INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Americans could see Valentine’s Day spending reach $27 billion this year.
That’s about a $196 average per each love-struck soul.
But what if the best Valentine’s Day gift was free?
According to relationship expert Dr. Amanda Miller, communication is the number one predictor in both romantic satisfaction as well as relationship satisfaction as a whole.
Miller is a sociology professor ta UIndy who studies romantic relationships.
She advises couples to think of Valentine’s Day as a “state of our union.”
Ask yourselves questions like: What are we most proud of this year? and where do we see ourselves in five years?
If you find these types of questions intimidating, Millers says you’re not alone.
“Hold yourself accountable. Write a note to your partner or tell them in the morning, ‘remind me that I want to talk to you about something later tonight,'” said Miller.
As for the Valentine’s Day gift, Miller advises not to stress about.
“The stress of buying the gift can get in the way of romance. Take the stress out by clearly communicating your expectations so you’re on the same page,” she said.
If you want flowers, ask for them. Or if you want to save the money for a trip later in the year, talk about it.
Miller also admits Valentine’s Day can get awkward if you’re in a new relationship.
“Address the awkwardness and try to make it light. Suggest to do something fun or agree to hang out next week. It’s actually a good test to see how you as a couple address the smaller things like Valentine’s Day,” Miller added.
She says Valentine’s Day can be looked at as a time to establish good communication, which she says comes with benefits.
“One of the things my research finds is that communication skills seemed to be strongly linked to sexual frequency and sanctification. Couples who are better communicators outside of the bedroom seem to be doing better inside as well,” said Miller.
As for sex, she says overall people in the United States are having less of it because of work and an increasing number of commitments. The extra pressure of Valentine’s Day might just be too much.
“If you’re not feeling it, communicate that and celebrate another day,” she said.
As for the single people of central Indiana, Miller says the best way to not feel alone is to do something for someone else.
She suggests baking cookies for an elderly neighbor who may live alone.