14 WAYS TO SHINE YOUR BRIGHTEST ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Women are wonderful gift-givers. We take pleasure in selecting thoughtful, personal presents for those we love. My best friend’s birthday is in November, but if I spot her favorite Murano glass beads in June, I’m buying them. It’s so fun to know exactly what she likes and to shop year-round with her tastes in mind.

When it comes to a man you are dating, however, it’s best to refrain from shopping for him as if he’s your closest girlfriend. Women instinctively know that men aren’t pining for flowers, jewelry, and chocolate on Valentine’s Day, but the “giver” in us doesn’t always know what to substitute instead“What should I get him for Valentine’s Day?” is always a top relationship question at this time of year.

14 ways to shine your brightest this Valentine's Day

If we shift our focus from “buying things” to the most authentic form of giving, the answer comes naturally — it’s you that he most wants — you are, already, the best gift he could ever receive.

When you are truly comfortable in your skin, relaxed, and peaceful, you will naturally support and love him the way he longs for. He gets to pamper and spoil you without being forced into a competition to see who can outspend the other. You aren’t trying to upstage him with basketball tickets or a fancy watch, you’re letting him shine, too. Your genuine receptiveness and gratitude are way more romantic than any expensive toy.

Zales
Logo

Instead of heading to the mall, choose to get in the Valentine's spirit a little differently this year. Pick your favorite ways to unwind and refresh from the list below — or create your own — and your man will sigh in relief at this truly feminine gift. (And if you're celebrating solo this year, really do it up: a woman who embraces her femininity loves love in all its forms.)

IGXO Cosmetics
  1. Call a friend and go for a talk-and-walk.
  2. Take a yoga class.
  3. Book a deep tissue massage, seaweed wrap, or other sensual body treatment. Your body works hard for you. Without judgement, appreciate all that it does.
  4. Scan your kitchen cabinets and pull out foods that trigger over-eating, like potato chips, cookies, muffins. Discard opened packages and donate the rest.
  5. Visit your local animal shelter and consider adopting a pet. If adoption isn't practical for you, visit anyway, and donate items from their wishlist.
  6. Book a double beauty appointment with your mom or a girlfriend or sister. Treat her to a mani-pedi, makeup tutorial, highlights, or another service that she wouldn't ordinarily splurge on.
  7. Search YouTube for one new type of fitness activity you’re curious about. Choose a video and follow along.
  8. Learn to prepare one new fruit or vegetable — something you’ve never liked or something exotic you’ve been intimidated to try.
  9. Take a long bath, sprinkle your sheets with perfume, then take a 20-minute nap.
  10. Choose a perfume, body spray, or essential oil mix to wear daily. (Hint: Men prefer deliciously warm “food” scents like vanilla and pumpkin spice.)
  11. Light candles and meditate for 20 minutes. Visualize beautiful places, real or imaginary.
  12. Bag up unused clothes and belongings and donate them to a local church or charity.
  13. Research nonprofit organizations in your community. Choose to adopt one whose mission you support. Make a donation.
  14. Think of a recent achievement your guy is proud of. Plan to ask him about it when you see him so that he can replay the event, even if you’ve heard the story 100 times. (Try this tip with friends and family members, too — giving someone permission to brag can be an incredible gift.)
e.l.f. cosmetics

Celebrating a holiday or birthday should never be about proving your worth or earning a man’s love. Release yourself from that kind of obligation and stress. Once you accept that you are his jewel, take pleasure in shining your brightest for him.

The essence of femininity is hopefulness — for the future, for humanity, and for love in all its forms.

Over the years I've worked alongside male surgeons, engineers, construction workers, and all kinds of guys from incredibly varied backgrounds. There are some common themes in the man cave. One is that, in general, men are not actively encouraged to "celebrate hopefulness." Instead, we raise boys to be practical and vigilant — always on the lookout for threats, prepared for attack. Workplace banter tends toward the dark and cynical, and a man isn't typically rewarded for "rainbows and unicorns" thinking. But as a woman, you have the power to choose a different path. You can bring lightness to a world view that is (sometimes) pretty dark. Don't be shamed into going along with bitterness, or hiding what feels true to you. Instead, shine your brightest. Believe in love. That is one of your greatest gifts to the world.

READ NEXT: THE PERFECT GIFT FOR ANY MAN

e.l.f. cosmetics

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

This article was originally created, with love, for The Wellness Universe.

YOU MUST BREAK UP WITH HIM IF HE SKIPS VALENTINE'S DAY

Isn’t Valentine’s Day just one day out of the year? It’s how he behaves on the other 364 days that matters, right?

Valentine’s Day is over. As the dust settles, you can clearly see where you stand with your guy. Maybe too clearly, if your experience was kind of blah. Should you care? Are you over-reacting? Isn’t Valentine’s Day just one day out of the year? It’s how behaves on the other 364 days that matters, right?

