Men & Women: our Valentine’s Day expectations
If there’s one time of year that grand gestures of love are everywhere the eye can see, it surely has to be Valentine’s Day. Even couples who’ve been together for decades, and who balk at the excessive commercialism of it, somehow feel compelled to mark the day together. If this is your first one with a new partner, it can be difficult to navigate just what each of you is used to or is expecting, so here are some points to take into consideration.
Male and female expectations
The roles we play on Valentine’s Day are surprisingly quite traditional. Although it’s supposed to be a mutual expression of love, there’s a significant expectation for men to be in charge of certain tasks. Both sexes usually exchange gifts, if that’s part of their routine, but the gender dynamic still holds enough weight to mean outings or activities are either jointly planned, or planned by the male.
Whilst on the surface the concept of man as provider and woman as the receiver may seem somewhat out dated, it’s key to consider that it could be a reflection of deeper needs within your relationship. The way women feel about Valentine’s Day can sometimes be an indication of the way they feel about their partnership as a whole. If she repeatedly expresses a need for more romance or attention, then February 14th may have higher value than if she feels genuinely appreciated all year round.
Likewise, men who know they’re good partners may not feel compelled to have their actions on this day dictated by society. Rightly, they may also expect a bigger or at least equal input from their partner and acknowledgement that they too need to feel appreciated. Surprisingly, one evening a year of sexy lingerie isn’t always sufficient to prove that you value your man.
When weighing up theses possibilities, be mindful that although it’s only a single day in context of your entire relationship, there will be other factors involved.
This day is not about one of you, it’s not about making up for a year lacking romance, nor is it about offering any sort of validation on the status of your relationship. Valentine’s Day is about your partnership, celebrating it and treasuring what you have right now. If for whatever reason there aren’t equal levels of effort put in, there should at very least be equal levels of enjoyment.
The day can mean more to one of you than it does the other, so learn to strike a compromise that involves no grumbling. Also, make an effort to find out why you each hold the views that you do and don’t ever dismiss them. It’s one of those celebrations that either really matters to you or it really doesn’t, there’s rarely an in-between. Be clear what side of the fence you both sit on.
Talk: Have an open conversation. Ask each other whether you want to plan it jointly or if one of you wants to give the other a surprise. Try not to make assumptions, as they can lead to disappointment.
Bonus: Remember, this is a bonus day for you both, not the entirety of your romantic output for the year.
Cards: Exchanging something is better than nothing on this day, so never anything less than a card. Take the time to write some heartfelt words in it too, don’t just sign your name.
Restaurants: Yes, they’re insanely busy, service is slow and the menu overpriced, but nothing will kill the lead-up or atmosphere more than you moaning about it. Either go and deal with it, or don’t go.
Keep faithful to who you are: Where you can, do something to reflect your own relationship, not what other people expect. Have dinner at home, invite friends around, buy the tackiest card or the most expensive bunch of flowers – have fun the way you both like to have fun, together.