My Ex-Wife was big on valentines day. She would leave little clues and hints for weeks before Valentines day just in case I might forget, or get her the wrong thing. I remember it was stressful, irritating, and time consuming – but on the day things always turned out well. Despite our differences, even in the strained later years of marriage Valentines day’s are ones that I can now remember fondly as something that was indeed special. However, surviving Valentines say for men after divorce before you have reached the stag when you can look back without anger, depression or worry is very difficult. The first Valentines day is always the worst as well as you might well imagine.
My first Valentines day alone was probably typical. I remember actually feeling really good in the weeks leading up to it ni fact. I would see all the roses and pink toys all over the place. I would laugh at the overprices flowers and chocolates and the worried looking men rushing around trying to get something to impress, or just stave of an attack for forgetting. I felt GREAT that I was not being nagged about this seemingly inane day designed to sell cards. All was well – so I thought.
Then the day came. I had forgotten about it actually and went about my life as usual – until I went to work and it hit me. I could see it, the romantic couples kissing, the flowers being given, large banners on bridges declaring undying love. It seemed the entire world had gone lovey-dovey and I was ghosting through it like some lonesome restless spirit. I did not fare well. The work day was hell as people insensitively asked me what I was doing that night. Some forgot I was divorced and some assumed I was dating again (I was not), but the effect was all the same. I struggled through the day trying not to think – until I went home and it hit me. All the memories of past Valentines days. The surprises, gifts, the nights in front of the TV curled up in each others arms. I lost it and cried bitter tears as I had not done for months since I thought I found some stability.
I nearly made the mistake of calling her then. I was lonely and angry. I picked up the phone and held it nearly dialing for it seemed like an hour before I put it down and went to bed to forget. I am glad I never called but it hurt like hell.
So, this little trip down memory lane was not to indulge myself – but to prepare you for Valentines day, especially if it is your first as a divorced man as you can survive this day better if you choose to. Below are some tips that can help.
What NOT to do in Valentines Day Post-Divorce
- Do not ignore it. Trying to hide from such an event is impossible unless you go and live like a caveman for a few weeks with no access to media or society.
- Do not indulge it. Do not try to relive it with a new girlfriend, or use it to try to get a new lady friend. This is not the time and you will be reflecting many things upon any new woman which is not fair on her or yourself.
- Do not call your ex. NEVER call your ex on this day. Not even if you feel you are on friendly terms. It gives power to dark things inside both you and her.
- Do not give in to hate. Some people get very angry at Valentines day as it seems to mock you at every turn. Remember, it is just another day like any other.
How to Survive Valentines Day As a Man After Divorce
- Have a comment prepared. People may ask you your plans, so always have something to say – it is terrible to be hit with that and left speechless and emotional.
- Remember that Valentines day is just another day. Only the human mind makes it more than another spin on the earths axis. The trick is realising this day holds no value to you at this point in time so ti does not create any further attachment and anxiety in your mind.
- Prepare your day and night. Be prepared on what you are going to do, there are many things that could work, but it depends on your personality and situation. Some good ideas I have seen:
- Organise an Anti-Valentines day party with any single friends you have who are tired of the day. Not a bitch fest, just hanging with yoru friends and pushing back against the expectations of the day by just having some fun.
- Plan yourself a ME nigth and day where you pamper yourself. This might sound liek a women’s self help bit of advice but guys can use it too. Give yourself permission to indulge in whatever the heck you want and remember it is a gift from you – to you – to be enjoyed.
- Spend the day with your kids if you have them. It is amazing how much fun you can have creating valentines days cards just within your little family unit of dad and his kids. You forget all the hype and just have fun if they are little enough.
- Release your valentines sorrow. I would only suggest this if you are much further down the track of recovery and your heart is a dull ache not a stabbing pain. Symbolically let go of the memories of previous years. Some will burn an item to do this, others might pack them away in a box and store them. Others simply let the memories wash over them and visualise pushing them away into the distance. Symbols are very important and being able to let go of a symbol you can release its grip on your heart.
I hope that helped someone. Remmeber, Valentines day will eventually be a time for new loves, new experiences, and new beginnings perhaps. Until then you can stop this day from hurting you and make the best of it on your road to post-divorce recovery guys!