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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April 2019

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Cost: $7 for egg hunters, $2 for accompanying adults. Museum admission not included.

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Museum of LIfe and Science
433 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC  27704-3101
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Telephone: 919-220-5429
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Raleigh, NC  27603
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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
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Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
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Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
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Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt Carmel Church Rd
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
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Telephone: (919) 662-2850
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

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2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
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Quail Ridge Books
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Cost: Free

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4505 Mid Pines Rd.
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2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
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364 Leigh Farm Rd.
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Sponsor: Piedmont Wildlife Center
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Park West Village
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Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

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Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: $11/resident, $15/nonresident

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Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: $50/person

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AIA NC (American Institute of Architects) Building
14 Peace Street
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Sponsor: Arts Access
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Cost: Free

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1903 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: $10-$22

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North Carolina State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: Free

Where:
NC State University Beef Educational Unit
4505 Mid Pines Rd.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
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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Enjoy springtime temperatures at Waverly Place during the second spring Wine Walk. With a $15 donation to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, visitors receive a sampling glass plus a Waverly Place...

Cost: Visitors receive a sampling glass plus a Waverly Walk Passport that allows acces

Where:
Waverly Place Shopping Center
302 Colonades Way
Cary, NC  27518
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Enjoy fun, games, friendship and more every Friday.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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Relax in the courtyard with food and jumbo games. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Edison Johnson Community Center
500 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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More information

Relive the magic of your favorite wizard in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert. Based on the third installment of J.K. Rowling’s classic saga, fans of all ages can now...

Cost: $28-$81

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919-996-8711
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Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Elks Lodge #735
5538 Lead Mine Rd
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Sponsor: ZNA Carolina
Telephone: 919-818-0289
Contact Name: Robin
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See more than 1,500 cars, including hot rods, classic cars, custom cars, trucks through 1987 and others. Enjoy a demolition derby, kids activities and more.

Cost: $10-$22

Where:
North Carolina State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

See more than 1,500 cars, including hot rods, classic cars, custom cars, trucks through 1987 and others. Enjoy a demolition derby, kids activities and more.

Cost: $10-$22

Where:
North Carolina State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: Free

Where:
BRITE Building at NC Central University
302 E Lawson Street
Durham, NC  27707
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Cost: Free

Where:
Technology Dr., off Hwy. 42 W.
Garner, NC  27529
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Cost: $30-$35

Where:
American Tobacco Campus
300 Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Girls on the Run of the Triangle
Telephone: 919-401-6307
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Cost: $35/adult, $20 ages 14 and younger.

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Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Vollmer Farm
677 North Carolina 98 Hwy E
Bunn, NC  27508
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Sponsor: YMCA of The Triangle
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Cost: Free to members / Included with admission

Where:
Museum of Life and Science
433 W Murray Ave
Durham, NC  27704
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Telephone: 919-220-5429
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Letterland brings letters to life by turning them into colorful characters, each with their own personality and stories that go along with their sounds. Children will be welcomed by...

Cost: Free

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Pullen Park
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Raleigh, NC  27606
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Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mebane
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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $3 per adult, $2 for ages 5 to 16 years, and under age 5 is free.

Where:
Bennett Place
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Cost: Free

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Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Cost: Free

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116 Oaks End Drive
Holly Springs, NC  27540
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Sponsor: 12 Oaks
Telephone: (919)-557-6850
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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (6 - 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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The Cary Theater
122 E. Chatham Street
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Sponsor: Arts Access
Telephone: 919-833-9919
Contact Name: Penny Arrowood
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Cost: Free

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Park West Village
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More information

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Cost: Free

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Cameron Village Library
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Cost: $75/member, $95/nonmember

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh , NC  27601
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Cost: $2

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Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
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View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

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Cost: $28-$81

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Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-8711
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Raleigh Elks Lodge #735
5538 Lead Mine Rd
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Sponsor: ZNA Carolina
Telephone: 919-818-0289
Contact Name: Robin
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More information

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Cost: Free

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