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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.

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”

  • I really appreciated what you had to say about how commercialised Valentines day is, I’ve always felt this way about it (and not liked it even less because I’m always single for it). I also found it interesting how you made us think about turning it into a “love new years” and that really made me think. So thank you :)

  • Valentines Day is filled with to much expectations. I’ve never been a big fan of Valentines Day even when I was in a relationship. Ya of course I would hope to get something on Valentines Day when I was in a relationship. Then if you expect to much and get something that wasn’t what you wanted then you just fall into resentment. There’s just to much pressure on this Holiday. I love, love your way of turning it around and looking at it different. As a single women on this day I try to look at it as just another day….it’s like an angle fighting the devil. Check facebook, Instagram, Internet, ect and Valentines is written all over these sits head to toe. I try to ignore and then there it is again tapping you on the shoulder reminding yourself you can’t hide from this holiday. So I am so very thankful I read your article. It gave me new insight and a new way to appreciate this holiday. Valentines Day is officially my New Years. I normally don’t set New Years resolutions. I set goals with in my life but have always neglected my love life. Today is my day to change my love life, remap, and set goals. Thank you for writing this article. Very much inspiring !!

  • Tnx matt, I’ve learnt so much from your posts as it has helped in boosting my confidence n d way i relate with the opposite sex. Its unfortnate that I havent attended any of ur events, i really wish u wld hv an event here in nigeria someday.
    I dont hate valentine persay neither hv i celebrated it specially unlike every other day. I belive if valentine day is termed ‘lovers day’, every otherday shld b celebrated with such enthusiasm and vigour because love ought to be shown everyday. The most annoying part is that today, lots of ladies would do things they would regret first thing tomorow morning just in the name of showing love or proving that they love someone.
    Please matt, you really have to reach out to d nigerian youths

  • I couldn’t agree more with you how over-commercialised Valentines day is… I never forget being rushed into a restaurant in Islington a few years ago, just to be seated literally an inch from another couple (what a great romantic conversation you can have with your neighbours listening in!)… The waiters couldn’t even wait for us to finish our mains, already brought out the dessert menu and made us hurry up in choosing… 40 minutes and £80 later I promised never to repeat that experience on Valentines day…

    I am single and have been on and off for the past 3 years and just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating such an amazing programme… I truly feel liberated and my life has changed 360 degrees since attending your women’s weekend… Thank you so much for changing my life for the better! You are truly amazing and give hope to so many women out there! xxx

  • Hey Matthew

    I totally agree with you, and I’m coming from both sides of the fence ( -is that even possible?). I’ve been single for years and years and learned to be cynically amused by Valentines Day. Now, finally, I’ve met the man of my dreams (I cannot believe my luck), and I’m 48! Today was the best Valentines Day of my life. Not because it’s Valentines Day, but because it’s just another day that I got to spend with my new and wonderful man. The best bit about it was that he took the day off and made me the most delicious meal (while I was working from home)and fed me titbits while I was at my desk. It wasn’t commercial. It wasn’t cheesy. It was love. And I know he won’t be waiting for a year before he does something like that for me again. And he knows I’ll be doing something just like that for him at the weekend when I next see him.

    We need to make every day a valentines day, don’t you think?

    Big love and good work! xx

  • Let the church say amen, lol! This is what I’ve been telling my friends but they think that I’m bitter because I’m single. I actually enjoy being single but it doesn’t prevent me from meeting people. Thank you Matthew! And I love the quote!

  • I decided years ago when I was alone with three small children (my husband left) that Valentines Day is not about what you get but what you give.

    That first, hard year 10 years ago, I gave my little daughters flowers and cards. And ever since, Valentines Day has become one of my favorite days–an amazing day to tell the people I love how much I love them.

    (My son woke up at 4:30 a.m. this morning SO excited for our special Valentine traditions).

    Through the years I’ve left anonymous gifts, cards, and treats.

    My personal definition and understanding of love has changed :).

