Having a Blue Valentine’s? I’ve been there
A couple months I wrote a blog about my worst Christmas ever and well, now that it's Valentine's Day, I can’t help but think about all the broken-hearted (or single) women and men out there who may be struggling to get through this day. And so, here I go again...
Understandably, many people find it helpful to hear about how I got through the year that followed my broken engagement. I totally get it. You want to know that you're not alone. As someone who has been through enough heartbreak to last a lifetime, I have some good news. If you’re willing to do “the work,” not only can you survive this heartbreak, but you turn it into an opportunity for authentic growth, and emerge a happier person and find a more fulfilling relationship than the one you're currently missing.
In the meantime, if you just need to get through this Valentines Day, I hope hearing a bit more about my blue Valentine’s Day will help you feel less alone.
I also suggest you check out the resources listed in my Anti-Valentine’s Day Guide for other suggestions on how to enjoy your day.
Valentine's Day, 2011 - The Last Goodbye
”Parting is all we need to know of hell,” Emily Dickinson
The Valentine’s Day that followed my broken engagement is hard to forget. It was the last holiday in the trilogy of winter holidays, and I was looking forward to getting it all over with. Interestingly, it was also the last time my ex-fiancé and I talked about us.
Early in the new year, we had started talking again and flirting with the idea of maybe trying to work things out at some point in the future. He had written me a poem for Valentine’s Day and as he read it aloud over Skype (he was away,) my heart sank. Although it was a beautiful poem, but it wasn't about me.
In the three months since our breakup and ended engagement, I had begun to regain parts of myself that I had abandoned over the course of our three-year relationship - my naturally extroverted, feminine self, my large and diverse social circle, dancing Tango, etc. At the expense of being together, we had both abandoned parts of ourselves - something I know now, never ever works in the long run. You can compromise, but you can't compromise yourself.
I painfully came to accept at that moment that he didn’t really love me, he loved his idea of me. This was conditional love. So I thanked him for the beautiful poem and told him my thoughts. It was hard, but I was done not being myself. Naturally, he was upset. And like that, we said our last goodbye.
It was scary to let go of the big “what if,” but I also felt empowered. I had chosen myself.
Alone Again, Naturally
That evening I had no committed plans, but I knew that whatever I did had to involve some major self-care. My heart hurt. Not having invested much in my social circle during our relationship, I really didn’t have many friends to call on (this should have been a major red flag.) So instead I went for a walk and found myself at one of my favourite bookstores. I bought myself a poetry book by Paulo Neruda, and as I sat in the store’s cafe reading, someone started to play the grand piano in the bookstore. I smiled to myself and took in the duality of this perfect moment.
From there I looked up movies that were playing, and I couldn't believe my luck. My favourite independent theatre was playing Amelie. My ex-fiancé and I had loved that movie, but there was something cathartic about watching it on my own. As a breakup coach, I now understand the importance of making new memories as a part of one’s own recovery.
Overall, it was a perfect way to spend my blue Valentine’s of 2011.
Although, a part of me was sad, somewhat anxious and lonely, most importantly I felt a sense of peace knowing that in time I was going to be ok.
I chose to trust that like many other times in my life, in time this experience would make more sense and it would help me become a better person and more loving partner. Six years later, I now know this to be true.
However you choose to spend your day, take great care of yourself and your bruised heart. Tell yourself you will be ok (because you will be) and trust that your heart is being prepared for greater love.
You've got this!