Real, Proven Dating Tips from a Relationship Expert

People stress over creating the perfect date or celebration. Whether it be Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of a couple’s first date, or any special occasion, the planning of this special day can be incredibly stressful. Boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives all search for ideas to make this year better than any in the past, and invariably these moments fall flat.

When I think of perfect moments in life, they tend to be spontaneous, ordinary events where both people were vulnerable and open to all the potential possibilities. In psychology we call these “imago” moments. These aren’t necessarily planned celebrations or anniversaries. In fact, these “magical” moments were times when both people weren’t really focusing on the results of the moment. The date night, outing or experience itself didn’t matter.

What was important? These occasions offered an opportunity for true emotional exchanges between the two people, conversations and emotional connections where each person was very honest and caring toward the other.

This, of course, seems like a contradiction. If these perfect moments in a relationship happen without planning, how can one hope to have a great date or anniversary celebration?

You can, and you should plan for those moments. But for you and your special someone to fully enjoy a moment together like this, you have to take yourself out of your perfection needs. You do that through the following points.

•You have to take the critical eye out of viewing your partner or date.

•You have to appreciate him for who he is and how he’s experiencing you and the moment.

•You can’t use “all or nothing” thinking because no one can read your mind and achieve your vision of what is perfect.

•You can’t focus on the results because you can’t control them. If you focus on the results of your special night you’re setting the moment up for failure.

•You can’t have unrealistic goals or standards for either him or the evening because that will take all the fun and spontaneity out of it.

•And if you have a moment of disappointment, ask yourself if you can see things from your date’s point of view. This can open you up to new possibilities.

Okay, so those are the “don’ts.” Here are two ways to create that positive energy no matter what it is you’re doing on the actual day.

Let’s Talk About Sex

A man loves hearing he’s great in bed. So do women, but for men it’s a huge motivator and can spur a lot more fun. Full and open expression of what you’re actually feeling while being intimate can create great heat and spontaneity. You don’t have to talk like a porn star, but if you can learn to talk about and describe the actual physical feelings and sensations that your date creates within your body, that can be an extreme turn on for both of you. Likewise, if he starts reciprocating, allow yourself to get into the moment and enjoy the flattery.

Do Gifts Matter?

Yes, a lot of people want to give a great date gift or anniversary gift on those special occasions. However, you don’t have to break the bank on this. One of the most impressive is also the simplest: a list of how that person makes you feel special.

Take pieces of paper and on each one write a different thing he does that you love. It can be about things he physically does, the quality of his character, something he did that made you fall in love—anything that applies. You can also list the emotions that he puts behind his words; that is, the intonation and feelings he uses when speaking that lets you know what he’s verbalizing aren’t just words, but words with meaning. It might seem a little hokey when you start writing them out, but men have emotions and like to know their actions have been noticed and appreciated.

However, don’t just give him scraps of paper in a pile. You have to show some physical effort in the gift as well to show him that you value the things he does. Write the words out on nice pieces of paper and put them in a beautiful box, and put that into a gorgeous bag. Your date will know that you really thought about him, he will visually see how important you are feeling for him. Remember, it’s not about the money you spend on a gift, but the way you express your feelings through the effort you put into presenting it that will speak loudly.

Above all else, keep this in mind on any special day, be it your anniversary or Valentine’s Day: When we think about the other person in our conversation and actions, and they do the same for us, that is the special “imago” moment when the two individuals’ energies come together to make a loving special moment.

Margie Mirell, LMFT and life coach, has been working in private practice with singles and couples in Santa Monica, California for more than 20 years. She focuses on relationship issues, addictions, and co-dependency.

Part of this article is based on work of Carl Jung and Harville Hendrix of “imago” psychology (but with a mix of Margie’s creativity tossed into the mix). 

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