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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?

anon1968 Wed 05-Dec-12 20:19:02

Hi. I went through this 3 yrs ago my husband told me in the november he no longer loved me and was leaving, I asked him to wait until after Christmas,( we have 1 child, 11 at that time) it was honestly the worst 6 weeks of my life,I was a complete mess, we are back together now, but I still associate Christmas time with that, and for that reason I would say if you can cope, wait until after so that your children will get used to the change and not associate it, however I was a mess and looking back I'm sure she picked up on things, because it was just the 3 of us, it was hard to enjoy the day, and i should have tried harder, are you in a position to either go to family, or them come to you ? this may help take the pressure off you, it all depends whether you can put an act on, I'm not sure whether I would do things the same, I'm just trying to say how I don't see Christmas the same now. Sorry you are going through this. X

Yogagirl17 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:37:29

scarlet yes I see what you mean. I guess my experience was somewhat different cause it all happened so fast.

yogagirl - Yes, I have been through a divorce. And I have been through it from the child's point of view, too. But of course everyone who goes through this has a different experience. I think if you've known for a while you are splitting up and things in the house are getting tense, then once the actual separation happens it can be like lancing a boil and the tension eases - that is what I meant by 'a lighter place'.

Obviously, the rest of the process of divorce is hideous to go through and, as you say, takes months, but the op has already started that process by making the decision. Once that decision is made, it can be agony still being together under the same roof while knowing the relationship is over, and will perhaps ruin Christmas anyway.

Lovingfreedom Tue 04-Dec-12 17:42:47

I'm not usually in favour of stringing things along any longer than necessary. If the kids are really looking forward to Christmas though and you and your husband can stand being together in the same house for a while longer (and you are not in danger if you stay) then you could wait. If you are going to do that then having some plans including dates and practicalities would be good then you are doing everything apart from actually leaving. Having it all planned out well in advance will probably make it a smoother transition for your children when the time comes too.
Having said all that, my DCs adapted to Christmas with one parent at a time quite well. Split in Nov last year.

YouOldSlag Tue 04-Dec-12 17:31:06

Llareggub, that's really sad, I'm so sorry. Glad things are going in the right direction now.

Can I just say that although I am in favour of eking out another Christmas for the sake of children, that does not apply if it's impossible to be civil, or you are in any danger or distress.

Yogagirl17 Tue 04-Dec-12 15:44:01

How is it manipulative if it's answering the question the OP asked? She seemed to want to weigh up both sides of the argument and hopefully she's been helped to do that.

Llareggub Tue 04-Dec-12 14:36:55

I split up with my exH just after Christmas following an incident of DV on Christmas Eve. I didn't make the decision to split until after to give me some space to reflect and make plans. Christmas was dire; a real feeling of falseness and being on the outside. If I could do it again I would do it before Christmas, and use the time as a period of adjustment instead of this weird limbo.

I am a year on now and very much looking forward to a real, happy Christmas. You will get though it.

YouOldSlag Tue 04-Dec-12 14:23:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YouOldSlag Tue 04-Dec-12 14:22:45

I do think people saying how sorry they feel for the OP's kids (as though OP isn't already worried about them) and talking about the magic of Christmas in unhelpful to say the least and manipulative at best. But then I will never understand the mystic and sense of obligation that some families attach to December 25th.

If the OP splits after Christmas this then becomes the "last good Christmas" and as the truth emerges they will start to remember all the tense looks etc. Also Christmas is a pressure cooker, it can be hard to keep things under wraps even if that's the plan.*

It's not manipulative at all. If the OP can manage civilly at the moment, then perhaps she may feel willing to carry on and do Christmas. If it's impossible, then don't.

You will never understand the mystic and sense of obligation re: December 25th? Erm, the children are 7 and 4, Christmas is magical for children. I thought that was a given.

And as for your last paragraph- the children are 4 and 7, they will hardly be analysing their parents' relationship.

