Valentine's Day as a whole has little to do with love and lots to do with buying heart shaped things and gaudy overpriced flowers. The holiday is a drain on financial and mental resources for many a husband or serious boyfriend trying to impress or just avoid the wrath of disappointment. I understand and empathize.

Valentine's season is also a time where folks become slightly obsessed with their relationship status. Masses of the "taken" flood your Facebook and Snapchat feeds with (often faux) displays of the joy of romantic love. On the other side, a fair population of the single overcompensate by celebrating their independence. Then there are others who openly display Single Awareness Day (SAD)-triggered depression.

As the resident relationship adviser for my circles, many a chick has posed to me the question: "where all the eligible, monogamous, well-educated, strong income earning, handsome men?"

My husband said it best:

The biggest tension in loving, and loving well, lies in your ability to hold fast to your personal standards while simultaneously letting go of your unrealistic expectations of others.

The letting go of unrealistic expectations also goes for courting and/or dating as well. Maybe you're single because you enjoy it (that was totally me). Maybe you're single because the right one has yet to come along and you aren't the type to settle (YASSSSS). Maybe you're single or find yourself in a string of toxic relationships because your priorities and/or romantic expectations are skewed. For those who might just have flawed love proprieties, I want to start a discussion about a few common areas, that once addressed, could help you make significant gains in how, who, and why you date or choose to remain unattached in order to help avoid the drama and/or depression of Valentine's Day:

Your Love Wish List Sucks

I've created a general consensus of what many of my lady friends want from a long-term boyfriend or future husband and these items pop up very often:

  • Academic Prestige - A dude with a minimum of a bachelors, ideally one with a specialized or advanced degree with bonus points if its from an Ivy or near Ivy institution (my boos are bougie, and I love them still).
  • Money - Currently or will eventually earn top dollar.
  • Eye Candy - A guy they will happily post shirtless Instagram photos of.
  • Not an STD Risk - Monogamy is more than “kind of” important.
  • Interested - Meaning he desires a women of their gender, ethnicity, and age group and won't make self-esteem compromising comments about that chick who looks/acts nothing like you.

While I totally get this list and many of the items are very important and for most part, non-negotiable (i.e. monogamy), this omits so many things, like character and kindness.

To get the bottom of what you truly want and need in love you have to carefully consider and be honest what you want from a long-term relationship. What you need to make the daily, monthly, and yearly experience of being in love and committed to a singular person pleasant. You have to ask yourself:

  • Are you making a list that reflects and/or fills the voids of your own insecurities?
  • Are you making a list that will make others happy? (Your parents and/or friends won’t be dating your boo, you will!)
  • Are you listing what will truly give you joy or what you think will give you joy?

A big part of reaching your relationship goals is doing a bit of self-discovery and making sure your goals are truly the right ones.  To do this, you must know yourself.

Getting to Know Yourself

I’m not talking about personality tests or other standardized assessments, but figuring out what activates you. What makes you come alive? Who you are at your core and what makes you tick? The goal is not to find your identical self in a partner, for many this won’t work (especially in my case). It is about knowing yourself and finding a mate that aligns and compliments with the effortless and most honest version of you?

Some questions you may have to ask yourself is:

  • How do I feel about my romantic and platonic relationships?
  • How do I feel about myself?
  • What is the story I am telling me and what is the story I am telling others about me?
  • What am I holding on to that I should be letting go of?
  • What defines me?
  • If I look at the deeper and unseen parts of my personality and self, do I like what I see? Why or why not?
  • What makes me feel conflicted?
  • What challenges me to be the best version of myself?
  • What prevents me from feeling joy or peace?
  • What enables me to feel joy or peace?
  • Do I like the person I am (or becoming)?
  • What makes me feel like I am not enough?
  • What do I aspire to be or do?
  • What am I most proud of?
  • What legacy do I want to leave?

Take whatever time you need to write down the answer these questions. Let them simmer in your mind for a bit and see if your love wish list aligns or conflicts with your assessment of self. Then, if necessary, start not only rethinking your relationship goals, but your life goals as well.