By Vanessa Hernandez

Valentine’ s Day. The day we imagine being swept off our feet by the person we love. A day that’s all about flowers, thoughtful surprises, candlelight and big declarations of love.

But if it’s your first Valentine’s Day post separation, you’re likely to be feeling more fed up than loved up. But before you go around popping every heart shaped balloon that gets in your path, here’s seven tips on how to help you get through it:

  1. Embrace it!  You don’t need flowers and chocolates and candlelit dinners to prove you are loved or to feel valuable.  Instead, do something for yourself that you love to do. Want to stay at home and eat popcorn and watch bad movies?  Catch up with friends for a few glasses of champagne? Do it!  Because today, you don’t have to ask anyone what they feel like doing – you are in charge.
  2. Put that phone away! If you are going to meet friends for a few drinks, don’t drink and text the ex – and don’t post any status updates on your social media sites either. No one wants to read a giant or vague monologue about love and it’s many faces, or be wondering who or what you are referring to. And definitely no posts directly about your ex and what they have/haven’t done – remember, don’t write anything on social media that you wouldn’t want read out in a court room one day!
  3. Treat yourself…or someone else. Be your own Valentine – use the money you were going to spend on a gift for your ex and treat yourself instead! Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romantic love – why not do something special for someone or with someone you know needs the extra love today. If you’ve got kids, make today about them and celebrate your love for them instead.  Bake some cookies, have something silly for dinner and just enjoy your time with them and make them smile. Their smiles will be infectious and will help to stop you feeling blue.
  4. No stalking!  Don’t try and hunt down your ex on social media (or anywhere else for that matter!) to see what they are up to today.  Whilst stalking can be quite a serious matter and there certainly is a line you don’t want to cross, many of you will have done the sneaky search at some point to see if the ex is out or at a date or received flowers. The bottom line is – who cares? Finding out won’t make you feel any better, so focus on yourself instead.
  5. Don’t put on a show.  You know what I’m talking about – those posts on social media that intend to show someone that you ‘appear’ to be having a fabulous day, even if you’re not.  You don’t need to put on a show for anyone.  Try not to be consumed by those thoughts – and the world of likes and shares and comments – and rather, focus on making your day special with those you love, including yourself.
  6. Don’t do anything you’ll regret. This is a serious one so let me put my lawyer hat back on – please, don’t do or say anything that you will regret or which may land you in hot water with the law.  A broken or fragile heart is not an excuse for bad behaviour. Statistics show an increase in domestic violence complaints this month with Women’s Legal Service Queensland reporting a 46% per cent spike in calls to the domestic violence helpline above the daily average in the two days following Valentine’s Day in 2016.  That means – don’t send an angry text. Don’t make that phone call. Don’t show up at their home or workplace. Don’t engage in harmful interactions or dialogue.  It’s understandable that today is difficult, but be the bigger person.  Whilst I love speaking to my clients and want to help you, I’m sure that you don’t want to be on the phone explaining an ‘incident’ to me, and I’m sure there are better things you can involve yourself in today.
  7. Finally, and this is important!  Remember – Valentine’s Day is just one day! Say it with me now …”it is only one day”.  One day of your ‘new normal’, whatever that looks like for you and your family. It does not define you.  You’ll have other special Valentine’s Days to look forward to and get excited about in the future.

While I wish I could take you all out for dinner, buy you all flowers, or come over and watch movies with you as the ultimate wingwoman would do for a mate, I’ll leave you to get your share of love from your loved ones instead!  But please accept a virtual hug from the Family Law Team at BTLawyers, we hope that at least one thing today will make your heart smile even just a little, despite how difficult it may all seem.