Your Guide To Tackling Your First Valentine's Day With A New Partner

Valentine's Day isn't on everyone's radar, but if you've recently entered into a new relationship, you might be wondering how to handle the day of love that pops up every February. Being in a brand new relationship gives you the chance to consider how much fun you can have on Valentine's Day instead of treating it like any other normal day on the calendar. notes that Valentine's Day has been around since the fifth century with origins dating back to the Roman holiday Lupercalia. The beautiful holiday was named after a Christian martyr and is now thought of as the perfect time for loved-up couples to exchange gifts such as flowers, candy, and handwritten cards. Gift exchanges and thoughtful date plans are typically arranged so couples can easily express their feelings for each other.

When you're just getting started in a new relationship, there are several things you can do to keep you and your partner on the right track by avoiding unnecessary pressure and sticking to as much carefree excitement as possible. If you're living in the moment, being your most authentic self, and paying attention to your partner's actions more than their words, your relationship is headed in the right direction. Here are some tips for how you might want to tackle the first Valentine's Day with your new partner.

Guage how new your relationship is

One of the first things to consider before coming up with Valentine's Day plans is how fresh your relationship actually is. It's your job to gauge the newness of your romance to see if celebrating Valentine's Day together is even worthwhile for the both of you. If you and your partner have been dating for at least six months leading up to Valentine's Day, it's obvious that some plans should be made. 

If you and your partner have only been dating for a few days leading up to Valentine's Day, it's possible that you two will want to avoid the pressure of celebrating together before you've even gotten to know each other. If you and your partner have been dating for a month to three months leading up to Valentine's Day, then you're sort of in that gray area. You have to decide as a couple if celebrating such a lovey-dovey holiday is a good idea at the current timeline you're both in. 

New couples can face challenges during the holidays since celebratory days can increase feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear. Getting through any holiday with a new partner is doable, though, if your relationship has been defined beforehand, boundaries have been created, and you are both respectful of each other's traditions and beliefs. How long has your relationship been in motion? Gauge that amount of time and decide if celebrating Valentine's Day together makes sense.

Communicate about expectations

The worst thing you can possibly do on Valentine's Day with a new partner is leave everything up for interpretation and simply hope for the best. If you don't want to be utterly disappointed, you should be comfortable communicating expectations with the person you're dating. It likely wouldn't be their intention to disappoint you, but without proper communication, disappointment could be inevitable.

Better Up notes that when expectations are falling short, it simply means it's time to reexamine your communication style. Furthermore, there's nothing wrong with declaring high expectations as long as you're communicating your needs clearly and making sure your expectations are things your partner can agree with. If you are hoping to be wined and dined on Valentine's Day but you never tell your partner a single thing about that, they might assume that you are fine with a Netflix and chill evening. 

If you are hoping to receive a bouquet of roses or a 12-pack of chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements, you have to make that known to your partner. Otherwise, they may think you'll be satisfied with something completely minuscule or nothing at all. When opening up to your new partner about your Valentine's Day expectations, you can remind them that you intend to make them feel equally special on Valentine's Day in case they feel slightly hesitant about anything.

Avoid comparing your current partner to your former partners

With Valentine's Day approaching, you have to keep in mind that your new partner should never be compared to your old partner(s). If your last significant other missed the mark on every holiday by never purchasing thoughtful gifts or setting up romantic plans, you shouldn't assume your new partner is going to let you down in the exact same way. You also can't assume they're going to blow you away by doing everything you always dreamed of. 

On the contrary, if your last significant partner always went above and beyond to spoil you on holidays, you shouldn't assume your new partner is going to match that energy either. Even if your new partner really wants to, they will never perfectly replicate whatever your ex used to do because they're different human beings. Comparing your partner to people from your past will be the downfall of your romance since it isn't fair, leads to bitterness, causes you to set unrealistic expectations, and can make your current partner feel like they aren't good enough. 

It can also put an unnecessary load of pressure on your new partner's shoulders to outdo whatever your past partners have done. Your exes are your exes for a reason, which means your new partner shouldn't feel like they're living in those shadows. You can let go of the desire to compare your partner to your exes by acknowledging any comparative feelings, refraining from judgment, and paying attention to the things you really appreciate about your current partner.