Never settle for less than a gift from the heart. Robyn Wahlgast

You may be surprised to know that the amount of effort your man puts into Valentine’s Day, your birthday, or any other special day, speaks volumes about how much he values his relationship with you. Are you The One he has fantasies about marrying? (It’s true, guys really do look forward to putting a ring on it when they want you.) Or do you suspect you are only his good-enough-for-now option?

If he doesn’t go all out and demonstrate his love for you on Valentine’s Day, he is sending you a message that you are only an option to him—not his priority. Don’t waste time on any man who ditches you on Valentine’s Day. Break up with him—today. Even if you’ve only been casually dating, this is your signal to start seeing others.  

FROM E.L.F.

Consider this quote from Massachusetts-based LCSW, Measue Liotta. She confirms that men skimp—or skip out—on Valentine’s Day when they’ve come to realize their girlfriend is NOT the woman they want to spend that special day with: “It’s harder to fake it on these holidays when we want to be truly in love; harder to lie to ourselves when things don't feel right or true during these should-be-blissful times.” Just as women don’t want to have to “fake it” in the bedroom, men feel uncomfortable faking romantic attachment. They’d rather downplay the holiday or avoid you entirely.

Here’s a pop quiz. Which of these gifts is a true expression of love?

A.      Red Swarovski crystal heart necklace

B.      White porcelain pig

Without more information, we might automatically pick “A”—the heart pendant. But here’s the thing. This is an actual Valentine’s gift one of my clients, Sandy, received from a former boyfriend who wasn’t that into her. He gave the necklace to her at breakfast, as he was heading out to spend the day with his buddies.

Logo
Zales

If you’ve ever walked through a Macy’s on February 13th you’ve seen stacks and stacks of these identical necklaces, piled near the exits; all he had to do was throw a credit card at the cashier and hop back outside to his train. If he’d wanted to spend that special day with Sandy, and create a romantic experience for her, the necklace would have been a fine gift. But in this case, the pendant was just a crumb, tossed her way without much emotion.

FROM ZALES

The porcelain pig is the gift that Sandy received this year, from her fiancé (a different man). Sandy is of Irish descent and had inherited a collection of porcelain figures from her late mother. The figures were all made in the same Irish foundry and are finished in a distinctive white glaze; the set includes several farm animals. Shortly after they started dating, she mentioned to her guy that she would someday like to complete the set with a Belleek pig. Her fiancé is a bit of a guy’s guy — antiquing took him way out of his comfort zone. But he had listened to her closely, remembered her story, and did the legwork to find the perfect piece for her collection. There was no way he would have missed spending Valentine’s Day with her, enjoying the results of his quest.  

So pay more attention to what your man does than what he says. Men are pretty clear about their intentions. If he’d rather hang with his crew on special days, he is sending you a signal about where you stand. Don’t settle for fake romance. Hold out and move on...to find the real thing.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR MICHAEL FIORE'S DIGITAL ROMANCE.

FROM A BROKEN ENGAGEMENT TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER

#NeverGiveUp

Years ago, shortly after I turned 30, I became engaged on Valentine’s Day—to a man I ended up not marrying. There was a fancy diamond ring involved, and to be honest, I should have said no the minute my boyfriend proposed.

(A tiny voice in my head did say no.)

But I took a deep breath and answered yes for a variety of dumb reasons, including the fact that we had been dating for a year and a half, and marriage just seemed to be the train that we were on. His parents adored me, and we spent a lot of time with them as well as with his friends. We had attended several weddings together. How disappointing for everyone, if there was no happy ending for the two of us.

Getting engaged: It's not about the bling.

So there I was on Valentine’s Day, at Sign of the Dove, modeling a truly stunning ring. If you’ve had the experience of becoming engaged, you know that it can quickly intoxicate you—sometimes for the wrong reasons.

Every morning on the F train at least two or three people would glance at my left hand, smile, and congratulate me. I felt like I had passed beyond one of life’s many velvet ropes, into a VIP club. I did not want to give up my membership.

Becoming engaged can quickly intoxicate you. Sometimes for the wrong reasons.

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

You probably noticed that in my intro I said only that his parents and friends liked me. So there’s your first red flag, because I can't say that my friends and family adored him. When I called my mom to tell her that my boyfriend and I were engaged, she said “Oh?” and was silent. Not the typical mom reaction. (She didn’t even tell my dad for weeks, because she knew he would not approve.)

Logo
Zales

My friends were skeptical about my fiancé, but more tolerant than my parents; I think they just hoped for the best. And they loved that ring. The ring was what everyone rallied around: how beautiful, how big, how perfect the setting. Because of the ring, we could avoid talking about real things, like did I truly love my fiancé, and wasn’t he kind of a jerk. Blinded by bling—we all were, for sure.

FROM ZALES

In the following 6 months, though, everything fell apart. Why? Because I slowly had to admit to myself that I didn’t really like my fiancé, and would have felt trapped in a marriage with him. He was a lot older than I was, successful, and I had been a little in awe of him. But I started to see things more clearly: he treated me like a possession—an extension of himselfnot like a complete human being. He expected me to play a certain part, and if I didn’t he got angry.

