Valentine's Day is fast approaching. It seems that overnight the shops are full of red and pink, heart-shaped, goodies and social media is bombarded with couples declaring their love for each other whilst posting photos of their romantic trips. And for those who are single, this time of year can be a nightmare – especially if this is the first one since your separation or you are in the process of divorcing. But before you reach for comfort food, or something stronger, here are my top tips for surviving Valentine’s day after your separation:
- Invest in different kinds of love: Romantic love isn’t the only kind of love to focus on. If you have children see Valentine’s day as a perfect opportunity to plan a fun activity with them. What they need more than anything right now is to know that, although their parents no longer love each other, they are very much loved. If you are not with your children, consider arranging a dinner at home, giving yourself a present to represent self-love or even put in for a mini-break with friends. And you don’t need to limit your love to only those you know, volunteer and help others. Volunteering has been proven to develop psychological changes in the brain associated with happiness, it also prevents loneliness and boosts your self-esteem.
- Have a plan. While you might be single, it does not mean that you have to be alone on this day. If you want to celebrate it, think about who you are going to spend it with.
- Remember it’s a commercial tradition - whilst Valentine’s day can be fun, never forget it’s a commercial tradition embraced by companies to make money. So, it’s really important to remember that these are the drivers on the day. Sadly, it’s no longer about celebrating the one you love, so don’t feel left out if you can’t celebrate it - often couples that try to on the big day end up spending hundreds of pounds to have a middling experience.
- Avoid social media. Social media is going to be full of ‘couples’ so avoid it. Remember you are always comparing your worst to their best because no one posts a bad picture. And take comfort from the fact that a recent study found that those who feel most insecure in their relationship post the most about their partner. Don’t get sucked into comparing instead focus on you and who loves you.
- Don’t suffer in silence. If you are struggling, get help. There are so many options available to you to help you through this emotional rollercoaster - talking to friends, family or a professional will all assist. Seeking out these opportunities is an investment in you that will help you to move on.
Whatever happens, always remember it’s just one day that will pass, and each one will get easier. Plus often the pressure of Valentine’s day can lead to a couple’s splitting up. The most confident couples celebrate their relationships all year round, not just on one day.