“Oh, no, no. I don’t want anything for Valentine’s day! All I need is a night with you,” you say nonchalantly. You’re the cool girl, right? Easygoing, chill…
You really believe yourself, too. But then February 14th rolls around.
You open Instagram for your morning scroll. Karen was served breakfast in bed by her boyfriend. Well, that’s nice! Julia woke up to a bouquet of flowers. Sheesh, that’s thoughtful!
You glance over at your sleeping boyfriend and secretly hope he’s got something up his sleeve.
As the day of love goes by, three of your coworkers have had flowers delivered to their desks. You keep hoping you’ll get the ping from the receptionist, “Alissa, there’s a package here for you!”
You shrug it off. It’s okay, I don’t need anything, you tell yourself as you get back on Instagram. Wait a minute… is that a ring? Lisa and Jim got ENGAGED? Oh my gosh, they’ve been dating less time than we have!
At this point, your cheeks are flushed and you’re feeling a little resentful. Where’s my gift? Aren’t I special enough? He must not love me that much.
Before you spiral out of control, read on. Here are three ways to avoid feeling disappointed on Valentine’s Day:
1. Be honest about what you want.
If it is important to you to receive a Valentine’s Day gift from your significant other, be upfront about it. Don’t play it cool if it actually matters to you. Yes, I know, it’s romantic to be surprised, but you can’t assume your man is going to read between the lines. Men are generally more literal than women, so if you tell him you don’t want anything, don’t be disappointed when he actually listens.
If your man is the type to roll his eyes and groan at the thought of Valentine’s Day, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean he loves you any less. Again, just be honest if it’s a day that is important to you. Come to a compromise with him. Maybe you can make plans that feel special to you and not phony to him — cooking dinner together, going skiing, brewery hopping.
Remember, honesty is the best policy and there’s no “right way” to do Valentine’s Day.
2. Quit comparing your relationship to other relationships.
When you compare yourself to others, you’re creating an issue that wasn’t there to begin with.
We often play the comparison game when it comes to our relationships. We compare our vacations, gifts, romantic gestures, and relationship timelines with the couples around us. Wait, why did they get engaged sooner than us? Wow, she got a diamond necklace for Valentine’s Day?
Suddenly, we’re feeling insecure and resentful in our relationships. When we fall into the comparison spiral, we’re discounting what’s so special and beautiful about our own relationship. We’re overlooking the kind and romantic gestures our partner makes. So, here’s my advice. Stop looking at what everyone else has and appreciate the blessings right in front of you.
I know it’s easier said than done when we have Instagram right at our fingertips. When you catch yourself feeling resentful and jealous, practice trading it for admiration. Practice feeling happy for the people you’re comparing yourself to. Then, turn the focus back to what’s great in your life.
What can I appreciate about my relationship right now? Oh yeah, John always washes my car for me and he gave me that amazing shoulder rub the other night…
3. Ditch your expectations.
Expectations are resentments waiting to happen. Read that again. Memorize it. Believe it.
When I find myself feeling frustrated or resentful, I know it’s because I’ve set an expectation that something needed to happen a certain way and it didn’t happen that way.
Maybe you set the expectation that your boyfriend should take you to a fancy dinner for Valentine’s Day, but he instead made dinner for you at home. Unconsciously, you’d set yourself up for disappointment by being set on the idea that a romantic dinner out was the only way to celebrate well.
In this scenario, I’d encourage you to release those expectations and appreciate the sweet gesture he’s made. Instead of focusing on what it’s not, look at what is great about it — the thoughtfulness of him making you a dinner; the gift of intimate connection it gives you; the ability to sink into your jammies and watch a movie together right afterwards.
Release the pressure and have fun.
For many of us, Valentine’s Day carries a lot of emotional weight. We’ve been hurt in the past, disappointed, let down. Hello, your girl got dumped on Valentine’s Day in 9th grade. I’m still not over it…
But truly, if Valentine’s Day feels like a lot of pressure to you, you’re not alone. Practice these three tips, focus on what’s thriving in your life, and give your husband a kiss when the fire alarm goes off in his attempt to make you a romantic steak dinner.