5 Ideas to Make it Through Valentine's Day Without Your Love

Author: August Cabrera

Tips for Valentine's Day without your love.

For many of us who have lost a sweetheart – a husband, wife, fiancé, significant other – Valentine’s Day and all the related hoopla can be very hard to deal with. Here are five tips that may help keep your head and heart pieced together on what can be a tough day.

1. Be kind. If that means buying yourself flowers, then do it. If that means an entire box of chocolates is what you need to spend the evening with, go for it. And if that means what you really need to do is let yourself have a good cry, embrace it. This is a rough day for a lot of us, and you don’t need to do anything that doesn’t work for you today. 

2. Be honest. Maybe this was a big day for you two. If that’s the case, share the truth about how this is affecting you with your support system. Or maybe you and your sweetheart weren’t big Valentine’s Day people. That’s fine too. Don’t let the greeting card industry and flower delivery services guilt you into giving the 14th of February the ability to break your heart. That’s been done enough already. Either way, be honest with yourself and those around you about how this day is impacting you. 

3. Be patient. If your heart wants company, seek out friends and family who can provide you that support. (Your TAPS family is always a good place to start that search.) If what you really want is solitude, don’t hesitate to let those around you know exactly that. We each need something different, and we are the only ones who know what we really need. And remember that what worked last time might not work this time. Don’t discount your own truth; be patient with yourself as you discover what works for you today.

4. Be open. Our sweethearts loved us and sometimes we are reminded of their love in unexpected ways. A penny facing heads up outside our car door. The perfect song at the perfect time on the radio. The clock turning 11:11 just as you look at it. There are as many hellos as there are lost loves. Maybe today you’ll be surprised by what you see if you keep your eyes open.

5. Be grateful. For some time – maybe months, maybe decades – you shared love with your sweetheart that didn’t need a big red bow around it to make it real and special. Do your best to take a moment or two and remember a special time, maybe even a special kiss, and let yourself sink into those memories. You don’t need to dwell there for long, but try and recall the details of that specific snapshot in time. Let your heart be filled with the memory of your sweetheart. And be grateful you have that memory to hold onto.

From the pen of... 

August, the surviving spouse of Lt. Col. David Cabrera, lives outside of D.C. with her two boys, her fiancé, and her dog. She is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction and is enjoying the challenge and adventure of finally following her dream of being a writer when she grows up.