How To Talk To Your Partner About Your Expectations For Valentine’s Day
The season of love is upon us. Although Valentine's Day is still a couple weeks away, experts say there is one super important thing you need to be doing right now. Whether you're looking forward to a day of romance or something a little more low-key, it's time to talk to your partner about your Valentine's Day expectations.
"Valentine’s Day offers the one opportunity in a year for couples to exclusively devote themselves to the love they share," Dr. Connie Omari PhD, LPC, clinician and owner of Tech Talk Therapy, tells Bustle. The reality is, not everyone thinks Valentine's Day is important. Some people think showing love throughout the year means a lot more than going all out on one specific day, and that's completely OK.
But regardless of how you personally feel about the holiday, it's something that can be hard to ignore. According to Dr. Omari, "Valentine's Day speaks to the concept of love." When you're in a relationship, there tends to be that expectation for you to at least acknowledge the day in some way.
Chances are, neither you nor your partner are mind readers. So communication is key. Whether you're into the holiday or not, here's how you can talk to your partner about Valentine's Day expectations this year, according to experts.
1. Talk About It In Advance
"Because Valentine’s Day puts so much pressure on a couple, it’s best to talk about it with your partner in advance," Julie Spira, founder of Cyber-Dating Expert, tells Bustle. If you have high expectations for Valentine's Day, it's easy to get lost in fantasies about what the day is going to bring. If your partner isn't on the same page, you may get disappointed once the day comes and nothing is planned. So talking about it sooner rather than later will not only remind your partner that it's coming, but it can help keep your expectations in check.
2. If You Are Into Valentine's Day, Explain Why It's Important To You
If you're expecting some romance but your partner isn't, explain to them why it's important to you. According to Dr. Omari, you should express how healthy it can be for your relationship to be "intentional" about expressing love, and how you want to use that day for that purpose. If you can explain this to your partner in a clear and direct way, they should be understanding.
3. Be Understanding If Your Partner's Feelings Are Different From Yours
Maybe your partner doesn't think the holiday is important or maybe they'll be busy with work. But it's important to bring up the subject and be open about how your partner's feeling. "Keep in mind that everyone may not feel the same way that you do," Dr. Omari says. "Be gentle and kind in your response." And try to be understanding.
4. If You're Not Into Valentine's Day, Get Familiar With Your Partner's Love Language
"[It's important to understand] the 5 Love Languages of Dr. Gary Chapman," Dr. Brie Turns, doctor of marriage and family therapy, tells Bustle. "We need to know how our partner expresses their love, and how they want love to be shown to them." So if you're the one who doesn't have expectations or you don't want to celebrate the day, it's still important to be aware of your partner's wants and needs. Knowing your partner's love language can be super helpful. For instance, if they feel love through acts of service, do something thoughtful for them. You don't really need to go all out for Valentine's Day, but it's something to keep in mind.
5. Talk About Valentine's Day As A Day To Prioritize Your Relationship
Again, Valentine's Day can put a ton of pressure on your relationship to do something special or to get it just right. But in reality, it's really just a day to celebrate your relationship and the love you have for each other. According to Kelsey Latimer, PhD, founder of Hello Goodlife, there's no need to live up to something extraordinary. So just think of the day as a good opportunity for you to prioritize spending time together. It's all about having a set intention to just be together.
6. Take The Lead On Making It Special
"If you’re expecting romance, be romantic as well," Spira says. Send them flirty texts leading up to Valentine's Day or go old school and write them a love letter about how much they mean to you. "Since Valentine’s Day falls right before a long holiday weekend, suggest celebrating over the weekend when restaurants aren’t so crowded, and work won’t get in the way," Spira says. If Valentine's Day is really important to you, be proactive.
7. Be Direct With What You Want
Whether you're into the holiday or not, Latimer says the best approach is the direct approach. "I think it is really helpful to just have an honest conversation together about whether or not these things are important," she says. "If you want this day to be special, you should be honest about that and ask for what you’re wanting."
It's easy to assume your partner knows Valentine's Day is coming up and that you're expecting something, or it's easy to assume your partner knows you don't feel like it's a big deal. To avoid disappointment, stop assuming and communicate. "Ask for what you want," Latimer says. "If you want flowers or a nice dinner, then ask for it. That’s where real-life differs from the movies. Healthy relationships require communication."
Valentine's Day is a great time to show your partner how much you love and appreciate them. But not everyone feels the same way about celebrating it. When it comes to relationships, it's important to remember that your partner isn't you. So communicate. Get clear about your expectations so you can have a happy Valentine's Day.