Rob, 35 Huntington Beach, CA, asked Maryanne:
Last year my wife flipped out when I bought her lingerie for Valentine's Day. The truth is, I still don't know why. She just got angry and said, "Isn't it obvious?" and that was it. Any advice on what I get her this year that won't set her off (and that we both can enjoy), which is what I thought the point of Valentine's Day was? Naughty Gift Guide: 12 Sexy Valentine's Day Must-Haves
Rob, that's a great question. Some guys might have just blown it off and thought, "Hmmm, maybe this year I'll get her some lingerie in a different color." Sounds like you're guessing that is not the answer, unless you like being told off and sexually frustrated.
More from YourTango: The Only Reason to Ever Get Married!
In terms of what you can get, you need to get clear on what both your expectations are about Valentine's Day ... and the more explicit the better! Because likely, her reaction last year is not only a symptom of what's really going on, but has now had a chance to fester and become a resentment for you both. That is like poison in a relationship. So, getting clarity is what should be first on your list!Relationship Aptitude Test—Find Out Who's A Rat!
You can start by saying a simple "I love you (fill in her pet name; babe, honey, sweetie) and I know last year's Valentine's was a little rough, so I was wondering what we could do to make this one special." Things could go either way: on one hand, your inquiry might elicit a simple and straightforward answer like "Awww, thanks for asking honey, I don't know...what were you thinking?" Maybe she too realizes how Valentine's Day conjures old memories or expectations, and all she wanted was to be asked. Or you might have created an opportunity to listen to what really upset her last year, a great segue to discussing what Valentine's Day means, and have a mature and loving talk about how you both would like this one to play out. Why Is Valentine's Day Always Such A Letdown?
If it's the latter and you'd like this to stay on course, to be effective, constructive, mature and responsible (as opposed to her unloading, reacting or blaming, or whatever your concern), here are some guidelines that will help set you up to succeed in engaging in responsible, effective communication:
More from YourTango: What Men Want To Know About Dating And Relationships
1) State your objective clearly: I want to talk about how we can have a great Valentine's Day together this year. 9 Unconventional Valentine's Day Ideas
2) Timing: Make sure you don't approach her while she's on her way out the door, brushing her teeth or obviously frantic about anything. Most women, when you say "I want to talk," will likely want to talk now. If not, ask her when a good time is.