We are honored to repost Karen Bigman’s article for our Valentine’s post this year. I have known Karen for a while now, and I have really enjoyed getting to know her and her business, The Divorcierge. I know many women who have felt lost after the end of their marriage – or any relationship – and Karen has shaped her career helping newly single women find their footing again.
Being single during Valentine’s Day is rough, and constant reminders of love and relationships can make any of us feel isolated. I personally think of Valentine’s Day as a celebration of connection, and some of my deepest connections lie with my amazing female friendships. My friends have helped me through all aspects of my life, and I’m not sure I could have survived New York City – or many of the events last year – without them.
Launching a Valentine’s challenge featuring friendship made perfect sense for us this year. Doing a challenge with friends can help you work harder, remain more accountable to your fitness schedule, and have more fun in class. As Karen writes below, leaning on friends can be especially helpful when you are surrounded by the pressures of Valentine’s festivities. Check out Karen’s website here. And in the meantime, take some time taking care of yourself over Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a Valentine, consider making a special date with friends who make you feel like the great catch you are. And also consider signing up for our challenge. You’ll have a blast, and probably make more friends along the way!
Valentine’s Day, How Do I Hate Thee?
by Karen Bigman, reposted and revised from February 14, 2015
How do I hate Valentine’s Day? Let me count the ways. Every year this ‘Hallmark’ made day takes on the significance of a religious holiday. For those in a relationship, there’s pressure to make it special, to buy roses or make a special meal or get engaged. For those who are single and just beginning to rebuild their life, it’s one of the most depressing days of the year. All you see around you are ads for ‘special menus’ of oysters and champagne or ‘perfect gifts’ that you know he/she’ll love.
I am single and freshly divorced this year. I’d like to crawl into a cave and come out on February 15th. My mother always said there’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because every other day is kid’s day. Shouldn’t a relationship be loving and romantic everyday? Why do we only have one special day? Why do we put so much meaning into this made up holiday? And if it’s not that significant to me, why does it hurt so much to be alone?
I got divorced after 25 years hoping to find a partner that would be compatible with me in so many ways. Intelligent, warm, emotionally intelligent, financially successful, kids out of the house, interested in travel, exercise, cooking, restaurants, fashionable, handsome, etc. If you look on dating sites, just about every guy looks exactly like that and likes walks on the beach, making out, romancing you blah blah blah. Why haven’t I found him yet?
There are so many “supposed to’s” when we are dating. We aren’t supposed to respond too quickly or too eagerly. We’re supposed to pretend that we don’t really like the person and that we’re too busy to meet to close to the inquiry. As women, we’re not supposed to ask the men out. With all this feminism you’d think that the male ego might’ve shrunk a bit, but there are still rules.
We want to dress sexy but not too provocative. Enticing enough to get interest but also in a way to show distance. We can never be sure he is who he says he is so we have to ‘google’ him before we go on a date. Then we find out too much information and there’s no mystery since we know everything before the date.
This year, I made sure to make a ‘date’ with my girlfriend for February 14th, she will be my ‘Valentine’. We’re going to go out and have fun, somehow, somewhere. We’ll likely compare notes on failed relationships and crazy dates and have a few drinks and a few laughs and then we’ll go home, alone. No roses, no chocolate, no pressure.
I have some amazing friends and honestly, they are the best company I could have right now. I’m working hard on enjoying Valentine’s day everyday with what should be the most important love of my life-me!
Tips for getting through V-day
The most important thing to note for any day that is a symbolic in some negative way is that you recognize that it’s going to be difficult so plan accordingly. Waiting for the day to just happen will instill fear and worry in you.
— Plan something to do, ideally with a friend. Try not to go to a restaurant that’s having a special dinner in honor of the holiday.
— If you know you’ll be alone, give yourself a job for that night. Watch an uplifting movie, cook yourself a delicious dinner, do some work you’ve been putting off.
— Go to the gym and take a class. Chances are everyone in the class is in the same boat as you.
— Volunteer at a soup kitchen. It will completely change your focus from you to the people you’re helping.
— Make a list of all the great things about you. Force yourself to write at least 10!
— Take a break from social media. It’s no fun watching everyone you know post about the fun they’re having with their date.
— Take a mirror and smile at yourself for as long as you can. It will make you laugh.
— Have a party with a crazy theme for all your single friends.
If you’re just off a relationship:
— DO NOT go through old photos of you and your former partner or remind yourself of last year when you…While it’s important to let yourself feel your emotions and not stifle them, on this particular day, adding fuel to the fire is not the best idea.
— Create a goodbye ritual for the relationship that’s ended and perform it on that day.
For tips on Dating, join Karen at Dating In A New World, Wednesday, February 22nd. For more information: https://thedivorcierge.com/looking-to-start-dating-again/
Karen Bigman, works with individuals navigating divorce. After a long marriage and subsequent divorce, Karen started The Divorcierge (TheDivorcierge.com) to help women struggling with their families and finances during divorce and those trying to build a new life afterwards. Her business has become global and now grown to include men. Karen calls on her business and life coach training to offer her clients a unique perspective. She also has a wealth of professional resources she refers to for their help and expertise along the way. Her education includes a B.S.B.A. from Boston University, a M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and Martha Beck Life Coach training. Karen is a CDC® Certified Divorce Coach.