Can Great Love Reside in Friendships?
There is so much love to give and receive—why as women do we expect or think that our greatest love is only found in a man?
As Valentine's Day approaches, this day can be emotionally difficult for many single women. I get it, I have been there before. Although I don't have the same doom and gloom approach anymore, for many years, I did.
Why? Well, when you are single Valentine's Day can be a day of reflection or should I say torment...
I would wonder if I would ever meet a man who would truly understand me and appreciate me for me. A man who would continue to find me attractive (and being sexually active) until the day we grew old together and died. A man who really believed that relationships take work—true work to build a strong foundation. A man who would work hard to keep our foundation together versus shutting down when things got hard. A man who is ambitious, wants to be a power couple together, and who is confident in himself enough to support my passions. Basically, I began to question and doubt if I would ever find my greatest love.
As young girls we were told to believe—usually from fairy tales and romantic movies—that our greatest love could only be found by that one perfect soulmate who was sent to this earth to find and rescue us. That is complete crap. Let's keep it real, most men are not capable of that task, nor do most women want to be "saved." Respected, valued, appreciation (and not taken for granted) absolutely! Saved? Really?!
Finding a man to be your “everything” in this day and age is like searching for a needle in a haystack...
As women we spend so much useless time stressing about finding a man to date us. The older we get, the stress continues to grow. Will the dates ever turn into a committed relationship? Will we ever get engaged, married, and eventually have children?
We pressure ourselves so much that we don't even pay attention if the guy we are dating is someone we actually envision spending the rest of our lives with. Not to mention, we will expect him to fit in this absurd mold of being our "greatest love," even if he is not or even capable of that role. That is an abundance of pressure to bestow, considering most men have difficulties with any amount of excessive pressure in a romantic relationship.
Unfortunately, as years pass by and technology continues to grow and expand, men get lazier and less emotionally invested. This does not mean that they don't want to get married and potentially have a family. What this means is that they are not as tuned into your life as you would want them to be.
By having high expectations we stop appreciating a man for who he is due to the ridiculous notion that he has to be our greatest love. Stop.
Don't get me wrong, this does not mean you should settle for a man who is not compatible with you. Or a man who is emotionally checked out or has you believing it's acceptable to be in a relationship that is disrespectful or abusive. And this also does not mean you should be with a man who will not communicate, internalizes everything, or who is broken and doesn't feel the need to work on himself. Ladies, love...great love—once found in yourself—can also exist in our closest women friends.
What if your greatest love is not supposed to reside in only a man?
As I started to have more gratitude for the women in my life—who have been there unconditionally, giving me the support I have needed (in all aspects of my life)—I realized that no man has ever been there for me to that degree (on a long term basis). So why was I letting myself become negatively emotionally affected by a holiday that celebrates love? I am surround by love! I always have been. No it's not "Hallmark" love. The love I have in my life is more meaningful, significant, and cherished.
When you have girlfriends—the ones you are closest to who love you unconditionally, who you can truly count on, can share anything with, and are always there to support you...that is the core meaning of love. This does not negate loving a man, it creates a realistic notion that there are many levels of love and more than one person who can create and be that great love you are seeking.
Love is not sexual. Sex can be an expression of love and you can "love" having sex with your significant other. However, the act is not the definition of love. The type of love that I'm referring to—true love, great love—is so much deeper and has a significant meaning.
Great love, many times is found in our closest relationships that we have with our girlfriends but don't even realize...
- When things go crappy in your life, who have you always been able to count on to fully emotionally support you?
- Who are you one-hundred percent yourself with?
- What's the longest relationship you have had?
- Who speaks the truth to you—about your hair, weight, clothing, attitude, etc.?
- Who can you openly share you fears, dreams and wishes to—without feeling overly vulnerable or judged?
- Who knows all your dark secrets—deep personal stuff (past or present) or experiences, family and/or relationship stuff, health and/or financial stuff
Here's the thing, I'm not saying that there are not women who have found men they can honestly say they share everything with—more than they do with any of their girlfriends. However, that deep bond, where you can count on a guy to support all your emotional needs, is not the norm (these days) for a lot of relationships. That is why girlfriends are cherished.
As women, we put all this pressure on men to understand us, to be like us, and for us to be able to vent to. We want to be able to share e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g with a man—hoping that he won't think we are overly emotional, needy, or crazy. For most men, that is unrealistic and frankly takes the sexiness out of the relationship. God created men and women to be different for a reason.
Women wear their emotions on their sleeves, while most men will choose to bottle them up. When you are frustrated and need to vent about your day, work, one of your girlfriends or him, is it really more productive to talk to a man first versus your best girlfriends—releasing the cray-cray before completely sharing with him?
Putting unnecessary pressure on a man to be supportive in the same way as your girlfriends are is just silly, especially, if you already have your best friends who have guided you along the way.
Regardless if you are in a relationship or not, this year, make time to celebrate Valentine's Day with joy and appreciation that you do have great love(s) already in your life...
Ladies, when you can release the need for finding and expecting a man to be your everything, you will create less disappointment and learn to value what he is truly capable of giving you. Cherish your girlfriends. Know that friendships are a gift given to us to help truly mirror who we are—reflecting our best attributes and allowing us to shine. By recognizing that great love can be dispersed, we can depressurize our relationships as well as how we feel about Valentine's Day.
Bottom line, by acknowledging the great love found within your girlfriends, the feelings of loneliness, desperation, or depression about Valentine's Day will become obsolete. Whether you go out or stay in, spend the day celebrating each other—for you have found the greatest love possible...unconditional friendship. Happy Valentine's Day!