You got through Thanksgiving, but it was a rough one. You managed to survive Christmas but that was even harder. New Year’s felt hopeful and refreshing, but let’s be honest, it was no picnic. And now you’re expected to deal with Valentine’s Day after divorce?! Valentine’s Day; the cutesy, lovey-dovey, chocolate feasting, dozen roses day for lovers that can actually cause nausea, bitterness, and disgust to a broken-hearted, newly divorced woman??
I’m here to tell you something. Not only are you going to survive Valentine’s Day after divorce, but you are actually going to enjoy the day. How? By shifting your thoughts and ideas about what Valentine’s Day means and how you celebrate it. I want you to go from thinking about Valentine’s Day as a romantic night with a guy that includes dinner, sexy lingerie, and a bouquet of red roses to a fun-filled, happy, delicious celebration of love; not just romantic love, but all kinds of love.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day after divorce, here are 7 ways to enjoy and celebrate!
1. Make the day special for your kids and pets.
I got divorced when my kids were just 3 and 5, and that first Valentine’s Day after divorce was a little depressing. That said, I picked my brokenhearted self off the floor and not only celebrated, but celebrated big. Why? Because I knew my kids were suffering from the divorce and I guess I was compensating. I had an after school party with some of their toddler friends and the moms. I decorated the house, had all kinds of treats, bought stuff for the kids to make an art project, and even bought the moms little gifts. It really put me in a great mood, and made me realize that I could have a good Valentine’s Day even without a man.
I’ve now had about 17 more Valentine’s Days with my kids, and even though they are now 18 and 20, I still buy them gifts every year (although now it’s usually cash in a Valentine’s Day card.) Other things I did with them: bake heart shaped cookies and give them out to neighbors, volunteered at a soup kitchen one year, and went to Florida for the weekend a few times.
For me, it’s important and it feels good to make Valentine’s Day special for my kids. I hope it’s teaching them to always make it special for their kids. It’s just another excuse to show your kids you are thinking of them and that you love them. Kind of makes the no-man-in-you-life part of it not a big deal.
2. Plan a fun event with girlfriends.
I have a girlfriend who for several years had a huge, elaborate girl party on Valentine’s Day every year. I looked forward to it and always had a wonderful time. Most of the women who attended the party were married—happily married. My point is, Valentine’s Day is a day of love, and that means love of our girlfriends, too. If you don’t want to plan a huge bash, maybe invite 3 or 4 or even 1 girl over for some wine and cheese. Make sure you buy little Valentine’s day gifts—maybe roses or chocolates or perfume or a candle. Go to Target and you’ll find something, I guarantee it!
3. Do not think about him today.
If you do, I am going to be really really mad at you! Let “him” have his fun, buy gifts for his new girlfriend or wife, whatever! Valentine’s Day is off-limits for feeling like he is blissful and you are in a bad place. It’s just a fantasy that you are creating that isn’t even real!
Also, if you are the one who left and you are having doubts, mixed feelings, wondering if you are going to end up alone, just stop. Valentine’s Day makes it seem like you have to have a boyfriend and that is simply not true!! Think of it this way. There WILL be a Valentine’s Day in your future—could even be next Valentine’s Day when you DO have a significant other. It’s only a matter of time, so just take today for what it is. You are single today. So what? No big deal! Valentine’s Day is a day for love, not hate. So, get him out of your head today.
4. Acts of kindness are even better on Valentine’s Day.
I am someone who believes in doing at least one or two kind things a day. Like visiting someone who is elderly or sick, or helping someone get a job, or calling someone who just got separated, or offering to help a single mom by babysitting or pet sitting. So, on Valentine’s Day, instead of focusing on all the floral delivery trucks you are seeing, deliver some flowers yourself to an older person. Or, bring food to someone who needs it, along with a small box of chocolates. Doing kind things makes people feel amazing. It makes you feel important, like you matter. It makes you feel proud of yourself. It makes you love yourself. It makes you feel like you’re a really good person (which you are!)
5. Valentine’s Day is a license to eat chocolate.
Hi, I’m Jackie and I’m a chocolate addict. “Hi Jackie.” For some reason, chocolates wrapped in red and pink valentines foil taste even better than regular chocolates. So, instead of dwelling on the fact that you aren’t receiving any candy from a man, go buy your own! You deserve it. And, let yourself indulge today. It’s OK!
6. Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to flirt.
Several years ago, I was seeing this guy on and off and we were off on Valentine’s Day. I remember I went to see the movie, “He’s Just Not that Into You” on Valentine’s Day with my girlfriend. When I got out of the theatre there was a text from him that read, “Just wanted to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day and let you know I’m thinking about you today.” That really made me feel good, and even though I didn’t want to get back together, it meant a lot to me, and to this day (12 years later) he and I are still friends.
If you are talking to some guys on a dating app and you like someone, take a chance and wish them a happy Valentine’s Day! It’s a great excuse to reach out and you will make that person feel really special.
7. You are your own Valentine.
Perhaps the most important way of enjoying Valentine’s Day after divorce is to ask yourself if you’ll be your Valentine and then say yes. So, what does that mean? Maybe you deserve some self-care today; a massage, a hot bath, a glass of wine, ordering from your favorite restaurant, buying yourself that new perfume you want. Whatever it is, this is a holiday and with holidays come gifts and indulging yourself. You are a great parent, you are working hard at your job, you’ve been through a lot, you are suffering and you are trying your best to get through or move past your divorce. Give yourself what you want and need. Happy Valentine’s day, Beautiful!