Don't be bothered by social media posts

Tons of people choose to take a social media break on Valentine's Day because they don't want to see how other couples are celebrating the loved-up holiday. There's nothing wrong with wanting to shield yourself from seeing things that could potentially cause pangs of jealousy to pop up in your brain. The pressure to post whatever gifts and plans you might have on Valentine's Day might be consuming you also, but you don't need to give in to that negative pressure either. 

Your relationship will be a whole lot better if you avoid sharing intimate details about you and your partner on social media, on Valentine's Day otherwise. There can be tons of negative effects that come along with oversharing on the internet. Posting selfies with your partner isn't a problem, and letting the world know how you two are spending Valentine's Day together is also perfectly fine. 

It only becomes a problem if you find yourself increasingly frustrated at your partner for not providing you with a Valentine's Day aesthetic that you would deem "Instagram acceptable." If your partner set up Valentine's Day gifts or plans for you that you aren't excited to post on social media, that shouldn't ruin the vibe of your celebration together. By that same token, seeing posts from other people shouldn't create tension between you and your partner either if you feel like other couples are having more fun than you are.

Don't be excessive, unless it's mutual

Some people love to go above and beyond on Valentine's Day, but it's alright to avoid being excessive if you and your new partner have mutually agreed on that. Although it's an unpopular opinion, people end up spending way too much money on Valentine's Day turning it into something that's more agonizing than enjoyable. Therefore, one of the best tips to follow on Valentine's Day is to avoid going overboard. 

It would be slightly embarrassing to show up with a massive pile of gifts for your partner if they didn't have much to give you in return. The best way to avoid this issue would be to talk to your new partner about how much you want to do for each other in terms of gifts and plans. If you buy your partner court-side basketball tickets to watch their favorite team, you shouldn't be receiving a cheap knickknack like a keychain or a paperweight in return. 

If you and your partner have both decided to keep things super low-key on Valentine's Day, it will be easy for you to both avoid embarrassing yourselves by doing too much and spending too much money. By that same token, if you and your new partner are both extremely excited to spoil each other for your first Valentine's Day together, it's totally fine to be as excessive as your hearts desire.

Don't show up empty-handed, unless it's mutual

Showing up empty-handed on a holiday like Valentine's Day with a new partner can be a huge mistake unless you and your partner have strictly decided that you don't want to exchange gifts in any capacity. You can avoid showing up empty-handed on Valentine's Day by preparing ahead of time. You can keep it totally simple with a small box of chocolates or a gift card from any local business that might interest your significant other. 

If you don't want to buy gifts at all, Le Petit Ballon suggests a home-cooked dinner for two or the offer of a meal dropped off by a food delivery service, at the very least. Unless you and your new partner have explicitly decided against gifts as a whole, showing up empty-handed could be the kiss of death to your brand-new relationship. You don't have to do a lot if being vulnerable in this way frightens you, but you should at least be willing to do something, however small.

If no conversations have been had between you and your new partner about Valentine's Day expectations, it's better to stay on the safe side and avoid showing up completely empty-handed. Giving your partner something thoughtful on Valentine's Day at the start of a new relationship shouldn't be an awkward or cringeworthy thing to do anyway. After all, you're dating this person for a reason, and ensuring that they feel celebrated on a holiday dedicated to love should never be an issue.

Choose a mutually enticing location or plan

Since your relationship is still pretty new, it makes sense to decide on a mutually enticing location or plan for Valentine's Day with your partner. At the start of any new relationship, two people are feeling each other out and getting to know each other on a deeper level. Deciding where to spend Valentine's Day together can easily become one of the sweetest conversations you two share. 

You can go out dancing together, take a pottery class together, visit an amusement park, or book a couples' spa day. Linking up for a comedy show, a wine-tasting tour, or a ferry ride are some other great Valentine's Day suggestions. You and your partner can sit down together to plan Valentine's Day as a team by committing to an idea and writing up a fun itinerary together. 

You'll want to keep the weather in mind, organize all the logistics, and gather any necessary resources you might need. For example, if the two of you decide to spend Valentine's Day camping lakeside, you'll need to make sure you have the perfect tent, pillows, ingredients for s'mores, and whatever else a romantic camping trip would require. It's a little more of a challenge to be totally spontaneous on a day like Valentine's Day since reservations are usually required. Make sure that you two pre-book whatever you want to do with enough time in advance.

