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Just started dating and valentines day

Oh god. It's Valentine's Day again. What a lovely excuse to spoil someone with special attention, eh?

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I'm years-mature and was fortunate enough to receive an excellent education and I still don't know what "dating" means! Is it an Instagram-official relationship?

Name: Noelani
What is my age: I'm 39 years old

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For couples just starting out in a relationship it can end up feeling like an obstacle course full of opportunities for misunderstandings, overblown efforts and underwhelming gifts.

Communication is the foundation of a good relationship no matter how long or short it has been. The 14 th February is a potential banana-skin for any relationship.

It is loaded with expectations and often, assumptions. If you like your new partner a lot but are not quite madly in love yet you might feel a card is sufficient.

When you turn up to your work to a bouquet of roses, a giant novelty card, cuddly toy and an invite to dinner at the priciest restaurant in town, you might wish you had talked about it beforehand. Whether it was Adam wearing nothing but a single red rose for Rachel in Cold Feet or Colin Firth proposing to Aurelia in Love Actuallywe love sweeping, romantic gestures.

But in real life they can sometimes be, at best, embarrassing or, at worst, a relationship breaker. If you have had a discussion with your new partner in advance you should be clear on where they stand. For others it will be mortifying.

Knowing how you both feel about the day and your relationship will avoid any potentially painful the thorns on that rose — ouch! Then comes confusion and hurt from a complete misunderstanding of the status of your relationship and its perceived value.

Agreeing whether to get gifts or not and a price limit is a great idea.

Once that is agreed, stick to the agreement! Instead of your partner feeling great they are likely to end up feeling guilty for not surprising you. These conversations might feel awkward at the time but they are a good way of avoiding more difficult ones later.

The Spark is a leading relationship counselling and support charity. We exist to help make relationships work for everyone in Scotland.

You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for tips and advice on making your relationships work. We also offer a range of free relationship resources on our website to help with the problems we all face in life.

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