On Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single or not, you find yourself with a certain expectation for how the day should go. If you’re rummaging through the 24 hours, solo, you’re looking to make the day fly by, with the company of good friends, good wine, good chocolate, and perhaps even a good first date.
But if you’re spending it with your plus one, your expectations include romance, whether that’s being wined and dined, given a meaningful gift, or just simply feeling loved.
What you don’t expect, is for your boyfriend of a few years, to ask you to sit down, look you in the eyes, and tell you he wants to break up with you.
It happened to me a few years ago, on the 14th of February, and when it did, I was so upset that I proceeded to throw half the box of chocolate at his back, while he headed for the door, and I ate the other half, in between crying.
While it wasn’t what I expected, it turned out to be a moment in my life when I learned more about relationships, myself, and love, than I ever imagined.
These are the six things I learned by getting dumped on Valentine’s Day.
1. Open Your Eyes to Red Flags
I saw the red flags in my relationship, but pretended they didn’t exist. It was after a week or two of getting dumped that I finally started to see that the breakup wasn’t so out of the blue. Things between us were broken, but I so desperately wanted to have a good Valentine’s Day, and not be alone, that I chose to carry on, even when things were broken.
We ignore the red flags in our own relationship when we’re trying to meet a certain milestone. Whether it’s an anniversary, a holiday, or even an upcoming event, take the time to step back, examine what’s happening right before your eyes, and make decisions based on what’s right for you.
2. Don’t Force What’s Not There
I noticed that our relationship was going downhill, but I didn’t take the time to address what was wrong or communicate about what I wanted my partner to change. I put on a smile, digested our problems, and forced a relationship that wasn’t moving forward.
When you know that things are rocky, work with your partner on fixing them. Don’t get lazy, complacent, or begin making excuses for them or yourself. If you don’t care enough to do the above, then it’s a good sign that parting ways is the best next move.
3. It’s OK to Be Alone
Spending Valentine’s Day alone, with a broken heart, and soggy tears, allowed me to witness that not having a romantic day or night wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Since then, I’ve spent plenty of Valentine’s Days solo, and they’ve been some of my favorite.
Start a tradition where on the day, you do something nice for yourself. Book a spa appointment, order in your favorite meal, watch your favorite romantic comedy. You can make the day special for yourself, without having to rely on anyone else to do that for you.
4. Spread as Much Love as You Can
Spending later Valentine’s Days alone also showed me that it’s a day to celebrate more than just romantic love.
It’s a day to celebrate all of the love you have in your life. Get together with friends, family members, and even close colleagues to do something fun. Surround yourself with the people in your life who are the most loyal and love you year-round, in an unconditional kind of way.
5. Give to Someone Else
Right after I got dumped on the 14th of February, a friend of mine came over and dragged me out of the house. Instead of going to a bar or a movie, she took me to volunteer. Within minutes, I suddenly felt a whole lot better. There’s power in giving back and spreading your own kindness to others.
If you don’t have plans on Valentine’s Day, or want to do something different with your partner, or your pals, consider volunteering for a local charity or cause.
6. Realize It’s Just Another Day
In the end, Valentine’s Day is just another day. So, while it hurt getting broken up with a day when many others are celebrating their relationships, it was also a good reminder that it’s a holiday not to be taken so seriously.
Plus, the best part is, after Valentine’s Day is over, chocolate and candy drop to 70% off. There’s no better time to stock up on the essentials to pack your pantry and stuff your mouth with than right after the holiday ends. That's a sweet ending no matter what.
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