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Telling the kids and not fucking them up

(45 Posts)
Mosman Mon 25-Mar-13 16:10:34

My eldest not Stbex daughter knows the truth, other two probably do, he is determined that if I paint him as the bad guy he'll tell them stuff about me that lead to his affairs as he sees it.
Mummy and daddy don't love each other any more just isn't plausible in my opinion.
WTF do I agree to before we have the talk with them ?
They are 12,10,8 and 2

BertramBertram Mon 25-Mar-13 16:14:24

Keep it honest & basic. Kids know when they are being lied to and flannelled. They will worry that something else is behind it and this will cause them more upset than being honest.

At 12, 10 & 8 they are old enough to understand affairs. They probably already know. They need now to know who they can trust. Obviously 'you're Dad has been shagging the local bike' may need to be softened to 'Dad has met someone else and we have realised we can no longer make our marriage work'

dingdong75 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:28:54

they really arent old enough to understand affairs and even if they know are desperately hoping that their parents will stay together.
you need to protect them as much as possible.
I was angry/upset etc etc when I divorced 10 years ago but kept it away from my son (By raging to my mum, friends etc) - and I am so grateful I did now and proud that I kept it in the bag as my son is a happy little boy.
"mummy an daddy don't love each other" IS the best way

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 25-Mar-13 16:34:10

I'd go for 'honest'. Age-appropriate and spare them the gory details but if they ask a straight question, answer it best you can even if it means making Dad look bad. A friend opted to shield her DDs from the truth about her exH and the OW and it came back to bite her when they turned him into this much-wronged fantasy figure and her into the awful woman that drove him away..... hmm

Hopingtobehappy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:36:10

Please dont tell the kids about affairs.

Why would you want to paint your ex as the 'bad guy' he has done this to YOU not the kids.

I know it hurts but my exH had affairs and my children will never know about them. Perhaps when they are adults I will discuss it with them, but I will never badmouth him to them, I would never want to ruin their relationship with their Father, that would be very unfair.

What happens in adult relationships is best kept there.

'Mummy and Daddy dont love each other any more, but we both still love you exactly the same and always will' is definitely the way to go if you dont want to fuck them up

Lueji Mon 25-Mar-13 16:47:21

Particularly for the eldest, I think I'd tell them that dad had fallen in love with someone else. That sometimes adults stop loving each other and start loving other people. And that his love for the children was still the same, but mum and dad can't live together anymore.

I think at some point you could admit if you were angry at their dad, but that it's a separate thing from their relationship with their dad.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 25-Mar-13 16:48:13

It's not badmouthing to tell the truth. You can, however, lie by omission. That was the mistake my friend made. Her DDs hit their teens and in the absence of the correct information decided that 'mummy and daddy didn't love each other any more' meant dear old Dad had been the injured party all along ... and they made my friend's life a misery for years.

dingdong75 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:50:38

This is no time for trying to establish whose the injured party.
They are equally likely to reject you when they are older for blaming it on their father.

Fleecyslippers Mon 25-Mar-13 16:56:54

The children deserve to know the truth in an age appropriate way. This situation is horrible for them however it is handled. Children often blame themselves for the break up. Of course he doesn't want to bear any responsibility. The children need to know that they have done nothing wrong and if that means that daddy has to face some shitty realities, then that's tough on him.
Kids aren't stupid and givent hat fact that they will very likely be forced into playing happy families with OW sooner rather than later, they need to at least trust that YOU are honest with them.

Hopingtobehappy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:57:31

I agree with Dingdong

Cogito in your friends case, then the children will eventually realise (if they dont already) that their F has lied to them and that their M was not at fault.

It is very confusing to children about where their loyalties should be, as adults and as parents we shouldnt be burdening them with that responsibility, they should be able to 'love' each parent equally without feeling like they have to be 'on the side' of the injured party.

Obviously this is just my opinion, but it worked for me and my children have a brilliant relationship with their F and I would never want things to be any different.

There is enough time for them to know about affairs when they are adults.

There is a post on another thread ( the one called :-( ) from someone to the OP (who is an 'OW') saying 'a woman like you did that to my F when I was young' would you really want your children to have that sort of hatred and blame when they are grown? thats surely not healthy

Hopingtobehappy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:59:34

Fleecy they wont be 'forced' into playing happy families if they feel comfortable with the situation and nobody makes them feel 'forced' into it.

Would making their F look 'bad' not make them feel bad about enjoying time with him and OW in the future?

Of course its not an ideal situation, but it has happened, surely dealing with it in the best way possible is the best solution for everyone?

Lovingfreedom Mon 25-Mar-13 17:01:18

Just be careful here. I made an agreement with my ex that we wouldn't tell the kids about his infidelity. It made it hard to then explain to the kids why the separation was all happening. Then I found out he and his mum had told them a somewhat minimised version of events...that possibly led the kids to wonder why I would throw daddy out of the house for kissing a lady on the cheek, when we all greet all our friends on a regular basis with significantly more passion and vigour.