Be comfortable with corny and festive feelings

A lot of people shy away from vulnerability by pretending that the "corniness" and festive nature of a holiday like Valentine's Day is way too cringeworthy to stomach. Instead of falling into that safety net, try doing the opposite. Embrace the corny and festive vibe of Valentine's Day as much as you possibly can while you are in your new relationship. Valentine's Day is overrated since it feeds into gender stereotypes, makes lonely people feel lonelier, and ends up being a colossal waste of money. 

Not everyone agrees with that cynicism, though. Valentine's Day simply isn't as overrated as cynical people in the world would try to convince you. It's a celebration of love and should be treated as such. Relationships aren't always a walk in the park. When you choose to be committed to someone, you make the choice to commit to them every single day. 

Celebrating your devotion to your partner is something you can certainly do any day of the year, but having a day like Valentine's Day set aside to really express those feelings is a beautiful thing. Don't let people try to squash your excitement and enthusiasm over Valentine's Day by calling it overrated, cringeworthy, or unnecessary. Be comfortable basking in the warmth and pleasure of it.

Be open to surprises

You're in a new relationship with someone who could potentially be filled with endless surprises. Since this is your first Valentine's Day with your new partner, it's vital to be open to any possible surprises that might come your way. Your significant other might want to break away from predictability by shocking you with something you might not be expecting. 

If you've opened up to your partner about activities on your bucket list, it's possible that they might arrange plans that will help you cross a thing or two off of that list. It's also possible that your new partner might whisk you away for a romantic trip somewhere you've never been. If your partner is the type of person who doesn't know how to cook, they might use Valentine's Day as a way to surprise you with a new recipe they've been working on. 

You might come home from work to find a courier box waiting at your doorstep filled with trinkets. If your significant other lives in a different state or country, they might just surprise you by booking an unexpected flight to see you face-to-face. The moral of the story is that if you're the type of person who prefers planning things out from top to bottom, Valentine's Day is a great time to sit back and allow surprises to pour in. It gives your partner a chance to show how creative they can get while expressing their love for you.

Realize the day doesn't have to be super romantic

While it's true that Valentine's Day is a day dedicated to the subject of love, it's not problematic to realize that day doesn't have to be overly romantic. If you're the type of person who doesn't care to get caught up in the clichés of Valentine's Day, there are ways you can celebrate the holiday with your new partner that aren't overwhelmingly lovey-dovey. You can bond with your new partner on Valentine's Day by going for a picturesque bike ride, streaming a workout class together, binge-watching a movie marathon together, or tackling a DIY project together. 

You can avoid the pressure of an overly romantic Valentine's Day with your new partner by choosing activities that are unforgettable and unique in their own ways. Consider playing old-school games at the local arcade, rock climbing, competing in a game night at home, or visiting a nearby bookstore to find some interesting novels to read. If you both want to splurge on gifts for each other while skipping the unwrapping aspect, you can simply go shopping side-by-side. Together, you'll both pick out what you want the other to purchase.

Opt for Galentine's Day or a social outing if your new partner isn't ready to celebrate

If you're the type of person who absolutely loves Valentine's Day but your new partner simply isn't on board, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the festive highlights of the season. Opt for Galentine's Day (or another fun social outing) instead if your partner isn't ready to celebrate yet. Since your relationship is new, it's understandable if your partner isn't ready to jump on board with a big holiday like Valentine's Day so quickly. 

Regardless of your partner, you can still have your own fun. Enjoy a nice brunch or dinner and partake in a gift exchange with platonic friends who are on the same page as you. According to Good Housekeeping, the term "Galentine's Day" has been around since a 2010 episode of "Parks and Recreation" in which Amy Poehler's character started preaching about the sweet celebration with her group of tight-knit friends. 

Galentine's Day isn't reserved for people who are totally single, either. Those who are in relationships, and even those who are already married, are welcome to celebrate with their friends. Social outings that make sense for Galentine's Day include heading to a nice coffee shop, going to the beauty salon, or ordering pizza while watching rom-coms. Your new partner's decision not to celebrate Valentine's Day doesn't need to hold you back from having the time of your life with good friends.

Spoil yourself if your new partner isn't willing to

It's possible that your new partner isn't interested in celebrating Valentine's Day so early in the relationship. It's possible they don't intend to spoil you in the way you want them to since your relationship is just getting started. If this is the case, there's no problem with stepping up to the plate and spoiling yourself. You can start by buying your favorite drink from Starbucks, sleeping in for an extra hour, planning a day trip for yourself, or unplugging from all of your devices for a mental cleanse. 

