How Valentine’s Day Can Heal, Rather Than Hurt, After a Breakup


Lately, when I’m on the checkout line at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, I avoid looking at the flowers. I see now that they purposely set them up close to the door so you’ll see them when you come in, or on the way out and think, “What a good idea!”


Hey, get them out of my face, ok? Why? Because it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I’m still getting over a breakup. Professionally, I help women get over break-ups. Now, I’m going through one and am remembering so many feelings I’d forgotten.


Like my annoyance at the too many red flowers and signs about Valentine’s Day and all the love you’re supposed to be sharing with someone. I somehow did ok at Thanksgiving, Christmas, even New Years, but this is my first Valentine’s Day since M and I broke up last May, and I’m feeling anxious. That caught me by surprise. Many things do, after a breakup or divorce.


I’m remembering one of the first Valentine’s Days M and I shared. He was a carpenter and made me a heart shaped cutting board with a Valentine’s collage on the back. I loved it! That was when everything we did for each other felt so new and right. Four years later, he took me to a too expensive restaurant to try to salvage our relationship. The love was still there, but our differing values and needs had worn us down. During dessert, he had a dozen red roses delivered to the table, but it was too late. Too many hurts and betrayals had passed between us. No wonder the red store flowers had been hard for me to see! It was painful to remember, but my heart feels better now…a little softer, a bit more available.


And now, dear reader, I turn my attention to you. Here are some tips I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) which I’m passing on to you as a single (or soon-to-be single) woman approaching this day:


1)   Plan something fun with a friend or friends on Valentines Day. It might be to go see a funny or silly movie.

2)   Plan to make a meal with a friend or friends that day, or go ahead and try that new restaurant you’ve been curious about.  If the idea of seeing too many couples depresses you, go for the take out.  Why not break out your best china, rent a movie, get cozy and enjoy! This day is for you.

3)   Up your self-care this week: walk in the woods if weather permits, take a luxurious bath, exercise, write in your journal things you find beautiful or touching. What are you grateful for?

4)   Write one thing that you miss about your ex and one thing that’s better since you’re no longer together.

5)   Now, you’ll laugh: buy yourself flowers! I did that years ago when I hadn’t been with someone for awhile. The man next to me said, “That’s not right that a beautiful woman should buy herself flowers on Valentine’s day.” (I dug the beautiful woman part) I love flowers. What I don’t like is the hype of Valentine’s Day and the pressure to have a someone. I’m actually enjoying my own company these days, thank you very much! Yes, if it doesn’t feel too sad, buy yourself a bouquet or maybe a rose with some greenery. Find out what looks lovely to you right now. Hey, I wonder if Trader Joe’s sells orchids…?