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Dr. Deanna Brann's Blog

valentine's day
Valentine’s Day is almost here, and I noticed the ads started in January! Right after Christmas the stores filled their shelves with cards, candy and all the reminders that you need to do something special for that “special someone” in your life. You can’t get away from it. If you hadn’t been thinking about it before, you are now, whether you want to be or not. This not only plants the seeds of unrealistic expectations, but it also creates pressure for us to do the expected, to do the romantic, to do the fabulous, to do…to do…to do…. The list never ends. That’s a tall order, and typically a set up for a big let down. It’s hard to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience on demand every year.

This is such an odd “holiday.” It’s one day in which we are supposed to celebrate the love we have for a particular person. Hmmm, shouldn’t we be doing this anyway…at least most days, instead of just once a year? And what about the people who, for whatever reason, don’t have a special someone? Is this just a cruel reminder to them that they don’t have anyone to share this day…their lives with? Ugh!

As I’m sure you are aware men and women typically view Valentine’s Day differently. Let’s be honest ladies, how many of you are playing the whole evening out in your head of exactly what you’d like to have happen (including your gift(s)? It’s your perfect Valentine’s Day; it’s what you would really, really in your heart of hearts like to have happen, but of course are not sharing with your partner. How many of you men feel the pressure to buy something special…to do something special, but don’t have the foggiest idea what that might be? And what if it’s not enough…what if it’s not the right thing?

Some embrace this day lovingly and realistically for how it makes them feel, and for the love they give to their spouse or significant other. That’s great. The dark side of the holiday is that for many, it is a holiday that creates pressure, stress, and frankly, a lot of anxiety. Whether you’re dating, married, or single, the pressure is high to celebrate this holiday in traditional and expected ways. And we feel this pressure not just because of our fantasies and our imaged “perfect” day, but also because others will ask, “What did you do for Valentine’s Day?” The idea of saying you did nothing, or nothing special just makes your stomach hurt. What does that say about my spouse or significant other? What does that say about us? Or, What does that say about me that I’m not dating anyone?

Hang on! Whether you are with someone special or not there are things you can do to turn things around so you don’t feel the pressure, stress and anxiety you have experienced in the past. There are things you can do to make Valentine’s Day really special.

Here are some tips to help you show your special someone that that is exactly who they are – your special someone – and to bring the sizzle back into your relationship.

  • Have realistic expectation – Don’t expect this one-day to be a magic fix for anything or to be the only day you focus on your partner to keep the sizzle in your relationship. It can be the day you renew your feelings, not the only day you express them.
  • Women need to actively participate – This is not “Queen for a Day,” it’s Valentine’s Day. It important for you to be just as involved in celebrating your partner and not just sitting back and expecting your partner to be the only one proclaiming his love. He needs to feel love, appreciated, and adored too!
  • Share your feelings – Write your partner a letter that really expresses how you feel about him or her and what he or she has brought into your life. You can write about things you wouldn’t have or be otherwise, if it weren’t for him or her.
  • If you’re buying a gift, make it personal – Really spend some time thinking about your partner and what he or she likes, loves, or cherishes. Taking the time to give a gift that allows him or her to feel it is personal and special – just for them – will help them feel your love. It’s not the gift or the money you spend as much as the fact that you put some true thought into it.
  • Plan something special together – Putting the pressure on one person or the other can make Valentine’s Day stressful, not pleasurable, and can take away any sizzle that might otherwise be there. Planning together can be fun, intimate, and rewarding because it’s a win-win for you both.
  • Make the day about your partner – If you both make it about the other then you both end up feeling great. You feel loved and appreciated; more importantly you know your partner feels the same way. What could be better than that?

So with a little change in perspective, how would you like to celebrate your Valentine’s Day?

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