What Should You Expect on Valentine’s Day?

love u podcast

How do you handle this Hallmark holiday? With equanimity and understanding. A man can be a great guy and be weak on Valentine’s gifts, and a guy can be a great holiday performer and inconsiderate on a day to day basis. In this Love U Podcast, I explain how you can tell the difference.

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  1. 1

    Valentine’s day is for me what Christmas is to a lot of other people. A high pressure day that is supposed to exceed your wildest expectations with outpourings of affection and presents. The only difference being that it’s all supposed to come from one person, rather than your family and friends. The bar is set high by advertising  from  commercial enterprises that will thrive on your significant other feeling forced to either buy you something or arrange an evening out that will cost twice as much usual, only because it happens to take place on the 14th of February.

    I love what Evan says about comparisons, that  blowouts on Valentine’s day  magnify the most generous traits of another man, while potentially  diminishing his flaws in other areas. And that men who don’t give a fig about the holiday, might be exemplary partners in other areas.

    My view on Valentine’s day is  coloured by the fact that  I didn’t receive my first Valentine’s card and present until I was 32. Even then, it was given by a man who I was dating, who i was hoping to develop feelings for. We all know how that ends… It was very thoughtful of him, but was a glaring reminder that I did not feel the same way about him.  Maybe if i ever  fall in love with  someone who is into it, that i will develop another view but until then it is an unwelcome reminder that i have a lot of dates to go before i potentially meet the one. Yeah!

    The first caller: Definitely read Why He Disappeared! It has made me confront more than a few of my unhealthy patterns, but also gave me the peace of mind to forge forward in online dating. In an earlier post, someone commented that you need to prepare yourself for a long stretch where none of your dates go anywhere. That pretty much sums up my dating life in the past few years.  Even with Evan’s advice, i still get that and Evan’s advice prevents you from throwing in the towel.

    1. 1.1

      Amen to that! Valentine’s Day really does impose unrealistic expectations on people.   I vividly one Valentine’s Day I had when I was single.   I was feeling sorry for myself, for being single on Valentine’s Day.   I dropped into the grocery store, to pick up a few things to pack a lunch for work the next day.

      There was a long line of men there, clutching flowers and candy.   I noticed that none of them looked too happy.   I felt bad for them, seeing how jittery and nervous they looked…desperately hoping that their wives/girlfriends would be happy with this.   That really put Valentine’s Day into perspective for me, that being coupled up on Valentine’s Day doesn’t guarantee happiness either.   Then, I stopped feeling sorry for myself.

      Short after that, I finally found true love…and my first Valentine’s Day in a relationship wasn’t exactly a Hallmark commercial, LOL!   Besides costing twice as much as usual, my Valentine’s Day couples dinner also gave me a bad case of indigestion, from all the rich foods.   Nothing says romance like Gas-X, right? 🙂   We’re not doing that again.

      Love is a beautiful thing, but I really don’t think Valentine’s Day is all it’s cracked up to be.   It’s silly to think love can be captured in just one day, or one overpriced meal, or bouquet of roses.




      1. 1.1.1

        Hi Christine:

        Indigestion on Valentine’s day! Hopefully your next romantic outing was more pleasant.

        Your story pretty much nailed the drawbacks of Valentine’s day. Who needs a bouquet of flowers that was bought out of a sense of obligation?   If he wants to on any other day, that’s lovely, but the last thing i would want is a nervous man who feels forced to comply to a commercially driven holiday.

        1. Christine

          Malika, thankfully the next one was much better!   But truth be told, I put more value in all the little thoughtful things he does for me in our “regular” lives.

          I don’t actually know any couple who is anything like those Valentine’s Day ads.   If anything, I don’t think there’s only one “right” way to show love.

  2. 2
    Louiza Patsis

    I feel when guys say you have “expectations” it’s a way out of valuing you and showing it with energy, time and money (gifts), which include romance, listening etc. There are clues all over the place and he can ask exactly what you like too. the don’t have expectations thing is a new wavy thing to lower your standards. There are between 1 to millions of women having those things and more, and so every woman (unless a total jerk) deserves that.

