Play the numbers game

Slow down, Romeo. Before you unveil your master plan, think twice. Your Valentine's Day efforts will be examined closely, especially if you're in the early stages of the relationship. If you're not exclusive, and you leave no gesture unmade, you might be perceived as wanting to get more serious. This might frighten her, or give her false hope. Similarly, if you're already exclusive and you do too little, you look lazy, complacent. The statement is something like, "I know I have no chance of getting laid tonight."

Below, find an easy guide to deciphering just how much is expected of you based on how long you've been dating:

  • A few weeks: a nice dinner, but nothing over the top. Maybe a small box of chocolates. Definitely no card. 
  • 2-5 months: the nicest dinner you can reasonably afford. A simple bouquet of flowers (not roses, they're pointlessly pricey and clichéd) and, if you see things going somewhere, a card.
  • 6-12 months: At this point, you're committed, so most women will have expectations. Some thoughtful, non-generic gesture would be appropriate. A card is definitely required (and please write something in it).
  • A year and beyond: Even if this is your fifth Valentine's Day together, you're still expected to put in significant effort, especially if you've been slacking lately. Take the time to show her why you're still dating. In your card, write something specific about why you still love her just as much as the first time you said it.