Chocolates and flowers are relatively risk-free gifts.


Just as quickly as the chocolate shaped Santa Clauses flooded the store aisles, they’ve been replaced with ones of Cupid. And as more and more red and pink inundate the stores, we’re reminded Valentine’s Day is almost here. Some may be stressing about not having someone special to spend the day with, as others are focussed on finding the perfect gift for their partner.

While the pressure to open our wallets is strong, dating and relationship coach Kateryna Spiwak of Dating Essentials,, suggests we decline the urge to use extravagance on Valentine’s to make up for poor relationship behaviour the other 364 days of the year.

“You should treat your partner with kindness and thoughtfulness year-round,” says Spiwak. “If you feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you at Valentine’s, you may need to be more romantic and considerate all the time.”

Yet even those whose relationships are on track often still feel the pressure to add a little extra romance to Cupid’s big day. Spiwak recommends first finding out how your partner views the day and deciding on what you are going to do and how much you are going to spend.

“A present that is too extravagant could overwhelm (your partner) and could be seen as a turnoff,” says Spiwak.

As a general rule for couples who have just started dating, she recommends a playful card and perhaps a box of chocolates or treats. For those who have been through a Valentine’s Day or two together already, now is when that naughty negligees and expensive perfumes/colognes can make it into a wrapped box.

“Make sure the gift is appropriate to the person’s taste,” adds Spiwak.

But Valentine’s doesn’t just have to be about material items.

“Instead of buying them something, why not make them something, like cookies or a CD of his favourite music. You can also give your partner a massage or a bubble bath. Material gifts could be left out of it altogether,” says Spiwak. “Thoughtful personal gestures usually mean more.”

But no matter what you choose to give or do on Feb. 14, Spiwak recommends cultivating your relationship with words and not just actions.

“Talk about what you like and don’t like (with your partner),” says Spiwak. “Talk about your relationship and where you see it going.” After all, that knowledge will last a lot longer than the box of chocolates.

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