Valentine’s gift ideas for the romantically challenged

Not everyone is adept at buying meaningful Valentine’s Day gifts. Even if you’re madly in love with your man, you might be unsure of how to express your feelings in gift form on Feb. 14.

Love note on mirror

If that sounds like you, we’re here to help. We have some expert gift giving tips sure to make your shopping decision a lot easier.

Are you “romantically challenged?”

You might be if you want to check your email seconds after sex, would rather get a gym membership than a bouquet of roses or prefer a box of inkjet cartridges over a box of chocolates, says Dr. Terri Orbuch, relationship expert and author of Finding Love Again: Six Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship (Sourcebooks, June 2012). We turned to her for her tips on Valentine’s Day gift ideas and gift giving.

Many studies, including Orbuch’s own long-term study of married and remarried couples, have found that men are typically more romantic than their female partners. “Of course, it’s not true for all men all the time, but the findings show that men tend to fall in love easier than women, are more likely to believe in love at first sight, believe there’s a perfect ‘soul mate’ for them and believe that when you’re truly in love, passion never fades,” she explains.

Male or female, if you feel romantically challenged this Valentine’s Day, try these simple strategies:

Make it personal

You don’t necessarily need to head to the mall to give your guy something meaningful. “A simple handwritten note telling your partner why you’d still choose him if you had to do it all over again says ‘I love you’ much better than a box of candy,” says Orbuch.

Make it “touching”

Saying “I love you” is nice, but why not show your significant other how much you care. “Kissing, holding and cuddling is nicer,” Orbuch advises. “Even if you’re not romantic, everyone needs and responds to the loving touch of a partner.”

Fill a need

If mushy romanticism isn’t for you, think of something your partner really needs, Orbuch advises. Get his car detailed, replace his tattered briefcase – something that he needs to do but has been neglecting. “Such thoughtfulness is a turn-on and shows you really care about your partner.”

Spend some time

Don’t think of Valentine’s Day as a commercial holiday created to sell chocolates and flowers, Orbuch says. That can really take the fun out of it. Think of it as a day to spend quality time with your loved one. “It can be as elaborate as eating out at a nice restaurant, or as simple as snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie.”

Talk it up

Sometimes the best gift is the simplest, says Orbuch. “Want to know the most romantic thing you can do this Valentine’s Day? Have a 10-minute conversation with your partner about anything besides kids, work, money or domestic responsibilities,” she advises. Her study found that the “10 minute rule,” (or setting aside 10 minutes every day to talk), practiced daily, increases intimacy, bonding and happiness.

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