So, maybe you're kinda-sorta seeing a guy, but you haven't quite DTR-ed (our shorthand for "defined the relationship") yet.
Sorry to bear bad news, but things may go from casual to complicated as Valentine's Day approaches — especially if you and your guy have different expectations for how you'd like to spend the holiday.
To help you make it through, we've outlined some tips to keep you sane (and out of relationship trouble):
1. Speak up if you want to celebrate with him.
If he does too little for you on V-Day, he risks making you think he's not that into you — and if he does too much he risks scaring you away or making you think that the relationship is farther along than it really is.
Be frank about it. You and he both know that February 14th is approaching. Bringing up the holiday casually could be a good way to measure how the dude feels about it (and perhaps just how romantic-minded he is), as well as give you some insight into his past relationships or experiences (which is helpful). If you're really into him and would like to spend Valentine's Day together, you have to tell him so.
Perhaps suggest hitting a bar together or going to a house party — something more low key than a $75/person prix-fixe meal.
If he tells you he already has plans or doesn't want to see you on that day — take note. Maybe you're not that into V-Day and could care less or maybe he's not into it either, but his apprehension could be a sign that he'll never be ready to make you his Valentine.
2. Don't expect too much.
Whether or not you decide to spend the holiday together, be realistic. We've been guilty of believing that V-Day holds mystical powers that could transform even the most aloof of man into a rose-bearing Romeo — and we've learned the hard way that, no, it doesn't.
If he's not your boyfriend, he doesn't HAVE to give you anything — not even a daisy he picked on the side of the road. (But if he does, be thankful.)
Also, don't expect him to ask you the girlfriend question just because it's V-Day. While we think it's important that you and he have that conversation at some point (if you do in fact want a relationship with him), remember that there's a lot of pressure on V-Day and he may not want to go there.
3. Make your own plans, just in case.
If the guy won't commit to a plan or you're worried he might back out at the last minute (a potential red flag — if he's overly wary of spending V-Day with you, he probably has some misgivings about ever making you his girlfriend), then you should buck up and form a plan of your own.
And when we say plan, we don't mean wait by the phone and read Eat, Pray, Love again; we mean plan to do something FUN — something that doesn't entail hanging around your love-struck couple friends and something that won't have you ending the night crying into your pillow.
We suggest hitting a bar with your single pals and having a blast with the other people who are flying solo and looking for fun.
4. Don't drink an entire bottle of wine by yourself.
Yes, fine, this could be considered "making your own plan," but just trust us on this one, okay? Drowning your sorrows is NOT the way to go.
You get drunk, then sad, then lonely, and then bad decisions start looking like really good ideas. Don't do it. You'll drunk dial/text someone and live to regret it in the morning.
5. Reevaluate the potential relationship post-Valentine's Day:
After the holiday comes and goes, take stock as to how you feel about how the whole thing went down.
Did the guy stand you up after he said he would meet you out (ignoring your five very carefully-worded texts)? Or did he hit your pal's party with you, then give you a kiss you'll never forget at the end of the night?
A guy who can handle Valentine's Day maturely and gentlemanly, despite not actually being your boyfriend, is a keeper. One who acts like a jerk because he's worried that you're going to read too much into whatever small gesture he does do for you is not worth hanging out with any further.
For more relationships advice, pick up your copy of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags: Relationship Warning Signs You Totally Spotted... But Chose to Ignore