I was 10 when my parents split up and it was a complete to shock to me. I had not thought anything that came previously was fake or forced. You could have knocked me down with a feather. Christmas between two homes ten days after they split was awful. Just awful.

Alittlestranger Tue 04-Dec-12 14:17:20

I do think people saying how sorry they feel for the OP's kids (as though OP isn't already worried about them) and talking about the magic of Christmas in unhelpful to say the least and manipulative at best. But then I will never understand the mystic and sense of obligation that some families attach to December 25th.

If the OP splits after Christmas this then becomes the "last good Christmas" and as the truth emerges they will start to remember all the tense looks etc. Also Christmas is a pressure cooker, it can be hard to keep things under wraps even if that's the plan.

OP, we have ended up in a similar position to you, facing separation right on top of Christmas. We split up in early November but are still living together, 2 dc aged 4 and 1, and decided not to tell our oldest until xdp had a place sorted to go. This has taken a while, and he gets his keys on 10th December, so we are facing telling ds this weekend.

I feel bad that it is right on top of Christmas, but it is just the way it has worked out, and we are hoping to minimise the pain over Christmas by spending the day as a family, the morning at xdp's new house and the afternoon at mine. I think that if you are confident you can show a happy united front for Christmas day that will be the day that sticks in your dc's minds, whether he is staying the night or not.

A couple of people have said to me that Christmas will be a good distraction for our ds at a difficult time as well. I am sure that they are picking up on tension at home anyway at the moment, and I am certain that is more damaging than a clean and quick split if at all possible, no matter what the time of the year. If you continue as you are for another 3 weeks it may be a worse day for the dc's if there are arguments and a bad atmosphere. It is incredibly tough living under the same roof once you have made the decision to split.

Also, it may take a while to sort out alternative accommodation for your dp anyway, so even if you get the ball rolling now it may not be until after Christmas he has to move out anyway.

Good luck.

Yogagirl17 Tue 04-Dec-12 12:32:33

ScarletWoman "If you want to split now, then just do it. By the time Christmas comes, you'll be in a better place and things will seem lighter."

Really? Have you been through a divorce? Christmas is only three weeks away. Once they start the process things are going to feel very dark indeed for everyone involved. It is going to be months, at least, before things begin to feel anywhere near normal again. How can you possibly think they could split now and be in a 'lighter' place in just a couple of weeks?

YouOldSlag Tue 04-Dec-12 11:36:08

Also I disagree that Christmas will be retrospectively affected , how do you work that out ?

It happened to me when I was 10 and it WAS retrospectively affected. It's just people sharing their experience and POVs.

If you want to split now, then just do it. By the time Christmas comes, you'll be in a better place and things will seem lighter.

Both of you can still make sure your dcs have a good Christmas, you just have to be determined.

If you do it now, it doesn't need to be associated with Christmas at all.

It certainly doesn't need to be a crummy Christmas for the dcs either way.

At least in the run up to Christmas there are plenty of activities etc which will be great distractions and opportunities for fun.

Fighting all the way to Christmas and then splitting after sounds like a long drawn out time of hideousness for the dcs.

Perhaps just get it over with, like pulling off a plaster then you can get on with your lives.

Don't let it drag on....awful for everybody.

Best of luck.

gettingeasier Tue 04-Dec-12 08:16:51

Manipulative ? I dont see that.

Also I disagree that Christmas will be retrospectively affected , how do you work that out ?

sparkily I'd echo that you need a solicitor. You don't need a lot of involvement from them. Go for the first 30 mins and find out how the process works. You can do a lot of the agreement yourself -finances, access etc. once you've got a draft, if if you get stuck, the solicitor can check whether the agreement for children and finances will be perceived as "fair" as it goes through the process. Obviously, they can help if he gets all twattish.

Good luck. And sorry you and your family are having to deal with this.

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 ?

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.

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.

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).

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

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 ...

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

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.

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.

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