5 Insights to Get You Through a Divorce


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Photo by jiris/Shutterstock

None of us is immune and I’m here to prove it. Though I was trained and practiced as a marriage and family therapist, I have had my fair share of moments where it didn’t matter. It didn’t save me from the ick. And I’m grateful because those experiences have taught me the most.   

My ex-husband and I met in the UNC School of Social Work's doctoral program in Chapel Hill. We waited to marry (we were 30 years old). We planned long enough to have a child that I was labeled a geriatric mother (I was 35). And yet today, I am still the divorced mother of a 10-year-old daughter that he and I co-parent. What-are-ya-gonna-do?

“Wow, you and your ex-husband could be the poster couple for divorce.” “You guys inspired our divorce!” Yep, these statements have been said to me. And that is he and I today (well, most of the time), although nothing is perfect — even divorce, even for two shrinks. Here are some insights that got me through to the other side.


Respect Survival Mode

A close friend introduced the idea of “Survival Mode” to me during my separation when I was (yet, again) revisiting the facts, feelings and current state of our marital dissolution. I was deep in my feelings and in my head. She stopped me and said, “You know, you don’t have to do this to yourself. You’re in survival mode. Let’s save the therapeutic analysis for when you are not trying to just put one foot in front of the other and be a good mom.” Wait? What? I don’t have to do this to myself?

When someone is trying to survive in the desert, they don’t spend a lot of energy and brainpower on how they ended up there and how unfair it is. Instead, they focus on getting out — on surviving.  It was a very freeing for an over-analytical person like me to give myself the gift of giving myself a freaking break — and just get through now, this moment, today. There will be time for the post-mortem later.  And I did it, when I had the bandwidth to do it.

Take Off Your Spouse Hat

Stop viewing the world (including your ex’s actions) through the perspective of being that person’s spouse. You’re not anymore, so stop. When your ex does anything — the more you view that action as belonging to you via your spouse, the more likely it will do a number on you. 

The only hat you are allowed to wear is your parent hat. Period. You will be amazed by how much you can take off your plate once you make this one adjustment to your perspective. It is not your job to make your ex a better person, or at least not a jerk, in your eyes. You’re done. Not your problem. Off the hook. You only ask: How does this directly impact my kid and his or her relationship with my ex-spouse? And don’t try to warp the issue into being about your kid, when it’s really just about the spouse hat you’re still sporting. Hat off. And see how much better you breathe.

Bonus: the moment you stop acting like something bothers you is the moment it may stop happening, so stop taking the bait. That's a little secret I discovered ...

Don’t Wait for the Karma Train

You feel wronged. Treated badly. Undeservedly so. Yep. That sucks. Not fair. Stop screaming at the sky (all the time) and demanding the karma train to hurry up and get ’em. Because each day that you focus on thinking your ex is “getting away with it” or has “won” is another day you have wasted not getting your best life. Focus on you, your life. Things have a way of working out, but you are not in charge of the timeline. So deal. Go back to figuring out your new normal and living well.

Social Media Lives Forever

Don’t Vaguebook about your ex. Don’t outright hash it out publicly on social media. Your kids and lawyer will thank you. Seriously. Stop. It’s a bad look and your friends are cringing for you. 

You are a Teaching Tool

Remember, your kids are watching and learning important life lessons from you at this moment about how to be resilient, how to face disappointment (and reality), and how to conquer challenges — all needed life skills. It’s OK to show vulnerability, though they should also know perfection isn’t a realistic goal. Just be human with superhero tendencies.


Dr. Katherine Loflin is a divorced mom with a global consultancy. She is a North Carolina native living in Cary with her daughter. Learn more about her at city-doctor.com.

 

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September 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

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Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
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2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Erwin Road
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Downtown Durham
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Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: $5 for Adults $4 for Seniors (ages 60 & over) $3 for Children (ages 7–16)* *Ch

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Hux Family Farm
1923 Shaw Rd.
Durham, NC  27704
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Garner Performing Arts Center
125 Avery St.
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Downtown Clayton
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Clayton, NC  27520
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Cost: Free

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Barnes & Noble
760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
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Cost: $19/resident, $24/nonresident

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Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: $12-$57

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PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
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Cost: $2/child

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Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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PlayMakers Repertory Company presents Ken Ludwig's Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, a rip-roaring romp through Sherwood Forest with all the thrills and romance you could ever...

Cost: $12-$57

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PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
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Telephone: 703-850-2282

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Cost: $4/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Do you have what it takes to be a History Detective? Come to Yates Mill and find out! Solve puzzles, hunt for clues, and investigate the mystery of milling with real historical artifacts inside the...

