My Husband Seems To Have Forgotten This Year That Valentine’s Day Is A Competition

I choose not to remind the old man about special events during the year, such as our anniversary, my birthday and Valentine’s Day because it makes our relationship so much more interesting.

I know that many people frown upon the commerciality of Valentine’s Day, but personally, I have always lapped up the opportunity to receive the only bunch of dead flowers from the petrol station I’m likely to receive in any given year as well as a meal out – nothing too expensive, mind you, because as a friend reminded me today, then they think they deserve sex.

In the old days, the old man used to cook for me on Valentine’s night, a mistake that I soon realized wasn’t romantic at all when I had to stand over him the whole time and interpret the methodology into a language he understood, then had to clear up his mess afterwards.

In our forties, when we thought we were rich, (before being rudely reminded about the cost of care homes and healthcare), we progressed to dinner out – generally not on the night itself due to the sacrilege of increased pricing that the old man couldn’t quite stomach – but the sickening sight of young couples, and particularly men, squirming in their seats, praying not to fuck the night up, (albeit highly entertaining), wasn’t how we wanted to celebrate our own special love.

So our current Valentine status is that we pretend we just don’t care are pretty chilled about the whole thing, even though, deep down we both know that there is still a competition going on. Generally, there is a reluctant exchange of cards with a few lovey-dovey words that convey that although we hate each other most of the time, VERY, VERY deep down, there is obviously something deep and meaningful there. And perhaps we’ll treat ourselves to a pizza.

This year, however, I had been somewhat out of sorts after a virus knocked me sideways, increased my intolerance to wine and gave me a cold sore as its finale. Added to which, he-that-rhymes-with-Burt has been stretching every last ounce of my patience since Xmas as he continues to deny my rights to retire from parenting. So, I have been lethargic, bad-tempered and meaner this past week than normal. Everything is the old man’s fault, including the length and debilitation caused by my illness, because he made me play tennis when I was literally still on my death bed.

I am of the belief that if you try hard enough, it is possible to blame your husband/partner for just about everything.

So I was not feeling particularly amorous when I spotted the first red cards in the shops, and perhaps it had nothing to do with the virus at all, and the reason Cupid has been on an extended holiday from our house is because we work from home together, hence get on each other’s nerves 24/7. Anyway, call me bitchy, but I knew that the old man would have no idea what month we were in without a reminder as salient as billboards in our street when I decided to surprise him with my card.

You get where I’m coming from, Ladies?

Unfortunately, however, last week was one of the rare occasions that the old man left the house over the past year and he too spotted the red balloons and the heart-shaped stickers and didn’t wonder whose birthday it was. Something resonated, and because he has no respect for my privacy and is the type that raids my in-tray and text messages regularly – he says, to check which bills I’ve forgotten to pay and what library books I’ve forgotten to return; I say, to see if I have a lover, because deep down I like the idea that he thinks that I could get a lover – he found my Valentine’s card to him and hotfooted it down to the petrol station to buy one for me that was no-way near as offensive as mine – in fact it was downright romantic – and so this year, I suppose, he wins in the game of love.

But where exactly are my dead flowers, ass-hole?

Middle Aged Love On Valentines Day

A stencil painted on Valentines day depicting ...
A stencil painted on Valentines day depicting “First love” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously, I didn’t mean to call him a ‘tosser’ by 8am on Valentines Day, but he knows I’m not good in the morning and frankly, he was being one.

The greatest thing about being middle-aged and married for what can sometimes feel like a life sentence, is that you don’t have to tip toe around each other anymore.

The kids have been nagging us for weeks about how we planned to celebrate Valentines Day. It was getting annoying actually – like we had to validate this commercial twaddle in some way, just so our babies didn’t get over-anxious about the status of our marriage.

At one point, I felt like changing my Facebook Status to ‘comfortably married’.

Neither of us are feeling particularly romantic at the moment. Not because we’re not in lurvvve and shit, we just have more important priorities. Wasting precious free time in search of a restaurant that hasn’t been booked up on the 14th for the last three months and doesn’t resort to tacky metallic red heart-shaped balloons and inflated prices, isn’t exactly high on our list.

Now some might determine our lack of effort as ‘dangerous’ to our relationship, but I’m far more excited about booking our annual holiday than sitting with a group of over–anxious, loved-up couples who feel the need to celebrate their love publicly.

I can imagine the torrent of sentimental slime that will fill my home page on Facebook today already.

CALL ME CYNICAL, but I don’t need a heart-shaped card or an expensive bunch of roses to a) know how the old man feels about me or b) to cement in my mind just how hopelessly unromantic he is.

There was a time when I cared, admittedly, but I think the dead Chrysanthemums from the local petrol station put an end to all that futile romantic expectation.

Anyway, the kind of love depicted by Valentine’s Day is not really how we feel about each other now. THAT love is the heart-flutter, pants-on-fire kind that is driven by desire, whereas ours has evolved into something a little different. Ours is mutual hatred a more mature love where our pants may not catch fire (probably because they’re a bit tight around the waist now) and we get more turned on by alcohol or an early night than lust. But our love is also more contained now – fewer fireworks and spontaneity, but much more depth.

Yes, we probably do take each other for granted.

But it’s nice not to be afraid in a relationship. I realised that when we were out in our local hangover-café last Sunday morning after the Pavlova night. Once we’d ordered our coffees and carbs, we sat at our table and stared blankly into the distance, silently trying to work our headaches into submission, while the younger couples all around us chatted animatedly.

I remember commenting to the old man in our twenties about how awful it was when middle-aged couples sat in cafés saying absolutely nothing to each other. And how we’d never become like that. 

Old Couple
Old Couple (Photo credit: Jan Tik)

We are now THAT couple.

And it’s comfortable at times, to be honest; not having to make an effort all the time.

I don’t even tut when he farts in bed these days.

Are you dangerously comfortable in your relationship?

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