Is Your Man Obligated To Get You A Valentine's Day Gift?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 02/11/2015 | 11:15 AM EST

Centric explores the phenomenon of gift giving on the holiday of love

This Valentine’s Day is sure to bring forth inundated Instagram posts of women showing off their lavish gifts from their boyfriends or husbands. Diamond studs, pendant heart necklaces, the works.

But while Valentine gifts are great symbols of appreciation and love from your mate, just how important are they in the context of the sometimes superficial holiday? Though most women would venture to say it’s just the thought that counts, many would feel slighted if their man opted not to spend his coin on an actual gift.

So it begs the question: is your man obligated to present you with a gift on Valentine’s Day?


That, however, would depend on what you consider to be a “gift.” Gifts come in many different forms. They can be shiny and expensive or they can be quite economical and practical--yet still romantic.

Some may prefer their gifts in the form of an experience like going on a hot, romantic date or taking a vacay to the Virgin Islands. Others may prefer a new fur coat or pair of Manolo Blahniks.

Whatever your preference it’s important to be fair in your expectations. For one, how long you’ve been with your man would determine the price tag of your gift. There’s no reason why he should be spending hundreds or even thousands if you haven’t been together for more than a year. Long-term or not, however, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about the value of a gift. You cannot possibly quantify the magnitude of one’s love.


Before American culture adopted the trend of equating the holiday with luxurious spending, Valentine’s Day was about courtly love. Men wooed their lovers with letters, notes of affirmation and poetry. It was more about the verbal and written expression of one’s love and not the love of material things. Later on, gifts would evolve to include roses and chocolates. But much like the Christmas holiday, the meaning of V-Day has been lost over the last few decades. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1980s that diamonds and other jewelry became staple gifting options thanks to the clever marketing of the diamond industry.

Fast forward to present day and women feel almost entitled to some form of opulent gift as a means of her man showing how much he loves her. While the gesture is one of great intent, it should never be the designation of one’s love.

So before you build up your hope this year around, make sure this Valentine’s Day is about the expression of love and the celebration of the bond you share with your man--not the conspicuous display of materialism. Whatever he chooses to do on V-Day, just be grateful that it’s coming from the heart. There’s more to love than dollar signs, ladies.

(Photo: Comstock Images/Getty Images)

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