Valentine’s Day often evokes memories of childhood crushes, candy hearts, and little red cards passed out to 2nd-grade classmates. Perhaps it conjures up a recollection of a romantic evening thoughtfully planned by a significant other. But if you are in the midst of a divorce or have recently emerged from one, Valentine’s Day may loom as an unwelcome reminder.
The hurt involved when a marriage ends doesn’t disappear overnight, nor do those feelings take time off for holidays. When a holiday’s aesthetics are love and romance, it can stir up negative emotions, such as loss, loneliness, and regret. Not surprisingly, the first Valentine’s Day post separation can be difficult for so many people. But it doesn’t need to be.
With February 14th right around the corner, now is the time to flip the script and take some proactive steps to make this Valentine’s Day a positive, forward-looking one.
Here are four tips for surviving and thriving on Valentine’s Day:
Cut yourself some slack.
Divorce is hard. Give yourself permission to struggle a bit. It’s understandable and expected that you may feel sad from time to time. It’s important to take care of yourself. Find positive outlets for your emotions and seek out people, places, or activities that reinforce all the great things in your life.
Disconnect from social media.
Social Media is the curated version of what people want you to know about their lives. Many of those “perfect” couples you see on social media proclaiming their love for one another are not at all what they appear to be. Do yourself a favor and make Valentine’s Day and the days immediately around it a social media-free zone.
Surround yourself with love and friendship.
Love takes many forms such as, parents, friends, colleagues, and others. Find some of those people you love and make it a point to be with them on Valentine’s Day or at least spend some time catching up on the phone.
Welcome the new, and don’t dwell on the old.
Nostalgia can be a powerful force. It can compel you spend time looking at pictures of happier times or tempt you to watch movies or listen to songs that can make you feel worse.
Try not to succumb to these feelings. Remind yourself that you are starting a new and exciting chapter in your life. Make a list of all the things you want to do in the upcoming year giving extra attention to those things you would not have been able to do with your ex-spouse. Do something on Valentine’s Day that brings you joy or relaxation.
However, if all else fails and you are still longing to be a couple, take solace in knowing that over 75% of divorced people remarry.