Flowers, chocolates, dinner and romance might not always be the best way to lay on the love (or like) come Valentine’s Day, relationship experts say.
“Valentine’s Day plans should match the commitment level that you happen to be in,” Los Angeles-based matchmaker Jasmine Diaz said.
Planning a too intimate day could send the wrong message, she said. It’s important to be honest about your expectations with your partner, too, Miami-based life coach Kelley Kosow added.
“If you can’t have a conversation about it, you are on a slippery slope to a relationship that has little communication,” said Kosow, author of The Integrity Advantage.
While expectations vary depending on individual relationships, here are a few guidelines Diaz recommends:
Couples who are still on the quest to impress each other could opt for dinner at a favorite restaurant, see a movie at the theater or Netflix and chill, Diaz said.
Keep it thoughtful, but comfortable. Keep card messages simple, like: “I’m really enjoying getting to know you. Happy Valentine’s Day!” Your partner might not be comfortable with intimate gestures at this stage.
Dating 6 months to a year
When you know more about the person you are dating, experiences such as concerts, cooking classes, city tours or picnics work well, Diaz said.
For couples who’ve said the L-word (that’s “love,” guys), expectations will be higher than simply buying flowers and a card, Diaz said. Maybe you hire a private chef for a meal at home or opt for a couples massage. The more devoted you are to the relationship, the more creativity you might want to incorporate.
Warning: Don’t plan a weekend getaway or buy a ring, unless you’re planning to propose.
Engaged or newly married
Couples that have an established, committed relationship usually tailor Valentine’s Day activities and gifts to the type of relationship they have. For example, someone who is living with their significant other might surprise their loved one with a home renovation versus a typical date night experience, Diaz said.
Gifts could also be grander at this stage, maybe even a new car, Diaz suggested.
Romance might also look like an intimate bath at home or a trip down memory lane (maybe visit a first date spot again).
If children are involved, Valentine’s Day plans might look different and include a family activity, she said.
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