Why Valentines Day F**ks Up Your Love Life

There’s a lot I don’t like about Valentines day. It makes people in relationships feel pressured, and it makes single people feel inadequate.

The former group have to go out and find something to do so as not to look like they don’t care about each other. They pay astronomical prices in an overcrowded restaurant for the same wine and pasta that cost a third of the price the week before, and buy some plastic crap with hearts and clichéd teddy bears on it. It becomes a day of merchandise and extortion for those who feel coerced into doing something for their partner.

Then there are the latter group, the singletons, thrust into a feeling of lacking as every business promotion, television ad, and shop window is full of images of what they don’t have. Consequently they either become depressed about not having someone, they rebel against the idea of having someone altogether, or they throw themselves into a fit of action fuelled by the panic that time is running out.


The truth is I very much like holidays. They force us to celebrate, create memories, and express how we feel about each other at least once a year. But I can’t help but think that this is where the tragedy lies for many relationships. Valentines, like many other holidays, becomes a rushed effort to make up for what we haven’t done in the other 364 days of the year.

It’s seen in the case of the workaholic man who after ignoring his spouse’s needs for the last six months buys her a Cartier bracelet in an effort to pay off all of his emotional debt. Or the woman who decides she’s going to wear or do something really sexy in the bedroom which she could have excited him with year round!

Unfortunately, nothing we do on one day will even out what we haven’t done the rest of the year. A day is just a day – no matter how romantic the restaurant or how expensive the jewellery – our relationships are the measure of our averages, not the intensity of one day.

Wonderful one off acts are a little like a sugar rush – massive highs which quickly disappear once normality sets back in.

This notion both takes the pressure off of Valentines day (you don’t need to perform a miracle, it won’t improve your relationship long term anyway) and puts the pressure on for the whole of the rest of the time, but in a more manageable way.

So why am I saying this? Is the purpose of this article merely to deflate the guy or girl who just booked a romantic experience for this evening? Should you now take back the jewellery and save your money if it’s not going to work anyway?

The answer of course is no. Enjoy the romance, enjoy the experience, and have fun watching that amazing reaction we all love when someone appreciates a beautiful gift.

But I’d like to offer a different perspective on this day than the one created by companies who want to make you believe that you’re not enough without getting their product as a gift for your partner. It goes like this:

What if Valentines day was like New Years day, but for your love life?

Let’s think about New Years day for a moment. It’s a time when we like to hit the reset button on our lives. We make resolutions, we think about goals we want to reach, and if we’re really proactive, we make a plan on how we are going to get there.

Well what about creating ‘Love life Resolutions’…

I want you to imagine that this year’s Valentines day is a ‘Love Life Reset’. It’s a time for you to make resolutions in your love life. If you’re a in a relationship it might be a resolution about the way you are going to treat your partner. It might be a new standard for how much you listen; or for your level of empathy. It might revolve around the amount of time you give to this person on a daily or weekly basis. It might be a decision to become more invested in their interests, goals and ambitions. Maybe it’s putting all of the important dates – anniversaries, birthdays etc – in your calendar now so that you’re ready for them when they come around.

What could be more romantic than a genuine commitment to your partner about what you are going to do and be for them over the next 12 months? This is how we can really show we care.

By the way, you may choose to tell them this resolution, or you may choose to just let your actions speak for you over the weeks and months. Either way, I want you to look back in three months time at how much your relationship has improved with this focused attention.

Now if you’re single, your resolution will be a commitment to yourself. Instead of letting Valentines panic or frustrate you, use it as a time to plan some really positive changes.

Your resolutions may involve a commitment to going out and meeting new people a certain number of times a week. It might be a commitment to taking more risks with the people you are attracted to when you see them. It might be a commitment to working on areas of your confidence that aren’t strong right now.

Looking at the situation this way will allow you to make genuine progress over the coming weeks, instead of feeling powerless.