    If you are sad or lonely on Valentines Day (and trust me–still single after 8 years…I have felt the pains of loneliness), do something nice for someone else on Valentines Day :).

    The gift of LOVE is that you can ALWAYS find someone to love.

  • I think that this is a great way to think about Valentines day. This is the first year that I’m in a relationship and I think that’s a great way to look at it. I know what I’m weak at in the relationship and I am excited to try to do my best at this new resolution. :) thanks. keep up the good work. :)

  • Hey Matt, Thats a great way of looking at Vals day. Im not dating at mo but I had such a great day. There was lots of love in the air. It doesnt have to just be about a guy it can be a day to say how much you care for people in your life and this turned it on its head for me today. When you lack in something give more of that . SO if you feel you lack love give love. Tell people you love them, show them you love them and the love will come right back atchya x

  • Out of everything I’ve heard and read from you, this is my favourite! I have bookmarked it to read every Valentines Day from now on!

  • Matthew, you’re a lifesaver because, up until I read your article I was thinking there must be another way of feeling positive about being single on Valentine’s Day. Thank you.

    By the way I’ve got your book, and although I haven’t finished reading it yet, I so love your comment that age doesn’t matter, especially in the case of the woman being older than the man.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Hi Matt, I have never done valentines day, you are right it does make you feel pressurised, maybe neglected.
    I have always got my children a chocolate, or a small home made card. I am divorced, and single now and my kids are grown up, I came down to breakfast this morning and my kids had left me a chocolate heart and a handmade card. It made my day and meant such a lot :)


    I just bought your book on amazon – how amazing is that? ;)
    And also, I wanted to compliment you for your good taste in selecting the fitting pictures for your articles, or music… I have something for you, too today :)


    I can really identify with this song… only difference: since I know you and the attitude you teach people to have – my heart is unbroken ;) <3 *wholly*
    Merci beaucoup!

    Your wannabe-artist,
    Red Appple*

  • Hey Matt!
    I very much liked your post, thank you for sharing.
    Valentine’s day seems to be a holiday people either love or hate.
    I respect every kind of opinion on that. You’re right people shouldn’t feel pressured or depressed. Even though it has become very commercial, I think it’s still mostly about spending time with the ones we love. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant or expensive gift. Appreciating each other is what counts.
    I have been single for a while now and even though I have to admit that I am a but sad, I don’t let that pull me down. I just spend the day with my lived ones and have fun :)
    Do you know how they celebrate Valentines day in Japan?
    Women give men chocolate. There are 3 kinds: chocolate you give to your romantic interest, to friends, and the obligatory-gift chocolate you give to colleagues etc. On 14 March men are supposed to return the gesture. I picked that up when I lived there and now I’ve made it somewhat if a tradition to give my good guy friends chocolate on valentines day to remind them that they’re special. And because I love to see the smile on their face :)

    Happy Valentines day Matt (and everyone)!

  • Tanx matt. I feel relieve now.Tanx for making me to know dat val is like every other days. However, this is my worse Valentine ever, my boyfriend could not come as he earlier promised, I don’t know if I should call off d relationship, this is not the first time, even on new year day, he promised to come but never come. Pls matt advise me on what to do because I love him so much .

  • I’ve spent almost the whole day forgetting it was Valentine’s Day – irrelevant for single me except that I told a friend about Get the Guy and how I am looking forward to the workshop I have booked with you, Matt. I don’t know what the year ahead will hold but by this time next year I will have done all sorts of things to create the love life I want.

  • I recently started talking to my ex again. I really want it to work out. But guess what – we’ve not spoken since the day before valentines day. The pressure of the day is so immense and we’re just talking again, so think neither of us wanted to acknowledge it. So the irony is valentines could well have ruined my chances of brining the man I love back into my life.

  • You are absolutely right.Exprresing love everyday or constantly its what everybody should do…..no really need for Big Day like this to show it….and than ignoring rest of the year…being honest and caring make us feeling the Love..thank you for everything

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