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Enjoying Valentine's Day after a divorce

If today marks your first Valentine's Day after a painful separation or divorce, it is understandable that you may want to ignore the holiday completely. However, that will be difficult, if not impossible. With each heart-shaped box of chocolates and bouquet of flowers received by a co-worker, it may grow more and more difficult to ignore Valentine's Day and keep your bitterness in check.

But according to divorce party planner Lois Tarter, there is no automatic rule ordering people who have been through a divorce to feel sad or lonely on Valentine's Day. These feelings may be unavoidable, of course, but you should also do your best to remember the many reasons you have to remain upbeat and happy on Valentine's Day. These may include the love of your children, the love of family and friends, or simply love and gratitude that you have survived your divorce and that you now have a fresh start.

If you are looking for ways to celebrate Valentine's Day that do not involved a significant other, Tarter offers a few suggestions.

First, she says, you should treat yourself. Buy yourself a bouquet of your favorite flowers, or one bloom for every year you have been divorced. Then pour yourself a glass of wine and make your favorite meal, or order dinner from your favorite restaurant. You may even want to turn your home into a mini-spa and spend the evening relaxing.

If you're looking for a more active way to celebrate the holiday, Tarter recommends doing something athletic. This would be a great time to start a new tradition such as a long bike ride, or try a new endeavor such as rock climbing.

Finally, Tarter recommends that you spread the love. Send cards to family and friends, or do something philanthropic like making dinner for an elderly neighbor or volunteering at a homeless shelter.

Any of these activities will help you keep your mind off of your divorce and keep you grateful and focused on the future.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorced, But Loving Valentine's Day," Lois Tarter, Feb. 14, 2012

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