Yet another Valentine’s Day has come to pass, another year of a holiday beloved by some and despised by others. This article is written for those who are (or were) in a relationship for the holiday; yet seem to have made some misstep in their observation of the day. There are many reasons why this might be so and hopefully this article will help you to identify causes and seek solutions.
The first step is to figure out how your significant other (SO) is upset. Is he or she angry, sad, frustrated, or a combination of the above? This might provide some clues as to what the problem is.
The second step is to figure out why your SO is upset. Carefully analyze what your plans for Valentine’s Day were. Did you give a gift or a card? Did you make plans to go out? Did you do nothing at all? If you did nothing at all, why is that? Did you forget? Or do you choose not to celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, did your SO know that you don’t celebrate? If you can figure out what you did or did not do that caused the problem, you are well on your way to a solution, but you aren’t there yet. If you can’t quite figure out what the problem is, never fear, there is still hope.
The third step is to communicate with your SO. Face to face communication is often best, but not essential if it presents a problem. Try to remain calm and objective, even if you are both upset, and above all avoid saying or doing anything that you will regret. Ask why he or she is upset, even if you think you already know. If he or she won’t speak to you, try again later and keep trying. Listen to the response. Ask questions. Sympathize with your SO’s feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Explain your actions if you feel the need, but try not to blame the other person. Apologize sincerely if you do truly regret what happened. Hopefully, you will be able to patch things up.
You bought your SO a very expensive gift, yet he or she is upset.
Is your SO concerned that he or she can’t “match” the gift?
Are your finances uncertain or the budget tight? He or she may be worried that you just made it harder to pay bills.
Is the gift something that is completely out of character for your SO? He or she may think that means you don’t know them very well, or didn’t put much thought into your gift.
You bought or made a small gift or card, but your SO is upset
Are your gifts out of proportion to one another?
Did you put thought or effort into the gift?
You did nothing at all.
Unless there was a clear agreement between you that you were not going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, failing to acknowledge the holiday is going to be hurtful to your SO. Even if money is tight and time is short you could have picked out card, found some flowers, offered a foot massage, done some chores, or found some other inexpensive way to say, “I love you.”
But, what if I think I did everything right?
I’m sure there some people out there who went all out – yet their SO is still upset. There are a few possible explanations. If you are very surprised by your SO’s reaction, consider what else is going on in their life – he or she could be lashing out at you for something totally unrelated. As questions and try to be supportive. You may need to gently remind him or her that you aren’t a mind reader – you need a little help sometimes. Or you may need to tactfully point out that he or she has some unreasonable expectations. Or, if you’ve given up on the relationship totally by this point and don’t care about being rude, you may want to point out that he or she is unreasonable and selfish. Your call.
If you aren’t all that surprised by your SO’s reaction, if they are frequently upset with you or unhappy with your efforts to make them happy, it is probably time to reevaluate your relationship. Are you being used? Does he or she really care as much for you as you do for him or her? You need to sit down and have a long talk about your relationship and your individual expectations.
Hopefully, this article will help you solve this year’s Valentine’s disaster and prevent any future mishaps that are within your control. For insight into this problem from the opposite perspective, please see Part 2.