Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and very soon millions of Americans will shell out the big bucks to celebrate the holiday with a loved one. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent about $18.6 billion for Valentine’s Day. As is tradition, this year men will again spend much more on the holiday than their dates: last year, the average man spent “$175.61 on jewelry, flowers, a romantic evening out and more,” while women spent just $88.78. With the economy improving and with Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday, Romance could be even more expensive this year.
Although Valentine’s Day may be the only “date night” printed on an official calendar, according to Linda Nusbaum, LMFT, it WON’T be the time to save a rocky marriage or long term relationship. Linda, a 2-time Emmy Award winning news reporter-turned-therapist, says that Valentine’s Day creates a “palpable pressure and too-high expectations” for both parties in a relationship. The LA-based licensed relationship counselor adds, “Women often feel hopeful and build expectations of what they believe will make them feel loved, and men feel pressure to create an evening, to buy the right gift and make their date happy. But no one really knows the rules, and because expectations are seldom set properly, there are often misunderstandings and devastating disappointments.”
1. Valentine’s Day is just one day: It’s not enough to heal over old rifts. A marriage on the rocks will still be there tomorrow no matter how large the bouquet of roses is or no matter how much money is spent on dinner.
2. The bottom line is: new experiences, like a great Valentine’s Day, do not erase the troubles that came before.
3. It starts when we’re young: our very first memories of this love holiday were probably made when we were very little, receiving cards from people who loved us. We may have grown up feeling loved on this holiday.
4. Comparison is unfair: All Valentine’s Days from the past are compared to the one that’s coming. It’s very easy to be disappointed when the feeling of newness and adulation decreases over time.
5. Valentine’s Day best practices: Stop relying on what the media tells us we should buy, wear, eat and drink. Instead, make a big day of recognizing your partner in life by celebrating the small moments you cherish. Talk about what you want from each other and surprise your loved one with an original creation – something really from the heart.