To put it lightly, Valentine’s Day after divorce can be complicated. Many would agree that being single or being alone on a day meant for love can feel like a world-ending catastrophe with the punchline of every joke ending in, “Actually, it’s Singles Awareness Day.”
In reality, Valentine’s Day may serve as a painful reminder of your former flame and past shared traditions. On the other hand, it can be a relief to just spend the holiday alone, not worrying about orchestrating a romantic gesture that you were not passionate about anyway.
Whether you embrace all things Cupid and chocolate-covered strawberries, or the thought of roses and conversation hearts give you the ick, here are five ways to make Valentine’s Day more bearable after divorce:
1. Celebrate with your friends instead
If you know that being alone is not best for you, have a get-together with your friends! Head out to a bar and recap the crazy plays from this past year’s Super Bowl. If you would rather stay in, play games together at home. Enjoy your time together because no matter what, nurturing your friendships is an act of love.
2. Make it all about your kids
Who said that February 14 is just for couples? Heart-shaped pizza tastes just as good with your kids as it does with a partner, so eat it with them instead! If you have young kids, do some fun crafts, and make each other cards. Watch a movie or take them out to dinner—whatever you all enjoy. Make these new traditions to reinvent your perspective on the holiday.
3. Eat your heart out
Take yourself to your favorite restaurant and order whatever you want. Get drinks, appetizers, a main course, dessert—the whole nine yards. The time to treat yourself to a lavish feast is now! Alternatively, if wine and fancy caviar are not your cup of tea, order the takeout meal of your dreams! If you are craving a cheeseburger and fries, indulge yourself. You deserve it.
4. Go out and make it a self-care day
If this means going to the gym or going on a run through your neighborhood, make it happen. Maybe even try out a solo hike on a trail you have been eager to see, but your ex would not go with you on. If you have always wanted to try out the spa, do it! Relaxing and unwinding is for men, too.
5. Stay in and make it a self-care day
Obviously, self-care does not look the same for everyone, so if you want to stay in, make sure you fill your day with activities you actually want to do. Play your video games or blast your music without disturbance. Cook yourself a gourmet dinner that you do not have to share with anyone else. End your night by popping some popcorn and having a movie marathon with yourself or with your friends. This can be a chance to finally watch the movies your former spouse never would!
Valentine’s Day after divorce can be tough, but that does not mean you have to go back to your ex to have a good day. If you have any urge to call your former spouse, resist it. Focus on pouring your love onto your friends, your family, and most importantly, yourself. By the end of it, hopefully your biggest Valentine’s Day worry can be trying to snag the half-priced candy on February 15 before it is all gone.