Cost: $5 for Adults $4 for Seniors (ages 60 & over) $3 for Children (ages16 & under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675

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Cost: $5/person

Where:
Renaissance Centre
405 Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Take your own poles or borrow one from the park through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
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PlayMakers Repertory Company presents Ken Ludwig's Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, a rip-roaring romp through Sherwood Forest with all the thrills and romance you could ever...

Cost: $12-$57

Where:
PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
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Ages 1-5 and caregiver discover nature on a morning stroll. Register online. Choose course #117285.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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Jack Smith Park
9725 Penny Rd.
Cary, NC  27606
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Hayes Barton Baptist Church
1800 Glenwood Ave
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Benson
500 S. Market St.
Benson, NC  27504
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Cost: $12-$57

Where:
PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
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The autumnal equinox signals the beginning of fall. It is the point when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. Mark the change of seasons by heading to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Rodeos, a mule-pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, carnival rides, street performers, bluegrass shows and more are all part of Benson Mule Days. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Benson
500 S. Market St.
Benson, NC  27504
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Cost: $18

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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Get great bargains on gently used kids' clothing, toys, furniture, baby equip & more at the twice-yearly Kidz Stuff Consignment Sale. From strollers to jumpers, bikes to wipes warmers-if a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hayes Barton Baptist Church
1800 Glenwood Ave
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Cost: $15/person

Where:
Mordecai Historic Park
1 Mimosa St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Cost: $1/Person

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: $25

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Road
Lakewood Avenue
Durham, NC  27707
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Telephone: 919-213-1278
Contact Name: Anna Graves
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PlayMakers Repertory Company presents Ken Ludwig's Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, a rip-roaring romp through Sherwood Forest with all the thrills and romance you could ever...

Cost: $12-$57

Where:
PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
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Sponsor: PlayMakers Repertory Company
Telephone: 703-850-2282

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Take the family to see a movie by the lake. Movie begins at dusk. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
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Americana powerhouse vocal trio Red Molly has graced stages from Denver to Denmark. The "Mollies" bring audiences to their feet with their gorgeous harmonies, crisp musicianship,...

Cost: $24

Where:
Garner Performing Arts Center
742 W Garner Road
Garner, NC  27529
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Sponsor: Heartwood Montessori
Telephone: (919) 465-2113
Contact Name: Virginia McCollum
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The autumnal equinox signals the beginning of fall. It is the point when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. Mark the change of seasons by heading to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Rodeos, a mule-pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, carnival rides, street performers, bluegrass shows and more are all part of Benson Mule Days. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Benson
500 S. Market St.
Benson, NC  27504
View map »


Website »

More information

2018 marks 300 years since the notorious pirate Blackbeard roamed the Carolina coast and lost his life – and his head – in a fight with British soldiers. Learn more about the history of...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $5 advance tickets; $8 at the door. Free for ages 12 and younger

Where:
Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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Cost: Free

Where:
Hollow Rock Nature Park
692 Erwin Rd
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Ali Wolfe
Contact Name: Ali Wolfe
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Cost: Free

Where:
Hope Valley Farms YMCA
4818 S. Roxboro St.
Durham , NC  27713
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Sponsor: Hope Valley Farms YMCA
Telephone: 919-401-9621
Contact Name: Kelly Johnson
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Cost: $10 for ages 13 and older. Free for ages 12 and younger.

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
Project Enlightenment
501 S. Boylan Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Project Enlightenment
Telephone: 614-783-2507
Contact Name: Caitlin Howison
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Cost: Free for general admission

Where:
The Hub Farm
117 Milton Rd.
Durham, NC  27712
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Cost: Free

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Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Cost: $3/child

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
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Cost: Free

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J. Ashley Wall Towne Square
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Cost: $5 for Adults $4 for Seniors (ages 60 & over) $3 for Children (ages 7–16)* *Ch

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675

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Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

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City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $10 advance tickets; $15 at the door

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Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: Free

Where:
Hayes Barton Baptist Church
1800 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In celebration of the 151st anniversary of emancipation, MOJAA Performing Arts Company presents a theatrical experience that leads guests through Mordecai Historic Park to experience plantation...

Cost: $15/person

Where:
Mordecai Historic Park
1 Mimosa St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Website »

More information

Many animals are active around sunset or shortly after. Take a walk with a park naturalist to explore the woods and fields at this special time. Look for deer, coyotes and owls. All ages....

Cost: $2

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson Nature Preserve
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More information

PlayMakers Repertory Company presents Ken Ludwig's Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, a rip-roaring romp through Sherwood Forest with all the thrills and romance you could ever...

Cost: $12-$57

Where:
PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Sponsor: PlayMakers Repertory Company
Telephone: 703-850-2282

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