An older and much wiser woman told me something when I was in my teenage years. She said, “Honey, don’t ever wish for a Valentine’s Day. Wish for a Valentine’s life.” Did I listen to her? Maybe not then, way back when I was a hormonal, moody youngster. But her words have come back to me over and over again, and helped shape me in my choices for the savvy life I want.

And so, just as an older woman passed wisdom on to me, let me do the same for you.

Do you want to know who gets really happy because of Valentine’s Day?

It’s business owners like jewelers, flower shops, restauranteurs, chocolatiers, and so on, and so forth. You get the picture, right?

Over the years, Valentine’s Day has been built up to be this big holiday for grand gestures, when men spend lavishly on flowers, chocolates, a full-course meal at a fine-dining restaurant, and then the pièce de résistance, jewelry, given as a gift.

You, on the other hand, get your hair and nails done for the night, get all dolled up, maybe even buy a new dress, just to make sure you look your best.

You might be thinking to yourself, ‘That sure sounds sweet! What’s wrong with that?’

Channeling my wise, older friend, I say write back to you, ‘Oh honey. There’s a lot to unpack here.’

The New Savvy- Savvy women don’t fall for Valentine’s Day Hype-2

Let’s look at the ways this scenario could be wrong:

Let’s start with expectations.

Sometimes it feels as though Valentine’s Day is quickly going the way of Christmas, wherein everyone expects lots of joy and warmth, but then families start bickering and arguing, and it actually becomes a time of high stress and even depression.

The reason for this is that people get their hopes up so high during the holidays. This is true of Christmas and Valentine’s Day. People begin hoping that they’ll get the gift they really want, along with a truly romantic evening wherein they have their parter’s full attention all night long, and everything will be just perfect.

Such high expectations are a surefire recipe for stress for both partners. How can you relax and enjoy yourselves when you’re both expecting so much from one evening, that every single detail will be absolutely perfect?

Breathe. I hear my wise friend’s voice from years ago again, saying, “Perfection is your enemy.”

Look back at the dates that you remember with the most fondness. Weren’t they the times when you were relaxed and fully able to enjoy yourselves? Some of the best dates I’ve gone on with my partner have been a simple walk, and we found things that we could learn from and laugh at together.

Full disclosure: my partner and I don’t “date” in the traditional sense of getting all dressed up and going somewhere special for an event or a meal together. We’d rather travel, or cook together at home, or spend hours in a flea market or a second-hand bookshop. Because that’s us, it’s what makes us truly happy.

Now, if dressing up for a night on the town is your and your partner’s thing, more power to you! If it’s meaningful to you, and you do it without the loaded expectations of Valentine’s Day, wonderful. You do you.

The New Savvy- Savvy women don’t fall for Valentine’s Day Hype-3

And then there’s the question of expenses.

Here’s a nugget of truth for you, dear savvy females. Everything is more expensive on Valentine’s Day. And when I say everything, I mean, everything. In some cities, for example, roses can go up from 50 to 100 percent of their regular price. Hotel rooms are usually 25 percent more expensive as well.

Restaurants make a killing on this so-called “lover’s holiday.” Many of them only offer an expensive prix fixemenu, exclusive for that night.

Doesn’t it seem a little bit ridiculous to spend so much money on just one night? I know I have an essentially thrifty soul, and so it’s hard for me to see my partner spend a lot on food, flowers, a gift, parking, and all that, on something we won’t truly enjoy.

My partner and I have dreams that need finances to make them come true. I would prefer for us both to put our money to making our dreams come true, rather than having just one special night.

3. Effort. I live in a city, where traffic is not friendly, and is particularly bad on Valentine’s Day. Spending time on the road with other irate and impatient drivers looking for parking in a crowded place is not my idea of a great evening, at all, and then seeing my partner throw away his hard-earned money on stuff that we would have gotten cheaper the day before or the day after, does not make me happy.

Interested in more relationship life-hacks, we’ve got you covered with Relationship Tips For Real Women: Ramp It Up!

How about a Valentine’s Life instead?

Say what? Okay, let me explain.

A Valentine’s life is a life of love, not just one night wherein your partner spends lavishly on you. Grand gestures are great, and at times, necessary—for proposals and other life-changing events, like, maybe the birth of a child or their graduation, milestones such as those.

Milestones are special because they don’t occur on the same day every year. Mostly they are long awaited, sometimes worked hard for. When you achieve them, there is a reason to celebrate.

There is a way to show love every day. A special, thoughtful, kind and considerate love, that really doesn’t need yearly grand gestures.

And to be honest, one of the problems with going over the top with Valentine’s Day is that it can give the partner who spends the most, usually the guy, reasons to not be as thoughtful and considerate and generous for the rest of the year.

This is just plain wrong. 

We women thrive on little acts of care and thoughtfulness. We bloom when attention is paid to us consistently, and tend to suffer when we’re taken for granted. Honestly, given a choice between a one-time, big-time Valentine’s Day celebration and a lifetime of thoughtful and generous partnership on a daily basis, I would choose the latter. Most of today’s smart and savvy women would, too.

While we’re on the subject, let me just introduce you to the concept of safe dating, and why it’s a smart choice for all women.

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