"I can't believe he dumped me right before Valentine's Day" a new client sobbed on my sofa this morning. She has been with her partner for two years and they had even been talking about getting engaged this year. But suddenly and out of the blue he had ended it.
The sad and rather ironic fact is there is always an increase in break-ups around Valentines Day. At a time when many couples are planning a romantic evening, buying each other cards and celebrating their love it seems strange that this is a peak time for splits.
Often people coast along in unhappy relationships or ignore ongoing issues as it's easier to keep going with what you know. However as Valentines Day approaches people start to evaluate their relationship and spend time thinking about how it's working for them. If there are problems or you have fallen out of love then it can be difficult to plan a night out together or to buy a card declaring your love for your partner. It really focuses your attention on how you feel.
One male client of mine last year felt that his long term girlfriend had such high expectations for Valentines Day. She kept dropping hints about what present she would like and where she wanted him to take her for dinner. He felt under pressure to plan a big and expensive night out but he realised that his heart wasn't in it when he started to resent the whole experience. He knew she was secretly hoping he would propose and he just wasn't ready for that commitment yet. The whole process made him confront the situation and he finished with her two days before Valentines as he couldn't cope with the mounting pressure.
It can be really tough to find yourself suddenly single at this time of year when lots of people are celebrating their love and you can't move for red hearts and roses in the shops. There are various options you can do on Valentines Day instead to cheer yourself up:
1. Plan to do something fun with your single friends on Valentines Day. Don't sit in on your own watching sad movies and wallowing in self pity.
2. Have your own singles party and invite everyone you know to bring a single friend to your local pub. That way you might meet someone who can take your mind off your ex.
3. Buy tickets for you and a friend to a Valentines Day Ball. These can be great fun and a wonderful distraction for you.
4. If you are worried about not getting a card then ask your friends to send you one. If you have kids ask them to make you one. This way you will be able to say you got a card, even if it's not from the person you hoped it would be.
5. If you do prefer to stay home alone then treat yourself to your favourite meal and a warm bath with a glass of wine. Pamper yourself and take some time out for you.
6. Treat it as a normal day and don't give Valentine's Day any attention! After all, it is all very commercial and designed to make money for retailers!
It's important to remember that everything happens for a reason. If you and your partner aren't meant to be together then better you know now then drag it out any longer. Your heart will heal and you will be happy again. Focus your attention on making plans for your future and finding your perfect partner for next Valentines Day.