With this in mind here are three quick tips in creating your new ‘love life resolutions’:

1) Start small

Just like any goal, your love life resolutions should start small. Trying to improve every part of your love life in one go will lead to overwhelm and you’ll end up doing nothing. Achieving these resolutions is paramount to moving things to the next level.

2) Target your weak areas

Be honest about where you suck right now. If you’re a bad listener, be honest about it and look to fix it. If you don’t show enough interest in your partner’s passions, build your resolution around that. It’s not enough just to build on areas where you are already strong – they will give you the least payoff.

3) Start today

In whatever small way you can, show your intent by beginning your love life resolution today – if you do you are likely to see some immediate small pay-offs in the next 7 days which will reinforce the behaviour.

So there it is. A new approach to Valentines day.

What if this became a day we look forward to because of all the positive changes we make when it comes about? It could actually become something really meaningful. I would promote it non-stop.

The bottom line is this. The little things we all do in our love lives over the next twelve months are going to determine how we feel by the time next Valentines day comes around.

If we are in a relationship one year from now, we should be able to laugh at Valentines as merely another day in the calendar when we treat our partner like royalty (no different from any other day). Even the idea of spontaneity can be tame if we’ve been spontaneous in our relationship year-round. If we’re single one year from now, we’ll be able to look at all the things we are doing to dramatically improve our love lives, without feeling depressed that we have wasted another year.

After all, I believe it’s not the fact that we are alone that most pains us, it’s the knowledge that we could be doing more to change it.

There is a wonderful line put forward by Keith Cunningham which I try to remember at least once a day: “Ordinary things done consistently produce extraordinary results”.

So there’s no need to worry about today. Instead of rushing around to make someone feel extra special, spend that time thinking about how you are going to make that person feel special for the next 12 months – including yourself. The results I promise you will be far grander.

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Bits and bobs to finish…

Leave a comment… What do you think of this new approach to Valentines? Does it make you like the holiday more?

If you want more like this… Check out my online training programme The Man Myth. This is the complete A–Z, it will give you more ideas for resolutions that you know what to do with (whether you’re single or in a relationship), and get you excited about the idea of implementing them. Use today as a chance to hit reset and get access to the videos right away.

Contest winner!
This is for the caption contest I ran last week on the US GetTheGuy book cover. We had some really great entries, and thank you to everyone who left a comment! We’ll be having more contests for you to enter coming up very soon.

My favourite caption, one that made me crack up when reading it, was from Amanda: “If you liked it’d then you should have put a bow tie on it! (in a Beyonce style)”. I now can’t stop playing that song in my head with those words, so thank you for that Amanda! My team will be getting in touch very shortly to book your two spots on the GetTheGuy Tour

**The dates and locations for which are going to be announced this Sunday! Set the date in your diary, it’s going to be big.**

Photo credits: QThomasBower 

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104 Replies to “Why Valentines Day F**ks Up Your Love Life”

  1. When I thought you didn’t say anything today, Valentine’s Day, then your post showed up, :) .. It’s so true of what you say and thank you for giving a new way to think about this day a lot more positive & encouraging, especially for singletons! Personally I don’t feel very stressful about this day but feeling a bit left out is inevitable.

    I also bought the whole membership of the Man Myth and finished Month 5 today. I’m so happy that I found the right coach to learn all about this things which I always thought I was such a high-school student in the field, :) .. Thank you Matt for being so wise and you possess such a tremendous amount of knowledge in the field. But more importantly is your coaching skill, it’s so clear and smooth. You are so eloquent and that makes your events magnificent!

      1. That’s all you can say? I expected something warmer like “Come to London and I’ll take you out for a date” .. ;) .. (Yeah, I’m a good student, I know, lol ..)

  2. I think you are right. Since I’m Jewish I’m going to mention an old Israelite tradition that was in the summer, that available women would dress up in white dresses and go out to the vineyards to dance and be courted. The whole point of the day was MEETING someone and looking beautiful.

