Even with the help of Valentine’s candy, there’s no way to sugarcoat it: Divorce sucks.
On February 14th, no matter where you go, you’re bombarded with hearts and flowers, and happy couples linking arms. It’s plastered all over the TV and social media.
How to deal with it? Donna remember’s a Valentine’s Day sermon at church where the minister tried to help by encouraging the congregation to use Valentine’s Day to celebrate agape love and give our love away to the world. Agape love is important, but frankly, that didn’t help her deal with V-Day. It felt like bovine excrement.
Hopefully the following tips will help you survive – and maybe even thrive – on Valentine’s Day this year:
- No First Dates. You may be tempted to surf the dating apps to fill Valentine’s night. Resist that urge. Internet dating is full of no-shows and last-minute cancellations. That can make you feel even more rejected. Even if your date shows up, you’re likely to feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially in a room full of couples in love. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
- Join a Meetup Group. There are lots of meetup opportunities for fun activities on V-Day. If you enjoy board games, go to a board game meetup. If you’re a dog lover, join a dog walk meetup. Check out Meetup.com, Facebook Events, IndyHub, or Eventbrite.
- Make Some Resolutions. Think of Valentine’s Day like New Year’s – for your love life. It’s a chance to start over on things that didn’t go so well last year. Write out a set of relationship resolutions. Resolve to develop a fresh outlook on love and life. Out with the old and in with the new!
- Stay in the Present. Avoid thoughts about your ex or the relationship. Reminiscing about the happy times you had together amplifies your sense of loss. Ruminating about what went wrong can get you stuck in a place of anger and resentment. Throughout the day, remind yourself to focus on this moment and getting the most out of it.
- Be Smart About Social Media. While connecting with friends is important, take it easy on Instagram and Facebook on V-Day and for a couple of days afterward. That might seem tough, but you don’t need to be confronted with sappy Valentine’s posts with happy couple pics. And remind yourself that nobody’s real life is as good as their posts. That stuff has been sanitized to make them look good. Trust us on this – we’re divorce lawyers, and every day we hear about how unhappy people really were – long before they make it to our office.
- Do That Thing You Always Loved but Gave Up for the Relationship. You love horses, but your ex couldn’t stand the smell of a barn? Go for a ride. You love video games, and your ex thought they were childish? Buy the game you’ve been coveting or head out to a gaming center. Get back in touch with the activities that make you happy.
- Get a Pedicure. Treat yourself to a pedicure. You deserve it. And yes, this applies to guys. Men, if you’ve never had a pedicure, you won’t believe how good the foot massage feels.And, since sitting around doing nothing can get boring, bring a good book. You can enjoy the heavenly feel of a foot rub while getting lost in the story. Relax your body AND stimulate your brain, all at the same time!
- Reality TV as Therapy. In years past, whenever my life felt really bad, I would watch episodes of the Jerry Springer Show – nothing in my life was that bad, so the comparison felt really good. Shows that can help like that include: “Iyanla Fix My Life,” “Dr. Phil,” and “Marriage Boot Camp.” Watch a few of those and you’re bound to realize there are things much worse than your life, even if you spend V-Day alone.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Make yourself laugh. If you find yourself home alone on Valentine’s night, watch a comedy or stand-up special that you have never seen before. YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime all have comedy specials catering to every type of humor.
- Move Your Body. In times of emotional crisis, there’s a drop in dopamine, so your brain transfers that pain to the body. That’s why breakups feel so crummy. Exercise can counteract that. When you throw yourself into a hard workout, your body releases endorphins, which boost happiness and lower stress levels. So, hit the treadmill. It’ll do wonders for your self-esteem. If spin class is not your idea of fun, try hot yoga. It promotes deep breathing and can calm your mind, body, and soul.
- Gratitude. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, pay attention to what you do. Make a list of the top 5 things you are grateful for. When everything seems to be going wrong, focus on gratitude can put things in perspective.
“I’m grateful for my family, my dog, a job that feeds my soul, clean running water, and trees.” – Donna
“I’m grateful for my renewed health, my dog, my family, my friends, and coffee.” – Jennifer
Finally, if none of this helps and you just cannot cope, please reach out to a crisis hotline or go to the nearest ER. If you’re feeling lonely, confused, or scared, these resources can help. You don’t have to be suicidal. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 is staffed 24/7. They have an online chat service at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.