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The Awfully Terrible 1st VDAY After a Separation or Divorce

Whenever we suffer a loss, be it a death of a friend or relative, or a job you enjoyed, or a partner, anniversaries and holidays can be difficult, especially the first ones since the change took place. It is not easy working through this emotional process. I would know, as I have been there myself.

In my 15 years of practicing family law, there is no doubt that Valentine’s Day is one of the most difficult holidays for people going through separation or divorce. The holiday changes from something to look forward to (because you have someone to share it with), to something most come to dread, because it now serves as a reminder that you are alone.

Well, you are not alone. There are millions of people going through what you are experiencing. It does not make the day any easier, but you can make it through it. If I can do it (which I did!) I am sure you can too!

The worst thing anyone can do, especially if you are feeling down, is to have a “pity party” and be alone in a dark room and go over and over why your relationship fell apart and think about what your ex is up to. Believe me, this is a dark road that leads nowhere.

So, what to do?

I know, you are not in the mood to party, right? You do not have to dust off the stilettoes and hit the club until 2 a.m. There are countless things that you can do to turn that frown upside down and get through the day unscathed.

  • Call the crew! Organize a fun night with some friends and get up off the couch and out of the sweatpants. Dinner out, the movies, art exhibits, a play, etc. The world is your oyster and you have options.
  • Talk to friends. Call those friends who you keep meaning to, yet never do. Making a call requires minimal effort and as soon as you do, the conversation will flow and you will be distracted and the time will fly because you are now having fun.
  • Be Your Own Date! Go and see that movie that nobody else wants to go to or find a nice restaurant in your area and bring your Kindle, newspaper or good book. There is no shame in treating yourself to a nice meal and enjoying yourself (*I do this often).
  • Use the kid(s)! You do not have to tell them, but take your kids out for something they like to get you out of the house and to take your mind off your worries. A trampoline park, Go-karts, etc. Watching them have fun means you are having fun.
  • Go for a walk, bike ride or drive. Get. Off. Of. The. Couch. Or Out.Of.Bed. The key is to not wallow. Almost anything will do, as long as it gets you moving and distracted on something other than your former partner or spouse.

Like many other things in life, the first one is always the hardest. Valentine’s Day is inevitably approaching and once the holiday season is finished, you have six weeks to prepare for whatever it is you think would be fun and help you get through the day. Call friends, send out invites, lock in a schedule for that day because people make plans early.

The most important thing to remember is that Valentine’s Day is about “love” in general and not just love to your former partner or spouse. Love your friends, your family, your kids, your pets and your life. Love yourself. You are worth it and so much more.

You got this.

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