Valentine’s Day – The Divorce Survival Guide

Here it comes again, Valentine’s Day; the day when the whole world seems to be loved up and happy. A weather girl will propose live on air, flowers will double in price and restaurants will be filed with loved-up newbies or bored long-termers trying to disguise a row.

If you’re divorcing or separating, Valentine’s Day can feel overwhelming, bringing into sharp contrast feelings of loss. But February 14th doesn’t have to be this way. With a few simple re-framing techniques, this blog will share some tips on making the most out of the day.

  1. Sad vs Bad

Feeling sad and feeling bad are two separate things. Recognising the difference can be a freeing life-skill. Feeling sad when a relationship ends is natural and healthy. Let yourself be sad – cry and express your sorrow. Grieving is important and allows you to move forward with your life. There are many phases of grief but expressing the sadness is the important first step. Use the 14th as a day of release and kick-start your recovery.

2. Heal, don’t reel

Whilst anger is a natural part of the grieving process getting stuck in anger and becoming bitter isn’t helpful. Healing is about embracing the new possibilities and opportunities. You might need to learn new skills to this – learning to be alone, and enjoy your own company is key. Start small – having coffee on your own and work up to doing it without a prop such as laptop or book. Practice sitting comfortably with your own thoughts – you’ll be amazed how this will build your confidence and self-belief.

3. Friendship-focus

If you know it’s going to be tough this year then gather your friends around you. Be honest with them and let them know this will be a tricky day for you. Suggest something nice to do, such as a cinema trip, evening swim or just a takeaway. Don’t be shy to say how you feel and ask for support. Again, its an important part of the healing process. If your feelings are so debilitating that friends aren’t enough then seek professional help. A counsellor will provide a supportive environment for you to work through your hurt.

4. Expand your definition of love

Valentine’s doesn’t just have to me about romance. The Greeks (and psychologists) reckoned there were many types of love including romantic/sexual love, long-term love based on duty and important in marriage, playful love (flirtatious and uncommitted), friendship love, parental/family love, universal love (love of strangers/mankind) and self-love. With so many kinds of love to celebrate you can redefine Valentine’s Day… And don’t forget pet love (my own invention)… walk that dog and stroke that cat!

5. Spread the love

I’m a great believer in self-love as it underpins our ability to love others. However, in our increasingly ‘entitled’ world I think maybe if we focus on selfless love occasionally we’d all be in a better place. Don’t indulge yourself this year – do something kind for someone else. Doing something loving for someone else (friend or stranger) may feel far more rewarding a way less narcissistic and help you feel good about February 14th again.

So, whatever stage you’re at, I hope this helps you to navigate the day. And, to all our customers, hang in there, if you’re finding this time tricky, give us a call and talk through with one of our coaches.

Kate Daly is a co-founder of amicable. Kate is a divorce expert and helps couples and separated parents navigate divorce and separation amicably. She's passionate about changing the way the world divorces and campaigns for fairer divorce laws and access to justice.

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