    So, anyone who doesn’t have someone to cuddle with today, Matt’s advice is good.

      1. Matthew,
        Thank you. I love reading and watching your material. I find it refreshing and true, and I am happy for you that you found your niche!

        I hope you got my email about May.

        Nofyah

  3. “After all, I believe it’s not the fact that we are alone that most pains us, it’s the knowledge that we could be doing more to change it.”

    That’s so very true.

  4. Hi I have always been very romantic when I’m in relationship’s I just notice that it is not really reciprocated, and I end up shelling out tonnes and ONLY getting back on Valentines Day crapoy supermarket cheap tack! I am going on my 2nd date with a guy tonight, unfortunately he lives 200 miles away from me but I really appreciate the Effort that he’s putting in & I am more grateful for that than a diamond bracelet :-) I hope tonight goes well, I’m still waiting for your book to be delivered so I have none of your guidance as yet :(

  5. How about the people who are in those middle stages.. they’re friends but a little more than friends?? We don’t wanna mess our chance at love if Valentine’s Day is not what you expected. Those kind of ppl may feel like buying that special guy a gift but he may take it as a significance that the girl wants something serious and quick which is not the case since u just want to show him he is special to you… But its super confusing specially if he texts you with “Happy Valentine’s Day ladyfriend” .. how do you even respond to that??? Ladyfriend??? What does that even mean?? guys are so complex i feel! :(

  6. Valentines’s Day:

    I like to think of this day as just a ‘fun’ day when you don’t have to spend lots of money or take it too seriously in order to let the men in your life know that they bring you joy.
    And it’s great to receive a cheeky text,email or card from someone who fancies you………it makes you smile ( well hopefully )
    x

  7. Thanks Matthew, I was on a real downer about this day and now I am using it to watch your videos and read your book and reinforce all you say so that I can make changes in the coming year xx

  8. I am SO happy that FINALLY someone echoed my own thoughts about Valentine’s day! Thanks Matt!

    Apart from all the extra inflated romance which goes on today, I always wonder how many couples argue or break up because the gift they received didn’t match the expectations they had, or because somehow their relationship doesn’t match the image of the perfect relationship we are bombarded with during this period.

    However, even if I’m single, i never felt inadequate because of Valentine’s day, since it seems so fake to me… Christmas is usually the time of the year when i get the ‘forever alone’ blues :-< I never thought i can love AND hate a holiday at the same time.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, Matt!
    Lots of love on this lovely day!

  9. Thanks for this post. If only we would treat our partners with love, kindness and respect all year long that Valentines Day would not be so pressured-filled. I also want to say that not all who are alone are filled with pain. Being single is and can be a viable choice.

  10. Dear Matthew,
    I agree with your line of thought. Our loved ones should feel special and loved all year through. Love should be original not flamboyant: I also believe we should plan our love life just as we plan other areas of our lives not just on a particular day. Valentine Day is ok if we have been celebrating our love life all year through: it would be a day when Love Peaks as it Speaks.

  11. I had a wonderful first date with a man I met online and had been corrosponding with for 2 weeks beforehand. Our first meeting was truly wonderul and he said I was everything and more than he hoped for. We continued to talk every day since….So it was a success.He had asked me for a 2nd date but tomorrow (the day after valentines day).

    However, today is Valentines day which happens to fall 4 days after our first date. But I heard nothing from him, until eventueally I broke the cardinal rule ofsending him a message to wish him happy valentines instead. He did respond but I do wish it had been him who had sent a little message at least or maybe a little e-card?

    Some will say, we only had one date, that I shouldnt expect so much. Except, it felt good, that date and he seemed very very keen.

    I hate this uncertainty. The highs and then lows. The hop and then the let down.

    I find myself thinking that maybe he already has a valentine tonight.

    So yes, Valentines really can mess with your head!

  12. So true that one extravagant gesture does not make up for a year of neglect and indifference. Most women I know have said that their partners totally lack imagination in creating a special day.

