We may think Valentine’s Day may be little more than a means for the greeting card, candy and jewelry industries to pick up some revenue after the January slump. But that doesn’t mean you have to be as jaded as we are. In fact, with a little guidance from The Experts, love and marriage just might go together like a horse and carriage after all. The Experts: Dr. Louis Krupnick, psychologist and director of Krupnick Counseling Associates and Kristen Cheesman, licensed marriage and family therapist and associate director of Krupnick. Krupnick is a multidisciplinary group practice located in the heart of Longmont.
Q: How does a man get away with not having to actually buy anything for his girlfriend or wife for Valentine’s Day?
Kristen: What all women wish men knew is that the greatest gifts don’t cost a lot of money! Put together a coupon book. Include coupons for things like doing her chores, going with her to a chick-flick, giving her a foot, back or other massage, bubble baths, a picnic in the mountains, giving her the remote control, keeping the toilet seat down, putting the kids to bed, or washing her car. She’ll love it, and you may just get some fringe benefit, too!
Q: Hypothetical: You just started dating someone you met at a New Year’s Eve party. Do you still have to get them something for Valentine’s Day? If so, what’s the appropriate kind of gift? Walgreen’s stuffed animal? Wal-Mart jewelry?
Kristen: If you are looking for a Valentine’s gift for a lady you meet at a New Year’s Eve party, now is your chance to show the kind of quality person you are. An elaborate, expensive gift isn’t necessary. Instead, buy organic chocolates, a single perfect rose, or make a CD of your favorite songs.
Q: What about someone you met at a Super Bowl Party?
Kristen: Don’t blow your chances with her by giving her some lame gift. Also, don’t overdo it. See above.
Q: Is underwear ever an appropriate gift to give your mother-in-law?
Kristen: Never, ever, under any circumstances should you give your mother-in-law underwear. Don’t let her know that you buy it for your wife, either—she still believes her daughter is a good girl!
Louis: Go ahead and give her underwear—just make sure it’s a pair of long johns for her upcoming ski trip.
Q: Is it appropriate to give a Valentine’s Day gift to a coworker?
Kristen: Giving Valentine’s Day gifts to coworkers can be tricky. We like the Valentine’s policy at preschools: bring enough cards and/or small gifts for everyone, and don’t put names on them!
Q: What if one or both of you are married?
Kristen: If you give a gift to a coworker who is married, or you are married, (it) might just keep on giving in ways you don’t want.
Louis: Good point, especially if the gifts are exchanged in secret. Definitely trouble
Q: Your wife/husband is convinced you’re having an affair, but you’re not. What can you do to convince her/him otherwise?
Louis: Let’s face it: Something is wrong here. This is a problem that will fester unless underlying issues are addressed. Individual or marriage counseling might help.
Kristen: (Tongue firmly in cheek) Let your spouse look at your cell phone records, email and internet history. Everything will be fine after that!
Q: Your wife/husband is convinced you’re having an affair, and you are. How can you convince her/him it’s over and not to divorce you and take your Lexus?
Kristen: Make your “affair” buy you a newer or better car, and then gladly leave your ex with the Lex. Later, use this as a negotiating tool to show your generosity when asking for alimony.
Louis: How’s this? Leave text messages and emails for your spouse to see, ones in which you tell your lover it’s all over, that you’ve come to realize how desperately you love your wife/husband. Threaten to take out a restraining order if she/he doesn’t stop pestering you!
Kristen and Louis: Seriously, this is a situation in which either therapy or a consultation with an attorney is indicated. Life is short, and it’s not a rehearsal.
Q: Do “open” relationships (you know, like the kind you see on “Real Sex” episodes where both people in the marriage sleep with other people and act totally happy with each other) actually ever really work? How?
Kristen: Reality TV isn’t real. “Real Sex” doesn’t show real sex, sorry.
Louis: Trying to have an open relationship at least has more integrity than carrying on affairs in secret. But it’s a long shot for a happy future. Fantasy allows us the pleasure of play without the disastrous consequences of acting out. Keep it between the ears.
Q: What are the three to five most important traits you should look for in a spouse? Where does “earning potential” fit in? And how does that compare against “serious boots-knockin’ skillz”?
Kristen and Louis: 1) Trust, 2) Being best friends, 3) Healthy communications, 4) Some zip, excitement, magnetism. People have different priorities and drives. Sex and money are high on a lot of lists. Be honest with yourself. Also, challenge yourself to embrace values that enrich your spirit and world peace. Happy Valentine’s Day!