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Are you divorced or separated? How long before your DC stopped...

(26 Posts)
WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 18:42:31

hoping you'd get back together?

Separated now for ten months, and DD (age 6) still talks about how she wished we weren't separated. I am much much happier without my passive aggressive, controlling ex so it's not going to happen. I've tried explaining that mummy and daddy didn't get on well, but my ex talks to her about how he wished we could be together. (Grrr! No point in trying to get him to stop - would just mean engaging again)

I'm hoping that she'll get used to the situation of 50/50 shared residency, but if I'm honest I thought that would have happened by now. He is a good dad but terrible husband.

I'm thinking at least it's good that she's sharing how she feels clutches at straws.

Any advice or similar experiences welcome smile

Bonsoir Fri 20-Sep-13 14:10:35

It is also worth bearing in mind that when DCs express sadness or regret about their parents' separation or divorce, it is not necessarily an expression of their wishing for their parents to get back together but rather sadness at the failure of their parents' relationship.

I think it is quite normal for DCs whose parents' relationship didn't make it to be sad.

WhiteandGreen Fri 20-Sep-13 13:23:52

Thank you for all your opinions/experiences. This tends to be one of those things that is difficult to talk about in RL, don't you think? When people ask how the DC are they tend to want to hear that they are coping well, everything's fine and all is for the best.

I do think all is for the best, and I fear if I told anyone that DD wishes we could get back together, then they will think that I should have stayed in an unhappy marriage for DDs sake.

Of course she used to be upset by all the tension, but she didn't know what was causing it at the time.

My DD is 15 and we split 4+ years ago now.
It took until very recently to be honest.
She knows now though that there is no going back.
She wouldn't want me to know anyway which is great.

Mine are split. One hopes we never get back together. One is smaller and asks regularly why daddy can't come home. But he understands when I remind him how daddy used to be mean to us and hit us. One thinks he is the second coming.

Ex tells them all the time that he wants to come home, that they need to work on me, that they need to make me see how he's changed hmm

I'm a year in. Or out, whichever way you like to look at it!

Bonsoir Fri 20-Sep-13 11:37:16

I honestly think every case is different and you cannot generalize. My DSSs would be horrified if their parents got back together.

wordfactory Fri 20-Sep-13 09:55:09

I think DC find it very hard to come to terms with it.

Yes, they may get on with the new arrangement, but in their heart of hearts.

I went to a wedding last year and the adult child (26yrs) of the bride cried. She was descrete and she did all the right things at the wedding. But she still cried sad.

haverer Thu 19-Sep-13 20:45:42

3 years in and with no encouragement from either parent my DC still want us to get back together. They love us both, are loyal to us both, and would like to be able to live with both of us.
I've moved around the world a bit and I sometimes have this fantasy that all my friends from various countries would live in the same place. I see it as a bit like that.

Dahlen Thu 19-Sep-13 20:41:44

'yes, it's a shame that mummy and daddy can't be together, but when we lived together we didn't get on'. - I think this is great and your best way of dealing with it rather than being non-committal. It's wonderful that you don't want to run down your XH in front of your DD, but not running him down doesn't mean being afraid to contradict each other. In fact, showing that you can have different views on things but put them to one side to do the best by your DD is really healthy.

I think mineofuselessinformation's slightly more involved reply would be a great one to try out. It's neutral about your XH but makes it clear you don't agree with him. If it were me in your situation I would add that DD doesn't need to worry about it, that this is a grown-up problem for you to solve with your XH and she should never feel that any of it is her responsibility. I'm sure you've never made her feel that anyway, but it can't be repeated too often for a child whose parents are separated.

You sound like a lovely mum, and I'm sure that your XH will give up eventually.

mineofuselessinformation Thu 19-Sep-13 20:29:02

Do you think it would help her if you were a bit more direct? Maybe something along the lines of 'I know that sometimes daddy says he would like us all to be together again, but we really didn't make each other happy. We're a better mummy and daddy now that we don't live in the same house.' It's something that would do him good to listen to if she were to repeat it to him, and at the same time isn't spiteful or nasty - just the truth in a child-friendly way.

WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 19:26:04

Partly the reason I left when I did was to stop us damaging DD in the long run with our atmospheres and anger. We would only row 'properly' at night when she was asleep and I felt very strongly that it was important to split up before she became aware of these things. However that does mean that she doesn't have a clear idea of how unhappily married we were. We did well (like many parents I think) to try and hide it from her. And my ex would rather be married to some one he hates (but claims to love) than be divorced.

