A pop-up Valentine’s Day shop stocked with heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, teddy bears and balloons seems like the perfect place to find a gift for your loved one.

 

But at Love Better, Mood Swing Teddy Bear bear belittles you, the Black-Hearted Balloon is a request to read your texts, and the One Piece of Chocolate Advice box is a passive-aggressive dig about your weight.

 

“The products all do and say surprising things,” explains Katie Hood, CEO of One Love, a nonprofit dedicated to educating people about how to have healthier relationships and creator of the Love Better shop.

 

“When you press on the toy bear and it says something disrespectful versus ‘I love you,’ it makes you think about the little things you do every day.”

 

Once the shock wears off, every product is accompanied by information that explains what makes the behavior it represents unhealthy, and what a healthy response would be like.

So instead of buying a typical cliched Valentine’s gift — which, let’s be honest, is itself pretty lame relationship behavior — you’re learning skills that will actually make both of you happier.

“There’s no Common Core of relationship education in our country, so we never learn what is healthy and what is unhealthy,” Hood points out. “In this world where technology has really come in the middle of so many of our relationships — we’re so much more used to texting and social media posting than face-to-face conversation — we need more reminders of this stuff.”

The store, now open daily (except Sunday) from noon-8 p.m. at 1 Prince St. through Feb. 14, couldn’t come at a better time.

The #MeToo movement continues to stir up conversations about how women are treated professionally, while also expanding into how they’re treated in relationships. This second conversation has created a ton of criticism and confusion, from the New Yorker’s short story Cat Person to the woman who had “the worst night of my life” with Aziz Ansari.

There’s obviously a need for more talking, and listening. From redefining consent from “no means no” to “yes means yes” and unlearning the bad behavior normalized on reality TV, being more mindful of our actions can only improve our lives and, in turn, the lives of those who love us.

And to be clear, One Love’s relationship tips are not just for lovers.

“Valentine’s Day should be about pausing for a moment and being able to appreciate the positive relationships you have in your life,” says Hood. “It is a romantic holiday, of course, but relationships are relationships, and being healthy in a friendship or family relationship is the same thing.”