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Juliet Jeske

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Life After Divorce: Surviving Valentine's Day

Posted: 02/ 9/2012 12:25 pm

Valentine's day is a holiday dreaded by some and cherished by others. Florists, chocolatiers, lingerie designers, jewelers, sex shops, restaurants, greeting card makers, horse-drawn carriage drivers and happy couples adore the holiday, while it causes distress for just about everyone else.

I don't know if I have ever been a fan of the day, as even when I was in a relationship I found the pressures of Valentine's Day to be extremely stressful. Usually "perfect" dates happen by accident, not by pre-planning and spending a fortune. Yet couples of all stripes feel pressured to plan an elaborate, enchanted evening for this arbitrary holiday.

When you are newly divorced, Valentine's day is just another glaring reminder that you are now flying solo. You might be tempted to throw darts at a photo of your ex, stab at a voodoo doll effigy, burn your wedding dress or tux, shred some old photo albums, cyberstalk your ex, or drink and eat yourself into oblivion in a heap of self-destruction. We have all been there, but here are a few ideas to get you out of a negative Valentine's Day vortex.

What to do:

  • Have a RomCom Bitchfest. Get the worst romantic comedies you know and invite friends over to mock them at will. If you are looking for a list of really bad ones you can find it here.
  • Wait until the February 15th and buy a heart-shaped box of chocolates half-off.

  • Send flowers to yourself or to another single friend.

  • Plan a workout or a sport related group activity with friends.

  • Volunteer at a food pantry or animal shelter; they could always use the help and doing something good for others gets your mind off your own troubles.

  • Have a potluck with your single friends; avoid going out to restaurants that are bound to be filled with couples. Who needs the reminder? Have fun with people you love hanging out with.

  • If you have kids, spend the evening making Valentine's crafts with them, or watch a family movie

What not to do:

  • Call or text your ex. If you feel tempted, give your phone to a friend -- they will let you know if you get an emergency call.

  • See your ex.

  • Send your ex flowers.

  • Email you ex. Shut down your computer, stay off of Facebook and Twitter and don't look back.

  • Sit at home by yourself lamenting that you don't have a date for a silly holiday.


But if you do sit at home and have a breakdown, don't beat yourself up for it. Anyone divorced has been there, and times like these are never easy. Divorce is a kind of death and it is going to take time to grieve and heal. The best thing you can do when you get down about your situation is find friends who have been through the same thing. No one understands divorce better than those who have been there before. And remember, now that you are divorced you have no obligation to try to impress anyone on a holiday that, in the grand scheme of things, isn't that big of a deal. Take care of yourself and laugh at the absurdity of a $95 box of chocolates or a $300 meal for two. And of course, you could do the self-destructive thing and go out and get drunk and hope to pick up a random stranger, but we all know how those nights can end up. It is better to surround yourself with loved ones and get your mind off of no longer being half of a couple. You are perfectly fine just by yourself and after all, it is only one day out of the year.

 

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