If you think Valentine’s Day might have lost some of it’s traditional charm, Darren, an an online dating consultant, has some down-to-earth tips to make the day special for you again!

As a dating sites adviser and writer, it’s important to remain positive about relationships and encouraging people to find love, but the truth is, I used to hate Valentine’s Day. That was until I decided I was doing it wrong. You see, the high street kills it for us; shops excessively throw Cupids in our faces until eventually Valentine’s Day has the complete opposite effect of what it’s meant to mean. It quite can literally makes us hate love for crying out loud; I’m laughing as I write it, but it’s true! With that in mind, here are my top tips to make your Valentine’s Day special again.

Stay away from high street tack

Yes, I really do mean it. When you walk into high street stores and all you see is love hearts and flowers and balloons and cheesy cards, the last thing you want to do is celebrate the day that’s the cause of the eyesore in front of you. If you want to enjoy Valentine’s day again, don’t get drawn into the same old stuff.

It’s time to get original

So, if you’re staying away from the high street, what do you do instead? What you need to remember is that Valentines’s Day should be about your relationship and no one else’s; that means doing things in a way that’s specific to you and for your partner. Why not handwrite a card? You don’t need to become an overnight artist or a poet, just try doing something out of the ordinary – I once wrote a message about what my partner meant to me and sealed it in a bottle; she loved it! So rack your brains; people appreciate thoughtfulness, that’s all I’m saying.

Get your passport ready

We all love a little get-away right? It doesn’t matter that it’s not necessarily original; I went to Paris again recently and it was even more romantic than I remembered. I also don’t care how much of a pain in the backside a certain budget Irish airline is, it’s cheap as chips and we had an amazing time in the City of Love – who am I to complain about the leg room for those prices? It also beats an anti-climactic box of chocolates by a few thousands miles.

Surprise, surprise

Not to sound like a broken record, but lots of people dating just don’t really care about Valentine’s Day any more. So why not play up on your apathy even further? Let your partner think you have zero interest in celebrating a day you don’t believe in it and give it the old “I don’t need a particular day to show you I love you” (which we all know is just a get out clause for when you forget to get something thoughtful). Then, surprise the hell out of them – a trip to Venice? Cover your place in candles and cook a romantic meal? Remember what I said, it’s all about personalisation and thoughtfulness, and a surprise demonstrates exactly that, just like on Just don’t do a Chandler Bing and pretend you care so little that you almost drive her back to her handsome mustached ex-boyfriend of course.

Make it from the heart

Forgive the utter cheese of that title, but I couldn’t think of a better way of putting it. What I mean is, no matter what you’re saying, doing or buying – mean it – do it because your partner means the world to you and you genuinely want to show them that. Don’t do it because I told you so, or because tradition dictates that you should. Yes it can all be a bit ‘blah’ sometimes but by doing it in your own way you’ll be reminded again that sometimes it’s nice just to be nice!

Get more dating tips and advice from our dating experts, check out Darren’s dating reviews or learn how to give a really thoughtful Valentine’s day gift!