By Marianne Mancusi Beach, GalTime.com
I'll never forget my first Valentine's Day with my dear husband. Instead of braving the lines and the "special menus" (with the "special prices") of the New York City restaurant scene, we decided to stay in, cooking a special little Mexican meal ourselves, together in his kitchen. He bought me roses and a little stuffed bear and we ate by candlelight and sipped champagne. It totally trumped any V-Day I'd ever had before--even the five star ones--and made me start to wonder if perhaps he could be the one.
Valentine's Day is supposed to be about romance and sharing your love. But these days, some men feel as if they have to treat it as a competitive event. If they don't live up to their girlfriends' or wives' expectations (or, let's be honest, the expectations of her co-workers or mother) they'll score a big zero.
And that's a lot of pressure to put on one day of the year!
So how do you take the pressure off your guy and allow him to enjoy Valentine's Day as much as you do? We asked Jennifer Romolini, editor in chief at Yahoo! Shine.
"My advice is to drop your Rom-Com expectations and don't put pressure on the day being perfect or hope to be treated like a princess," she suggests. "The night should be about celebrating your relationship, not just you (that's what birthdays are for!)."
For example, if your guy just isn't the whole roses/candlelit dinner kind--find something to do that you will both enjoy, even if it's fun and low key. " Last year my husband and I had "Spain" night where we cooked a five course Spanish meal together, drank Spanish wine and sherry, and afterwards watched Almodovar movies we'd been meaning to see," says Jennifer.
But remember, low pressure does not mean non-existent. Some girls pretend they hate the holiday--just to let their boyfriend off the hook--or as a pre-emptive strike when he doesn't step up to the plate. This is something I was guilty of for years with past boyfriends. Pretending roses and chocolates meant nothing to me--so when I didn't get them it wouldn't really matter. (Except, of course, it did.)
"Lying and/or covering up how you really feel rarely ever leads anywhere good," says Jennifer. "You can't expect to get what you want if you don't ask for it and men, though we'd love them to be, are not mind readers. An older woman I know who's been married for 47 years once told me that the secret to a good relationship is, 'Say what you mean and mean what you say!'"
And, in the end, remember, it's the thought that counts. A five star restaurant doesn't mean he loves you anymore than a home cooked meal.
"It's not that they don't want to show you they care," insists Jennifer. "They just don't like forced romance and they'd rather tell you they love you in a less contrived, commercial way."
What's your take-- do we put too much pressure on our men for Valentine's Day? Do YOU feel pressure on the holiday?