Getting a divorce is hard any time of year. The holidays, no bueno. Summer, not great either. There is no good time in life to have children, and there is no good time to get a divorce. But the aftermath of “Divorce Month” (which is now January’s dubious honor) is that you are likely going to be getting a divorce in February if you were one of the unlucky (or lucky - really depends on your perspective...) people who were causalities of
a separating January.
So, what are some things you should know to prepare for this upcoming love-fest while you are mired in your not so fun and likely contentious divorce-fest?
IT IS OK TO HIDE OUT
If you are not looking forward to the upcoming holiday this year, it is totally ok to hide out. Stay away from Target and all other stores that oversell this Hallmark holiday. Stay off social media that week. And just opt out of it this year. It is ok, likely this is just an off year, and if you previously loved this holiday, chances are you might come to love it again...just not this year.
IT IS OK TO BE SAD
Having everyone else on the planet running around celebrating love, commitment, hot sex and romance is hard for some of us even when our marital relationships are going well, when they are circling the proverbial drain, not so much. It is ok to be sad and to allow this holiday to bring up all the feelings you likely need to process about the breakup and demise of your best attempt at “happily ever after”. You can use this holiday to help you cry, wail, moan, bitch, weep or yell through this most insulting (most
especially this year) holiday.
IT IS OK TO BE YOUR OWN VALENTINE THIS YEAR
I once planned a Valentine’s dinner for 20. All my single girlfriends and I got dressed up, bought our own candy and took ourselves out to a romantic hotspot and took center stage away from all the loving and lovely couples. While it was hard to get a reservation, with a little persistence, you shall overcome the intimate dining preferences for two.
IF VALENTINE’S DAY IS ABOUT LOVE, LOVE
You can love your kids this Valentine’s Day. You can love your friends. You can love yourself. There is no limit to the number of people and their role in your life to love this year. If you are getting a divorce, chances are you are really not feeling it this year. But you can co-opt the holiday and use it for your own purposes. Love whomever you are blessed enough to have in your life this year...as well as, perhaps, love the fact that while this whole ordeal is likely overwhelming and awful, this time next year you will likely be done and moving on to a better everything. So, love your heart out this year if you can, and if you can’t that is totally ok too.
IT IS OK TO CALL YOUR DIVORCE COACH, THERAPIST OR ATTORNEY
All of the above professionals know that Valentine’s Day is a day that all divorcing people dread. Call anyone of the above if you want some empathy, sympathy or just an affirmation that this whole divorce process will end and you will have a life afterwards (hopefully better than the one that just imploded). It is ok to ask for extra support during this particular month. You don’t have to brave it on your own or shut it all down. Asking
for help is the best way to move yourself to the next level. And sometimes, you will hear that no matter how hard your current situation is, it could be worse and it will get better.
DIVORCE IS HARD AND VALENTINE’S DAY WILL MAKE IT HARDER
There is no way that you can avoid completely the fact that all the happy couples (although I would argue that many of the people you think are happy, are in fact circling the drain of their marriages, it just hasn’t completely come to a screeching halt just yet) are out their loving it up on this day. And you are going to have some feelings about this. Use this hard time to go within and seek out your part in the whole debacle.
Own your stuff. See what you can do about your contribution to your marital or relational demise. Then set some goals for yourself. The work you do now will pay handsome dividends later in your next relationship. And if you do the work on you, you can and will avoid picking the same person again. Divorce is hard, so why not embrace the hard. You can do hard things. You got married, likely had some kids and now the whole shebang is coming undone in front of you. And yet, here you are showing up to work, taking time to read this blog, parenting, adulting and surviving.
You are doing the hard stuff. Take a moment to acknowledge that and thank whatever you believe in for moving you to whatever awaits you next.
There is no easy way to navigate the upcoming “holiday”. I myself, a long time single person, buy myself really good chocolate, beautiful flowers and spend time with people I love.
I also give my best girlfriends a little treat and my kids too. Because the fact that I am divorced and unpartnered doesn’t mean that I am unloved, unloving or unlovable. It is just that this year, on this made up holiday that celebrates a version of love that most
of us never achieve, we happen to be doing it solo.
And for me, being solo on Valentine’s Day is so much better than being with someone who doesn’t get me, leaves me hanging or just craving something more. My happiness is my responsibility, always.
Even on Valentine’s Day.