JustAnswer Expert CoachJenK takes over today to discuss Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day brings up expectations and feelings of desire, love, flowers, chocolates and grand romantic gestures. It should be a lovely time…but sadly, it’s one day that can cause stress and sadness.
There are several reasons for this. The biggest is that men and women sometimes tend to view Valentine’s Day differently. Many men prefer to keep things low-key, rather than have the woman reading too much into presents or a romantic dinner, whereas women tend to feel slighted if their partner doesn’t do enough to show they care about them.
It’s this difference between genders that causes the most stress, but this can be minimised in a loving, caring relationship. Keep your partner’s feelings in mind, and you really can’t go wrong.
It’s also worth considering whether or not you place too much focus on this one day as an indicator for meaning in your relationship. Many people do, and thus create extra pressure for themselves.
When working with clients and discussing this issue, I like to suggest that a little levity and humour can go a long way. Open and healthy communication means that one doesn’t need to dance around an issue or guess at feelings, or worry and wonder about how a relationship is going.
If your relationship is new, suggest something simple and fun for Valentine’s Day that doesn’t pressurise either partner. If the relationship is more serious, then plan an event in line with the level of the relationship.
One thing I suggest to all my clients is to reduce expectations about what should happen or is supposed to happen, as this only leads to hurt feelings on both sides when expectations aren’t met. Does this mean you shouldn’t hope for something fun and romantic? Absolutely not. It just means, keep your expectations in line with where your relationship is. I have worked with some people who expect a big display after only two dates; this puts undue pressure on partners and can lead a relationship into the abyss. If he doesn’t ask you out for Valentine’s Day right at the start, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not that into you; it just means it may not be right for that moment.
A simple and silly trick I love to suggest to couples with a great, healthy relationship is for the man to “pretend” that he’s completely forgotten the holiday. I suggest that he get on the couch in a pair of sweats, TV on and just be as casual as possible. Once his girlfriend begins to realise that he has no idea what day it is, only then does he spring into action and let her know of the wonderful things he has planned. Dinner, a stroll in the park, carriage ride or perhaps just a walk down the street holding hands. It is these light moments that can really cause a deeper level of connection. The silliness strengthens the bond while the simple pleasure of being together seals it.
Giving Valentine’s Day gifts is also a stressor, and again, getting this right all comes down to giving gifts in line with the relationship level. I have worked with many men who were upset that after buying their girlfriend sexy lingerie, they complained and were not happy. Usually, that will be because a gift of that nature is more about what the man wants and less about what the woman would enjoy receiving. So, make sure that when buying your partner a gift you consider them, and not just your own desires.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be stressful. Let it be fun and silly and warm and all in line with the current standing of the relationship. Keep your expectations in line as well and then just get out there and have fun. Leave the value judgment away from the day and soak in and absorb the time together, because whether it is Valentine’s Day or any other day, that is the most crucial thing…time together, where you can genuinely connect with your partner.
If you have other questions about Valentine’s Day, or relationships, our qualified Relationship Experts can help you with your particular situation. Ask a Question now.