You can’t wait to celebrate Galentine’s Day with your besties, but when you start thinking about the high stakes of the romantic side of the holiday, it’s all you can do to stop yourself from nervously picking at your new Valentine’s Day nail art. We’ve all experienced a V-Day disappointment or argument: You might have planned an extravagant gift and gotten nothing in return, or maybe you learned too late that what was really important to your partner was just a thoughtful Valentine’s Day card.
Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day lover or hater, when you’re in a relationship, how you observe February 14 depends on more than just your opinion of this often-controversial celebration — your S.O. has a little something to say about it too. With another V-Day right around the corner, we all have a chance for romantic redemption — and it starts with making sure that you and your partner are on the same page. Scroll down for six tips that will help you and bae take the tension out of this anxiety-provoking holiday.
1. Figure out your love languages. There’s more than one way to express affection for the special someone in your life. If you and your S.O. identify which “languages” are at play in your relationship, you can eliminate a lot of potential misunderstandings — especially on occasions like Valentine’s Day, when miscommunication can cause extra problems. Find a way to figure out how your partner prefers to both give and receive love. Whether you do a little analysis of the situation on your own or talk it through together, you’ll be glad you took the time to determine whether words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time or physical touch are the key to your Valentine’s heart (and theirs to yours).
2. Keep it light; keep it casual. Valentine’s Day can be a high-pressure holiday, so minimize additional stress on your relationship by keeping conversations about it fun and flirty. Even if February 14 is emotionally fraught for you (we get it), you can avoid projecting that anxiety on your S.O. by maintaining a positive tone as you set up expectations and plans. Maybe previous partners have been disappointing Valentines, but if you’re in a new relationship, it’s entirely possible that your outlook is about to change entirely!
3. Have conversations early and openly. Whether you’re seeing someone new this year or are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your longtime love, you ideally want to start chatting about the occasion sooner rather than later. This will give you a good opportunity to share your expectations for the day, get on the same page about a reasonable budget and clear any tension in the air. Don’t be afraid to honestly share any hopes for bigger gestures from your S.O. on Valentine’s Day — but be prepared for them to be less than totally on board. If you missed the boat on advance planning, late is better than never. Check in as soon as you can, but be realistic with yourself about how you might need to manage your expectations given the short notice.
4. Think of Valentine’s Day in terms of the rest of the calendar. Valentine’s Day arrives less than two months after the December holidays, which can be tough on both your wallet and your ability to come up with new gift ideas. As part of those open (and hopefully early) conversations with your partner, discuss where this occasion falls in the broader scheme of things like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Consider how important both you and your partner feel Valentine’s Day is relative to these other special days. Looking at it from this perspective might change some expectations.
5. Stay open to new routines. Maybe last year you and your sweetie celebrated with pricey gifts and a fancy dinner, but that doesn’t mean it should always be the plan. This year, you could stick to homemade gifts and each contribute the cash you would have spent to a vacation fund. Alternatively, if last year was a casual night of Netflix and chill, this could be the time to pull out your sexiest outfits, book a table at the chic new restaurant downtown and show off that hottie on your arm. Be flexible, get creative and remember that circumstances can change from year to year — it doesn’t mean that the meaning behind the holiday has to change. Check in with bae and find out what makes the most sense for this particular Valentine’s Day.
6. Be prepared to compromise. Just like anything else related to relationships, Valentine’s Day will require both you and your partner to do some giving and taking. Your collective holiday traditions need to be meaningful to you as a couple, so it’s important that you both have input on how you observe (or don’t observe) February 14.
How do you and your Valentine negotiate this often-tricky holiday? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)