LemonBreeland Thu 19-Sep-13 19:20:39

I was the child of divorced parents. I wated to cry at my Dads wedding, 2 years after my parents split up, as I knew my parents wouldn't get back together. tbh for years I still wanted them to get back together. I don't know if part of it was the generation I grew up in where most parents were still together, and a feeling of being an odd one out from a single parent family. I never ralked to my Mum about it though.

Sorry that it isn't moee positive, but you need to be aware that it may affect your dd under the surface long after she stops mentioning it.

WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 19:17:19

He sees it as being 'honest'. And to tell the truth his honesty with his DC is generally a really positive thing. (Like I say, good dad, bad husband).

MirandaWest Thu 19-Sep-13 19:12:43

Mine never have (have been separated 2.5 years) but I think your XH talking about the two of you getting back together sounds like it is the problem. When we first split up I would have happily got back with him but never would have dreamed of saying anything to the DC about it.

WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 19:12:24

I kind of try to be neutral in my response and not show how angry I am with him for saying it. Sort of 'does he?' Or 'yes, it's a shame that mummy and daddy can't be together, but when we lived together we didn't get on'.

Dahlen Thu 19-Sep-13 19:09:03

What do you say to your DD when she tells you that daddy has said he wishes you were back together?

WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 19:08:02

Thanks Diagonally, maybe I'm just trying to rush her through a difficult stage.

WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 19:06:54

Thanks Dahlen I think maybe your first paragraph is right, and seems a very grown up way of thinking about it.

Re my ex, there are just some things that he has a blind spot on, and I think this is one of them. If I were any good at getting him to see his blind spots then maybe we wouldn't have split up. Don't want to have to threaten to remove her from his care as I don't think the courts would back me, and he is the type to know this and call my bluff.

Thanks fuzzywuzzy, that's a good reminder!

Diagonally Thu 19-Sep-13 19:03:15

My DS did ask once about 9/10 months after we separated (he was 5 when we split up).

It took several months for him to adjust to moving from one home to the other (I left FMH with him and we lived in a rented house for a while so it was pretty disruptive).

I noticed he found it hard when there were changes to the routine, so tried to keep those to an absolute minimum.

Three years on he is very settled. Recently he suggested I really ought to get a boyfriend so I don't think he's hoping for a reconciliation!

fuzzywuzzy Thu 19-Sep-13 19:01:35

Keep talking to her, let her talk to you about how she feels.

Then start making special memories with just the two of you, and have fun loving things which only the two of you can do together.

Make your own little world really lovely.

Dahlen Thu 19-Sep-13 18:58:14

I think you have to accept that a part of your DD will probably always wish you and your XH would get back together, in the same way that she wishes it was Christmas 6x a year, that she could invite everyone to her party, and have fish-fingers and chips for tea everyday. Even very young children come to learn that something that seems wonderful is not likely to happen and it's actually a good thing that it doesn't. She will get there eventually. As long as you are consistent in your approach and work hard on making life as a separated parent better than life when you were with your X, she will adapt fine - even though she may continue to say she wants you to get back together.

IMO, however, the biggest problem you have is your XH constantly telling her that he wishes you were back together. This will undermine all your attempts to help your DD move on, and his actions could well be placing a burden of responsibility on your DD. She may feel that it is down to her to convince you to do as daddy says. I've no doubt he's hurting, but he needs to stop doing this because it is selfish and damaging. I would consider bringing in the big guns to do this if it were me, spelling it out in no uncertain terms why it is so damaging, and making it clear that if it continues contact would be stopped as a way of protecting your DD's emotional wellbeing (9x out of 10 just saying that would be enough to stop a good dad who's just a bit blinkered due to difficulty adjusting).

WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 18:56:46

I can see what you mean about a new sibling cementing the new set up in a 'no going back' sort of a way.

I kind of want that effect without having to find another fella or have another child.

WhiteandGreen Thu 19-Sep-13 18:54:53

No step siblings on the horizon grin.

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 18:49:56

That's my experience. My DSSs adored DD from the outset and it meant there was no way back.

Deathbyladybirds Thu 19-Sep-13 18:47:03

Wtf Bonsoir?

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 18:45:23

I'm not divorced or separated, but I am a stepmother.

I think it is very variable. Do you and your exH have new partners? She might find a new little brother or sister very exciting and a way of moving on.

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