When it comes to women and Valentine’s Day, things can get a little confusing, I’ll give you that. Some of us hate it, some of us love it, and some of claim we couldn’t care either way but then get disappointed when we get left out.
(FYI, If you have a girl in your life, whether it's brand new or three years deep, do not, I repeat, do not fall for that last one. I don’t care how many times she says it, it’s a road you will sorely regret ever having gone down should you make such a silly mistake. Trust me.)
Hypocritical maybe, but justified. Sorta. The key is reading between the lines. We may not all buy into the chocolates and roses part, but we’re all saying the same thing: It’s not about the things, it's about the thought. The feelings. The appreciation. The expression. Those we all want.
So while no, you shouldn’t need a corny holiday to remind you to love and appreciation your girlfriend, and yes this whole thing is just a big ole’ capitalistic money-grabbing sham, the fact is, whether you choose to invest your time and dollars into it or not, your girl isn’t going to complain about the attention it forces her way.
Because it’s always nice to feel special. Just like it's always nice to make someone feel special. So why not just get into the spirit of it all and take advantage of a little extra lovin’? It doesn’t even have to cost a thing, you just need to know how to do it right.
Don’t Say, Do
Hands down, the best part about Valentine’s Day for just about any girl is seeing her man’s love in action, literally. Truthfully, it’s not about what you do, or how big it is, or how much it costs — it’s that you do anything at all. Less what you communicate, as how you communicate it, it's the subtle (and not-so-subtle) nonverbal cues and gestures that we look forward to the most. The little extras we get on that day more than any other, because you're more conscious and aware of expressing yourself. Hand holds, deeper kisses, evening walks, love notes; we’re incredibly sensitive to that stuff. Because that's all we ever want really, your attention. For you to be present in the moment with us more often and openly, whether that's going away for a weekend retreat or just opting to eat together in the dining room instead of in front of the TV.
Not all the time, but definitely sometimes. And if one of those times has to be in the form of a silly, overly commercialized holiday that pins unrealistic pressures of romance on us, so be it.
But Also… Say
That being said, we do want your words too. (Of course we do, we want it all.) But seriously, reinforcing your actions and communicating your feelings to us is not just super sweet and romantic, but totally critical to our peace of mind. It's important for us to be really clear on where you stand in the relationship and how happy you are at all times. And even if you think you do a fairly good job of communicating that, I can pretty much guarantee that it's never quite enough. We’re women, over-analyzing every little detail and thing left unsaid, and constantly comparing ourselves and our relationships to others is what we do. Reassurance is your job.
She also just likes to hear it. To hear how much, and why her, and why still. To know that these flowers are not just because it's Valentine's Day and she's a girl you’re with. But because it’s Valentine's Day and she's your girl, the girl you chose. That sh*t never gets old.
Take The Time
If there is one thing that we women love about being in a relationship, it's spending uninterrupted quality time with our guy. Just hanging out, being held, and connecting. Physically, emotionally — that's it. That's the highlight of our day; that's what does it. Simple, right?
Well the sad part is we don’t actually get that as much as you would think. Or at least, not as much as we would like. There is always another email to write, or call to take, or picture to post, or family dinner to attend, and truthfully, it's easy to get caught up in the chaos of it all. Especially when in a relationship. When that person that was once the highlight of your day, the extra bit that you made time to see as a treat to yourself eventually, and albeit inevitably, becomes just another part of your “norm.”
And that's OK, it's what happens to all of us, and she's probably genuinely OK with that 363 out of 365 days a year (birthday is the other one you’re not allowed do to f*ck up). But the beauty of something like Valentine’s Day, as corny and commercial as it is, is that if offers you the excuse (read: the opportunity) to break that, at least for one day. And that's what she’s hoping you’ll recognize.
So take it. Run with it. Turn everything off, ignore everybody you know, and just give her your time. A few hours dedicated to the two of you, doing whatever it is you love to do together, presently, like old times. I swear, this one is almost too easy.
Make It About Her, Specifically
Despite what every single store decorating their isles in pink and red will have you believe, chocolates and flowers and little fluffy teddy bears that sing ‘I love you’ isn’t exactly the way to a woman’s heart. Not a grown one anyway. (Seriously, we don’t actually care for any of that crap. Stop buying it). And I get it, you want to be romantic and sweet, and that's really great and I totally support that — but you need to come up with something that says you spent more than five minutes tearing through the drugstore on your way home from work.
If you’re going to spend on her at all, spend on something original. Something personal, tailored to her to make her feel special. And it doesn’t have to be big. That's the beauty about thoughtful gifts, size and cost have nothing to do with it. It's literally just the thought that counts. It could be time together doing something she loves, purple peonies instead of red roses, taking care of all the chores and errands so she doesn't have to, or surprising her with that Nespresso machine she’s eyeing for so long. There are no rules. Just show her that you know her, that you pay attention to the little things — and win.
Make Her Feel Desired
Listen, relationships are tough. Things get stale. And even though you may make it a point to kiss her on your way out the door every morning, and tell her you love her before passing out every night, routine is the ultimate romance killer. It sucks the life out of everything that makes love and intimacy fun and exciting.
So if you have the opportunity to break that cycle, why not take it? Switching things up is the best card you can play. Trust me when I say it goes a hell of a long way. Sure there is comfort in stability and the familiar, and that wins us over in another way completely, but we want to have fun too. We want to feel those sparks, and feel close to you, and have great sex forever also. But poking us with it in the back while we’re trying to load the laundry isn’t how that’s achieved.
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It's through the little things. Deliberate romantic gestures like surprises and flowers and candles sure — that sets the mood and bring some excitement back into things — but it's going a step further and showing her how special she is to you, and making her feel appreciated and beautiful that are going to do it. All that stirred together in one pot. That's what’ll get our juices flowing. That’s what will have us remembering why we chose you in the first place, and feeling grateful, and wanting to show you just how much.
Winners all around.