Ahh… Valentine’s Day. Dunkin’s donuts are shaped like hearts. M&Ms are all red and pink. Stuffed animals are singing romance tunes. Love is in the air, and it only costs $10.99.
Though Valentine’s Day is originally a Christian holiday, it has become the day for professing love to your significant other and showering them with presents. This tradition has led many lovers to expect expensive gifts and large romantic gestures on the fourteenth of February. Such vaulting expectations can create a lot of stress on dating partners.
Don’t let Valentine’s Day destroy your relationship!
Here’s a little guide to help make sure you still have a dating partner on February 15th:
- Don’t expect so much!
Dinner. Chocolates. Jewelry. Sneakers. All of these things cost lots of money. Unless you’re dating a millionaire, don’t expect your partner to be able or willing to go all out on V-Day. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?
- Don’t compare your partner to other people
Venn Diagrams are cool. But they should not be used to measure how much your partner has failed you. Just because Kelly got a new pair of sneakers, or Alex had a trail of rose petals leading to an elaborate dinner does not mean your partner should have done those exact same things for you. What works for other people’s relationships may not be what works for yours.
- Be clear and reasonable about your expectations
Don’t put your partner through the whole “I don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day” trap if you know you really want something. Dropping subliminal hints is a good way to set yourself up for disappointment on V-Day. Not saying that you have to buy yourself the present and write your partner’s name on the “from” card, but if you are expecting to exchange gifts, say so. If you know you want a romantic evening, say so. Your partner can’t read your mind, so don’t punish them for not being able to do so.
Is your idea of Valentine’s Day getting showered with love and presents while you just sit there and be cute? Love and romance are two-way streets. You and your partner should be putting in equal effort to make each other feel special, so don’t leave them to do all the heavy lifting. Reciprocity is key.
- Have fun!
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a fun day for you and your significant other. Use it to enjoy each other’s company and remind each other of how special they are to you. Don’t let the stress of trying to have a perfect day interfere with your ability to enjoy it.
At the Katie Brown Educational Program, we teach our students that their expectations of their dating partners need to be fair. Fair expectations are rooted in equity; can be reasonably achieved by their partner; are something that their partner is comfortable with and willing to do; and are clearly communicated. Having fair expectations leads to positive outcomes in the relationship. Valentine’s Day or any special occasion should not stop partners from having a fair and healthy relationship.