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Separating now-before Christmas? Or hang on til January for kids sake?

(41 Posts)
sparklymessenger Mon 03-Dec-12 13:56:27

Basically things were quite manageable and due to financial reasons we decided to continue living in same house together and separate after christmas to make it easier on dc and ourselves I suppose. We are living separate lives and have been for the past few months apart from activities with dc and discussing financial arrangements.Now the situation is becoming quite a strain for both of us and although we don't discuss things in front of the dc, they must pick up on some of what is going on. Need advice with regard to sticking it out or if splitting up now before Christmas would be best for all concerned?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 03-Dec-12 14:07:44

No point staying together 'for the kids' if you're just making everyone miserable and creating a bad atmosphere in your home. Who wants a bad-tempered Christmas with people not talking etc? If you can't agree to a truce then it's probably better to bite the bullet and split sooner rather than later.

How old are your DCs?

Who would move out? Your DP? Would he still see the kids on Christmas Day?

What arrangements do you have for Christmas? Would your life be easier without him there? Do you have to play happy families in front of the kids? Who would cook? Prepare everything? Buy and wrap the presents?

Doing it now migh be better for the kids actually. You both might be more amicable to each other on Christmas Day if you've had three weeks apart not living in the same house.

EdithWeston Mon 03-Dec-12 14:11:30

You can only make this work if you can call a good Christmas truce.

How far have you got in the admin of separation? Has you got your new accommodation sorted out? For making the actual concrete plans (so there is an end in sight) might assist that truce, and help you feel more in control of events.

cestlavielife Mon 03-Dec-12 15:47:38

does one of you have someplace to go ?

my ex always made xmas miserable with his demands but the worst was when he had been away in his home country and came back "for xmas" (and then refused to leave; til i moved out with dc ew months later) .

if atmosphere is bad and there is somehwere to go then have one of you move out now as one day or two together for xmas itself will then be a lot mrore bearable .

fosterdream Mon 03-Dec-12 17:44:30

I haven't been in this situation so please don't be harsh if you don't agree my opinion.

If you and oh are still managing to get along I would hang on till January. Christmas is a time for families and most DC know this opening the presents and Christmas activities. Depending on their ages you could drop a few small hints after Christmas so it isn't to much of a shock. I would do a rota of everything that needs doing and split it 50/50. This is what I would do if we could manage.

If you can't hang in till January don't, only you and OH knows this and have you talked about this honestly? Have the DC picked up anything?

Do what you feel is right and don't stay together just for the DC I'm just saying if you and OH can get along till after Christmas then do one last family Christmas for the DC.

I'm going to be flamed for this please remember this is just one opinion

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Mon 03-Dec-12 17:53:52

I don't think you should wait personally. There will always be a reason to delay it. Birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, illness etc..

YouOldSlag Mon 03-Dec-12 17:58:15

My mum and Dad split up when I was ten, ten days before Christmas. It was bloody horrible.

If you can hang on, do it one last time.
As kids we had ten days to get used to them splitting up before our two part Christmas Day- half with Mum, half with Dad, then leaving Dad to go back to Mum. Horrible.

Wait til New Year then by next Christmas they will be used to the new arrangement.

AntsMarching Mon 03-Dec-12 17:59:22

I wouldn't stay together for Christmas. There will be all the hype of Christmas, then the big letdown once Christmas is done and everyone is getting the January/winter is dragging blues and that's when you want to tell them their world is being turned upside down?

Do it now. Christmas will help take their minds off of it.

I don't think any child of divorced parents looks back and thinks "at least we had one last Christmas as a family". If anything, especially if they're older, they'll feel like you we're lying to them that last Christmas together. Which you kind of will be. By omission, but still.

MirandaWest Mon 03-Dec-12 18:01:25

I found out about XHs affair in late November. That Christmas was awful - pretty sure DC didn't realise but the pretence of keeping it all from family was horrendous. Wish in some ways we had separated sooner although did take a little while for him to find a house etc.

How old are your DC? And does anyone else know that you are separating?

