Your Emergency Valentine's Day Guide

How to handle 14 February – whatever your situation 

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Valentine's.

Arguably the most divisive event in the calendar.

Whether you despise it as commercialised nonsense or see it as an ideal excuse to fawn over your significant other, you have to confront it.

To help you out, we asked relationship expert Susan Quilliam how to make 14 February work for you.

 

You think the day is a mortifing exercise in enforced mush, she thinks if you don't celebrate it, you don't care enough. 

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It happens. 

In which case, the key is to just get on with it – albeit in your own way. 

Susan says: “Relationships work best when both of you are prepared to give as well as take. If it’s important to one of you, the other needs to say: "I'm not fussed, but if this is what you want, lets do it."

This isn't to say you need to pay three times the normal price at some terrible high street Italian chain with 'aphrodiasiac' food and cheap pink cava. 

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There are myriad ways of showing you care – known in the psychology game as ‘proofs of love.’

There are a whopping 10 of these. They include action (doing stuff for the other person), quality attention (shutting off the telly and giving them your undivided attention), and pride (showing them you love them – i.e. telling them all the reasons they’re great).

There's also memories, (talking about the best times you’ve had together) dreams, (talking about what you’re going to do together before next year comes around) and contact (not sex – do something like an intense sport, where you spend a lot of time grabbing on to each other.)

The important thing to note is that you as a couple might have completely different proofs to other people.

So choose the ones that are most important to the pair of you, rather than doing generic stuff because you think you should.

Go zorbingplan a trip away together or do whatever that relates to the proof you both consider to be the most important. 

 

If you're all about penning sonnets in St. Valentine's honour but she finds the whole concept vomit-inducing, not a problem. 

Susan suggests doing something that isn't overly mushy (absolutely no restaurants full of other couples.) 

Give her a card saying how much she means to you, and do something at home, just the two of you.

Or, if you’re desperate to do the posh restaurant malarkey, do it anyway – just not on the day itself.

Try The Gaucho City's limited time chilli based tasting menu: (10th – 16th February) so you still get to do something fun and different, without undermining her. 

Everyone's a winner. 

 

If you're having financial worries but still want to show her you care, don't worry. But Susan advises that this it not the time of the year to bring it up. 

Acknowledge that you know her well enough to know what she’d really like – try buying a pack of pretty postcards and writing on the back that you know what it is she'd ideally have – and that you'll do it when you can. 

As for gift price range?

Susan says it absolutely depends on situation you’re in, but for most women the personal touch means more.

She says: "A friend of mine was going freelance, and for Valentine's her partner bought her a hamper of things that would help her. It was £30 worth, but they were all chosen with care – that was more of a proof of love than something massive." 

 

Danger.

If you haven’t been with each other for a year yet, you might not know if she’s saying she’s not bothered, but actually is.

As Susan observes, often a man and a woman’s definition of not being fussed can be pretty different. She might be thinking that she doesn't need a weekend away, whereas your idea might be totally bypassing Valentine's altogether. 

According to Susan, you should still make a gesture – not a box of chocolates, but a something that’s in between spectacular and nothing at all. 

Do something small but thoughtful – like packing a picnic up and going round to hers. 

 

Another inevitable problem in relatively new relationships, when you're still on your best behaviour. 

Naturally, the simplest thing to do is just ask her what she wants to do – and see if you can get some pointers. 

If all you get are cagey replies, again, try sorting something that's not a full-blown over-the-top extravaganza, but better than nothing.

Book in for a posh breakfast – Gordon Ramsey's Bread Street Kitchen are putting on a Grey Goose cocktail and pastries affair on the day itself. 

susanquilliam.com

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