Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and whether you’re a fabulous single, newly-coupled, an old married, or nursing a recent heartbreak, there are a few common mistakes you should be aware of. After the jump, check out the 8 mistakes you need to avoid to make this Valentine’s Day better than ever (or at least not as terrible as it could be).If you’re single:
- Avoid making a first date with someone on Valentine’s Day. It may be tempting to schedule a date on February 14th with that cute guy you’ve just met, but first dates are anxiety-inducing enough without adding the pressure of forced romance. Spend Valentine’s Day with your friends instead or a rom-com rental, some Thai take-out and a bottle of wine, and make a date to hang with the cute guy after the big day when you both can be more relaxed.
- Avoid measuring your self-worth by your relationship status. This goes for every day of the year, of course, but particularly on Valentine’s Day when it can seem everything is marketed and catered to couples. Celebrate your singledom! Rather than being stuck in a relationship that isn’t working, you’ve given yourself the gift of an open heart, an open schedule—and hopefully an open mind—totally available for all and any opportunities that may present themselves to you.
If you’ve just broken up with someone:
- Avoid contacting your ex. You’re lonely, you’re a little sad, maybe you’re feeling a bit nostalgic … so what could it hurt to text your ex and let him know you’re thinking of him, right? Wrong! Sure, Valentine’s Day may be about expressing love and appreciation for everyone you care about and not just significant others, but recent exes don’t make the cut. Save it for some random day when you’re feeling stronger and just want to say “hi” with no ulterior motive to rekindle the relationship.
- Avoid restaurants that you know will be full of lovey-dovey couples. Not only will it depress you, but these restaurants are so crowded and over-priced on Valentine’s Day, even the love-dovey couples are getting a bad deal. Invite a few friends over for a pot-luck and board games, or go out and hit the lanes for a little bowling (pretend the pins are your ex). The point is to avoid typical Valentine’s spots and activities that are focused on romance and liable to feed your heartbreak.
If you’re in a new relationship:
- Don’t expect Valentine’s Day to be some over-the-top event. You guys, it’s just a day—a made-up Hallmark day that some people take really seriously … and some people barely even think about. If you’re in the camp that thinks it actually means something and you expect your new partner to shower you with flowers, gifts, and reservations at the finest restaurant in town, you may be disappointed when all you get is a card. So manage those expectations and realize that a lot of people prefer expressing their feelings their own way and on dates that have a bit more personal significance. Try not to get your feelings hurt if your significant other has a different idea of what Valentine’s Day means and how it should be celebrated.
- Don’t expect the day to be all about the woman. Traditionally, Valentine’s Day has centered around what guys can do for their ladies and it’s time that archaic way of thinking stops. Men like to feel special, too. Duh. So, cook him dinner, bake his some brownies, get him tickets to see “Grizzly Bear” in concert. Little expressions of love will go a long way and make Valentine’s Day an occasion he can look forward to instead of dread.
If you’re in a long-term relationship:
- Don’t ignore Valentine’s Day completely. Maybe you’ve been together for 15 years. Maybe you have two kids, demanding jobs, and busy schedules. And maybe you think Valentine’s Day is just for young lovers who still have stars in their eyes and aren’t yet burdened by big life responsibilities. Hey, that’s even more reason to spark some romance in your relationship and remind your significant other how much you appreciate him. Schedule some time for just the two of you—even it’s just a movie after the kids are in bed or a quiet dinner at home—when you can turn off the noise of the outside world and remember why you fell in love. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on Valentine’s Day, but these cold winter evenings present a perfect time to snuggle up and reignite some passion.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to make your Valentine’s Day plans! Reservations are getting scarcer, people are filling their schedules, flower shops are maxing out on their orders. Decide what you want to do now and set the wheels in motion … before it’s too late and you’re left in the lurch. And don’t forget to send out Valentine’s cards. If you never got around to sending holiday cards, this is the perfect time to drop a line to friends and family and let them know you’re still alive and they’re on your mind. And who doesn’t appreciate finding a little love in the mailbox?