I personally think it's dangerous too to speak for your ex with regards who loves the kids and how. I only speak for myself in saying how much I love them. It's really up to their dad to express his own feelings his own way. [And surely, if he loved the kids/family that much he wouldn't put it in jeopardy by having an affair? But that's for him to explain...not me]

dingdong75 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:03:50

BTW Relate have some good advise on this. Look at their pages.

whateverhernameis Mon 25-Mar-13 17:06:14

XH just took DD 4yo into another room and told her that he was going to live somewhere else. I was a crying mess, as it was the second time he was walking out with no prior warning. DD was then crying and very upset and I was in no state to help her.

Now she is nearly 5 and if she asks why XH went to live somewhere else I just say that Mummy and Daddy don't love each other any more, but we both still love her very much.

Just keep it simple, explain more to the older ones if you think they will understand. Don't lay any blame. When they are older you can discuss it in more detail, when they are old enough to understand relationships.

It is better to be honest when they grow up though, as I know of one girl who put her dad on a pedestal and blamed her mum for him going, when in reality he had left for OW. She went to live with him as soon as she turned 16. I think her mum should have told her the truth when she became a teenager.

Lueji Mon 25-Mar-13 17:08:13

Speaking from personal experience, it was difficult to just tell DS that mum and dad didn't love each other anymore.
We walked out of the house in the middle of the day with no clothes or anything else.

Telling DS the truth at the time, and then he witnessed his dad's behaviour, was almost unavoidable.

God knows about how DS has actually been affected, but he doesn't seem to be too much.

Because I was always open about it, not excusing, nor being mad at ex, he can ask questions and we can talk about any issues.

Kids are usually quite wise to these things.
We told our DD (11 at the time) that we just didn't love each other any more.
About 2 months later she said to me 'Mum, why did you really split up?'
I asked her what she thought and she said 'Well he's living with another woman so it's not exactly rocket science is it!?'
She knew he'd cheated on me.
And your Ex sounds 'lovely' by the way. Threatening to use your DC against you if you tell the truth!!!
As if he hasn't done enough damage.

dingdong75 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:12:17

The Exs threats are horrible but he might do it! Then the whole thing will blow up and god knows what he will say about you, your marriage, your family etc etc and where that will end...
Just don't let it degenerate to that level.
Be the adult here and he (probably) will too

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 25-Mar-13 17:41:03

"t is very confusing to children about where their loyalties should be, as adults and as parents we shouldnt be burdening them with that responsibility, they should be able to 'love' each parent equally without feeling like they have to be 'on the side' of the injured party."

Who's asking anyone to take sides? All I'm saying is that by withholding very important information e.g. Dad decided he'd prefer to live with someone else, kids will make up stuff to fill in the gaps.... often incorrectly and often worse than the truth. Yes, my friend's DDs eventually found out the story but that was about five years of resentment that could have been avoided..

Fleecyslippers Mon 25-Mar-13 17:46:49

Nobody has said anything about blaming anyone - I'll repeat - children are NOT stupid.
Mummy and daddy don't love each other anymore. Daddy will be going to live with somebody else which we know is a bit sad but Mummy and daddy both love you very very much and although it's all very difficult, mummy and daddy are going to work very hard to make sure that you are all ok'

Where is the 'blame' in that ? shock

worley Mon 25-Mar-13 17:56:48

if you were the dc would you want your parents to tell you the truth ?
my eldest knows (14) but also reminds me of the law etc re maintenance and knows ex dp is an arse.. he's witnessed too much behaviour to pedestal him.. ds2 (6) worships his father and is forever asking him to come home etc.. he will be told the real reason when he's old enough. but at the moment he doesn't believe the mummy and daddy don't love each other any more.. ex doesn't want him to know what he's done..

Mosman Mon 25-Mar-13 23:20:20

The trouble is daddy hadn't fallen In love with somebody else daddy just wanted to stick his dick in other people whilst mummy carried on looking after him and the kids.
And he has betrayed them as much as me there was no regard for their feelings in all this.

Mosman Mon 25-Mar-13 23:24:01

The other consideration is of I meet somebody else first, highly likely given the circumstances I don't want to be blamed for all this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Mar-13 06:32:26

Again... be honest, keeping it baldly factual rather than sensationalist, judgemental or emotional. No references to 'dick sticking', obviously, and avoid ideas of 'falling in love' because that's romantic rubbish and off a small child's radar. However, it's cowardice, not to say unrealistic, to say 'I don't want to be blamed' because, at some stage of the game, we all get blamed for something by our kids, rightly or wrongly. If all you can honestly say is 'we've decided to live apart because we were making each other unhappy'.... that's what you say. But please remember that what hurts most as a child - and you can see this from threads here when parents are accused of re-writing history to suit - is discovering later on that information was deliberately withheld or massaged.

Lovingfreedom Tue 26-Mar-13 09:56:07

Agree with mosman - the whole 'daddy's fallen in love...' thing minimises what is usually dishonest, unacceptable and unethical behaviour within a family unit, or a marriage/partnership and almost turns daddy into the victim...of that uncontrollable force called love. Why do we feel so much of a need to hide bad behaviour from our children? We can teach our children to forgive...but do we have to cover up when someone in the family, other than them, does something wrong?

AfricanSue Tue 26-Mar-13 10:17:30

A child is not an adult. This is a two year old. To soft peddle the truth is not "hiding", its protecting a child.

Also some of the comments here are from MNs who have made very perverted sexualised remarks on other threads and frankly seem to have some problems. MN rules prevents me pointing out who but be careful ...

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