Lifestyle

7 tips for Valentine's Day lovers (and haters)

Desperate to avoid Valentine's Day? Feeling pressure to surprise, or even (gulp) propose? Our guide has some advice.

Tara (Date Mail) Lehman dishes on the biggest Valentine’s Day dos & don’ts

Are you finding ways to make the best of your Valentine's Day? (CBC)

I knew a guy who used to break up with his girlfriend each February.

He would brag behind her back about how much hassle it saved him by not celebrating Valentine's Day with her. He thought he had discovered a brilliant dating technique, and it took her four years to catch on.

Immature and laughable behaviour? Possibly, but it paints a picture of how much some people dread Feb. 14.

For a less dramatic way to handle this Hallmark holiday, here are seven Valentine's Day tips that even the haters will love.

Is skipping Valentine's Day OK?

No, not really.

Whether you've been married for 40 years or you've just started dating, don't assume your loved one won't be upset if you brush the day off.

If you both agree you could care less about it, great! No hurt feelings.

But pause for thought: what's wrong with letting St. Valentine inspire you to do something special?

Proposing on Valentine's Day

Warning: this move is so cheesy you could put it on pizza.

But if you're determined to bend the knee, bend carefully.

Planning to propose on Valentine's Day, fella? You may want to think that through. (Rosemary Siemens/Facebook)

Valentine's Day is marketed as the most romantic day of the year, but that is precisely what makes it a tricky day to propose.

Remember that you are asking your partner to share this special anniversary with countless other people who have also been proposed to on Valentines Day.

You'll need to get creative, or your proposal could seem generic.

Dinner is a bit clichéd

If it's what you both want, go for it, especially if you have kids and want to enjoy a strictly grown-up meal.

But with the effort it takes to make a dinner reservation on one of the busiest nights of the year, you could probably come up with a more original date night that will mean just as much — if not more — to your significant other.

Women vs. men

Companies with big marketing dollars shouldn't get to define what's romantic.

Valentine's Day advertising tells us that all women want chocolate, roses and jewelry, and in turn, men must feel pressure to create surprises and spend more money than they need to.

Chocolates are a Valentine's Day standby — but most women just want to see an effort made. (Lisa Lou's Chocolate Bar)

Fellas, listen up: daisies will probably go over just as well as roses, not all women want a big fuss, and the biggest turn-on is to see an effort made.

Ladies: we can't say that all men's DNA is the same, but our extensive research tells us that most men just don't care about Valentine's Day as much as we do.

We need to remember this and do our part to take the pressure off. Romance has many definitions and this day is about both of you.

Low-pressure date ideas

Relaxing side-by-side massages. A lingerie shopping date. A dance or a cooking class — something you've both wanted to do but haven't gotten around to … the list goes on, if you take the time to think about it.

Writing a love letter (not a text message) costs a sheet of paper — and will melt a heart.

Don't forget single people!

All the single ladies may have that great song, but they may not appreciate anything that emphasizes their relationship status on Valentine's Day.

For those of you lucky enough to be in loving relationships, please don't rub it in their faces.

And if you're single, don't cave and text your ex. Make plans with friends instead, because love comes in all shapes and sizes!

Take it from someone who sells date nights for a living: Valentine's Day should not be the most stressful day of the year. It's certainly not worth breaking up with bae to avoid.

Have ambition but check your expectations, remember that originality is sexy, and do this day your way.

Even the biggest Valentine's Day haters deserve some love.

About the Author

Tara Lehman

Contributor

Tara Lehman is the owner-operator of Date Mail, a date-night box subscription service.