Some divorced people can find the hoopla surrounding Valentine’s Day to be a painful and isolating experience. I wanted to offers 5 Valentine’s Day survival tips to transform a dreaded event into a day to embrace.
Marketing-inspired images of lovers exchanging heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, advertisements that invite couples to escape for a romantic getaway for two, and pretty much everything else to do with Valentine’s Day can paint a picture that is painfully at-odds with what many divorced people experience this time of year.
If you are divorced or separted, Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be something that you dread. Instead, Valentine’s Day can be an invitation to re-create oneself and start on the path towards a new life; one that is rich with possibilities for laughter, dating, romance and even — yes, believe it or not! — happy and successful remarriage. It all begins with following some simple and yet transformative lifestyle tips.
Tip 1: Accept that divorce means your life has changed. There are many words to describe the experience of divorce — and not all of them are fit for publication! Without question, divorce can be emotionally overwhelming, financially terrifying, and psychologically traumatic. Despite all of this, the most important tip for you to move on with your life — domestically, romantically and in all other ways — is to accept that your life has changed. A great deal of sadness and anger may accompany this acceptance, but this can be cathartic instead of crushing. With change comes the opportunity for growth and renewal, and for better days ahead; including Valentine’s Day.
Tip #2: Learn from the experience. I know from personal experience that divorce takes a lot away from you — it takes your physical health, your emotional health, your money, your time, and sometimes even your self-respect and dignity and for some, their children and the love of their life. However, divorce can also give something incredibly valuable: knowledge that you can use to learn from the experience. Even if you believe that your spouse is 99% at fault for the break-up (which is unlikely, by the way), you can still learn from how you dealt with it — both positively and negatively. Use this knowledge to improve and grow, so that your future relationships are better — and you look forward to Valentine’s Day, instead of past it.
Tip #3: Get back in the game…eventually. After divorce, it’s a good idea to give yourself the time you need to heal your wounds, care for your kids, recreate your new financial life, restore your health, and focus on other key priorities before re-entering the dating scene. However, that doesn’t mean you should swear off dating forever. You can’t wait until you feel 100% safe and secure again before you dip a toe in the dating waters, because that absolute certainly will never come — and you’ll stand on the edge of the pool forever! Consider becoming a member of a credible dating service (including ones that cater specifically to divorced people, join a support group with other divorced people, or read books written by qualified experts who can give you the support you need to get back in the game.
Tip #4: Consider outside assistance to help you move forward. After divorce, friends and family can sometimes offer a helpful shoulder to lean on. But if you find that Valentine’s Day and all of the talk and imagery about romance, relationships and cupid-inspired love floods you with unbearable or undesirable emotions, then it may be time to talk with a therapist. Choose one who specializes in helping divorced people recreate their life after divorce. There are also plenty of personal empowerment courses available.
Tip #5: Love yourself and your new single identity. No, this tip isn’t a mistake. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being single, and simply deciding that you want to enjoy and experience the single life for a change. Yes, other people will (unfortunately) keep asking you “if you’re dating again.” Don’t get mad at them — they mean well! And frankly, you won’t get mad at them if you embrace your new single identity and say to yourself: “I love myself, I embrace my new single identity, and I’m going to have some fun with this for a while!” If that “while” turns into months, years or decades that’s perfectly fine — as long as it’s something you’ve embraced.
Have a great Valentine’s Day.
Dan Couvrette is a marketing expert, public speaker, magazine publisher, and artist. He is the CEO of and Divorce Marketing Group, a Toronto-based marketing agency dedicated to helping divorce professionals (such as lawyers, financial advisors and mediators) across North America market their services; and the CEO & Publisher of Divorce Magazine and www.DivorceMagazine.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. He can be reached at (888) 217-9538 ex. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.