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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.

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 ?

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 08:16:51

Manipulative ? I dont see that.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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