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Don’t be surprised when Valentine’s Day comes around if you find yourself in the middle of a heart-breaking dilemma. How do we bravely navigate this day of love after betrayal?

  • “He gave me a card and signed it, Love Dave. What am I supposed to do with that when I caught him looking at porn three weeks ago?”
  • “The day came and went – we both just tried to ignore it. I cried myself to sleep that night.”
  • “My teenage daughters asked – ‘Dad are you going to get mom flowers?”
  • “I feel so alone. I hated getting groceries this week. I couldn’t get away from all the heart-filled decorations, which just reminded me of where we are right now. I don’t’ know what to do. Should I fake it?”
  • “I’m feeling so much pressure to have sex tonight. I’ve been nauseous all day. I’m just not ready yet.”

Please know…you’re not alone.  It’s horribly painful when the confusion of this holiday collides with your reality. There are three things we can do to hold onto ourselves and move through the day with wholeness and stay true to ourselves:

Stay Honest

“Jarrod, with all we’ve been going through, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to be sexually intimate on Valentine’s Day. Can we just hang out and be together without the expectations – I think I’ll feel more relaxed that way.”

Let Go of Your Expectations

It’s one day, out of 365. Tell yourself they’ll be other days and other seasons to celebrate life and love. The most important thing is that you’re being kind to yourself while you’re honestly moving through the pain.

Look for Ways You Can Express Your Love and Gratitude (this can help keep us out of depression too)

Valentine’s Day can be incredibly tough and triggering. Do something nice for yourself. Buy your favorite flowers, call a close girlfriend and let her know how much you appreciate her support. Buy a chocolate heart for your kids or make them a valentine. Have a “Gal-entines” coffee hang out with a few friends. Get some hugs. If you can, and you feel safe enough, acknowledge your spouse or the significant other who betrayed you with a note, sharing a meal, or gratitude for their recovery efforts.

But most importantly, please remember to give yourself the gift of self-compassion today.


Dr. Sheri

With 22 years experience as a marriage and family therapist, Dr. Sheri specializes in individual, couples and family therapy at her private practice. She believes in looking at issues from a psychological, biological and spiritual perspective. She's the author of "Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal," founder of the BraveOne Community and the Bravery After Betrayal Retreat... Continue Reading