Are you feeling the love for Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is almost here (you probably noticed!) and shops are decorated with red and pink, and hearts fill the shelves everywhere. Also, social media will be full of couples going on romantic trips or having candlelit dinners.
Many relationships can suffer and end because of the pressure of Valentine’s Day; several studies, using data from social media and dating websites, have shown more breakups before or after this day of love.
One Relate counsellor says, “it’s a risky time where hopes, expectations and beliefs can lead to disappointment for everyone.”
However, this holiday can be very hard if you’ve separated recently or thinking about divorce.
Here we share top five tips for getting through Valentine's Day with less stress.
Do celebrate different types of love
You don't have to celebrate only romantic love this February. Think about having a dinner or even a holiday with friends or visiting a family member who you don’t see often. If you have children, this can be a great chance to plan a fun activity that makes you feel closer to them. It’s important to show them that, even though the romantic love between you and your partner is gone, the parental love you have for them is stronger than ever. But you don’t have to limit this love to people you know – you could even try volunteering.
The Mental Health Foundation says that helping others “creates positive changes in the brain that are linked to happiness.” It also reduces feelings of loneliness, serves as a good distraction from our problems, and increases our self-esteem.
Do take care of yourself
The relationship that influences all other relationships you have is the one you have with yourself. You probably neglected that bond while you’ve been focusing on the failing relationship with your spouse. Take care of yourself this Valentine’s by looking after yourself: exercise makes you feel good, so why not try a new class or go to the local pool for a relaxing swim?
Don’t pay attention to social media
Avoid comparing your situation or previous marriage to what your friends may be posting on social media. Remember that these are the ‘best moments’ of other people’s relationships. In fact, research has found that people who feel insecure in their relationships tend to post more often about their partner.
Don’t keep things inside
If you’re finding it hard, think about getting professional help. Therapy can help you cope and accept the emotions around divorce and separation. Also, being honest and clear about your emotions is often better for any children involved. Pretending to be brave when you are not can be more confusing and upsetting for little ones than a simple explanation.
Do focus on practicalities
During divorce and especially around Valentine’s Day, you can get stuck in remembering the ‘romantic ideal’ of your relationship; thinking about your spouse’s good points and the future you wanted together. Instead of mourning the loss of the ideal, focus on the practical steps needed to move your divorce forward so you can start over and find a new ideal.
No fault Divorce
With the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce from 6 April 2022, the actual process of getting divorced should be simpler and less stressful. This is because there will no longer be any need to give reasons for why your marriage has broken down (which can cause tension between a separating couple) and it will no longer be possible for someone to oppose a divorce started by their spouse.