Valentine's Day Before, During & After Divorce: When the Day of Love Isn't So Fun by Jacqueline Newman
What happens when you are considering divorce (whether in your head or out loud) and February rolls around? If it is still all internal thoughts, you may still go to the card store and spend an extra half hour finding a card that does not over promise love forever or make claims of soulmates. You may not want to be obvious in your questioning of the marriage, but also not insincere about making promises in a signed Hallmark document that you are not looking to keep.
If you are feeling badly and do not want your change of heart to be obvious, do be careful what you write in that card. I have had clients who save Valentine's Day cards and use them as evidence against their ex during divorce! It can be that much more hurtful if you write about undying love on February 14th and then a week later you are serving divorce papers. And if you the word "divorce" has been bandied around the dinner table, then it feels even worse to send a "I will die by your side" card and you may just opt for a Shoebox funny greeting card that makes fun of his lack of ability to fix the dishwasher.
What about if your spouse takes it upon him/herself to use the day for a grand romantic gesture as a way to bring you back into the marriage? Who knows – it could work! If the reasoning you may be planning your exit is due to a lack of communication and effort on your spouse's part, Valentine's Day could give him/her the excuse to address what is lacking in the marriage.
If your spouse does not take the opportunity that February 14th gives (Hallmark or not – it is a great day to show love), then it may be your final straw. And of course if you learn that the Valentine's Day love is misdirected ... well ... that could be your answer as well. When in the first stage of divorce – the deciding stage – Valentine's Day can be the day that makes you or breaks you.
Valentine's Day During Divorce
Now let's assume that you already know what the inside of your divorce attorney's office looks like when Valentine's Day rolls around. Under most circumstances, you nor your soon-to-be-ex acknowledge the holiday to each other.
If you are in the sad stage of the divorce process, you may have a sentimental exchange with your ex, reminding him/her of happier Valentine's Days of the past, which depending on where your spouse is in the emotional rollercoaster of divorce will be responded to with a sad emoji face or ignored it all together.
If you are in the angry stage of the divorce process, there may be bitter/sarcastic text exchanges with your friends about sending black roses or chocolates filled with toothpaste (cures his gross halitosis). There are thoughts of sending edible thongs and leopard skin handcuffs (with or without the keys) to his conservative new girlfriend or her new boyfriend claiming that is what she is into. Obviously, these should be just fun fantasies and not acted upon (I am not looking to give anyone any good ideas).
It is perfectly normal to acknowledge that while Valentine's Day was meaningless to you in the past, during a divorce – it can be an emotional day. Just be sure to keep yourself in check as your divorce is not over and you do not want your impetuous antics on Valentine's day to effect the resolution of your case.
Valentine's Day After Divorce
So, divorce papers are signed off by the judge and you now can file taxes separately. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, Valentine's Day may still not be just like any other day. You may have accepted the divorce, but you still may feel the old feelings of anger and sadness creep up on February 14th. The hope is that as you have more and more years of distance between you and the divorce, those feelings will lessen and the day goes back to just being a Tuesday.
However, the real hope is that you have possibly found someone else who will once again be making the dinner reservations a month in advance looking to impress. Or that you will be at Hallmark reading cards and having a hard time deciding which one because they are all so perfect for your new love. I have seen it happen.
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