How to thrive on Valentine’s Day when you’re newly divorced

By Edith Chase on 3rd Feb 2023

“I can’t stop thinking about him. We were supposed to grow old together. This was supposed to be our first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple, plus our one-year anniversary is next month. This sucks!” The aftermath of a divorce can be disconcerting because it marks the beginning of something new while also signaling the end of something familiar.

Divorce is an unplanned life event that forces each person to develop new coping mechanisms and social skills. According to McGoldrick et al. (2015), deciding to dissolve a marriage is typically much more difficult and drawn out than deciding to be married. I have yet to meet a couple who marries with the intention of divorcing. Most couples, like my friend Amy, hope to grow old together and live happily ever after. So, what do you do when you find yourself newly divorced on Valentine’s Day?

A significant first step is checking in with yourself. How are you feeling today? Pause and take some time to acknowledge your feelings. Are you sad? Hurt? Angry? All of the above and then some? Whatever you are feeling is okay. Feel all of your feelings. Don’t stuff them or act like they don’t exist. Cry if you must. Tears are cleansing for your soul. A good soul cry often makes me feel better whenever I am feeling sad. Give it a try.

Exercise your God-given free will. You do not have to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the day. If you choose to, you can do it in ways that honor you. For example, my friend Amy did not have children with her ex, but my friend Kathy did. She plans to buy her two teenage girls a box of their favorite chocolates and write them a love letter. Remember, Valentine’s Day offers us an opportunity to show love and appreciation to the special people in our lives, and that goes beyond a spouse or significant other.

Reframe your thinking. There is a huge stigma attached to divorce. No matter the reason, divorce is seen as a failure. It’s taboo even when the decision is made to remove oneself from an environment of abuse. One of my favorite quotes is, “Every exit is an entrance someplace else.”

Dear divorcee, you hold all the power in the palm of your hand. You can now decide where your new entrance will be and how it will look. It’s the dawn of a new day. On this Valentine’s Day, I want you to take some time to love the brave woman staring back at you in the mirror. Even if you have never read the Bible, I am sure you can appreciate the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4, which says, “Love is patient, love is kind.” On this Valentine’s Day, I want you to be patient and kind to yourself.

Even though the changes ahead can be looked forward to with consternation and dread, they you can also approach the future with excitement. I sincerely hope you are excited by all the new possibilities as you continue to analyze and experience all of your emotions. Know that I am rooting for you and cheering you on.

Edith Chase is a certified Dating and Relationship Coach to Singles and Pre-Committed Couples. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Edith feels called to help individuals, premarital couples, and married couples create healthy relationships. In her free time, Edith enjoys perusing farmer’s markets and cooking delicious meals while singing along to one of the many songs on her diverse playlists. You can email Edith at

Reference: McGoldrick, M., Preto, N.A. G., & Carter, B. A. (2015). The Expanding Family Life Cycle (5th ed.). Pearson Education

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