Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
I recently came across a statistic from Avvo.com that indicated that divorce filings skyrocket about 40 percent around the time of Valentine’s Day, compared to the previous six months.
Sure, there are the “delayed New Year’s resoluters” who are just a month late in moving forward on their January divorce resolution. There are also those simply waiting until after the holidays to see what their spouse’s year end bonus was. There are even those who are “waiting to exhale” – waiting to see how their spouse will act towards them on Valentine’s Day before deciding to work more on reconciling or file for divorce.
Regardless, there seems to be a spike at this time of the year in divorce proceedings. In fact, one finding reported that one in 12 people are considering divorce through the holidays.
What if you are in the midst of the process of separating, divorcing, and the world seems to be celebrating love without you? Or what about if you’ve already divorced, and it’s your first Valentine’s Day as a single person?
Of course, your life has changed, and likely for the better (even if you can’t see/feel that yet). Remember, despite the emotional drain, the financial strain, the “psych-ache,” everything in life happens FOR you, not TO you. This Valentine’s Day does not have to be crushing. Use it as an opportunity to thrive, to treat yourself well – unlike how you’ve been treated through your marriage, or how you’ve been treating yourself. See Valentine’s Day as a reminder to love… yourself. See Valentine’s Day as a reminder to accept… yourself. See Valentine’s Day as a reminder to pamper… yourself. That’s not selfish. That’s thriving and surviving.
Wondering what to do on Valentine’s Day? It’s no time for feeling blue. One way to prevent that is to commit to getting in a workout that’ll activate your parasympathetic nervous system and bring you some calm, and then go celebrate love… connect with people you know and care about, friends, family, co-workers who may also be looking for ways to avoid isolating on this day.
Give that box of candy to someone who needs it. When you do something for someone else, guess who feels better? Right! You do.
Celebrate the love you do have in your life, to keep you front-focused, not looking in the rear-view mirror. That means avoid comparing and despairing.
Staying away from social media on Valentine’s Day will also help fill you with positive energy. If you’re in the sad stage of divorce, filled with sentimentality, you may feel the need to communicate with your STOBEX… soon to be ex, or already ex, spouse. That’s understandable but it’s important to work on keeping your expectations realistic and avoid playing emotional ping-pong. In fact, don’t even contact your ex during Valentine’s Day. No texts, no phony phone calls, no love letters. No contact is generally best – rare exceptions aside.
You can’t escape the ads, the commercials, the marketing, the displays reminding you of love. So, I’m serious here, send yourself a card, sharing all the love you have for yourself, and how much you care about you. It beats sending a hateful message (or even worse, a desperate one) to your ex if you’re still in the angry stage of the divorce process.
Friday, February 14th, 2020 can be a day where you can still feel the excitement, the love, the giving, the health that you’d like to. What’s divorce got to do with preventing that? Only what you think. Be reminded by the hearts you see around you, by the celebration of love, that you are able to have a present and future filled with joy, romance, love, happiness. True love, true joy, true romance and true happiness. You are, after all, only in the middle of your story… there’s lots more to come.
Happy Valentine’s Day.