As millions of people all over the world scour busy stores for teddy bears, chocolates, and heart-covered greeting cards this Valentine’s Day, our team can’t help but think of our recently divorced clients. For those who are facing Valentine’s Day freshly single, this day can amplify feelings of stress and loneliness, because on the surface, this holiday serves as a glaring reminder of the so-called failure of a relationship. In fact, even our clients who are the most confident about their choice to separate often find themselves feeling nostalgic on Valentine’s Day, remembering only highlights of their marriage rather than the rocky reality that led to its ending. As divorce attorneys, we are all here to assure you that there is no “right” way to feel about your new status this Valentine’s Day. It’s fine if you feel pain, and it’s great if you don’t. But all in all, you just need to remember that it’s your own process and journey.
Many of you know that several of our team members in the office are divorced themselves, and even within our office, there are multiple approaches to Valentine’s Day. Take, for example, these two amazing women who have their own divorce stories.
One of our team members, who has navigated three Valentine’s Days since her divorce, has a rather positive approach to the holiday. Here’s how she explains it:
“If I’m being perfectly honest, I hated Valentine’s Day growing up. I was always single, so I looked around at all these couples and felt frustrated. But I’ve grown in the past few years. The first Valentine’s Day after my marriage was difficult because it was the first time I felt really alone since the split. But in the years since, I’ve just been working on adjusting and finding my new normal. I now view the holiday as a positive event. I’ve realized that it’s not just about celebrating the love of a couple. It’s about celebrating love and support of family members and friends.”
Similar to our first team member, the second one we interviewed is also spending her Valentine’s Day single, she has both a different story and a unique approach. She and her first husband divorced, and then she met her second husband, a man she describes as “the true love of her life.” Unfortunately, he passed away three years ago to cancer, and his passing drastically changed the way she views Valentine’s Day. This is her insight:
“Spending this holiday as a widow has been completely different than spending it as a divorcee. Following divorce, there are feelings like anger, hurt, excitement, and freedom — all of which fuel your desire to move forward. Being widowed brings about different feelings. My second husband was a total romantic. The entire first year we dated, he sent flowers to my office every week. Now that he’s gone, I feel his absence every day. But on Valentine’s Day, an event so drenched in romance, his absence is amplified. So I’ve come to really despise the holiday itself. While I feel loved by my friends, family, and daughter and appreciate their support so much, this day will always make me think of my relationship, which will inevitably make me feel sad.”
As you can see, both of these team members share vastly different opinions regarding the holiday, and both are equally valid. Your experiences will shape your feelings about Valentine’s Day, too, especially if you are still trying to become comfortable with the idea of being single. For those of you going through the process for the first time, know that our team members’ hearts are with you this month. Whether you like Valentine’s Day or think it’s awful, sometimes you just have to allow yourself to fully experience your emotions. Regardless of your stance, know that we’re here for you.
~ Sara Khaki, Founder and Owner, Atlanta Divorce Law Group