in: People, Relationships

• Last updated: May 30, 2021

Cracking The Valentine’s Day Code

Man giving a bouquet of flowers to woman on valentine illustration.

A lot of people, both men and women, think Valentine’s Day is kind of a silly holiday, designed by corporations to make you buy their stuff. Love and romance should be expressed every day, and you shouldn’t have to spend gobs of money to do it. Yet one of the burning questions men who have been in a long-term relationship face is what to give a woman who says: “I don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day.”

Plenty of advice gurus will tell you that this is a trap and that a woman who says this doesn’t mean it. And plenty of men have had experiences that bear this advice out. They’ll tell you how they didn’t get anything for the lady in their life who said she didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, and how they got a cold shoulder in return. And they’ll tell you how she then registered disappointment but tried to passively aggressively hide it.

So what is the deal? Are women a bunch of liars who like to trap and play games with their men? Well, sadly, yes, some of them do. But in the majority of cases the conflict arises from men and women interpreting “anything” differently.

When a man hears a woman say she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, he hears, “I want nothing.” But this isn’t the correct interpretation. So what does it mean?

When a woman says she does not want anything for Valentine’s Day it means she does not want a giant teddy bear, magnetic teddy bears that kiss, or any manner of teddy bear. It means she doesn’t expect you to wake her up with a diamond heart shaped pendant. She does not want a fancy dinner, gourmet chocolates, or a gift certificate for a day at the spa. She doesn’t want any of the things that corporations hawk this time of year. What does she want? A love note and flowers.

But wait you say, aren’t love notes and flowers “something?” Not to a woman they aren’t. They are so rudimentary as to not constitute “anything.” For example, you may want to buy something but refrain and say “I don’t have any money.” Of course you have some money, but not enough for your something to constitute anything. A love note and flowers are minimum gestures that are expected. Like brushing your teeth or showering.

So what the woman in your life really wants when she says she wants nothing, is an acknowledgment that you love her and are thinking about her. In many cases simply a love note, sans flowers, will do. Just make sure the note says mushy things you don’t normally say and you’re golden

And remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. She may not want anything, but something is always better than nothing.

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