10 Hot Tips for Surviving (and Enjoying) Being Single on Valentine’s Day

Pink rose in the shape of a heart to represent Keeping Love Alive relationship workshop

If you are recently divorced, not in a significant love relationship, or have been single for a while, Valentine’s Day may bring up feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and feelings of self-doubt.

If this is your experience, you are certainly not alone. Honoring these feelings and avoiding activities that trigger them is important. The good news is there is another way to look at this day dedicated to love that can give you a whole new perspective.

Here are some tips for enjoying Valentine’s Day as a single person:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others who are coupled up. Just because a couple is out celebrating doesn’t mean they are experiencing the “bliss” of romance on Valentine’s Day. They may be experiencing as much disappointment as you for different reasons.
  1. Catch up on past friendships. Go out with a friend of your choice, commiserate, eat, drink, and do whatever you want.
  1. This year, you get to dress for yourself. Wear your most outrageous or most casual outfit.
  1. Have a party with other singles or look for community gatherings. There are many activities listed in the newspaper and online.
  1. Take a dance lesson or go dancing. It’s a great way to meet others, revive your mind and body, get in touch with your sensuality, and just have fun.
  1. Honor your own feelings in ways others may not have. Let yourself feel however you do and not have to justify them to anyone.
  1. Stay home and watch a great DVD of your choice without having to check to see if someone else likes or has seen it.
  1. Get out of your head and into your heart by volunteering. There is a huge drop off in volunteers, but not of those in need, after the holidays. Soup kitchens and other organizations still need your help.
  1. Devote the time, caring, and money you might otherwise spend on someone else on yourself. Buy yourself gourmet chocolates of your choice, get a massage, take a bubble bath, go for a walk in nature, or go to the coast alone or with a friend, whichever makes you feel good.
  1. Rediscover and spend the day with the hottest, smartest, and most interesting person you know—you!

See Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends for details on my support group.

Self-Esteem Inventory: How I Feel About Myself

Self-Esteem InventoryHow you feel about yourself impacts your ability to have healthy, happy relationships with your children, partners, family, coworkers, and practically every person in your life. Strong negative self-talk can create internal stress. Take an honest inventory of yourself. People who feel good about themselves can say “yes” to many, not necessarily all, of these. Notice what is already working for you and areas you would like to improve. Making a commitment to yourself to improve can begin the process of your becoming more empowered and more internally relaxed.

  1. I am willing to work hard to improve my self-concept.
  1. I want to improve my self-concept even though I know it will change many aspects of my life.
  1. I like being the person I am.
  1. I feel I am an attractive person.
  1. I like my body.
  1. I feel attractive and sexually desirable.
  1. I feel confident most of the time.
  1. I know and understand myself.
  1. I feel good being a man/woman.
  1. I no longer feel like a failure because my love relationship ended.
  1. I feel capable of building deep and meaningful relationships.
  1. I am the type of person I would like to have as a friend.
  1. I feel what I have to say is important to others.
  1. I feel I have an identity of my own.
  1. I have hope and faith that I can improve my self-concept.
  1. I am confident I can solve the problems facing me.
  1. I am confident I can adjust to this crisis.
  1. I can listen to criticism without becoming angry and defensive.

Negative Patterns That Predict Divorce

I just wanted to share this video by John Gottman on defensiveness and stonewalling in relationships:

Moving on After the Loss of a Relationship

Moving on After the Loss of a Relationship“I had no idea how powerful the grief and loss of going through a divorce can be and how debilitating it is to try to put your life back together again after such a profound loss,” says Richard after his recent divorce.

Who am I now? What went wrong? What will my life be like now without my partner? These are commonly felt questions that arise as a result of the confusion and uncertainty of a relationship loss.

Almost half of all marriages end in divorce, and whether you are married or not, the ending of a love relationship can be one of the most stressful and difficult experiences you’ll ever have. Many people enter into marriage or a relationship with the idea that their life will be better as a result. The disappointment of it not turning out this way can feel devastating. It launches us into uncharted territory and deep emotional feelings of despair, loneliness, grief, revenge, hopelessness, and helplessness—to name a few.

Recovering from the end of a relationship is always difficult and takes time. You will, however, move on and can even use this stressful time to gain in compassion, wisdom, and strength.

Suggestions to help you adjust to and cope with your changed circumstances:

Allow Yourself to Grieve. The loss is more than just of the relationship but of shared dreams, companionship, and support: financial, social, and emotional. Grief is a natural human reaction to loss, and it won’t last forever. Allowing yourself to feel grief will help you begin to move on. You should also realize it can take time—from several months to several years.

If You Can Feel It, You Can Heal It. Identify and acknowledge all your feelings and know that they all are okay. It’s normal to have many conflicting emotions and lots of ups and downs. Even though your emotions may be painful, trying to suppress them may actually prolong the grieving process. Give yourself some breaks—you don’t always have to be on task the way you were before and should allow yourself some downtime.

Share Your Feelings with Others. Do not try to go through this experience alone. Let others know how you feel. Surround yourself with people who support and value you. Join a support group such as Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends to get the support and friendship from others in the same situation who really understand.

Learn to Take Care of Yourself. Make time everyday to nurture yourself. Schedule time for healing or soothing activities. Honor your own needs.

Develop a Routine. Divorce can disrupt almost every area of your life. Creating structure can be comforting and provide a sense of normalcy.

Deal with Your Feelings of Being Overwhelmed. This is a time of enhanced stress. There is often an extraordinarily long list of tasks that you need to do during this transition. Make a list, prioritize, and break down what needs to be done, then check things off. Only do what is reasonable and be gentle with yourself.

Chose to Begin to Move Forward

Even though grief can be immobilizing, after a while, you will feel like beginning to move on with your life. This can happen even while continuing to grieve. Know that you can use this painful situation to learn and grow.

Some suggestions for moving forward after the end of a relationship:

Learn from Your Mistakes. Separate what was and wasn’t your responsibility in the problems of the relationship. Be honest with yourself without beating yourself up. Begin to look at the part the choices you made played and then how you can avoid repeating the same mistakes and make better choices in the future. This is a helpful time to consider therapy or finding someone who can be an objective support for you.

Connect with Others. When you’re ready, begin to explore new interests and activities. Most importantly, cultivate new friendships of supportive people with whom you can talk and spend time and try new things. Keep your relationships on a friendship, not romantic, basis.

Clean out Reminders of Your Former Life. Put old pictures away and begin to handle the tasks your spouse used to do. Limit your contact with your spouse. As you do, you will find yourself becoming more independent and self-sufficient.

As you allow yourself day by day to have the freedom to grieve, learn from your mistakes, and begin to explore new parts of yourself, you will discover that you can move on. You’ll see that you are stronger than you previously thought and new hopes and dreams begin to take the place of those you lost.

Support Program: Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends

Jennifer Downs, a licensed professional counselor, facilitates a transformational program that can help you adjust to the end of a love relationship.

Call 541-488-4872 or contact me for more information.