When I went through my divorce Valentine’s Day was one of the most dreaded days of the year. I hated it. The endless scenarios of people falling in love or frolicking on sun baked beaches all confirmed that I was a failure. During that season of loss and grief my friends tried to tell me I was a terrific person. But I felt like an ugly, rejected loser who couldn’t keep a husband, and Valentine’s Day was the proof.

Engagement ring commercials inflicted the worst torture. I’d watch the lovers proclaiming a life of endless bliss, pledging eternal love to each other. And the sparkling emerald-cut diamond ring somehow made it all delightfully perfect. My cynical tongue would hiss, “Yeah, someone made that vow to me once too—don’t believe it!”

After several years of helping others during their divorce, and time spent listening to truth instead of the media, I discovered a handful of encouraging ways for single people to cope with the day for “lovers.”

I’m not talking about an unrealistic “just don’t think about it” mentality, or pretending the day doesn’t evoke nostalgia or a longing for someone special. We were created for companionship, that’s a God-given need.

However, my suggestion is an optimistic approach to Valentines Day, instead of focusing on what is lacking. What if our yearnings caused us to look for beneficial ways to heal our wounds rather than tolerate them? When we take positive steps toward mending a broken heart, the result can be a healed life that thrives—whether single or married.

Here are a few practical “Survival Tips” to help a person refrain from an emotional meltdown on Valentine’s Day.


  • Don’t hibernate or wait until February 13th to make a plan. Force yourself to be with other people, even if only briefly.
  • Gather same sex friends and visit a “family focused” restaurant. Avoid ones that cater to couples or have romantic overtones.
  • Look into a church or community support group. They often have fun activities planned.
  • Non-custodial parents: Bring your child a valentine or small, inexpensive gift that communicates your love.


  • Think of new, fun things to do this year such as: making handmade heart-shaped decorations, pizza, cakes or cookies.
  • Try something completely different. Go roller-skating, skiing, hiking, bowling, climb a mountain or a walk through a museum.
  • Immerse your family in assembling a model airplane, a Lego adventure, or a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Have a potluck supper with each person bringing a favorite chocolate treat.


  • Help your child make a valentine for your ex-spouse or former in-laws. This communicates your permission for the child to love the other family, which greatly reduces his or her fear and tension.
  • Splurge on a cappuccino or box of Godiva chocolates—for yourself!
  • Notice a married same-sex friend who may need encouragement or a hug. While others are receiving cards, gifts, and flowers, Valentine’s Day may be a reminder of a spouse who is thoughtless, cruel or unloving.
  • Take a small gift to someone who is lonely or hurting such as: an exchange student, a widow or widower, an unmarried pregnant girl, someone out of work, an elderly neighbor, or a handicapped/ homebound person.