YouOldSlag Mon 03-Dec-12 18:02:31

I disagree Ants, and I speak as a child who had this happen. I had no idea my parents were about to split and would have loved one last Christmas.

goodenuffmum Mon 03-Dec-12 18:14:11

Hi, sparklymessenger,
I am in the same situation.

My 'd'h told me 6 weeks ago that he doesn't love me and would be leaving after Christmas.

It has been horrendous for me because although he has 'checked out' emotionally from the marriage I'm still trying to catch up.

Anyhow,
When the DC (13 and 9) were told they both said they want him to stay till Christmas!

So now we're going through this slow agonising torture where I can't begin to move on until he leaves. I'm hoping that I will be truly sick of him by the time January comes grin

But the kids are worth it and they mention dad leaving now and again so I know that they don't think it will sort itself out.

Hope that gives it from a slightly different but understanding perspective

Good luck x

juneau Mon 03-Dec-12 18:37:08

I think your instinct to wait until after Christmas the is right one. The next stage (separation, one of you moving out, the horrible explaining, etc), is going to be shit and there is no point in ruining Christmas for your kids in the process. Yes, it will be hard for you and your DH to keep things civil for the next month, but it's only a month. Can't you try to spend as little time under the same roof as possible during that time? Who is leaving and where is that person going? If everything is sorted and in place I can understand you both champing at the bit, but you risk ruining not just this Christmas, but many Christmases to come (with the horrible memories), if you break up now. Better it's hard for the two of you, than heart-breaking for your kids, don't you think?

YouOldSlag Mon 03-Dec-12 18:41:33

Good post juneau. I agree. One last Christmas then the rest of the eyar to get used to the new arrangement. Christmas is crap when your Mum and Dad have just split up. Voice of experience, 30 years after the fact.

sparklymessenger Mon 03-Dec-12 20:29:09

Thank you for all the replies, I didn't expect so many. I really am in two minds about this. Sometimes I feel like all I do is bite my tongue to keep the peace, but we had a big row this morning and I couldn't keep it in any longer. I keep counting the weeks until January. The kids are 7 & 4 and really looking forward to christmas and don't know anything about us splitting up. We have had to cope with the loss of close family members last year and this year, and bless them the dc's have coped really well. Dh has somewhere lined up to move to but it seems like he is hanging on. He wont be living too far away so would see the DC's quite often. I don't have any family I can talk to about this - so feel like I don't have much support at all. If we did split before Christmas I wouldn't mind him coming round to swap pressies etc and having xmas dinner as long as he mucked in a bit and didn't expect it all laid on and all he would have to do is turn up. He goes on at me about not getting a Solicitor, but I think I need one so that I know completely where I stand with things and to protect my interests and the dc's. Is this reasonable?

YouOldSlag Mon 03-Dec-12 21:21:26

You poor thing sparkling. I really do feel for you. You should still get a solicitor for certain, and tell your husband to get one too. It's not nasty or combative, it's just so that everything is done legally and for the protection of both of you.

doughnut44 Mon 03-Dec-12 21:27:29

I wouldn't hold on if I were you. My friend has just been through something similar - he told her end Sept that he was moving out end Oct. They were the worst 4 weeks of her life.
Are you amicable with one another? If so could he move out straight away still see the children regularly and come for Xmas dinner/ opening of the pressies?
Xmas is a hard enough time for so called happy families to be together as they are together 24/7 so I personally feel that the strain on an already unhappy marriage would be awful and if there is a row on Xmas day how would your children feel then.
Xmas is 3 weeks away and by then the children would be getting used to their new situation.
Who knows if you split up after Xmas the children may feel betrayed and that the whole of Xmas was a lie.
Also the period after Xmas is depressing enough.
When would you do it? Boxing day? between Xmas and New Year? New Years Day? No time would be good.
Has he a solicitor and if so what is he asking for? Obviously you will need one if there are things to be split.
Good luck to you - just remember whatever you decide won't be nice but I always think 'the sooner the better' Once it's done its done and you can stop worrying about when to do it.

fosterdream Mon 03-Dec-12 22:26:56

I would definitely go see a solicitor asap so you know what rights you have and what you are entitled to.

