Yes, your boyfriend DREADS Valentine's day. Sorry to break it to you, ladies. The only reason men celebrate it with us is because they know that it makes us happy (or at least not angry at them).
Trust me, if you ask any guy for their honest opinion about Valentine's Day they will say they don't like it. Society creates so much hype around Valentine's Day. Men get overwhelmed because they feel pressured to perform and obligated to be romantic. Guys like to express their love authentically, not because of some manufactured holiday.
Is Valentine's Day a girl's holiday?
Roses, hearts, diamonds... chocolate? Think about it. These are girlie things. You never hear a guy say, "I wish my girlfriend would get me some diamonds!" or "I love roses, I hope my girlfriend will send some to my office."
Besides being a girl's holiday, we women judge how much our boyfriend loves us by what we get from him on Valentine's Day. If they fail on Valentine's Day, then they fail in the relationship. Why do we do this to our boyfriends? The pressure they feel is very real for them and it rarely inspires greatness... more often, it inspires DREAD.
What do boyfriends feel?
They feel this subtle pressure (or sometimes not so subtle pressure!) from us and from our culture and they do their best to participate in order to make us happy. You can't always relieve the pressure they feel from society, but we can go a long way towards reducing the overall amount of pressure they feel by clearly telling them what we actually want.
Last Valentine's Day I decided to have a talk with my boyfriend about his thoughts on Valentine's Day. I was curious to know his perspective. He said it was true, that he did indeed DREAD Valentine's Day. Here's what he said:
"When Valentine's Day rolls around I feel like I have to be a mind reader and that I am not going to win. I feel like I am not going to get it right no matter what I do. The expectations are so high. There are so many expectations on that day that there is no realistic way to satisfy all of her desires.
The closer the day gets the more I fear that I am not prepared. No matter what I do I am going to lose. Expectations make me feel manipulated. Valentine's Day feels like a huge demand coming from the calendar. I'm obligated to generate a romantic display. It's hard to give from that space. I have to perform certain love rituals for Hallmark and rose dealers. I also know that what I do will be compared to other Valentine's Days days and to her friends. There is a tendency for women to show off and compare.
Basically I feel dread, obligation and resentment. Plus I feel lame. Valentine's Day is the ultimate dis-empowerment. It doesn't feel personal because of this. The day after Valentine's Day is the best day of the year."
Men like to WIN
Learning that men like to win gave me great insight into my boyfriend's perspective. Even though I truly wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day, I definitely didn't want him to experience all those negative feelings.
We talked about what we wanted our Valentine's Day to be. We had a great conversation. He said that all he wanted for Valentine's Day was to have a good meal and to have sex. He said that would make him happy. That was easy enough. I wanted that too. I shared with him how much I loved Valentine's Day and that I wanted to celebrate it, but I also wanted him to win with me. He understood how important it was to me. He could see that it would make me super happy.
What did I do relieve the pressure on him?
I told him EXACTLY what I wanted. I told him that I wanted to stay at home and have an evening devoted to our sensuality. I wanted him to feed me chocolate covered strawberries and I wanted him to give me an oil massage. That was it. Now he knew exactly what I wanted and now he knew how he could win.
The BEST Valentine's Day ever
When Valentine's Day rolled around I got a day that I would never forget. Not only did I get the chocolate covered strawberries and the massage, but he surprised me with roses, a red heart filled with chocolate and a bottle of wine. He also bought us a fun dice massage game and a deck of conversation cards for lovers. Then to top I all off, he serenaded me with his guitar. That was the BEST Valentine's Day ever! I felt completely loved and adored.
Taking the edge off the dread
Having that conversation with him about Valentine's Day freed him up. He said that it really helped that I acknowledged that Valentine's Day sucks for guys. His feelings about Valentine's Day didn't change, but I made it a lot easier on him. He felt that the bar was so low that he could definitely meet my expectations. It took the edge off the dread. He said he wanted to over do my expectation. I not only got the two things I requested but I got an amazing night filled with wonderful memories.
So to review, here's how to get what you want this Valentine's Day:
Have a conversation with your boyfriendAsk him what he really thinks about Valentine's Day. Tell him that he can be honest with you. Now listen. Let him share. Identify with what your boyfriend is feeling around Valentine's Day. Get into his world. By acknowledging his dislike you give him freedom to choose.
"Be clear" on what you wantDon't leave all the guess work to your boyfriend. This is what creates the dread for him. Instead create a simple and short list of what you would like to experience on Valentine's Day. What will make you happy? Remember: If you demand a lot, that will cause him to experience pressure and will prevent him from engaging his creativity. Lowering your expectations to what is realistic won't guarantee that you will get more, but it will definitely increase your chances.
Ask him what he wantsOnce you ask, sit back and listen. Give him the space to share. Have Valentine's Day be about him too. (Tip: The basic two things that men want are food and sex, so if for some reason he feels too shy to ask for these, make sure you include them in the evening. This will make him very happy.)
Tell him exactly what you wantWould you like chocolate? If yes, then what kind? Would you like roses? If yes, then how many and what color? Get very specific.You may even want to tell him which florist to go to. If you want a certain piece of jewelry, send him a link to it on the internet. The more specific you get the easier it is on your boyfriend.
Be HappyExpress your happiness no matter what your boyfriend chooses to do for this Valentine's Day. Your happiness will encourage him to do even more next time.
Your boyfriend will appreciate it when you take this pressure off him and it will free him up to do more. Remember: Men like to win. Have your boyfriend win this Valentine's Day.
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