Shop the perfect Valentine's Day gifts for every relationship stage

Julianne Ross , CNN Underscored
Thu January 31, 2019

Freaking out about what to get your significant other for Valentine's Day? You're not alone.

There's a fine line between a sweet gesture and going overboard in a new relationship. For those who've been together forever, meanwhile, the question becomes how to thoughtfully celebrate your romance year after year.

To make things easier, we've rounded up the perfect gifts for whatever relationship stage you're in. From funny cards to deeply romantic mementos, there are plenty of thoughtful — and budget-friendly — ways to show you care, no matter how long you've been an item.

Whether this is your first Valentine's Day together or you've lost count, let these gifts take the guesswork out of the holiday.

Brand new or undefined relationship:

Valentine's Day can be especially tricky when you've just started seeing someone: You want to show your interest but don't want to be too intense, especially if you haven't defined the relationship yet! A good rule of thumb for those in the very early stages of romance is to stick with the lighthearted basics. Think: cards that lean more toward funny than romantic, budget-friendly treats, or cute, holiday-themed tchotchkes that show you're thinking of someone while still playing it cool.

1. Lovepop Love Toaster popup card ($13; amazon.com)

2. Sugarfina single malt cordials ($8.50 to $45 depending on size; sugarfina.com)

3. NobleWorks 'They Will Never Find Your Body (as hot as I do)' card ($4.25; amazon.com)

4. CKB LTD pink flamingo novelty bottle opener ($12.98; amazon.com)

5. Hallmark 'Look! It's Cupig!' card ($3.49; amazon.com)

6. Mars chocolate Valentine's minis ($7.24; amazon.com)

Dating for a few months to a year:

Things are getting more serious, which means you can step up your gift-giving. You still want to lean more toward the fun vs. the sappy end of the spectrum at this point, but it's a good idea to be less generic. Think of things that reflect one of your partner's interests — reading, photography, a beloved dog, etc. — or something that you, in your increasing wisdom, think he or she would be into.

1. Sugarfina bourbon-themed candy cubes ($38; nordstrom.com)

2. Fujifilm Instax minicamera in flamingo pink ($48.99, originally $69; amazon.com)

3. Proraso travel shave kit ($15; urbanoutfitters.com)

4. 'Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg' by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik ($13.99; amazon.com)

5. Blueberry pink pet collar ($22.99; amazon.com)

6. Sugarfina candy conversation cubes ($30; nordstrom.com)

Long-term relationship:

Now that you know a lot more about your partner, it's reasonable to give a more thoughtful Valentine's Day gift. Get your S.O. something luxurious that you know he or she would love but wouldn't splurge on. Since you're (hopefully!) more comfortable with each other, nicer grooming products are appropriate gifts at this stage as well, and decadent candy deliveries are always welcome.

1. MVMT men's Chrono gunmetal watch ($150; mvmtwatches.com)

2. Uncommon Goods birth month flower necklace ($48; uncommongoods.com)

3. Golden State Fruit chocolate, caramel and crunch grand gift basket ($37; amazon.com)

4. MVMT women's Malibu marble watch ($160; mvmtwatches.com)

5. Kendra Scott Elisa birthstone pendant necklace ($50 to $60; nordstrom.com)

6. Jack Black Skin Saviors set ($37; nordstrom.com)

7. LifeAround2Angels bath bombs ($26.80; amazon.com)

Newlyweds:

Your first Valentine's Day as a married couple can come with a lot of expectations, so start things off on the right foot with a thoughtful gift that celebrates your new life together. The best gifts are products that turn your shared abode into a welcoming home, make your bed as comfy — and inviting — as possible, and signal the start of traditions you can continue together for years to come.

1. Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore sheet bundle (starts at $213; brooklinen.com)

2. Royal Craft Wood bathtub caddy tray ($42.97, originally $59.99; amazon.com)

3. Flora Nikrooz satin kimono ($88; nordstrom.com)

4. 'Date Night In' cookbook by Ashley Rodriguez ($18.29; amazon.com)

5. Kate Spade His & Hers double Old-Fashioned glasses ($50; bloomingdales.com)

6. Uncommon Goods 100 things to do scratch-off poster ($15; uncommongoods.com)

Married:

Romance can get put on the back burner when you're faced with the demands of jobs, kids and mortgages, so use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to remind your partner of your love and appreciation. Now's the time for super thoughtful or personalized gifts that help you both to reflect on all you've been through as a couple, the gift of experiences you can share in the future, and investments in products that will make everyday life feel a little more luxurious.

1. Parachute mattress (starting at $1299; parachutehome.com)

2. Uncommon Goods New York Times front page custom anniversary date book ($99; uncommongoods.com)

3. Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest hammock ($52.46; backcountry.com)

4. AirBnB gift card ($25 to $200; amazon.com)

5. Venus ET Fleur Eternity roses ($299 for 16; saks.com)

6. Le Labo Santal 33 eau de parfum ($80 to $270; nordstrom.com)

7. Knock Knock 'What I Love About You' journal ($7.20; amazon.com)