THE BLOG
01/23/2013 02:35 pm ET | Updated Mar 25, 2013

Valentine's Day Survival Kit

A spectacular date night on February 14th doesn't mean a thing. This is not Groundhog's Day for love. If you have someone great, revel in the pleasure and treat them well. If not, do not take a free pass to sulk or engage in melodrama that will ruin your day. You may not be heralded, gifted, or fed, but you can vow this is your last Valentine's Day alone and begin immediately to find love this year.

How to feel better right now? First, forget about the misbehavior of those who have disappointed you. They might have an allergic reaction to Valentine's Day, be good at loving in general but not so good at holidays, or have gone to lost boys and girls land.

Next, take action by reaching out to those in your life now.

Men:
Valentine's Day is a scorecard, so make it count and lighten up. Handing over some roses is not a marriage proposal. You need to acknowledge the day in some form. You don't have to make a momentous move, but if you ever want to see her again, at least email "Happy Valentine's Day." Excuses are lame, so don't let yourself get by with "it's a commercial contrivance that I refuse to participate in." You will sound principled, but also cheap. If not in a romance, give to female or male relatives and friends because it is always helpful to practice being sweet.

Women: if not committed, do not over-give because it's a holiday that leans toward over-interpretation. Say thank you for anything nice that comes your way and plan for fun.

Lose the myth you can't break up just before Valentine's Day -- do be gentle and preferably do it before you've set plans. If the end is very near, it can be a favor to get it over and great motivator to move on. Faking your way through the day is grim and by breaking up immediately afterwards, they feel duped and rightly so, they were. Give them a chance to make a better match. You aren't indispensible.

Love suggestions for everyone: (now and forever more)

• Become more lovable.

• Do not criticize or look for the bad or wrong in other people.

• Don't be excessively needy.

• Know that other people's actions are no excuse for your own.

• Don't expect anyone other than you to solve your problem.

• Find ways to be pleasant even if you aren't always happy.

• Know how to laugh easily -- it is a contagious habit.

Love suggestions for couples:

I believe a marriage license, like professional licenses, should require continuing education -- whether it is mentoring by other couples, reading books on communication, sex or intimacy, or acquiring new skills together, Valentine's Day is the perfect day for an annual tune-up...

• Ask your mate what they liked best that you did or gave this past year and do more of the same since it counted.

• Flowers and a card are not enough. The man who says I love you 365 times a year will be more appreciated than the one who gives expensively only at holidays. The woman who says you are the greatest man alive will be loved in return more than the one who gives the biggest Valentine's Day gift.

• Take time picking out cards, put them in different locations and keep giving them after Valentine's Day is over.

• Write your own card, even if it is a line or two. Heartfelt sentiments and personal expressions are deeply meaningful and greatly appreciated.

• Give your children bedtimes for the sake of their health and your opportunity for communication and foreplay.

• Make it a day of atonement. Say you're sorry if you've been remiss. Forgive them silently (without bringing it up again) for anything they may have done to you.

Love suggestions to make it last:

• Make a long list of all the things you are grateful for in your lover and give them one item a week.

• Pamper your partner by word or gesture, every night, forever.

• Give lots of I.O.U.'s for back rubs, dishes or car washings, running errands, letting them choose the channel or being able to call an electronic black out.

• Give a compliment everyday and post it on a note.

• Treat a mate like a permanent date -- don't burp, pick your teeth, scratch, or yawn in their presence.

• Use your hands well and often - and touch your mate more than your pet.

• Lose the white boxer shorts, sensible bras, and panty hose.

• Schedule trips and date nights regularly.

• Be sexually experimental -- what doesn't hurt if you both enjoy it can't hurt you.

• Kiss for at least ten seconds -- pecks are for acquaintances.

• Write down everything you appreciate and everything you love about each other. Write what touched you most in the ways they expressed their love for you and ask them to do the same. It's important to write as well as tell because year-to-year, people won't remember what was said.

I saw a news story about a fourth-grade teacher who had asked her students to list everything they liked about each of their classmates. The students got their list of what their peers liked about them, and it was amazing how much those lists affected their lives. Many interviewed carried those accolades with them into adulthood and would re-read them and feel a glow every time. And that's the way being loved by you needs to feel. You need to expect and ask for great treatment but you only have power over what you give not what you're given.

So, make this Valentines Day an opportunity to embellish the love you have, express kindness and emotions to friends and family and a launch pad to express love notes/acts daily to your mate you have or will find for the rest of your lives.