Valentine's day is upon us... it's time to buy overpriced flowers, heart-shaped chocolates, and debate over where to make reservations for Thursday night's date dinner. Valentine's day can be a sweet time to honor the love you're found with your significant other, or it can be a stressful time full of miscommunication, passive aggressiveness, and unrealistic (or unfulfilled) expectations.

Here's how to avoid getting into a fight on or before Valentine's Day, whereby avoiding that agonizing charade of the perfect happy couple at a romantic dinner when you both just really need a break from each other.


1) Be Realistic About Your Expectations

If you're hoping for some grand gesture on Valentine's Day, you should probably mention your obsession with lovey dovey V-day celebrations well enough in advance that your person has time to plan something elaborate. Provide suggestions so he or she knows that you're hoping for a grand old time. This way, there is no disappointment when your significant other isn't able to miraculously read your mind.

2) Get Them Something, Even If It's Modest

Do the dishes. Draw a heart in the bathroom mirror fog. Grab her favorite snack when you pick up the groceries. Any small gesture covers your butt, so even if you're dating someone who claims they don't need or want to celebrate Valentine's Day, will still be touched that you thought of them when the rest of the world is professing their love from the rooftops.

3) Forgive Whatever's Been Stewing

A lot of use have unaddressed crap we're holding for a rainy day comeback. Now would be a great time to kiss those goodbye, forgive and forget. Not that you need to bring up the fact that you're forgiving him for that time he told you he had cleaned the house and when you walked in with your parents the living room was still a disaster... just let it go in your mind and think of all the ways you two are perfect for each other.

4) Celebrate All Week

If you're not the biggest fan of Valentine's Day, I've got a counter-intuitive solution for you. Tweak something every day to suit Valentine's Day. Shape her eggs in a heart and tell her Happy Valentine's Day a few days before the actual day. Surprise him by stopping by work to take him to lunch on Valentine's Eve. That way when the actual day comes, no one will be expecting a culmination of anticipation.

5) Show Your Appreciation; And Why

Everyone loves being told they're loved and appreciated, but what's even better is getting recognition for the specific things you do on a daily basis. Does your partner always get up first to let the dog out or make coffee? Is one of you almost always in charge of making dinner? Even more vague actions, like usually being the one to pull together the logistics of travel or being the more optimistic one in the relationship, are traits that are usually taken for granted. Write a list of the specific things your partner does and thank them for each one. When you feel appreciated, you're much less likely to start a fight.

Happy Valentine's Day, folks!

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