“My Husband Refuses to Take Me Out for Valentine’s Day!”

My husband refuses to take me out for Valentine’s Day. He knows it’s important to me, but it was also his mother’s birthday. He used to go spend the day with her and make her lunch, then take me out for dinner and a movie like we did EVERY other date night, so it was nothing special.

However, it will be three years this March since she passed and he has refused to take me out to dinner for V-Day since. Do I have a right to be upset since it’s SO important to me? Or should I just pick my battles on this one and let him come back around to me when he’s ready for it? (I should add I’m always the one settling or being forced to give up when we bump heads.) – Not-So-Vibrant Valentine

I don’t know — maybe your husband is using his mother’s death as an excuse to get out of taking you to dinner when you’ve complained about dinner not being special enough for occasion like Valentine’s Day? Maybe he’s tired of the pressure being on him to make the day special. Maybe, if the day is so important to you and you’re picky about what it is you do together (not a dinner and movie, which is what you do on every other date night), YOU should plan something for the two of you. That way you get to do exactly whatever it is you want to do, and he doesn’t have to worry about disappointing you with planning something you don’t like.

And if what’s so important to you is that he does the planning and makes you feel special, save that for your birthday when the day’s about you. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about expressing and celebrating love, and when you put expectations on how the love is conveyed and you’re more focused on how YOU are treated and celebrated and made to feel super special, it kind of sucks all the fun and good vibes out of it.

If you’re feeling like you’re the one to always settle and compromise and give up, communicate that to your husband and ask him to work on that with you, but not in the context of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day does not define the state of your union. A great one doesn’t mean your relationship is on track any more than a bad one — or an ignored one — indicates you’re doomed. Come on, you’re a grown, married woman. You talk about picking your battles? How you communicate or move forward after “bumping heads” is a battle to choose. What you do on Valentine’s Day is not.

I’m a senior in college getting ready to graduate in May. I had a boyfriend for my first three years of college, but I ended our relationship in May of last year. When I returned to school in August, I met a new guy. He was a friend of my roommate, and we became close friends. He always flirted with me, but in more of a charming and endearing way that always made me laugh. One day I started taking his flirtation seriously, and I realized I was into him. The only problem was I realized that I liked him in November, and he was graduating and moving away in December…. Basically for the last month of school, we were inseparable. He would take me on dates, we would study at the library together, and he would sleep over three to four nights a week. Once he graduated in December, and we went home for Christmas break, we continued to talk and Facetime every day. He would always tell me about how he has strong feelings for me and if only the timing were different, he would make me his girlfriend.

He has since moved eight hours away for work, and we talk a lot about my coming to visit him and his coming to visit me. Basically, we have a long distance relationship without the title. Lately I’ve been feeling a weird vibe from him. My daily Snapchats and text messages from him have gotten few and far between, and I always have to be the one to request to Facetime with him. When we do Facetime, everything seems back to normal and he is his same goofy, flirty, amazing self. I guess my question is: Should I keep trying to make this “relationship” work? Or should I just go with the flow and allow us to drift apart like it seems we are doing? — Go With the Flow?

You don’t really have a relationship to “make work” though. He said that if timing were different, he’d make you his girlfriend (which, ew, like it’s all up to him?). Timing wasn’t different, you aren’t his girlfriend, quit acting like you are. You are friends who might be more if timing and distance didn’t affect things, but they do and you aren’t. He realizes this, which is why he isn’t pursuing you. I’d suggest you move on and enjoy your last semester of college. I think it would be good for you to have some college experience in which you are totally single and not attached to one guy. Go have fun — life gets complicated enough post-graduation without your making it so right now over a relationship that doesn’t exist.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.


  1. dinoceros says:

    LW1: Can you just do a Valentine’s Day celebration on another nearby day? Like if V-Day is on Tuesday, go out on Saturday? If it’s on Saturday, go out on Friday or the next Saturday? It’s not unreasonable to want to do something special for the holiday, but if the date is his hangup, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to agree to a different day. If the issue is that he refuses to do anything at all, then that’s a different story.

    LW2: I agree — it’s not a relationship. You guys had whatever you had, and then he moved and was not interested in a relationship. People drift apart when they live far away. Even just platonic friends. It’s a different dynamic when you don’t see someone in person every day. You can be important to them, but not really a part of their life in the same way. I would guess that a few years from now, you two likely will not talk at all, or if you do, it’ll be very infrequently. I’m not saying that to be mean. It just happens. A good life lesson is learning to appreciate the friendships that you had during the time you were able to have them. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t try to stay in touch, but be willing to accept the natural progression of adult friendships. I dated a guy while studying abroad, and we ended things prior to moving back to our respective countries. We kept in touch for a bit, and then ultimately stopped (except for occasionally twitter likes). If I had tried to force things to remain the same, I would likely look back on our time together with bitterness, but instead I can just be happy that we got to spend several months together having fun.

