valentine-msDid you know that Valentine’s Day remains a popular holiday that is celebrated throughout the world? It is known as the one day each year when the exchange of tokens of affection to our loved ones is honored, anticipated and in some cases expected.

The origin of celebrating romantic love goes back as far as ancient times. The legend of St. Valentine of Rome may be familiar to some. He was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the rule of the Roman Empire. While in prison, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. It has been said that before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell. It was not until the Middle Ages that this day became associated with romantic love. The tradition of courtly love flourished in 18th-century England and helped this holiday evolve into a time where lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering sweets, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”).

Romantic love, affection and intimacy are often considered one and the same, yet do not necessarily go “hand in hand”. Intimacy is considered a close, familiar, and loving personal relationship with another person or group. One can feel affection towards another person as a friend, a family member or even towards a pet besides your partner. Affection is described as a gentle feeling of fondness or liking. Romantic love, however, requires sexual attraction and the forming of attachment between partners. Each of these can be affected by pain. Pain can influence your close relationships whether with your sexual partner(s), close confidants, family or friends.

poll-intimacyIn our first issue of The Pain Communicator issued in October 2013, one of our TPC polls asked members about how pain affected their relationship with their partner. You told us that pain affects 95% of those who responded with 65% reporting “all of the time.”

This Valentine’s Day find a way to share how much you care for those closest to you. Pay it forward by showing how much you care and appreciate them. Watch how it comes back to you and helps you become revitalized again. You deserve to feel connected and loved in return.

Is fear holding you back from being intimate with your partner? Have you lost that feeling of romantic love? Read more about Sexuality and Pain. Begin by taking baby steps and making small gestures. Living with pain does not mean you are condemned to a life of loneliness and isolation. Remember St. Valentine did not allow his prison to prevent him from showing he cared. You can take charge: Send a Valentine, write a letter, a poem, lyrics to a song, make a special meal (see our Comfort Cooking section if you need some ideas) or just make a point of saying “Thank you for being there for me.”

Happy Valentine’s Day from TPC! You are special to us and we are happy that you are part of our home for support, connection and purpose.

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