Broken-Hearted Valentine: The Valentine Zone

Broken-Hearted Valentine

by Tamar Love

Three years ago, I had the worst Valentine's Day ever. My boyfriend of six months decided to dump me at the beginning of February, just in time for the most romantic day of the year. Needless to say, I was devastated. I spent the entire day on the couch, under an afghan, a box of Kleenex at my side, empty wine bottles littering the carpet, and a full ashtray perched on the couch next to me. I looked gross, I smelled worse, and I felt just awful.

Now, three years later, I'm finally able to approach Valentine's Day again with something other than shuddering horror. I'm in a new relationship, one that's definitely going to last, and time has finally cleansed away the taste of that wretched holiday. In the spirit of kindness and generosity, I'm going to share with you the secret knowledge I wish I'd had on my Valentine's Day of Pain, my hints for surviving Valentine's Day with a broken heart.

Find Your Comfort Zone

It's so important for you to feel safe and comfortable when you're grieving. Since you can't put a hot water bottle or tea cozy around your bruised heart, treat your body to a taste of comfort. Wear cozy, non-binding clothes that don't make you feel fat. Wear comfortable shoes -- or better yet, wear your slippers. Find a soft spot on the couch and fluff up your pillows. Grab a comforter. If you're going to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, make sure that, at the very least, you aren't all chilly and achy.

Spend Time with Your Best Friend

While the previous hint dealt with comforting the body, this tip deals with comforting the heart. You'll need some nurturing, and no one is better for this than your best friend. No matter where he or she is, try to spend some time with him or her on Valentine's Day, even if it's just a prolonged phone call. Don't have a best friend? Ben & Jerry can be quite nurturing, if all else fails.

Hide the Telephone

If you drink, you will most certainly drink on Valentine's Day. Once you are piss-drunk, you will want to call your ex and 1) beg him/her to come back to you; 2) tell him or her off; or 3) try to score some booty. When you are sober again, you will intensely regret doing all of these things, so make things easy on yourself and be proactive. Unplug the phone and hide it where you won't find it when you're drunk. Do the same with your cell phone. If you are the type of person who will root out the phone, piss-drunk or not, give both your phones to an understanding friend for the night.

Give Yourself a Break

Don't expect a lot from yourself on Valentine's Day. If your breakup was recent, don't get mad at yourself if you aren't completely healed by Valentine's Day. Be reasonable. Give yourself time. Instead of hating yourself for being a pathetic loser, try making a list of things that are great about you. You might feel like a big dork at first, but once you start listing your positive traits, you might realize that your ex was crazy for dumping you.

Treat Yourself to Something Nice

Do something really nice for yourself on Valentine's Day: a pedicure, massage, sauna steam, new haircut, new outfit or pint of chocolate-chip mint ice cream will all make you feel like a star. Devote the evening to doing only things that make you feel happy. If those things include furious aerobic exercise, steamed broccoli and chicken and some tummy crunches, have fun. If you are made happy by a gooey Italian dinner of veal cannelloni and garlic bread, have at it. The point is to focus so hard on feeling good, that you forget how crappy you feel.

Do Something Useful

If none of the other tips sound good to you, try something radical: do something nice for someone else. On Valentine's Day, instead of getting drunk and looking for instantly regretted casual sex with a stranger, try volunteering at a homeless shelter. Instead of sitting on your couch and crying all night as you watch reruns of "Friends," visit elderly people in a convalescent home. Sort canned goods at a food bank. Build a website for a nonprofit. Altruism can go a long way toward helping you heal from grief. After all, if you're the kind of great person who devotes his or her time to the needy, how can you be the loser your ex dumped?

Good luck to you this Valentine's Day. It won't be easy, but it's only 24 hours, the same as any other day. Just take it one hour at a time, and it will soon be over!