me. No need for lots of expectations. I'm having a good day and will have a fabulous evening. One good lesson I learned from Lama Marut: consider your mate your teacher. I do that as sincerely as I can. You can't go wrong.

  6. Charlie Price, age 68 on February 14, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I agree completely — my life's education and deepest pleasure is built on what I have learned in relationships. During our time together I learned how to talk intimately with a woman! Something I'd never been able to do before. And I learned to negotiate respecting our similarities and differences. Gifts that have been applicable throughout my life. I will always love you. Always be glad for you. Always keep you in my heart.

  7. Barbara Musser, age almost 62 on February 14, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks, Joan ~ love the idea of how each relationship has nourished different parts of me. I'm now in the midst of a change in from from being lovers and life partners to being house mates and friends. We are committed to doing this with love, kindness and ease, and it's all new territory. I feel well served by my history as I walk this new path.

  8. Jeff J. - age 53 on February 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I concur. I owe particular thanks to facebook for helping me reconnect with dear friends and lovers from 20+ years ago. Some nurtured particular facets of my character. Others (particulalrly a woman who was nearly 20 years my senior) taught me important lessons on how to please a woman. Not a one I don't look back on with fondness and warmth.

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