Mistake #3: Declaring Valentine’s Day a ploy for consumers
No matter how you rationalize it, the holiday is not going away. Even if your partner trumps your own disdain for the day, the risk of going along with her is too great.
Why it's bad: It feels like an excuse. Despite all the arguments against the day, it comes down to celebrating your relationship. "In the larger picture, cultural rituals like Valentine's Day structure opportunities to do good things that we could do any day, but usually do not," writes social scientist Bill Doherty in Psychology Today. "The year I took my wife to Subway on February 14 was the low point. Eventually I realized that the cost of minimizing Valentine's Day—the disappointment and the missed opportunity to connect—is greater than the benefits of maintaining my freedom to be spontaneously romantic on my own timetable."
The fix: If if really pains you to observe the date, celebrate your valentine the day before. You can also keep it low-key. Dinner is optional. The most important thing is to set aside time to talk about things that aren't "important." "Have a 10-minute conversation with your partner about anything besides kids, work, money, or domestic responsibilities," says Orbuch. "I found that the '10 Minute Rule,' practiced daily, increases intimacy, bonding, and happiness." Take a drive or rent the movie you watched on your first date: external triggers that don't cause stress can help take you back to the way you were before your everyday lives trumped romance.
Mistake #4: Sharing the day with your BlackBerry
One in five guys will text their loving message on Valentine's Day and one in ten will take to email. That doesn't even factor Facebook and Twitter professions of love. As sweet as 140 characters can be, old-school letters are more romantic. One survey found the obvious: women would be disappointed by an electronic gesture of affection.
Why it's bad: In terms of effort, it's minimal. It also brings a third party into your affair: your P.D.A. (your Personal Digital Assistant, not public displays of affection). It should be a given to turn it off during your candlelit dinner, but using it to profess love is detached.
The fix: Buy a blank card or take a photo of the two of you and write a message on the back. It doesn't have to be long, it can even be a quote from your favorite song. But in this technological world, handwriting holds a certain intimacy. If words just aren't your thing, make a mix CD and write out the songs in pen. Your music choices will do the talking.