By: Cheantay Jensen
Cupid’s bow is taunt and primed for another fateful day this year. How ready are you for Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re a seasoned couple or fledgling, brave enough to ask that special someone out, Valentine’s Day can be stressful!
To create or ensure a lovely day, Dr. Ebony Utley, an intimacy and relationships specialist, has some tips just for you love birds out there. Drawing from her extensive research while writing her first book, “Rap and Religion,” a book about black women’s experiences of cheating and being cheated on, Dr. Utley offers some insightful advice about relationships that might just make your Valentine's Day more gratifying.
The approach to the date will be different depending if it’s your first date or not. Read further on to the section that applies to your Valentine's Day date.
The First Date
Perhaps your date is the most gorgeous creature you’ve ever laid eyes on and you’re just dying to make some physical contact: remember, as with any first date, the goal is to get to know the person. It might be tough to settle those butterflies in the pit of your stomach, but do your best to open up. Be friendly but not too affectionate since “you don’t know this person yet and you don’t know what their triggers are,” Dr. Utley says.
You might come from a family full of huggers, but your date might not, so keeping boundaries in mind is key to maintaining a comfortable first date atmosphere. If you want to cultivate a potential lasting relationship, really try to find out who the person is. In doing this, Dr. Utley encourages us to ask questions such as, “Who they are, where they are from, what their goals are, where they work, what they study, and what they are interested in.” By doing this, you’ll start creating a picture of who they are.
As for important, yet controversial topics that you may not want to get into right away, like their political orientation or religious beliefs, Dr. Utley suggests asking them about current events in the news to subtly figure out their stance.
For Lovers Celebrating Valentine's Day
Rules and relationships may not be the sexiest combination, but establishing them is something Dr. Utley can’t stress enough. Doing so, she says, will help you maintain a happy, healthy romance. In a relationship, the partners may guide their expectations based on movies, TV shows, or what their friends suggest, but really, “you don’t have to follow anybody else’s pattern about what your relationship should look like. But you have to take time to make the rules,” Dr. Utley says.
Not sure what to define? Dr. Utley suggests some thoughts to consider: Is it cool to still talk to an ex? How do you feel about spending time alone with the opposite sex? What’s flirting to you? If I kiss someone else, will it upset you? How often do you want to see each other? If I miss you, could I call you on the phone? Whether they are pivotal or seemingly trifle, asking these questions ensure you and your partner are on the same page.
And there’s nothing wrong with revisiting them either, “Sometimes as the relationship progresses you realize you need to revise your rules because you are growing up and...you've had different experiences. The relationship is different. You two are different,” Utley says. Love may not have the best reputation when it comes to practicality, but guidelines ensure a solid, loving foundation.