Valentine’s Do or Dare

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AS HOLIDAY DECORATIONS disappear and King Cakes are ordered, another day of celebration awaits. Valentine’s Day can either make or break the best of us.

If we are in a relationship, it’s a pop quiz. If we are not, it’s an intimidating Thursday. For those of us showing affections in the precise way our significant other receives them, it’s a day of connection and emotional reward. For those of us finding love relationships difficult, we are in a panic purchasing discount chocolate and the last card at CVS under, “more than a crush, less than deleting my profile on Tinder.”

As psychotherapist Esther Perel asserts, today’s modern love requires more from us than ever before. She explains that now we need the familiarity of love and the mystery of passion. But it’s no easy task.

In the 80s and 90s, our economy and lifestyle found us in tighter-knit communities where camaraderie and personal validation met our need for connection. Now, however, our communities are largely autonomous and saturated in a faux sense of intimacy through immediate digital feedback. But our bodies are not falling for the hype. As humans, we still seek authentic warmth, positive regard, and emotional support that comes from fingertips and heartbeats.

It’s a big job to be an intimate partner who is both a cozy community and a steamy stranger. The secret for succeeding is making room for error and maintaining a curiosity about each other that excites the senses and tucks them sweetly away at night.


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