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Rita Watson MPH

Valentine’s Day: A Time to Extend Loving Gestures

Valentine's Day gifts can be simple tokens of appreciation.

Blackstone's of Beacon Hill

Then a lover or husband will think they are off the hook and say, "It really doesn't to her."

Not so fast! Julie Spira tells me: “Valentine's Day for women is like the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals for men. Often a woman won't want to put too much pressure on the man she is dating, so she'll say it isn't a big deal, but that's not typically true.What often happens is she'll become resentful because he'll inevitably fall short of her expectations," she said.

Partners are not always mind-readers

As I have often pointed out, men or women partners are not mind readers. If you have an expectation of a gift, discuss it in a gentle way perhaps saying something such as: “I am so grateful that you are in my life, and I know you love me. Can we do something special for Valentine’s Day? Perhaps exchange a gift?” Then see where the conversation leads you.

Spira added, with regard to men, “Yes, men do like instructions, so if Valentine's Day is important to you, you need to discuss it with your partner. If finances are tight, don't make him feel badly about breaking the bank with a fancy piece of jewelry. Suggest a romantic night in and chances are he'll want to be your hero by cooking you dinner and he may pick up a dozen roses or tulips. Both of you know what dessert will be if the night is romantic.

“The best gift you can give someone on Valentine's Day is the gift of time. Find a way to make it personal. Perhaps create a romantic music mix to play while whipping up a romantic dinner together. If you're musically inclined, play a duet on the piano, or put-on one of your favorite music channels and sing together. It will create a happy environment for you and your guy.”

Spira suggested that if you both agree to give gifts, you can create a gift wish list on a social media account. “Many singles are listing their perfect Valentine's gifts on Pinterest. A woman can dream, even if it's digitally.” Spira, a dating and relationship expert, is the founder of

Shopping in the neighborhood

I happen to be a tireless advocate of shopping locally. You will be surprised at the array of tasteful gifts you might find right in your own neighborhood. When I lived in Boston, I was addicted to Blackstone's of Beacon Hill.

In the world of gift giving, love and gratitude, people who are appreciative generally try to extend loving gestures to others. In writing about The Benefits of Generosity for Psychology Today, Judith Orloff, M.D. called generosity “an expansive energy.” An assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and the author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Feelings and Transform Your Life, she challenges us to be giving:

“Give what you can; it doesn't have to be a lot. Feel the growing sense of abundance it produces, an energy which circulates far and wide. It'll find its way back to you.”

And if you happen to live near a museum or a not-for-profit, support them and it becomes somewhat of a double gift.

Copyright 2014 Rita Watson