If you are newly single or going through a divorce, I get it. This time of year is hard. You just got through the holidays, and now you’re faced with a day of love that, let’s face it, is way too focused on couples. It’s all ads for jewelry and special dinner-date menus and (uncomfortable) red lacy lingerie and red roses. The only thing that makes me happy on Valentine’s Day is candy.
My ex-husband moved out right around Valentine’s Day six years ago. Our divorce was amicable, but it was tough. That year I found myself hyper-aware of all the fuss of the holiday. I watched so many rom-coms and couldn’t help reading a bunch of sappy love stories online. It made me feel so alone. It all just reminded me that my marriage had ended and I was single and I wasn’t going to be spending Valentine’s Day with anyone.
But I managed to do a few things that made me feel a lot better, and I’ve continued doing them since my divorce.
Get into Galantine’s day. Thank goodness this is a thing now. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. We have lots of love for our girlfriends. After all, they are the ones who are there when we are going through the thick of it and struggling with everyday life. They are the ones we can vent to without judgment. They are soul mates in the truest sense of the word, and this is an excellent time of year to celebrate each other.
Plan a dinner out, a potluck, or head to the spa. Even if you can only manage a walk together to catch up, celebrating Galentine’s Day is a great way to mark the day.
Take your kids to a special dinner. This has become one of my favorite family rituals. We always go out for Chinese, and I get them a little something to open while we are there. It doesn’t have to be on the exact day, but it’s a special winter treat all of us look forward to.
Take yourself on a date. If you are going to be spending Valentine’s day solo, I can’t stress enough that you need to plan something nice for yourself. If getting out of the house seems like fun, then make a plan to see a movie, get a massage or facial, or do some shopping. Don’t feel like you have to have someone go with you. Taking yourself out can be just as enjoyable as going out with someone else. Trust me, I do it all the time.
Treat yourself to something special. Maybe there’s a pair of earrings you’ve been coveting or you’d like to get a new rug for the living room. It really doesn’t matter what it is, Valentine’s Day is a great day to buy yourself a present. I say don’t stop at the flowers and chocolates.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is just another day on the calendar and there will be some people out there who won’t understand why it’s hard for you to be single. But never mind them because it’s not for them to understand. It’s a time for you to treat yourself, make a plan, and get through the holiday all while creating some amazing memories and new traditions.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.