The Times Australia

The Times


Navigating your first Valentine’s day with a new partner: The Ins and Outs

  • Written by Shahn Sorekli-Robertson

So you’ve just started dating or you are in a fairly new relationship and V-day is looming. What do you do? Do you put on a flourishing show with all the embellishments for your new love? Or do you avoid the whole thing? There are a few things that factor into whether or not you should celebrate this holiday. 

Firstly, how are you going and feeling in the relationship? Celebrating our relationship can be a positive thing, especially if we are feeling satisfied and grateful for this person in our life. If we are having second thoughts and there are grumblings of disappointment and/or resentment in this new relationship then it may feel inauthentic or uncomfortable to celebrate this day of love. 

Is Valentine’s Day important to you? Is it important to your partner? If you couldn’t care less but it means a lot to your partner, then you might be wise to work a bit harder to show you care on the day. Part of a successful relationship is accepting and celebrating the differences we have with each other. 

If you are into your partner and in doubt, it is always better to make an effort than to do nothing. Over time, as your relationship continues you can work out between you and your partner if Valentine's day is important to you or not. I would recommend focusing more on being thoughtful rather than just focussing on presents. For example, an out-of-the-box date, writing in a card, buying your partner their favourite meal or setting up an experience you know they are into. The thought behind the gesture goes a long way and it is good practice for doing it on a more regular basis.

No matter what you found out about yourself with these questions, I recommend you talk to your new partner about each of your beliefs and expectations for Valentine’s Day before the day. Try to be honest, kind and validating in this chat. If it is important to one or both of you then chat about a fun and meaningful way you could celebrate. Try to avoid the trappings of the commercial holiday and focus on what would make it special for you both. Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be chocolates, flowers, dinner, or a gift, we can celebrate our budding relationship in many creative ways, for example a hike, a movie at home, or a thoughtful note.

Having this chat will most likely give you insight into your new partner’s vision of love, romance, and priorities. 

Aren’t quite there in your new relationship to talk it out? Then you will have to be more stealthy. Does your new partner mention V-Day in any particular manner? Are there hints being dropped all around you? Pay attention!! 

If all else fails and you haven’t chatted about expectations then do something thoughtful and specific to your new partner. Think about their interests and what they like. Base a gift or activity on this. A handwritten thoughtful card that speaks specifically about your new partner is always a winner!

About Shahn Sorekli-Robertson

Shahn is a Clinical Psychologist, Couples Therapist, and Co Founders of My Love Your Love couples therapy and app along with his wife Helen. The aim of the app is to assist couples in unlocking the exclusive and amazing benefits that can occur in long term relationships. The app mirrors real life in that it is a process that requires effort and input from both partners. Both partners have the app which is synchronised and progression is an interactive and joint process.  It takes couples on a journey to de-tangle conflict, understand baggage and strengthen bonds through deeper connections and couples growth. You don’t need to be in significant relationship distress to benefit from this app. In fact, you are likely to benefit from the app before too much damage has occurred in your relationship. If you don’t feel you are getting all of the benefits of a long term relationship then My Love Your Love is for you.

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