Valentine's Day is a loaded holiday when it comes to picking out the right gift for your man. What you buy reflects how you see him and the relationship, so you want to get something thoughtful, creative, and appropriate for the amount of time you've been together. We know guys are notoriously tough to shop for, so our guide is full of great outside-the-box ideas for every stage of coupledom. And while you are shopping, don't forget to pick up a little something for yourself.
Less Than 3 Months
If you've just started dating, keep your gift casual. At this point, anything expensive or too personal will send a scary I-like-you-a-little-too-much message. Plan to spend around $20-$25 on something simple but sweet, like a DVD of a movie he really liked - such as The Hangover) - or a book by one of his favorite authors (A Michael Crichton novel was just published).
This is a tricky in-between phase: You're an official couple, but are still getting to know each other. Impress him by finding something creative that's totally him. For example, if he's always taking pictures, get him a gorillapod.
Okay, things are starting to get serious (even if he's yet to admit it). A fun gift for this stage in the relationship is an experience you can have together, so you'll build more shared memories. Try tickets to a concert (The Black Eyed Peas and Bon Jovi are touring in February) or an NBA or NHL game.
You've crossed over into the long-term commitment zone, so this is a great time to commemorate your relationship or show off how well you know him. Frame a cute picture of the two of you (have it printed out nicely, in black and white), or find something that will remind him of a fun time you had together. You can spend a bit more now that you're pretty serious ($100-$200, depending on your budget) on a big-ticket item. Here's a really cool idea: ballpark cuff links made from the stadium seats from his favorite team.More Than 3 Years
After years of birthdays and holidays together, it gets tougher and tougher to come up with surprising gifts. A lot of women just grab stuff he needs, like socks or new button-downs, which is nice and all...but boring. Instead, get him a present where he'll learn something new. If he's adventurous, book him an exciting experience, like a flying lesson or hang gliding. (Excitations.com offers a ton of amazing gift ideas.) Or, book a weekend getaway at a romantic hotel in a nearby town where you can spend lots and lots of time in bed.
Get more from Cosmopolitan!The Bad Girl's Guide to Valentine's Day
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.