Ugh. There’s no getting around it. When you’ve just gotten divorced, Valentine’s Day sucks the big one. Or doesn’t suck anything, except maybe a cocktail or 10. Yeah, you know what we mean.
With the divorce rate soaring—Did you know that there are more splits in January than any other month? Yep— all the newly divorced Cinderellas need some inspiration to survive the post divorce dread of February 14.
Good thing the day before Valentine’s Day is known as (wait for it!) Galentine’s Day. That means we women rise up and do the brazen thing, spreading sisterly love. Here you go, courtesy of Donna Arp Weitzman.
The DIVORCED WOMAN’S VALENTINE’S DAY: 6 WAYS TO SURVIVE
You thought you were fine. You thought: Maybe I will survive this after all! It wasn’t a happy marriage, anyway. Things are better this way. You thought you were getting through the heart-wrenching dredge of divorce when the dreaded day came along—that day of wine and chocolates, the day when men carry armloads of flowers out of supermarkets, women receive glorious bouquets in their cubicles, and accusatory red cards shout at you from the Hallmark aisle.
February 14 is a day for lovers, they say. Couples are everywhere. It’s as if they’ve emerged full-force from a secret bat cave. They’re having dinner at the restaurant where you celebrated your anniversary. They’re walking into the jewellery store where you got your engagement ring (Um, wanna redesign that ring so you’ll actually wear it?). They’re swapping cards and flowers like there’s no tomorrow. And here you are, searching for the remaining pieces of a life that once was.
Rest assured: This too shall pass. But what are you supposed to do in the meantime?
1. Take yourself out.
Time to focus on you. Not on what you’re missing, but what you have. Easier said than done, yes. But instead of making February 14 about couples, make it about yourself. Do something that feeds your soul. Take yourself out to a glorious brunch. Buy yourself something special—something you’ve always wanted but made excuses to avoid. It’s no longer Valentine’s Day. It’s You Day.
2. Keep yourself in.
Okay, so maybe you don’t feel like being part of the world today. If that’s the case, celebrate You Day on your couch, in your favourite PJs. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a pity party. Don’t shove your face with ice cream between cry breaks. Watch something hilarious on television. Eat delicious and nutritious take-out that won’t have you waking up wracked with guilt. Relax with that book you’ve been promising to crack open: Our newest book suggestions are here. Take a luxurious bubble bath. Use the whole damn bottle if you want to.
3. Celebrate with friends.
Do you have friends who also begrudge this special day? Begrudge together! Make it a night out. You know, a Happy Girls’ Night. Use the night to plan a girls’ trip together, too—something you can all look forward to enjoying without the company of men.
4. Set life goals.
It may not sound very exciting or romantic, but goals can actually feed your soul and spirit. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, sit down and make a list of what you want out of life. Not just out of love, but out of life. You’ve entered a new chapter, for better or worse. What do you want it to look like? Remember: It’s not just the end of a story. It’s the beginning of a new one.
5. Know you’re not alone.
It may seem like the entire universe sprouted significant others when you weren’t paying attention. But the truth is, there’s a large contingent of people out there who dread this day just as much as you—people who are going through relationship troubles, couples going through divorce, bachelors and bachelorettes. There are so many people out there who don’t have a hand to hold on February 14 and are no worse off for it.
6. Remember it’s okay to be single.
For some reason, society wants us to be paired with someone else. If you’re newly divorced and haven’t encountered uncomfortable questions about your love life yet, just wait—they’re coming for you. Consider this: You may or may not want to find a new special someone. Either way, it’s okay. Don’t fall into the trap of what’s supposed to be. Celebrate what is. Seek out that silver lining. It’s there. You just have to be looking for it.
Donna Arp Weitzman is a wife, mother, and businesswoman who enjoys writing and a good pair of Manolo Blahniks. Cinderella Has Cellulite is her first book. As a frequent public speaker, she enjoys making others laugh and opening their eyes to a new perspective on some of life’s most challenging experiences.