Valentine’s is a holiday traditionally associated with love, happiness, and romantic partnerships. However, for partners who have recently split, separated or divorced, this day can be a painful reminder of broken expectations and dashed hopes. While some folks will be toasting and kissing, others may be slouching at home, binge-watching/eating/drinking, feeling lonely, sad, and disconnected from the world.
It makes sense – divorce and breakups involve the loss of something that was once very important to you. A split can seem like losing a big part of yourself, your identity and your life. Depending on the circumstances, the loss can seem devastating.
All the Niceties Just Don’t Fit
While lovebirds are dancing around and dining on Valentine’s day, there will be ex’s grieving the loss of the life they had planned and processing disappointment regarding dreams of how they thought they would spend the rest of life.
On Valentine’s Day, no matter where you look, you see the niceties … constant reminders of love and relationships. They’re ever-present: From the commercials on TV, to the couples holding hands on the street, to every office and store you visit. Seeing others appearing to have what we want can elicit difficult emotions like envy, fear and anger.
I remember many years ago driving to work during a breakup and stopping at a neighborhood stop sign. A couple in a car pulled up behind me and engaged in a long and loving embrace which I saw from the rearview mirror. Ow. Ouch. I cried. I knew I’d be alright, but at the moment, I felt very sad and very alone.
One Thing To Do For Yourself
One thing to remember is that the pain of a breakup or divorce is not permanent. With time, support, and the right tools, it is possible to heal and move forward in a positive direction. I help couples do that using what’s called the Gottman Method.
Five Tips to Survive Valentine’s Day
If you’re dealing with the pain of a split, separation or divorce, here are five (5) tips to make it through Valentine’s Day with your heart and dignity intact:
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions. It is important to acknowledge and validate the feelings that come up when going through a divorce, especially during a time like Valentine’s Day when emotions may be heightened. Allow yourself to feel sad, angry, or whatever emotions come up, without judgment.
- Connect with a supportive community. Surrounding yourself with friends, family, and support groups can help you feel less alone during this difficult time.
- Focus on self-care. Engage in activities that make you feel good and help you feel more connected to yourself, such as exercise, meditation, or a hobby.
- Seek professional help if needed. Talking to a therapist who specializes in relationships, families, trauma, life transitions or another type of therapy can be helpful for moving forward in a positive direction.
- Remember that healing takes time. It is important to be patient with yourself and to recognize that the process of healing from a divorce or split can take time. Life is there for you to embrace and for your participation. With time and the right tools, it is possible to overcome the pain and restore you to your path.
Bonus Journaling Exercise
As a bonus, you might try one of these journaling exercises for help dealing with the pain of loss (Note: the aim is not to publish your responses to others, but rather to discover something for yourself):
- Write a letter of gratitude to the person or situation that caused the loss. This letter should express gratitude for the positive aspects of the relationship or situation, such as the love and joy that it brought into your life. By focusing on the positive, it can help you let go of the negative emotions associated with the loss.
- Write a letter of closure to the person or situation. This letter should acknowledge the end of the relationship or situation and express any feelings or thoughts that have been left unsaid. This can help you feel a sense of closure and move forward in a positive direction.
- Read both letters out loud to yourself or to a trusted friend or family member. Reading the letters out loud can help you process the emotions associated with the loss and bring a sense of closure.
This exercise may be especially helpful on or before Valentine’s Day, as a way to cope ahead. By focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship and acknowledging the end, you may gain a sense of freedom for the next stage of life.
If you or someone you know needs help recovering from divorce, please reach out to me here: Request an Appointment. I provide a free 15-minute consultation to see if we are a good fit for each other and how I can be of service to you.