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Valentine's Day tips for every relationship

February 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Stuck on what to get your sweetheart for Valentine's Day? Or what to do if you've only been out on two dates?

It's a holiday that's all heart. But Valentine's Day can be tricky even for the most love-struck couple when a gift misses the mark. The wrong gift or skipping the holiday altogether, can also wreck a new relationship before it's even started.

"If somebody's reading that person well, then they'll really have a good sense of what to do," said dating and relationship coach Toni Coleman. "And if they're not, and the relationship is really new, we tell folks it's better to err on the side of doing a little bit less, than doing too much."

Coleman says if your relationship is brand new, you should still mark the day. Try something small but don't go overboard. Save the jewelry for when things are serious.

"Just a little acknowledgement that I'm thinking of you today," said Coleman. "If the person does too much and makes too big a deal of it, it could perhaps send the wrong message."

In those earliest stages Coleman recommends a card, an e-card, a single rose, or a bottle of wine.

Three to six months into a relationship, start to get exclusive with a nice dinner, flowers, or a shared experience like a day trip. Do something meaningful, without breaking the bank.

For married and long-term couples, it's actually more important to step out of the day-to-day and do something special, preferably without the kids.

"Valentine's Day is the opportunity to kind of put some special thought into 'us' as a couple," said Coleman. "Not us as 'mom and dad', but 'us' as a couple."

Coleman says a good general rule for any stage of a relationship is to give, and never forget Valentine's Day.