Whether Valentine’s Day was a non-event or a big celebration, this holiday can often be a difficult one for people that are divorcing or divorced. With social media and television so present in people’s daily lives, it’s the unique individual who can ignore the hype and pretend the holiday does not exist. And it’s the truly unusual person who does not experience some form of Valentine’s Day FOMO (“fear of missing out”).
While the enlightened person experiencing this discomfort may turn to their therapist and/or best friend, express their grief and feelings and move on more comfortably, it’s not that easy for some people. For many, even buying and purchasing Valentine’s for their children to bring to school or seeing the rows of Valentine cards in the local drug store may cause pain. Even those who have already moved on in their lives may be disappointed when their new “significant other” does not rise to the occasion.
As part of the divorce process, parents map out a shared schedule for many holidays and special events. Birthdays, vacations, days off from school, Halloween, and many obscure celebrations are thoughtfully considered. People painstakingly divide and allocate these special days. Valentine’s Day, however, is never on the list. Yet, the day can be a difficult one for so many people experiencing divorce.
If someone you know may be experiencing mixed emotions over this holiday, it usually will be perceived as thoughtful if you send them a note, tell them you are thinking of them and “sending love”—be it a friend, family member or just someone whose paths have crossed with yours.
If you are experiencing these feelings yourself, perhaps it’s time to start a new tradition. Why do you need someone else to bestow gifts on you? Do something “lovely” for yourself. Maybe treat yourself to a spa or grooming treatment. Indulge in reading a favorite novel, eat chocolate, binge watch a show you heard is fun, or if all else fails, go shopping! Maybe this is even a good time to join that dating site you had been contemplating joining.
While divorce can be sad and painful, it also allows for new beginnings. Many families and individuals learn to experience new beginnings and start new traditions. Use this day as one of those opportunities and embrace it. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, here is wishing you a peaceful day….and know with certainty that most divorced people do end up happier than they were before the divorce.