  2. sarahbelle says:

    LW1 – your making too much out of this, we quit doing Valentines day out before we got married not only is every restaurant in town always packed but it is usually packed with 16 – 20 year olds, trying to ordering chicken fingers at an expensive steakhouse that doesn’t have chicken fingers. I try to get creative and try a new meal (last year was the un-edible lobsters and sorry looking non lava cakes). My cooking is terrible but he appreciates the effort and keeps offering to make a date later to go to a local cooking class. My sister and her husband quit valentines day too and now my BIL takes my niece out to a restaurant and my nephew takes my sister somewhere and they have a 1/2 yearaversary instead in March. So there are other options you just have to change your normal. Once you do things get so much easier.

  3. Howdywiley says:

    So people really care this much about Valentine’s Day?

  4. Bittergaymark says:

    Apparently, the trick to creating a vapid greeting card holiday that sticks is to cleverly endow it with absurd expectations so that women everywhere can ENDLESSLY bitch about it… Never once have I ever had a man complain to me this endlessly dreary pretty pretty princess fucking nonsense.

  5. LW could simply be a vapid woman who has fallen for the advertising world’s conception up true romance and is also waiting for her two-diamond ring to celebrate the specialness of her relationship. Or, this craving for a super Valentine’s day may stem from major problems in the relationship in which she doesn’t feel loved or valued. Talk about where the overall relationship stands and work together to fix it. If you don’t like dinner and a movie for your date night with your husband, then suggest something else, like a concert or going to a museum or something retro like bowling. To me, such a great need to have her husband demonstrate his love and regard on Valentine’s day is an indication that she isn’t happy with her marriage on the other 364 days of the year.

    1. “To me, such a great need to have her husband demonstrate his love and regard on Valentine’s day is an indication that she isn’t happy with her marriage on the other 364 days of the year.”


  6. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    You sound generally unhappy with your marriage. You are not just unhappy with Valentine’s Day but also with your date nights in general and with feeling that you are always the one to give up when you have disputes.

    Valentine’s Day specifically I wouldn’t dispute. Your husband spent his entire life with Valentine’s Day being his mom’s birthday and he can’t not remember his mom on that day. I can see that he won’t feel like celebrating when he is thinking about his mom not being around. I’d pick a different day to celebrate and a different way to celebrate so that you aren’t always competing with the memory of his mom. Could you do something like a weekend away in the spring or summer? Or think of something you both like to do and make that something your Valentine’s Day celebration. Maybe the two of you could visit his mom’s grave and place flowers on it on Valentine’s Day or during the week of Valentine’s. That’s a way for you to let your husband know how much you love him and value him. Valentine’s Day love should go both ways, not just from man to woman.

    When it comes to your marriage in general if you aren’t happy the marriage isn’t happy. With that said if you aren’t happy you need to be the one to pull it in a direction that makes you happy. Your husband may love your date nights or he might just tolerate them because he thinks that they are important to you. The two of you need to talk and figure out something that you both would like to do. You might have fewer date nights but have them be things you both really want to do. You might have a Saturday afternoon out or a Sunday morning breakfast instead of a date night. You could go for a walk or kayaking or a sporting event or a concert or etc. What do you enjoy? What would you love to share with your husband? Bring it up with him. Suggest a change to the status quo. Ask if he’s getting bored with your current date nights. Ask what suggestions he has. I wouldn’t wait around for him to make a dramatic gesture. He may have no idea you want one and even if he does he probably has no idea what to do. When there are huge expectations and a person feels that they can’t meet them why even try.

    1. I agree. The husband was a good son and tried to celebrate her birthday with his mom and the holiday with his wife, but it wasn’t good enough for his wife then. Now that she’s dead, the wife wants her husband to forget about his mom altogether and make up for the perceived slight. She’s petty and cruel, imo. I wouldn’t want to spend Valentine’s Day with her either. Surprised they’re still married actually because I would bet this isn’t the only me-me-me issue with this LW.

  7. I agree that it sounds like you aren’t happy the other 364 days. I do get exhausted with people (see above) talking about the made up holiday. Let’s poo poo all holidays then huh? Ugh. Silly.

    I agree that if something is important to someone in a relationship then the other person should try to make it important to them too. I do think it sounds like you are putting too much emphasis on one day. I do wish to celebrate V day however no thanks to the crowds, over priced meals…. I almost always make a nice dinner at home and watch movies. BUT that is also because we do nice dinners out other times. I think the point might be more that you want more of that in general, not just this day. You need to express that to him, kindly, not by saying your date nights suck. You still have date nights so he clearly cares to some extent.

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