    1. 2.1

      When a man says you have ‘expectations’, it means .. he thinks you have expectations. The extended intuitions you added to this are very likely only your projections and only associated to you, not him. It’s understandable you would think this because it’s how women communicate; in undertones. Men by and large do not.

      When you say “there are clues all over the place”, there may or may not be. Again, this is a female-centric method of communication that men don’t relate to (surely you would not expect women to think and communicate like men would you?). We’ve all seen countless writings from women about the ‘clues’ they leave around, only to be frustrated that their men seem totally oblivious to them. I think you could relate.

      Your conflation of the “don’t have expectations” suggestion with your “lowering your standards” comment (sibling to the equally dreaded “settling” word) is telling. It’s a major emotional trigger for women in general these days so I’ll let the paid professionals help you deal with that.

      Your last sentence was a bit unclear (other women get things so all women should? not sure) so I’ll address only the latter part, the “deserve” assertion. Maybe you never got the Life Memo: no one ‘deserves’ anything. Not you. Not me. Not Evan. No one. As a whole, men innately know this thru socialization and numerous cultural re-enforcement mechanisms (women much less so, again due to equally powerful but differing cultural/social cues). To a man, a women openly expressing a “she deserves” attitude just makes him think she has an entitlement mentality. Some guys are ok with this (pity them) but for most it’s a significant red flag.

      Returning to my first point, there is a distinct chance that his ‘expectations’ comment to you was a way of expressing what he wasn’t yet 100% sure of: whether ‘entitled’ was a better fit.

      1. 2.1.1

        One could say it is good if people think they are entitled to many things in life, like a great life, for one. Often, when at least some if not many men say “expectation,” they are looking to put in the minimum effort to get laid, may like an ex or another type, may not be ready for a commitment, and more. It seems when at least some men like some women, they are on their best behavior and show it by actions. i certainly give myself great treatment and many “things” from spiritual to material daily. Amen.

  3. 3



    “A man can be a great guy and be weak on Valentine’s gifts, and a guy can be a great holiday performer and inconsiderate on a day to day basis”   I find that not to be really true, unless you are talking about a movie where a guy has a hundred bouquets of a dozen roses delivered and the man does nothing.

    1. 3.1


      I can related to what Evan is saying. My ex husband was wonderful with presents and surprises (and would get really upset if my present/gesture wasn’t thoughtful enough, in his estimation), but day to day he was quite difficult  & inconsiderate. He was all about the big gesture and not great with the day to day consistent behaviour.

      Other men I’ve been with were terrible with gifts, but generous with their time, attention & day to day thoughtfulness. It’s like the stereotypical Casanova type. They know how to be showy & charming on a big scale for short periods, but can’t handle the lower level stuff.

      I can attest to which one is better (if you have to choose) 🙂

  4. 4
    Louiza Patsis

    THIS ONE IS SPELL-CHECKED. FORGET OTHERS. THANKS. For whomever replied to me, a few things: In acting class, are told to hear, look for and I’ll add for those who feel “energy” form someone, the subtext, which tells more than lines, and this goes true from a man to a woman.
    I think all human beings deserve respect. I think that men “should” treat women like queens and on a pedestal, and so do some men like Steve Harvey, who expects this from his sons-in-law too. I have gotten this treatment from men, and if I had it from the “right” one, I’d be with them.
    I think some deserve more than others, and yes I do think people deserve things. For instance, if a person is smart, fun, self-aware, etc., besides the respect everyone equally deserves as humans, and also dignity, a chance to get to know them instead of making assumptions, etc., the person who has a higher level of intellect, self-growth etc. deserves more. And some men who think they DESERVE sex from a woman because they are cute or texted her or bought her an orange juice, are the ones these days who really should look at what they deserve. Just because their mommy told them their pecker is special and deserving when they were babies, does not mean they deserve anything unless they respect a woman, get to know her on the inside, pursue her and are a gentleman, at least in my book. You don’t need professionals to tell you that.
    Some men should not expect a good-looking woman to have a perfect life, always smile, not be complex inside and always be down for sex. That is having an unrealistic EXPECTATION and not getting to know someone. She may for instance, not want sex until after marriage due to her religion. That is a RED FLAG and immaturity, low spirituality/religion and entitlement – to have a human being be a robot or prostitute, always smiling and ready for sex and to do no work in a relationship. They can always hire a hooker — actor. Often, not always, a man signaling about a woman’s expectations that he just met MAY mean 1) He is hindering or at least not willing to support her to have her BEST life; 2) He is interfering with a conversation she has with her self and God about her expectations; and/or 3) He be wanting easy sex with little or no effort. If the woman is up for that (pity her or maybe she is 22 or a recent divorcee), so be it. If not,   he can call a whorehouse or pick someone else to bog down so she can have a crap life instead of supporting her for her best life.
    And yes in many ways I think women “deserve” to be pampered and a real man in his masculine will do so, at least with the “right” woman or women.