It doesn't sound like you want to wait till January have you wrote the pros and cons just for you and you're DC? As I said do what feels right I have always found my instincts to be correct. If you stick it out you and him need to set some ground rules for the sake of the DC this is the best route.

You will get a lot of support on MN. Do you have any close friends you can talk to? Sorry its come to this YOU must been feeling so raw but you and you're DC will be fine even if he goes now. Holding hand.

Yogagirl17 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:23:09

sparkly it's such a hard one and no one else can make the decision for you, but I was where you are now last Christmas. I found out about his affair on the 15th of December. We hung on until just after the new year. It was awful for me. I felt physically sick at xmas lunch at his parent's house and had to go lie down for 2 hours. We all went away together for new year and i spent every night crying after the kids went to bed. I don't know how I survived those few weeks...but I did. And the kids (then 8 & 10) do (somehow!) have happy memories of last year. I think he's taking them back to the same place we all went together last year and they're looking forward to it. Personally I remember the place as hell on earth...but they don't. When we told them after the new year they were shocked and pretty devastated, and it took a long time for them to get their heads around it. Christmas and New year might have been better for me if I'd made him leave sooner, but not for them.

I am a firm believer in NOT sticking together 'for the kids' - not in the long run. But maybe if you think you can cope with just a few more weeks you should. It will be hard to make anything practical happen this time of year anyway.

AS for the solicitor - my ex didn't want me to get one either. I was supposed to just 'trust him to do the right thing'. We were supposed to sit down together and sort it all out when I didn't have the first fucking clue where we were supposed to start. So definitely get yourself a solicitor.

I'm sorry, it's so, so shit. But you will survive, and you will hopefully look back on this next year and see how far you've come. x

janelikesjam Mon 03-Dec-12 23:45:02

A compromise might be helpful e.g. part of xmas day together as you say, then can he go to a relative for Boxing day, or start getting his new flat ready part of the holidays, you could go somewhere with the children saying he has to go to work, and so on. That way, the children will enjoy as normal a christmas as possible, while you give yourself the space you need.

I think the thing about xmas is that it is quite a stressful, hectic time at the best of times, and launching into separation, moving and all that entails could be really difficult to cope with for everyone ... but you could quietly disengage most of the time except for crucial parts of xmas celebrations ...

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Tue 04-Dec-12 07:14:03

I feel so sad for your children, Christmas is such a magical thing at their young and tender age.
Can't you both sit down and talk about it from their point of view, and both muster up enough strength to get through it, not for you, for them.
It's going to be tough enough when he goes without ruining their Christmas as well.
Good luck x

If you are already living separate lives the children will have likely picked up on all this already. Do not prolong this agony for yourselves any longer than absolutely necessary.

You absolutely must have your own Solicitor.

Christmas is but two days after all and January for many Solicitors is their busiest month (partly because so many people decide to separate and seek legal advice after the Christmas season).

YouOldSlag Tue 04-Dec-12 08:01:05

If you are already living separate lives the children will have likely picked up on all this already. Do not prolong this agony for yourselves any longer than absolutely necessary.

Not necessarily. My Mum had been sleeping separately from my Dad for over 8 months and I still didn't see it coming. It pissed all over that Christmas and many subsequent ones.

Alittlestranger Tue 04-Dec-12 08:07:42

There are some horribly manipulative posts here. Christmas is a special time for children but please don't give it supernatural qualities. If you split up now or in the new year this Christmas will still be a crummy one, whether they feel that at the time or retrospectively.

gettingeasier Tue 04-Dec-12 08:14:32

I was there 3 years ago , told me wasnt in love me etc and that he was leaving mid November.

We decided to wait until after Christmas for our DC and although it was torture at times keeping it a secret I am glad we did

If you have been living separately for months you can hang on 3 weeks more ?

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