Valentine’s Day for the Broken Hearted

Romantic dinners at candlelit restaurants, Godiva chocolates, two dozen long-stem roses, sentimental Hallmark cards- the stuff Valentine’s Day is made of.

But what if your relationship is on the rocks and Valentine’s Day is just another painful reminder that your life isn’t what you hoped it would be? Then what do you do? I know, this isn’t exactly an uplifting topic, but the truth is, the vast majority of people in my practice are not exactly big Valentine’s Day enthusiasts. My practice generally consists of one spouse who desperately wants out of the marriage and the other who wants nothing more than to live happily ever after. So, February 14th often means hurt, confusion and loneliness. And I would venture a guess that there are many, many non-clinical couples who, though not on the brink of divorce, feel an emotional distance that has them wishing Valentine’s Day would just pass without fanfare.

So, what can you do if a romantic dinner and words of affirmation are not on the agenda for you this year? First, have a plan regarding how you will approach the day. Get some feedback from friends, family or a therapist regarding questions like, “Should I buy my wife a card or get her a gift when I know she is pulling away?” “Would it be a good idea to simply ignore the day or would my spouse take offense?” “I would love to plan a romantic dinner but I don’t know if my husband would feel too pressured.” “We’re separated. Should I even email or text my wife?”

Next, if you’re not going to be with the one you love, plan something nice for yourself.

When I asked people on my Facebook page about what they could do to avoid throwing a pity party on Valentine’s Day, here’s what some had to say:

On my own without kids, I would have a nice hot bubble bath with a good book. Perhaps go for a walk and maybe call my mom or dad and say I love you.

With kids, make it about them. Bake cookies and decorate them and if there is snow outside go sliding or have a snow ball fight.

I’ll get a pedicure, massage, fashion magazine and a bubble bath, single girls day out, good book and hot tea

Even in a relationship, I get myself something nice for V-day. That reminds me to love myself. A gym membership, a manicure/pedicure, a cashmere sweater. Just something nice for me.

And I like this one the most-

How about doing something loving for someone else who may not have anyone with whom to share the day? Bring lotion to a nursing home and give hand massages? Take a widow to lunch? Sometimes shifting my focus helps when I’m poised to throw myself a pity party.

So, while those of us who are fortunate enough to be with spouses who share our desire to celebrate our connection, years together, children, and history, we should be mindful of those who, for this year, at least, have missed Cupid’s arrow.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

Valentine’s Day Special 2012

About mwd27

Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW is an internationally renowned relationship expert, best-selling author, marriage therapist, and professional speaker who specializes in helping people change their lives and improve important relationships. Among the first in her field to courageously speak out about the pitfalls of unnecessary divorce, Michele has been active in spearheading the now popular movement urging couples to make their marriages work and keep their families together. She is the author of seven books including her best-selling books, DIVORCE BUSTING: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making Your Marriage Loving Again, and THE SEX-STARVED MARRIAGE: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido. Michele's work has been featured in major newspapers such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and magazines such as Time, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Essence, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Woman's Day, Men's Health, New Woman, and McCall's. Michele is a marriage expert on Redbook's advisory board, and She has made countless media appearances on shows such as Oprah, 48 Hours, 20/20, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News, CNN, and Bill O'Reilly. Michele's Keeping Love Alive program aired on PBS stations nationwide. She recently completed a reality based show for the BBC about helping couples save their marriages. Michele maintains that her true expertise in helping couples have great relationships is derived from first-hand experience. She and her husband have been married for more than thirty years.
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