Self-care and self-love both require an investment of time and energy into yourself. On Valentine's Day, take yourself on a date to a place where you adore the food. Take yourself on a solo trip to the movies to enjoy a heartfelt romantic comedy. Drive yourself to a romantic view where you can take in the scenery. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates if those are the things that would make you smile. 

Your new partner might not be on board to make these things happen, but that doesn't mean you should miss out. After all, Valentine's Day only comes once a year. Make this one count, regardless of where your new partner's head is at. Keep in mind that the way you love yourself teaches others how to love you. Remember that the more you love yourself, the more you manifest a reality where others will love you just as passionately.

Decipher if they want tangible gifts or experiences

Even though your relationship is brand new, it doesn't mean that you can't decipher what kind of gifts your new partner will love receiving on a holiday like Valentine's Day. Some people prefer tangible gifts that they can hold in their hands, while other people prefer experiences that create memories. Thermal mugs, wireless phone chargers, noise-canceling headphones, and perfume are all great for people who prefer receiving tangible gifts. 

Offering Happiness suggests inviting your partner on a thoughtful trip instead. Depending on where you take them, they can be left with unforgettable memories that will stay in their minds forever. It all comes down to what love language your partner has. If they are the type of person who prefers receiving gifts in their hands, tangible items will show them how much you love them. If they're the type of person who prefers quality time, gifting them with an experience might be the smarter option. 

Some of the experiences you can think about gifting your partner include tickets to a concert, sporting event, or show. You can also gift them with a couples' massage appointment, a zip lining reservation, or tickets to an amusement park where you can enjoy roller coaster rides together. It's equally important for you to voice what you prefer to your partner so they know what type of gifts will win you over in return.

Don't forget about your normal obligations

Just because Valentine's Day has rolled around on the calendar doesn't mean that you should forget about all of your normal obligations. If Valentine's Day happens to fall on a weekday, you might still have school or work obligations to handle before you can start celebrating the day of love with your new partner. Some of the federal holidays in the United States that give people time off work and school include New Year's Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. 

Unfortunately, Valentine's Day isn't on that list. Still, managing school, work, and life responsibilities is easier to do if you master communication, boundaries, and priorities with your partner. Your significant other might try to convince you to take time off of work or school to spend the entire holiday with them, but it's up to you to decide where your priorities are. You simply need to stick with your gut reaction and hold your decision accountable. (Aka, don't budge if you say no and your partner continues to ask.)

Come up with your own special traditions

One of the ways you can make Valentine's Day more special for you and your new partner is by coming up with new traditions that only exist between the two of you. When you create new traditions in a relationship, they become something exciting and wonderful to look forward to year after year. Some of the most blissful traditions to start in your relationship during holiday seasons include dressing up super fancy together, opting for sunrise or sunset date plans, or ending a night like Valentine's Day under the stars together in nature. 

It doesn't matter what tradition you come up with if you and your partner are on the same page. The two of you should be intentional about what you're doing on your first Valentine's Day if you expect to spend every Valentine's Day in the future together as well. Starting a sweet tradition gives you and your partner more incentive to work on your relationship and make things last each year so that you can continue honoring the custom you've mutually created.

Decide if you'll be happy with every future Valentine's Day looking this way

Once the first Valentine's Day with your new partner comes to an end, it's your job to analyze if this is the way you'll be comfortable celebrating Valentine's Day every year in the future. In other words, if your new partner has heavily disappointed you on your first Valentine's Day together, think about if you're willing to stick it out and keep dating them for more future disappointment every upcoming February as well. 

You might be settling in a relationship if you believe you're accepting less than what you want or deserve. Settling in a relationship happens to people who fear being alone or feel obligated to the person they're dating due to feelings of guilt or pity. If you know that you're the type of person who deserves to be swept off their feet and treated with an abundance of love, then don't settle for less. 

If your new partner didn't do any of the things you hoped for or communicated to them about for Valentine's Day, it's a great time to walk away before getting sucked in too deep. Keep in mind that if your partner can't step up for you on a holiday like Valentine's Day, you probably can't expect much from them on any other typical day either. You can make excuses for their lack of effort on your first Valentine's Day together, or you can embrace higher levels of self-worth and understand that you deserve the best.