Oh St Valentine! Once a year you appear to remind us of all the beauty that love brings. Which is fine when you are in those early loved up stages of a relationship, when every day feels like Valentine’s Day. But if you are in the thick of managing the great ups and downs of a broken heart, the last thing you need is to run into life sized ‘hearts’, overpriced roses and no end of red wrapped confectionery every time you leave the house! The wonderful commercial reminders that ‘all we really need is love!’ It begs the question- “Can you really celebrate Valentine’s Day after divorce?”
I have never been a huge supporter of Valentine’s Day. I blame Grade 10, Alstonville High School. I was 15 and there was this boy! Well I knew him but to this day I am pretty sure he has no idea I exist! Some bright spark decided to assist us 15 year olds to deliver ‘Valentines’, anonymously if needed to our chosen classmates. Well I remember that day well- every girl in my class with their sparkly Valentine and me, with nothing. I think that was about the time I decided to formally drop Valentines from my annual celebrations.
Now I am not saying you need to ‘drop’ Valentines too (but you can if you like- and if that is you, feel free to stop reading here and head off and enjoy your ‘Non-Valentine’s Day’!) Instead, if this Valentine’s Day the idea of having to ‘celebrate’ love and romance is about the last thing you can manage then let’s just celebrate something else! YOU!
After divorce everything in life often feels upside down. Valentines is just another of those ‘firsts’ that you will have to hurdle as you find your new beginning. Valentines won’t feel like this forever- like many of the other ‘firsts’ after divorce, Valentines will pass and next year who knows what life might throw your way!
But this week, if life sized love hearts, romantic dinners and overpriced roses are the last thing you can manage then here are 8 things you can do to enjoy Valentine’s Day after divorce-
1. Throw a ‘party’!
Who doesn’t love a good party so why not have one on Valentine’s Day! Chances are you are not the only person you know who is hoping to hide under the covers this Wednesday night, so why not bring your friends and family over to join your celebration! Now if the notion of having to face others on Valentine’s makes your eyes well, then don’t despair- the term ‘party’ should be broadly interpreted! If the kids are home, have a ‘teddy bear picnic’! Whatever your style, your party is a way to celebrate the small stuff, the ‘little wins’- those bits of ‘you’ and your life that make you smile.
2. Get up and get moving!
We are forever being reminded that exercise is good for us so why not get on up, pop on those sneakers and start your Non-Valentine’s Day with a walk! Now if you are anything like me that walk may take you straight to the pancake shop at the local markets but heh- it is Sunday so why not (and you can always run home and even it all up….) Exercise they tell us generates endorphins which in turn make us feel great so get up, get out and walk, run, skip or dance your way around the block to celebrate ‘you’.
3. Treat yourself!
A ‘treat’ for each of us is different- my favourite is a pedicure- I love those chairs that massage away, I take something to read and try to stay awake! Perhaps taking your time to cook a beautiful meal, going out for something special or even just 10 minutes sitting in a sunny chair could all be treats for you. Whatever it is make a conscious decision to do at least one thing on Wednesday that is a treat, just for you.
4. Get lost in a movie!
Let me be clear- no Romantic Comedies thanks (unless it is ‘How to lose a Guy in 10 days’ or some other Matthew McConaughey or Ryan Gosling hit!) Why not go to the movies, load up the popcorn and get lost in a story! Take a friend or go by yourself and enjoy the peace and quiet.
5. Dance it out!
Dancing solves so many problems! In the shower, the kitchen, at work- you will find me dancing away the tension all the time! Pull out those break up tracks, load up the IPod and get dancing! The beauty of this tip is you don’t even have to leave the house. But if you want to get out, then do- and go dance it out with your friends. Either way let loose to tunes that are sure to make you feel happy!
6. Spend the day with your ‘other’ loved ones!
Friends, family, kids or even pets- find the people that really make your day- the ones that make you smile- and fill your house with them on Valentines as a reminder of what really matters at the end of the day.
7. Send someone a Valentine!
You can send a conventional Valentine if you like, but chances are, starting a new relationship is the last thing on your mind right now so why not pull out pen and paper and send a ‘non-valentine’, Valentine to someone you love. In this day and age of electronic communication there is nothing more beautiful than receiving a handwritten note!
8. Send yourself a Valentine!
Why not send yourself a gift? Or better still, why not write down where you hope to be this time next year, package it up time capsule style and pop it away somewhere safe and next year we can pull them out and see what wonders life has thrown at you!
This Valentine’s Day just be kind to yourself- whatever that means for you. Take this opportunity to celebrate ‘you’. Divorce means the biggest of broken hearts so don’t ask too much of yourself. Take small steps, allow yourself to feel the emotions that flow- all of them, even the horrid ones! Unless you process the hurt that you feel, you will never truly heal. Avoid the flower aisle. By all means head to the chocolate aisle but just remember this will just be another one of ‘those days’ that you will have to hurdle as you find your new happily ever after.
Clarissa Rayward is a Divorce Lawyer & Mediator and the Owner of Brisbane Family Law Centre (and a non-believer in Valentines Day!) Over the past 14 years, Clarissa has worked with over 2000 families during separation and divorce. She specialises in assisting her clients to experience a dignified divorce- staying away from the Court process and finding sustainable agreements for the future. She is the author of the book ‘Splitsville- How to separate, stay out of Court and Stay friends‘.
If you or someone you know needs assistance during divorce you can organise a complimentary 15 minute phone appointment with Clarissa or one of her team here.Book your complimentary chat here