VALENTINE'S Day is a time of huge pressure for couples.
It is an artificially constructed day designed to boost the sales of red roses, cards, champagne, romantic dinners and tat.
The expectation on February 14 is that couples will magically be in love and spend the day gazing into each others eyes, so many couples get swept up in the must buy panic.
But don't be conned into buying one of these ill-thought out gifts, which could do more harm than good this Valentine's Day.
Speaking to Fabulous, relationship expert Neil Wilkie reveals the presents to avoid if you want to stay loved up…
1. Getting personal
If you have previously bought your partner personalised gifts that have, ever since, been in hiding in a drawer somewhere, then learn that lesson.
You should be particularly keen to avoid anything clothing related which they'd be too embarrassed to wear.
Always ask yourself, are you absolutely certain they will like this?
2. Clean sweep
Anything cleaning related for women, or DIY/gardening tools for blokes, is a great way of demonstrating lack of imagination or understanding.
It could also take you on the slippery slope to divorce or break-up.
What has a vacuum cleaner or a cordless drill got to do with love – unless they are going to be used as sex toys?
3. Makes scents
Someone's perfume or aftershave is a very personal taste. If you're buying something they already have, why bother?
And if you're trying something new – what are the chances of you buying something they really like?
If you buy a scent that they don’t like, are they going to wear it out of duty or hide it in a drawer somewhere and feel embarrassed?
4. Real gem
Thinking of pulling your partner's arm with a 'joke' ring box?
A jewellery box is only nice if it has some lovely jewellery inside it.
If not, the lifting of the lid to discover an empty inside, or worse, something cheap or tacky, will really disappoint your partner and your ‘joke’ will backfire really badly.
5. Choc factor
Chocolates are a great present, if they really like chocolate and if you buy some that show effort and thoughtfulness.
Small and expensive might be good – but avoid raiding the 'sweets' section in your local supermarket.
A giant Toblerone or bag of Celebrations doesn’t cut it.
6. Flower power
Flowers are a great opportunity to shoot yourself in the foot.
A few flowers from the supermarket or petrol station with the price sticker badly removed say ‘I have no imagination and made no effort’.
One wilting red rose says ‘I am a cheapskate’.
Only give flowers if they make a real statement of love and desire and, on February 14, that might be too expensive!
7. Weird his'n'hers gifts
Shops are often full of these, hoping to catch the unimaginative or desperate.
Think before you buy – if you were given this, how would you feel? Would it still be on show a year later?
What to get them instead
Realised your ideas are all rubbish? Don't worry, Neil's on hand with some better gifts…
He says: "The important things to show are that you have thought carefully and made a real effort. That is much more important than the price tag."
Here a few ideas:
- Spend the day showing that you really care for and love your partner
- Listen to them, exquisitely well
- Talk about your future dreams
- Give them a candlelit, loving massage
- Make love, as they would like
If you have discussed these before with your partner, a sex toy could be a great idea.
If you haven’t, it could be disastrous.
If you buy a Rampant Rabbit for your boyfriend, this is like saying to him ‘You are so bad at sex and your willy is so small that I need a battery operated lover.’
If you buy a clitoral stimulator for your girlfriend, she might be delighted or very embarrassed.
9. Empty handed
How could you possibly forget Valentines Day?
If you do, you might as well hand draw a card and write inside it ‘I am thoughtless and unreliable. I don’t love you.’
Neil Wilkie is a relationship expert, psychotherapist, author of Reset and creator of the online therapy platform, The Relationship Paradigm. Find out more at www.relationshipparadigm.com.
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