Charlotte Hannah
February 01, 2013

Avoiding Valentine’s Day Disappointment: Stop Hinting, Start Asking

Valentine’s Day is coming up and you know what that means. Tons of Reddit posts and advice column letters from women who are disappointed because their boyfriend forgot about Valentine’s Day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. By keeping a few simple things in mind, almost every woman can avoid post-Valentine’s Day disappointment.

To some of you, this article’s going to sound like common sense. If you’re one of these people, congratulations! You’re a reasonable person. To the rest of you, read up.

Examine your expectations

Think about why Valentine’s Day is important to you. Is it a way to make your boyfriend prove his love to you? Or is it just a handy excuse to spend some extra time together and do something different for a change?

If you picked the former, you’re going to have a bad time. Love and remembering a minor holiday are two completely separate things. And making your partner jump through hoops to “prove” their love for you is always a bad idea.

If you chose the latter, you’re on your way to having a satisfying V-Day.

The nice thing about Valentine’s Day (and life in general) is that there’s no set script — it can be whatever you want it to be. But if you have a script in mind, you can’t expect your dude to know what it is. He’s not a mind reader. (If your boyfriend is a mind reader, please disregard — he has no excuse.)

So, start by telling him what you want and why it’s important to you. If you’ve spent your entire life willing people to do what you want and being shocked when they don’t, actually talking about your expectations might seem a bit crazy. And I admit it doesn’t jive with the traditional notion of what romance looks like. But trust me, it works.

Be reasonable

Yeah, probably not going to happen.
Photo credit: St. Petersburg Carriages

Unfortunately, there’s more to it than just walking up to your guy and saying, “You. Me. Valentine’s Day. Romantic candlelit dinner. Let’s do this thing.”

You have to let your dude know well in advance. If you wait until the day before V-Day to tell him you want to rent a horse and carriage and ride it through town while sipping hot cocoa, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

If your ideal Valentine’s Day requires any amount of time or money, give him plenty of notice — the more elaborate your plans, the more notice.

That brings me to my next point. If your guy isn’t rich as balls, you might want to keep your dreams of a moonlit horse and carriage ride to yourself. If he’s struggling to pay off student loans and barely making ends meet, he’s not going to be able to plunk down $100 or more on a fancy dinner or lavish gift. Don’t make V-Day into something your guy has to stress over — after all, what’s the point if it’s not fun for both of you?

Adjust your expectations. There’s no shortage of “How to Plan a Date on a Tight Budget” articles out there, so I won’t bore you with a list of cheap date ideas. Suffice to say that the success of your Valentine’s Day depends on your attitude. Even grilled cheese and Netflix can be romantic if you want it to be.

Since you’ve read this far, I’ll offer you one tip:

Candles. Candles make everything romantic. Grilled cheese and Netflix may be a typical Thursday night, but grilled cheese and Netflix by candlelight? Now you’re talkin’. Open up a box of Franzia and let the magic happen.

Like this. See? ROMANCE.
Via StockTwits

Take the lead

As the saying goes, if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. If you have an ideal Valentine’s Day in mind, why task your boyfriend with all the planning and preparation when you could just do it yourself? Tell your dude to keep his V-Day evening free because you’ve got a surprise for him, and make that dinner reservation yourself. You get the Valentine’s Day you want, nobody’s disappointed, everybody wins.

If this seems unromantic to you, you really need to work on separating romance and tradition in your mind. It’s the 21st century. You’re a strong, independent woman who wants to dress up and go out with her man and gorge herself on endless shrimp. Make it happen.