FROM DR. BRANDT

As our fighting increased he, too, started to pull back. The wedding date kept moving further out. I was having difficulty concentrating at work, and felt physically ill much of the time. After months of pain and misery, I broke up with him—something I could have and should have done much earlier.

WAS IT A ‘RULES’ RELATIONSHIP?

Clients who know my story often ask, "But was this a Rules relationship?" And I have to say that even though my boyfriend pursued me, did all the work, and ultimately asked me to marry him, it definitely was not. The Rules are about seeing and admitting the truth of a situation—even when it is unpleasant and uncomfortable to do so. If you’d rather remain in a state of denial (as I did) that is not a Rules relationship, even if a wedding is on the horizon. Just getting married, "getting the ring," is never the point. 

Also, The Rules tell us not to let romantic relationships take over our lives or keep us from doing the things we love. But my engagement had a toxic effect on nearly all of my other relationships—including my parents and my closest friends. If I had continued on a path of denial, I would have become more isolated, and my life even more focused around this one man.  By contrast, healthy love enhances and opens up your world. Life gets bigger when you’re with the right person.  

Healthy relationships open up your world. Life gets bigger when you’re with the right person.  

Most importantly, The Rules show us how to create a healthy dynamic in dating that will then carry over into marriage. It's a foundation of mutual respect—something I didn't have with my ex. In a healthy relationship, you feel that you are enough, just as you are; your partner isn't going to reject you just because you've gained a little weight, lost your job, or become ill. When life gets tough, you know you have each others' backs. That is a Rules marriage.

FROM BCBG

If a man's love is conditional, and you feel it could be taken away at any moment that you "disappoint" him or are less than perfect, stop dating him. That is not the foundation for a healthy marriage.

My broken engagement led me to study something called the Diamond Life — an idea that can be found in many different cultures and religions. Living the Diamond Life means that you commit to balance in Mind, Body, Heart, and Spirit — the 4 points of a sparkling gem.

Tommy Hilfiger

With respect to love and relationships, this means that you can't just "follow your heart," as most Hollywood movies suggest. Even if you are a free spirit, you honor yourself by engaging your mind as well. You love with clarity and balance.  

Easier said than done, right? One reason I recommend that women do The Rules and commit to them, is that Rules behaviors make it easy for you live a balanced, healthy life. Your heart (and body) might tell you to drop everything and spend every moment with your new crush, but The Rules prevent you from doing so. You remain active with your interests and activities, your career, and your friends and family. You wait to have sex until you are sure that yours is a healthy dynamic, and your man has given you clear signs that he loves you. 

When a Rules woman is uncertain about a man's feelings for her, she puts her heart on pause and waits for a clear signal from him. Over time, with daily practice, you can actually train your heart to respond only to men who make you feel safe and sound, and to instinctively reject a hot-and-cold, emotional roller-coaster.

FROM E.L.F.

Over time, you can train your heart to respond only to men who make you feel safe and sound, and to reject a hot-and-cold, emotional roller-coaster. 

The benefits are particularly valuable once you've met your wonderful Mr. Right. By exercising this self-restraint and not losing yourself in love, you will give your man space and become even more precious to him as a result. He knows you had a life before you met him, and he respects you for continuing to maintain other priorities. You are the cool girl he feels lucky to be dating. 

When you love with clarity and balance, you become even more precious to your guy. He truly respects and cherishes you.
Moving on after a broken engagement...  In a healthy relationship, you know you are enough for him, you don’t need to prove anything, and he loves your very essence. 

Moving on after a broken engagement... In a healthy relationship, you know you are enough for him, you don’t need to prove anything, and he loves your very essence. 

Never give up.

It sounds silly now, but I truly thought this broken engagement was my last chance at love and marriage. Over the next 5 years, I went through the driest of dry spells. I met men through online dating, but hardly any were my idea of Mr. Right. I tried a matchmaking group, and singles events. I was doing The Rules, but it just wasn’t my time yet.

I also worked on re-balancing my life. Before I dated my ex, I had regularly attended a Bible study group; I started going again. I decided it was time to reconnect with the people who truly mattered to me. I got busy with activities that were good for my soul, my body, and my mind, and resolved never again to silence my inner voice.

Glengorm Castle, Scotland

Glengorm Castle, Scotland

Then, at 36, I met my now-husband. And his proposal was truly a gift from the heart. He knew that Scotland is my favorite place on earth. After we’d been dating a year, he surprised me with a mystery trip to Glengorm Castle on the Isle of Mull, where he got down on one knee, in the rain, surrounded by Highland cattle. (He had already told my parents about his planbecause he loved and respected them— and they were fully on board.) The diamond my husband gave me that day, and that I've worn ever since for the last 15 years, is precious. But mostly because it reflects back a beautiful experience and a shared memory that we both treasure. 

Wishing you lots of love,
Robyn

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. If you're online dating (or thinking about it) read How To Have An Awesome First Date With An Online Guy for road-tested tips and advice. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.