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A (poor) novice lover’s guide to becoming a good partner

Let’s make something clear before we dive in. Valentine’s Day is imbecilic. If your boyfriend/girlfriend/non-binary-friend will dog on you for not doing something special this V-Day, let’s just say what you do on Feb. 14 probably won’t tip the scale for you.

That being said, no matter how much of a neglectful derelict you’ve been the rest of the year, it’s never too late to start being the partner your partner deserves.

We’ve compiled a list of ways to stop being the lifeless, moth-eaten companion your partner has come to endure—I mean adore.

So let’s just all pretend that this list is about Valentine’s Day and not your inability to commit on a regular basis to someone you should be holding onto for dear life. Because isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Oh, and don’t worry. We’ve taken into account that you’re a deadbeat college student with no money, so the only thing you’ll have to summon is a shred of willpower to make this ‘Valentine’s Day’ worthwhile.

Do something… for anyone other than yourself

As vital as it is to learn to forgo your own needs in lieu of nurturing your partner and relationship, having a partner that pushes you to care about others is the cat’s pajamas. Because we’re talking about love, what better time to help those affected by a love-transmitted disorder than a day commemorating the martyrdom of a Christian saint? Flying M is celebrating their 22nd Annual “Valentine for AIDS.” The silent auction benefits the Safety Net for AIDS Program. Prove to your partner that you can breathe new life into the roadkill you call a relationship by taking advantage of the window of Sunday, Feb. 5 to Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 4 p.m to go to Flying M and bid on fare from over 250 different local artists that benefits those suffering from HIV and AIDS.

Say something… it’s not a cliche if you mean it

A hard fact to accept is the indescribable essence of you is what makes your partner stay. For a sure way to remind your partner they are also treasured, find a way to distill your feelings into tangible expressions. Although it would be nice if they never needed reminding, there will be times you are too busy to give them everything they deserve. Creating reminders of your affection is a good way to help ease them through these times.

I suggest simplicity.

Write out how you feel. This one is often a tricky one, as many people don’t think they’re good writers. Want a writing tip? Get over yourself. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, it just has to be true. If you don’t know what to write, consider these questions: How does this person make you feel? When was the last time they made you laugh? When was the last time they pleasantly surprised you with their wit?

Another tip. Write what you would want to hear.

If you want to upgrade this idea, you can separate the thoughts onto scrolls of paper and fill a box with them, letting your companion pick the dosage of affection they need that day.

Stop by Paperie + Pen in Meridian for some beautiful paper on which to mint your creation, and support a local business while you’re at it!

Promise something… and follow through

Don’t stress about this one. You’ve been doing it since your infancy. The coupon book. Remember, you’d make one for your mom for Mother’s Day full of foot rubs or for Father’s Day full of carwashes and then peace out when your doting parents actually needed you? That one.

The key to this is follow through, obviously.

What’s the worst part of Valentine’s Day? The fact that it comes once a year. Raising the expectancy-bar for your partner is no gift if it just means that the rest of the year they know to be disappointed.

A coupon book full of redeemable, kind deeds says “Not only do I care about you today, but my love is present even when it might not be obvious.” Promising to be there for your partner when it’s not convenient is what love is about. So write a list of things your partner likes—even things you don’t love to do for your partner—compile them into cheesy coupons—see if you’re feeling lazy—and then keep your eyes in non-rolling formation when one is redeemed.

Massage something… and then do it regularly

Massages—everyone loves to get them. No one loves to give them. So do it. Just like cleaning the toilet and other chores, everyone needs things they don’t want to ask for. So spring the massage event on them on the regular.

Side note, you know what really says ‘I love you’? Not pumping your partner’s largest organ full of gasoline byproduct. Stop by the Boise Co-op and pick up some organic massage oils to extend the longevity of your partner’s mortality—unless that’s not your end goal.

Agree to something… your partner wants

Finally, you may be in a relationship with someone who’s in the other camp. You know, extroverts, introverts and all that? Do something your partner doesn’t get to do often.

Boise is basically a treasure trove of local restaurants, so take your cabin fevered lover away from the shanty hovel they’re trapped in and go to one of a million good restaurants in the Treasure Valley—jk, you should only go to Richard’s Cafe Vicino.

Or perhaps your lover is the one who’s trying to stay in this holiday. Take advantage of inexpensive meal kits, such as HelloFresh!

Whatever you end up doing this Valentine’s Day, remember. It’s never too late to start expunging the lasting impression you’ve made upon the person of your dreams.

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