If you’ve been with me a while, you probably know I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Mostly, because the marketing causes so many expectations…that lead to disappointment most of the time.
If you don’t have someone in your life, then there’s the disappointment of feeling left out of all the hoopla.
If you have a new man in your life, you don’t know each other well enough to know what to expect, so you make up what you hope his romantic gesture will be.
If you’re in a well-established relationship, you might have concrete ideas of what you’d like him to do. If he falls short of your expectations, you’ll be disappointed, and he’ll be in trouble.
He’s scared because he wants to get it right, or he’s resentful because he doesn’t want to have to deal with it.
There’s a lot of pressure and guilt built into it for the guy. So it’s not that fun for him. Yes, some men love doing the over-the-top romantic things, but most don’t. And why is the pressure all on him? What if he was expecting something from you and had a fit if you messed up? (Hint: Marketing)
Here’s something to think about though. Where do those expectations come from? Why do you want him to do whatever it is you hope he will?
Is it something from the fairytale stories you read as a child? Is it all the advertisements in magazines and TV that has you hoping he’ll do the grand gesture?
And what do you think it will say about how he feels?
So now, one final question: What does Valentine’s Day have to do with love? Really.
Does it make your love stronger? Does it make it deeper? Does it help you build a solid future?
So here’s my advice, which I offer every year.
If you want something specific, but you want to be surprised, then give him three options.
Men don’t like to get it wrong. They don’t like to have to guess. And they hate that you expect them to ‘just know.’ As you have probably noticed, they’re also horrible at picking up on your hints.
So don’t set him up to fail. Set him up to win. Then you’ll both be happy.
And don’t make a big deal about a card. If he doesn’t give you one, let it go. If he gives you something generic, so what. If it’s mushy, but not the sentiment you wanted, don’t give him a hard time.
All the hurt feelings, anger, guilt, and disappointment that can go along with Valentine’s Day is not going to build love and strengthen your relationship.
One of the most useful lessons to learn is the art of detachment. All emotional pain comes from attachment. When you’re attached to an outcome, attached to how someone should behave, attached to the grand gesture, you are setting yourself up for heartache.
Yes, you could have the fairy tale Valentine’s Day. And will even that make your love stronger?
Sure, it will feel good. But it’s the daily interaction, the open and honest communication, the caring gestures, the compassion, the fun, and the lovemaking that cause a relationship to flower. Not the occasional Hallmark Holiday that comes with all the marketing hype designed to make you want something superficial.
Let go of the expectations, let your heart be open to whatever shows up and focus on building love, rather than ripping it apart.
And if you’re alone this year, get your girlfriends together and just have fun.
Blessings on your journey,