We’ve all had bad dates, bad sex, been rejected, or some catastrophic combination of the three. Somehow, though, Valentine’s Day seems to take these commonplace disappointments and escalate them into soul-crushing, sexual-prowess-doubting, emotionally-crippling ordeals.
It seems like when things don’t go the way we planned on Valentine’s Day the sheer let-down has a tendency of pulling out the inner douche within us all. And really, after feeling as if we have underperformed on a date or in the bedroom, that’s the last thing anyone needs.
Whether you’re single or in a relationship there are a few things you can do this Valentine’s Day to keep a bad situation from turning into one that requires years of intensive therapy (for all involved parties). Above all else remember that one day, even a day dedicated to love, candy, and sex doesn’t define a lifetime or relationship, or have any bearing on the future of your romantic life. It may be hard in the moment but try to take a step back, gain some perspective, and ask yourself how you should handle your particular situation before reacting. Here are a few dreaded Valentine catastrophes and a some tips for how you might minimize the damage.
The Sting of Rejection
Nothing hurts more than finally working up the courage to ask someone out only to be rejected– especially on Valentine’s Day. Country songs and bad Hollywood movies have been cashing in on this trope for decades because it’s something almost all of us can relate to. So it’s surprising that we still haven’t learned how to handle rejection.
Unfortunately, rejection from someone we try to ask out or hook-up with can feel like an attack on our own worth. We start doubting our attractiveness, intelligence, masculinity, personality, and even whether or not we have a good enough job. And this perfect storm of heightened, negative emotions, and raw vulnerability can often cause us to lash out. It’s entirely too often that people seek to hurt the very person they had once wanted to become romantic with. Obviously this isn’t the right reaction. So, if the cosmic wheel of bad luck lands on you this Valentine’s Day and you experience some gut-retching rejection remember to take a deep breath, keep calm, and remember the DON’T’s:
- DON’T name call, place blame, or otherwise get upset with the person
- DON’T try to convince the person to reconsider—leave your boom-box and bad guitar playing skills in the basement where they belong
- DON’T start spreading rumors or otherwise attacking their character
- DON’T attempt to take-back any gifts you might have given (dude…that’s just cheap)
Instead DO remain humble, thank them for being honest (or walk away if they start acting rude), leave with the knowledge that you were confident enough to put yourself out there, and find a good group of single friends to go out with and lambast the stupidity of Valentine’s Day.
The Disappointing Date/Gift
Sometimes everything that can go wrong will go wrong. And sometimes it all goes wrong on a Valentine’s Day date. Everything from food poisoning, mediocre gifts and bad reactions to presents, and special plans that fall through can all turn a highly anticipated day of romance into a subpar, or even upsetting, experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s with someone you’re meeting for the first time or a significant other of many years, bad Valentine’s dates can happen to anyone. If your date starts to turn into a Final Destination-level catastrophe try to keep the following in mind:
- Some things are completely out of your control: rude waiters, unexpected illnesses, and crummy gifts are bound to happen. But they don’t ruin a date as fast as handling these things poorly. Remember Valentine’s Day is just one day and this is just one date. If things don’t go the way you expect keep calm and show your date that you know how to roll with the punches.
- Giving gifts on Valentine’s Day is incredibly stressful. There is a tremendous amount of (unnecessary) pressure to plan the perfect date or give the perfect gift. So, if you receive nasty-smelling cologne instead of the watch you’ve “subtly” been leaving hints that you wanted, try to cut your date some slack. Take a second and think. People have a tendency to overlook kindness in favor of disappointment.
At the end of the day remember that Valentine’s is (supposed to be) about love. Ask yourself if it’s worth it to be upset with your date. And if you should find yourself the unlucky winner of an ungrateful date, take a step back and wait until February 15th to hash-it-out. It just might be temporary Valentine’s Day insanity that benefits from a good night’s sleep.
The Bad Sex
It happens all the time. Sometimes everything can go perfectly—the date runs without a hitch, the gifts are just right, and the romance factor is at an all-time high—and the sex can still be terrible.
We all know the type; the awkward, fumbling, tumbling in the sheets; the fish-mouthed kisses and clammy-handed grabs for a third base. Sometimes sex—especially the first time—is just plain bad. The most important thing to do is keep perspective. If this was your first date and everything but the coitus was a homerun then don’t be too discouraged; a second date is a second chance.
And if this is a long-time lover or someone you’ve known for awhile it’s highly likely that they’re experiencing the same level of pressure and panic as you. Above-all-else be considerate, be kind, be accommodating, and don’t take it too seriously. Like everything else on Valentine’s Day it isn’t about how well or not things go or whether or not the perfect gift is picked, it’s about how we react to things.