  5. 5

    I can’t tell whether this post is supposed to be serious or not but if it is, I got two things from it:

    1) women deserve to be treated like queens (some women are more queenly than others)

    2) men (while treating women like queens) should not expect sex just because they are cute etc.   Sometimes a woman just doesn’t feel like having sex…she might be young or divorced or religious or just not in the mood.

    Thank you for my laugh of the night.   Did you just steal a woman’s name and decide to call it your own?   Can I be Michelle Obama?

    1. 5.1

      Good for you.

  6. 6

    I was expecting this Valentines to suck for me in ways never before experienced due to the fact I just broke up with my 3 year bf end of last month plus I don’t have custody of my children this year for the first time since my divorce.

    I teach high school and the DRAMA of teenagers is a great way to put things in perspective! There were 6 foot tall teddy bears, Mylar balloons, singing grams, cake pops, suckers, flowers by the truck load and store bought cards everywhere as these young people struggle to figure out how to “do” Valentines Day.   For the past three years my ex gave me flowers At Least once a week. When we first started dating I was SO touched as my ex-husband only ever gave me “Oh Sh$t” Flowers when we had a fight to shut me up and try to avoid talking about our issues.   I dried the bouquets from my bf, displayed them, appreciated them … but he didn’t. He was Using them; using them to avoid Ever saying I Love You, using them to pacify me and keep me from expecting real love and intimacy.   He started staying at my house without me inviting him (he wasn’t working) and it became obvious they were a ploy when he walked in the house, threw the bouquet on the table then walked out back to work on a project He was interested in.   He refused to get me Red flowers saying “we’re not there yet” for 3 years and refusing to Ever give a sentimental present.   I tried to keep things in a positive perspective telling myself “he may not Say I Love You but he changed my cars oil, washed the dishes without being asked, mopped the floor beautifully and folds the clothes without complaint so he Shows me he cares so I shouldn’t emphasize material things or socially expected behavior.

    I realize now the flaw with that logic. If I’m Always understanding and accepting of His ways he should at least sometimes be understanding of My needs. I’m not so needy as to hear I Love You every 5 minutes but Once isn’t too much to ask. If he is more tha willing to spend money and effort on me then him choosing Not to give me what I tell him I need/want is done for a very specific reason.   Last Valentines Day I planned a day of fun activities for us (including my children) that we all enjoyed … but the evening was supposed to be romantic for Us.   I love holidays and gift giving and doing things for others; he doesn’t want to do anything he’s Supposed to.   He was with me when I was getting gifts/cards for my children and he criticized me for it “you shouldn’t be getting things for your kids, They should be getting things for You!”   My thought was “No, You should be getting things for me, my romantic partner, it’s not Mother’s Day” and needless to say he did nothing, got nothing for me.   Several days earlier my 14 year old son had pulled him aside to say “Hey, you should get something for Mom. Doesn’t have to be a big thing but something she can keep.”   My bf disagreed.   So after our family fun there was nothing from him and I was disappointed and hurt. I didn’t say anything as I knew there was no point as he already was aware of why I was upset. At 9 pm he went out and bought a big $100+ flower bouquet that was intentionally devoid of any Valentine or Love reference.   It was a pacification gift.   Lousiest bunch of flowers I ever received.

    Turns out he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and all the flowers and acts were just that … acts. Acts designed to get free housing, support, sex etc.   So this year I’m not disappointed or hurt by him. I didn’t have a romance this year but I had love and presents of sincere care from my children and students.

    Works for me.   I’ll take it until something real comes along but I won’t take anything less ever again

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