It was totally heartless.
Amy, a 44-year-old Manhattan publicist and mother of two, was always a sucker for Valentine’s Day.
“That was my holiday,” she told The Post. “Normally, [my husband] would surprise me with a dozen red roses and take me out to dinner at a really nice place. I’d dress up in something sexy and we’d share a bottle of wine and dessert.”
But that all changed six years ago. Instead of flowers and chocolates, her husband of seven years gave her divorce papers. “I was blindsided … blindsided that he was unhappy,” said Amy, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her children’s privacy. “I cried — it was horrible. That was always my favorite holiday. He knows how important it was to me.”
While serving someone with divorce papers on Valentine’s Day might sound like a terrible plot point at the beginning of a romantic comedy, it happens in real life. Nearly 200 New Yorkers filed suit on the romantic holiday in 2019, and lawyers say it’s not an uncommon move, though it’s definitely an unkind one.
“It’s a cold and cruel strategy … more often than not, it’s a vindictive tactic,” said Martha Cohen Stine, a Manhattan divorce lawyer who has seen the move several times.
“I represented a wife whose husband took her out to dinner on Valentine’s Day to tell her he wanted a divorce. She was in absolute shock — she had no idea it was coming,” Cohen Stine continued. “The husband had no impulse control, he had finally decided he wanted a divorce and didn’t have the maturity to wait a few days to tell her. It was cruel and unnecessary … He clearly wanted to hurt the wife and take her down a peg.”
She recalled another instance in which a male client was served with divorce papers on Valentine’s Day while he was shoveling the snow outside of his Long Island home. The wife watched from inside the house.
“She had discovered an infidelity and was very angry,” Cohen Stine said. “Her conduct throughout the litigation was vindictive.”
Divorce lawyer Ken Jewell, who is also based in Manhattan, once had a client who was adamant about sending a message to his wife — she accused him of being a crossdresser — by serving her with divorce papers on the big day. It also happened to be their anniversary, so it was the ultimate f-you.
“It’s totally emotionally driven,” said Jewell of the anti-Hallmark tactic. “I try to steer clients away from emotional decisions. Divorce is a business decision — if you push some kind of emotional button, it’s really hard,” he added.
Even the rich and fabulous have been the victim of Valentine’s Day breakups.
“Someone broke up with me on Valentine’s. D–k!” Regina King revealed in a 2015 interview† (She didn’t say who the ex was, but it was suspected to be fellow actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner.) “Then he actually sent me flowers that said, ‘I still love you’ and I threw the flowers in the trash and he was upset that I threw them in the trash and I was like, ‘F – – k you.’”
Actress Margot Robbie has been on the other end of things. In 2018 on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, she sheepishly admitted to dumping an ex on V-Day† “It was awful. I hope to Gd he’s not watching this,” the 31-year-old “Suicide Squad” actress, who’s been married to film producer Tom Ackerley since 2016, told the host.
As for Amy, she said she still loves the holiday, even after what her ex-husband did to her on it. She now has a longtime boyfriend and is looking forward to changing valentines.
“I’m an eternal optimist — it didn’t taint the day for me. I still love celebrating love. I’m a total romantic.”