Valentine's Day can be wonderful as long as you use it to show love instead of prove love...
Making Valentine's day a proof test can ruin an otherwise wonderful relationship. Have you ever wondered why so many men cringe at the mere mention of Valentine's Day? In truth, the men you love want to enjoy expressing their love just as much as you do. The problem is that all too often the societal and commercial pressure of Valentine's Day seduces you into testing those you love and using their love offerings—or lack thereof as an indicator of the quality of your partner and your relationship. The good news is neither you, nor your relationship needs to fall prey to this romance killer, and I've got 8 tips you can follow to make the most of your Valentine's Day!
Valentine's Day is supposed to be the day of love and yet surveys show that Cupid often misses the mark when it comes to men feeling the easy sense of romance that the holiday promises. A study by three researchers back in the nineties showed that men have very mixed feelings about participating in Valentine's Day gift exchanges. While women were not part of the study, I've had numerous female clients who've experienced a mix of anxiety and disappointment—and more often than not, those feelings are largely self imposed. This is commonly due to the high level of expectation and obligation that retailers and the media encourage us to place on men and their choice of gifts, along with the fact that year after year men get the message.
Here are 8 tips for preventing Valentine's day from sabotaging your love life so you can take full advantage of the opportunity it affords you to celebrate your love and get even closer.
- Don't judge the quality and potential of your relationship by the gift he gives you. Judging your man's gift on Valentine's Day is anything but loving. Still with non-stop commercials and ads telling you that specific gifts equal love and the wrong gifts suggest he doesn't care enough, it can be tough not to over analyze. Remember what Valentine's Day is about. Plus it's one day out of 364 others. If gift giving is part of your love language and you feel like your man falls short, help him out. Kindly give him some clarity. I help people with this and it enhances their relationships every time. Be willing to give him ideas so when this one day comes around, he's clear about what it means to you and how he can make it special.
- Don't compare or compete with your friends. Comparing your gifts to someone else's is unfair to your man and sets your relationship up for failure. It also goes against the very point of Valentine's Day of showing love and appreciation for one another. If you don't like what you get, revisit tip #1 and see tip #4.
- Remember who you're dating. There's nothing worse than seeing something in a commercial or movie and then suddenly expecting your guy to be that guy on Valentine's Day. When it comes to gift giving many men struggle. Have you seen the commercial where the guy intends to give his girlfriend a blinged out sports jersey only to have his friends warn him not to? The ad is from a jewelry company but it makes a great point. Your man's intention may not be obvious from his gift. Some men are great with choosing gifts and others flounder. Understand that his lack of finesse with gift giving does not necessarily reflect how he feels about you. Before you judge his Valentine's Day delivery, remember who you’re dating. Valentine's Day will not instantly up his gift giving game; see tip #4.
- Give him ideas. Does your man find it easy to choose gifts for you? Does he know how you feel about Valentine's Day? Do you prefer a tangible gift or an experience? If you've seen him at a loss for ideas in the past, don't expect him to miraculously transform those skills on Valentine's Day. Help him out. If your relationship is new, have some compassion. Appreciate his intention and be open to finding out the answers to those previous questions.
- Put yourself in your man's shoes. Can you imagine the kind of pressure a new man in your life feels? How much is enough? How much is too much? Most men don't know what to get. They see ads warning women that the gifts women receive are an indicator of whether they're being appreciated and their partners love them or not. Men also don't want to send the wrong messages. If your relationship is established, engage tip #4. If not, go easy and refrain from making this one day more important than it should be within the overall scope of your new, unfolding relationship.
- Don't fall prey to the media commentary. Don't second guess the value of your celebration after the fact. Morning shows need content. Once the media has stopped telling you what he should buy, they shift to judging and assessing what he did buy and comment on what should have purchased instead. This is where it's very easy to get caught up in critical assessments that are anything but appreciative. The peak time of year for breakups is reportedly 2-3 weeks following Valentine's Day. Don't start questioning an otherwise sweet and savory expression of love from the man in your life and become one of those statistics.
- Remove the anxiety —As I've seen firsthand with my clients, men worry about what to give you; women worry about what they've been given and what those gifts mean in terms of how their men feel about them. This is entirely too much anxiety for all of us. It's also unnecessarry. Communication and clarity are the two things that can bridge this gap and eliminate that drama. If your relationship is established you can easily discuss how you'd like to spend your Valentine's Day. If you love gifts you need to teach your partner that, and then give him ideas if he's not good at coming up with the best surprises. If you've just begun dating, remove the expectations and let the quality of what's evolving with each other speak louder than what he does or doesn't give you on Valentine's Day.
- Appreciate fiscal responsibility—The original intention of Valentine's Day has been largely swallowed up by the push for retail sales. The stakes feel high for most men if they don't already have an understanding of how you wish for them to show you the love. In this day and age the last thing a man should do is put himself in debt to keep his relationship intact on Valentine's Day. Be compassionate and realistic about the financial parameters your guy is operating within and appreciate that he's responsible enough to give you gifts that fit within that scope. The guy who knows how to spend within his means is probably a guy you can build a secure future with.
Since Valentine's Day is all about showing each other love, it makes sense that compassion and appreciation should be on the forefront of such a celebration. Resist the temptation to be swept up in the commercial storm of retail driven marketing and make your day something truly special between you and your sweetheart. Big gifts or small gifts won't matter if you're focused on enjoying a night out on the town or keeping it savory and sexy someplace private.
If the day and comes and goes without you feeling the love, I can alleviate the confusion and help you gain an accurate perspective in a private consultation so you can be sure to invest your emotions in a love portolio that will pay big dividends in love and fulfillment. You can even schedule a free 10 minute chat to go over your concerns. Cheers to a fabulous Valentine's Day and even more love filled days that follow.
More Valentine's Day ideas advice from YourTango:
- 9 Unconventional Valentine's Day Ideas
- What Your Partner Really Wants For Valentine's Day
- 10 Awesome Valentine's Day Gifts For Him