I get this question a lot. Every step of a developing relationship from the first date through marriage has its own customs and social norms that go along with it. General expectations in the relationship rise as you move further along the path. Those expectations are ever more real around holidays, because holidays involve gifts. Tangible, often measurable gesture of how much this person means to you. Which can suck, because as a dedicated boyfriend / girlfriend, you’re usually working year-round to make this person feel special and it’s frustrating to have to go above and beyond just for one day. It probably shouldn’t be that way. It’s not polite, but hey, it’s human nature.

I’ve had a tendency to over-gift in the early stages of a relationship and I think it’s raised the bar past what the other person was comfortable with. I remember I was dating a girl for about 2 weeks, her birthday was coming up AND I was about to leave on a big trip, so I wanted to make an impression. She mentioned rather casually that she used to play violin and she missed not owning one. I almost bought one off Craigslist!  I cringe when I look back on that one – it surely would have been a poor investment, considering I had just met her.

So don’t go overboard. Make a good impression and stay within appropriate means. Here’s a quick guide for what to get your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day:

If you’ve been dating a month, I’d shoot for a gift around $30-$40 dollars. I like this  $40  Woodies Watch  It’s cool, but still casual and inexpensive. It’s simple, minimal, and it’s made of wood so it’s got the unique factor. It shows you have good taste

I’ve you’ve been together for three to six months, you can bring it up a notch.  $60 – $100 is appropriate. Maybe grab a Kindle for your avid reader boyfriend. Or some outdoor games for weekend day drinking. I actually need one of those – anyone wanna be my valentine and send one over?

For relationships around a year or more, the limit is really just your own personal budget. At this point the relationship is well established and you’ve gotten to know each other pretty well, so you can go for something more elaborate or expensive without going overboard. Plan a weekend getaway, something to build some memories with. You won’t regret it.

Happy Valentine’s Day you lovebirds.


Date Advice Guy