Dealing with Valentine's Day

By CoachJenK

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Valentine’s Day brings up feelings of desire, love, flowers, chocolates and romance.  Unfortunately, this one day can also be the cause of stress and sadness.  There are several reasons why this day can be fraught with such stress and tension, and the biggest reason is that men and women may view the holiday differently.  Men may desire to keep it low key for fear of the woman reading deeper meaning into a gift or a dinner.  Women may feel slighted if their boyfriend doesn’t do enough to show they care.  This difference among genders causes the most stress. It can be minimized with the proper love and care.  This is what is crucial…if you have your partners feelings in mind then you really can’t go wrong.  I think for both men and women, less of a focus should be placed on this one day as the indicator for what the relationship means.  At the start of a relationship, women may want some big display that shows them the relationship is heading somewhere whereas a man might want to run for the hills at this thought and feeling. 

I like to suggest when working with clients around this issue that a little levity and humor can go a long way between couples.  If there is open and healthy communication then one doesn’t need to dance around an issue or wonder where the relationship stands.  If it is a new relationship then plan something simple and fun that doesn’t put too much pressure on either person.  If the relationship is more serious then plan an event that is in line with the level of the relationship.  But, I caution all those with whom I work, to remove the expectations about what is supposed to be or what should be.  This only leads to hurt feelings on both sides when those expectations aren’t being met.  Does that mean you don’t hope for something fun and romantic; absolutely not.  It just means keep the expectations in line with where the relationship is.  I have worked with those that after two dates, they are expecting some big display and I think this puts undue pressure on both people and can lead the relationship into the abyss.  If he doesn’t ask you out for Valentine’s Day at the start of a relationship that does not mean it can’t still progress.  It just may mean that it is too soon to be at that point.

A simple and silly trick I love to suggest to couples with a great and healthy relationship is for the man to “pretend” that he completely forgot 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 realize that he has no idea what day it is, he springs into action and lets her know of the wonderful things he has planned.  Dinner, a stroll in the park, carriage ride or just a walk down the street holding hands. It is in 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.

The art of gift giving around this day is also a stressor and again it all comes down to the level of the relationship and keeping the gift or the planned event in line with that.  I have worked with many men whom have complained that after buying their girlfriend sexy lingerie that their girlfriend complained and was not happy with that romantic gift. Most likely, a gift of that nature is more about what the man desires and less about what the woman would enjoy to receive. So make sure when getting a gift or token of affection that it is about them and not about 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 those 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…time together!


Ask Jennifer Kelman, LMSW, CPC a question now >