  13. Er how do you know I read this stuff at work? :)
    Think your advice is an excellent way of looking at it, I know quite a few of my friends and I don’t even want chocolates and flowers for valentines day it’s so obvious. I would much rather have someone think out the box a bit more like gift me a song or email me a romantic video. Just met a guy in the last 2 weeks who has been ‘wooing’ me in that exact same way and its totally refreshing. I also sent him a personalised romantic/erotic e book which has us in as characters. He totally loved it. But it has made me realise that the honeymoon period in a relationship is such a special time and you do really have to find ways to continue nurturing your relationship all the way through. Great advice as always Matt. X

  14. I like Valentines day for the reasons Matt that you didn’t like it haha. usually I am single and I have a blast with my friends – I love my gfs through thick and thin – and send them flowers and cards to let them know – I do this through the year as well! I like Valentine’s day because it does inspire the non-romantic. A wife suddenly gets flowers, a bracelett, etc. – That is great!!! True if it went all year it is Better, but one day is better than NO days. And the restaurant… sure it may be more – but for some guys they are happy to pay that because they are nervous to create a romantic dinner – don’t know where to go, etc. – on Valentines Day it is done for them! People put pressure on themselves for all kinds of things. Changing a holiday doesn’t change the person. If they are that type of a human – they will find another thing to put pressure on themselves. After loving loving my single life for many years – I accidentally met a man – and is the man of my dreams – and yes, I received an incredible Valentines gift from him :)

  15. Hi!
    Today’s Valentine’s day was the best I’ve ever had. I’m single and in love. I’m really shy, so I decided not to give my crush anything, because to me that’s like a confession(so in my case impossible). Maybe I should work on that part a little more. I talked to him normally and we had a good time.
    I then went out with my friends. My friend and I ordered a cake in a cafe and got a beautiful pink rose. Most awkard moment ever and the funniest. We all then watched the premiere of Die Hard. It was just awesome.
    What I’m trying to say with this message is: you don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy this day, you just have to have fun with the people you are close to. ;)
    I really like your advice aswell. I feel kind of bad for not seeing it before my day was over. I guess I’ll have to start improving my weaknesses tomorrow. Thanks for taking care of us all, Matthew!

  16. Hahaha seems like you are a popular guy and raise good students ^^ anyway I am more at a stage where I don’t really feel motivated to be warmer or be more proactive, but definitely warming up to the idea of dating again. I hate valentine’s day when you are single, and when you have to be outside; because it really makes you feel lack. The weather here is raining too =P Well maybe February 15th will be sunny. =D x

  17. Like you, I love holidays because we cook and bake a feast in our house. Any excuse to be a fat kid :3 And Valentine’s Day was about loving your fellow man/woman. I try to do that everyday when I’m out and about.

  18. I’ve always been single every Valentine’s Day so it’s never been much fun for me in the past. This year that all changes! I’m spending it doing whatever I want, kind of like a me date! I’m even dressing up for the occasion ^_^
    That being said, the love life resolutions are a great idea! It takes so much of the pressure off, regardless of relationship status. Keep up the good work!
    Emmy

  19. Hey,

    This was my favorite part:

    “After all, I believe it’s not the fact that we are alone that most pains us, it’s the knowledge that we could be doing more to change it.”

    I have been in (as you would say) moany-victim mode for a long time and have just recently started to see that it’s ME who has created my reality. It’s so incredibly refreshing to read this and be empowered to take intelligent action. I don’t feel left out or alone, I feel jazzed about my Love Life Resolutions: to go out a few times a week with the goal of meeting someone, risking using the look on all forms of mechanized people movers – elevators, escalators, moving sidewalks – and staying focused on building character and positive behaviors, not worrying about my hair… I’d already decided that these were going to be part of my life for the next while, and then I read your post, and I was like DAMN! Now I HAVE to do it!!

    So thanks for reading my mind.

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