Divorced or single? Doing the Cupid Shuffle When Your Dance Card is Empty: Suggestions from a Family Law Attorney & a Therapist
by Charla Bradshaw and Jenny Gomez
Valentine’s Day seems to be all about romance, flowers, chocolates, and balloons, right?! Well, not really. Valentine’s is about love: showing love, sharing love, and feeling love. When you’ve gone through a painful breakup, divorce, or are currently unwillingly single, Valentine’s Day can be painful and depressing. But don’t just swipe left on Valentine’s Day. Recognize that it’s better to be healthy and single than in an unhealthy relationship. We have a few tips for how you can be intentional about creating new ways to celebrate this holiday, and enjoy cupid day, rather than dread it!
- Embrace the new normal and create a new tradition whether personal or family.
- Embrace the fact that it is better to be single than in a toxic relationship. Learning how to be happy alone is a skill for life.
- You matter, so indulge yourself! Make a reservation at your favorite restaurant, watch your favorite movie, buy your favorite fresh flowers for your home, and perhaps a spa. You don’t need a partner to do any of those things.
- Face the day with confidence and your head held high. If you dress like you’re down in the dumps, then you will be. Dress in a way that empowers you and make a point to smile and greet everyone you see positively.
- Celebrate the loving relationships in your life. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? Call your mom, send flowers to a relative, or take sweets to your best friend. Cherish those in your life who are loyal, supportive, and unconditionally loving. It is those relationships that stand the test of time, through thick and thin, and definitely deserve to be recognized.
- Spread the love. Some ideas are to make a donation to your favorite charity, visit an elder home and bring balloons and sweets, pay for someone’s coffee/food in the drive-through behind you. Doing something nice for others, fills your heart as much as it does theirs.
- Make a list of the top 5 things that you are grateful for and carry it with you on Valentine’s Day. In moments of sadness, reflect on those things. It is hard to be sad and grateful at the same time.
- Celebrate your kids on Valentine’s Day, but do not use them as a replacement for your lost partner. Kids are innately sensitive to their parent’s emotions and can become very anxious when parents put them in a position of having to deal with adult problems, issues, and feelings, which are beyond their control. Allow your kids to be kids on Valentine’s Day and EVERY day.
It is also important to remember that if the sadness becomes overwhelming, you might be inclined to make a bad choice. Please seek help if this is the case. Other things to avoid:
- Do NOT get caught up in the nostalgia, sad memories, anger, or send a text or email to your ex. Therapeutically, this could haunt you for a long time. Put down the phone in moments of weakness and Just.Say.No. to yourself.
- Do NOT jump into a relationship because you are sad or lonely. Don’t swipe left on an impulse, out of desperation. Be intentional about when you are ready to start a new relationship, and be picky. We suggest that you obtain therapeutic help to fix your “picker” if you feel it is off so your next relationship is a healthy one!
We hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and that this is the first of many new healthy and happy holidays whether you are single or in a relationship. Celebrate the love and enjoy of the Cupid Shuffle…no one ever said it had to be with a partner!