by Heather Morris
Cue the hearts and chocolates and romance — Valentine’s Day is upon us. Whether you are in a new relationship or you’ve been married for years, whether you are a fan of the holiday or would rather hide under the covers, it might be a good idea to know what your significant other is thinking, so you still have one on Feb 15. Check out this list of things not to do to keep your partner … well … to keep your partner!
Don’t get hung up on the need to celebrate on Feb. 14
Valentine’s Day is a busy day for restaurants. Reservations may be hard to come by and the staff may not be as attentive if the restaurant is packed. Prices could be higher and some restaurants may even give you a time limit to keep the tables rotating in order to accommodate everyone’s reservations. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, when some restaurants might be closed. The Huffington Post article “Sticky Situation: 23 Valentine’s Day Dos And Don’ts” recommends taking the pressure off by opting for an alternative day to celebrate. You may be given more one-on-one attention, in a more relaxed environment, at a lower cost.
Don’t say you don’t want anything
Don’t say you don’t need to celebrate if in your heart you really do. Don’t be afraid to communicate what you want. Julie Spira, founder of Cyber-Dating Expert, told Bustle Magazine, “Because Valentine’s Day puts so much pressure on a couple, it’s best to talk about it with your partner in advance.” Your significant other can’t read minds. If you tell them not to get you anything, expect them not to get you anything, and don’t be upset when they show up empty-handed. Drop hints about what you like or where you’d like to go — or be direct and spell it out. But don’t make them guess.
Don’t work late
Even if you are not planning on going out, don’t make this the night you decide to finish that big project or schedule a late-day meeting. Block this night off on your calendar and give your undivided attention to your significant other.
Don’t miss the mark
“It’s really important when you’re expressing love to show your partner that you know and understand them,” said local therapist and life coach Carrie Mead. “This means gifting them with things that are important and meaningful to them.” This is not the time to be selfish and give them a gift that is clearly a reflection of your own interests. For example, if you are a country music fan but she loves Adele, don’t buy her tickets to the next Blake Shelton concert because that’s who you want to see. If he is a meat lover, don’t buy him a weekly vegan meal kit subscription. Furthermore, stay away from gifting appliances and gym memberships — even if they ask for them! And don’t be scared to be creative. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about teddy bears, cologne, roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Think outside of the box — literally!
Don’t overspend or try to out-gift your date
When it comes to gift-giving, Valentine’s Day can be stressful. Knowing what is too much or not enough is subjective, and can vary depending on your (or your honey’s) financial situation and the stage of the relationship. According to a 2019 survey conducted by Lending Tree, people in romantic relationships are more likely to be disappointed if their significant other spent too much for Valentine’s Day than if they spent too little. So don’t one-up your partner by giving an expensive, lavish gift that will make him or her feel bad. Instead, open up the lines of communication and discuss spending limits with each other so you are both on the same page and have reasonable expectations.
Don’t talk to or about your ex
Just about everyone can agree on this sage and simple advice: Don’t call or text your ex. Don’t email or reach out on social media. Don’t take a call from your ex, and don’t reply to a message sent from your ex. And please don’t talk about your ex with your current partner, even if you have something negative to say. Just … don’t.
Don’t forget your date or ignore the day
While Valentine’s Day often seems to focus on women, don’t leave your guy out. He may not appreciate flowers sent to his office, but he might enjoy a bottle of bourbon or his favorite dessert waiting for him at home. He may not want a fancy, elegant dinner out, but he might love a low-key night in with take-out from his favorite restaurant. Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated, so don’t assume he doesn’t want to be recognized and pampered too! And along these same lines, guys: Don’t ignore the day just because it’s not your cup of tea, and definitely don’t forget about it altogether. Put an alert on your phone if you have to, draw a big red heart around Feb. 14, or have your mom call you to remind you, but please don’t let it pass you by unnoticed and uncelebrated.
Don’t overlook experiences
Mead said, “Sometimes we get so carried away with shopping in a store for a gift that we overlook the gift of experiences. Consider planning a hike at your partner’s favorite location or plan a trip to a favorite museum and go ice-skating afterwards. The positive memory of this experience can last much longer than a physical gift.”
Don’t wait till the last minute…
… to make a reservation, buy a gift, ask for a date. Plan ahead to not only save yourself the stress of scrambling the day of for plans, but to show your love interest that they weren’t a last-minute thought. If you are a fairly new couple or just casually dating, don’t assume they won’t make other plans if you haven’t asked them out within a reasonable amount of time.
And of course, don’t break up on Valentine’s Day (or for that matter, the weeks leading up to the holiday either)
This should go without saying, but it may be surprising how many break-ups occur in the days and weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. According to research based on Facebook data, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest breakup times of the year. The stress and pressure of the holiday may make it tempting to let your lover go and be free of any heartfelt responsibility on this day. But, for the love of Pete (or Cupid as the case may be), please don’t be “that guy” (or girl) and crush her (or him!) on or around Valentine’s Day.