First Valentine’s Post Divorce?

First Valentine’s Post Divorce?

Mental Health: Make Your Own Traditions as Newly Single on Valentine’s

Q: I used to look forward to Valentine’s Day — my husband always planned something special for us. Now that we are divorced, I am dreading the day. What can I do so I won’t sit around and brood all day?

A: Valentine’s Day is a little like New Year’s Eve — we are “told” to celebrate it in a certain way and directed how to behave. But not all of us wear paper hats, blow horns and kiss at the stroke of midnight on December 31. Similarly, not everyone has the perfect lover to be with for a romantic Valentine’s Day.

Instead of moping around and feeling upset about your circumstances, why not reach out to someone who is alone most days and nights of the year. Visit an aging relative or take toys to a local children’s hospital or chocolates to a convalescent home. Contact a nearby homeless shelter and offer to serve a meal or bake brownies for your neighborhood firefighters and take them to the station. Invite someone else who is also alone to share the evening with you. When you put your mind to it, you will realize that there are many people who also are not observing Valentine’s Day in the traditional manner.

When you were married, you had a built-in partner with whom to share your holidays. Now that you are divorced, it is up to you to create new rituals for yourself around the holidays. You may decide to spend some with family or friends and commemorate others in a completely unique way. Recognize that there is not one right or wrong way to honor the seasons with their special days. You now have the freedom to generate a whole new set of ceremonies and customs for your celebrations. View that opportunity as a gift to yourself and make good use of it.

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