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Telling the children that it is MY decision...(72 Posts)
Sadly my marriage is over - I posted in divorce/separation that we are telling the kids today and somebody suggested asking here for advice.
It is my decision and my husband wants to tell the children that and that I am the one who is choosing to end our marriage.
I feel incredibly sad and I feel it is better to be united in telling? Although I don't want to be dishonest?
I would like to tell them that I have been unhappy for some time and we have worked on it and tried to make things better but that we have come to this decision now together.
What are other people's experience of telling the children with or without apportioning blame?
It is my choice and I accept that and repercussions but I would like to handle it the right and best way for them (aged 11 & 15) (boys).
Thank you for any input x
do you have to go into the blame issue? Can you not just say that you (as a couple) no wish to be together but you still love them?
The minute you introduce blame, you are creating conflict and good-bad guys. This is not healthy for the kids to hear, and will damage your relationshop with them going forward. The only person whose needs will be met is your DH, who will have his wounded pride soothed. But its not about him - its about the kids, and both of you have to be united about this.
How would he feel if you sat and blame him for not making the effort to make you happy, for example. Or blamed his lack sex drive/table manners/motivation/whatever for the breakup - it automatically diminishes the blamed person in the eyes of the kids.
SUrely the goal is to have the children come out of this unscathed and with a good relationship with both of you.
You sound so strong Jenny, I take my hat off too you.
I don't have much advice, hopefully someone will be along soon who does.
Just a couple of things. My own experience of having divorced parents taught me how special it feels when one (or ideally both) parent manages to navigate this minefield without slagging off the other parent. I can see from your post that this is your intention and I'm backing you all the way. My Dad never put my mum down to me, and it made me feel very loved and somehow deepened our bond. Mum was more bitter, I don't blame her for this but it made things tricky between us.
I am seriously considering splitting with DP, the thought of telling our 6yo fills me with horror so I have a slight idea of how you might be feeling. Your post has made me ponder whether it would be more or less difficult if he was older like your children.
I agree no blame at all , I have three boys of similar ages to your two and this s how I would approach it. I was also told by my parents that they were splitting up when I was 11 and think that the blame thing was a recipe for disaster.
I would just explain that as a couple you have decided to separate as your lives are going in different directions .The emphasis for them needs to be on what is coming not what has been .
So focus on the fact that both parents love them and will be continuing to support them and on practical things ,in my experience teenagers in particular just want to know that their lives will continue to be the same as much as possible and also that they will not have to take sides and get into emotionally supporting either party.
I agree wholeheartedly with dwells, your H is using this as a way to get back at you which is not the right approach for your DC.
Thank you for your support. Trouble is DH doesn't see it that way. He sees it as being honest.
I doubt I can get him to see the neutral way is good. I may be back for hand holding later
Maybe it is 'honest' as he sees it but this is not a black and white situation where honesty is the best way to go.
It is most important to do the right thing for DC's than to stick to the 'truth' as he sees it.
Insisting on honesty is the best thing for him but not for DC.
I hope it goes ok, will be thinking of you.
I agree with all the posters about the right way.
however, I told the children that it was my decision (slightly different situation as domestic abuse). They have coped well (18 months on), I think helped by the fact that I have tried to be honest that even though it is my decision it is not one I am going to change my mind on. I have focussed on trying to keep other things stable for them and let them knowthe broad sweep of what is going on.
The main thing I would say is to make sure they understand the they are still loved, that the decision is not influenced by them, their behaviour or due to any circumstance they have been involved in, it is not their fault and also that what they do won;t alter what happens...this is a grown up decision.
Avoid watching "The Parent Trap"...ever!
aLl the best
I've just spoken to him again - he called to check I am sure I want to do this
I tried to explain that it isn't right to apportion blame and that this can have a negative effect on the kids and he says he thinks that divorce will hVe a negative effect on them therefore we ought to be honest. He said he isn't doing this to hurt me etc etc. I told him I thought he is. Conversations like the one we just had confirm to me that I am making the right decision although it is bloody hard
Agree with everyone else re. blame.
He's insisting on "honesty" to twist the knife just that little bit further, I think.
I think my 12 and 15 year old DDs would see through anything, but the truth. I know DD1 has a tendency to listen to grown up conversations and would know instantly if DH and I's arguing was properly serious.
A 15y is almost old enough to marry themselves. They are going to be curious and they are going to probe.
Of course it is up to you how you deal with it. But if I wasn't the one to end a marriage I would not be happy for the children to think it was a mutual thing if it isn't.
I think you're probably right. It may your final decision but I would imagine there is a lot leading up to this. How would he feel if you said it was your decision to leave and then detailed the exact reasons why you want to end the marriage?
How would he feel if you said it was your decision to leave and then detailed the exact reasons why you want to end the marriage?
Honestly can go too far. I completely understand why he might not want to go down the no-blame route, but tough. He needs to think of the children.
As a stepmum, I would agree that avoiding blame and sticking with a united front is best. The kids will be hurt and confused enough about your news, without trying to decide who is the "goodie" or "baddie". And it may backfire on your husband anyway - he might be a bit desperate for the kids to see it as your "fault" and therefore take his side and stick up for him, but what if they take it a different way and decide he didn't work hard enough to make you stay?
My DSD's parents split when she was three. Four years later, she still hates that they'll never get back together. But the adjustment has been easier for her, IMO, because the adults in her life have always stuck with, "Dad and Mum didn't want to be husband and wife anymore." This is the real truth anyway. My DSD's mum was the one that technically called it quits and was the one who packed her things and moved out. But my DH was the one who then asked for her to hand over her housekey and drew up the separation agreement. In their case, anyway, it took two to get divorced.
I ended my marriage and my XH wanted exactly the same as yours OP ... to sit down and tell the children that i had broken the home up and that i was to blame. At the time they were 9, 12, and 14.
I was desperately worried and upset about how this would affect them, as you are now. He said if i didn't sit down with me and do it his way he would tell them all 'even worse things'. He made them all sit down and here his version of events. As it turned out his track record as an
useless apathetic father meant his plan to use them against me was a complete failure. The kids were fine. They rose above it and i am so so proud of them for that. They are still fine, no thanks to him. But i've never forgiven him for his selfishness that day.
Don't let him do it.
I'm going to agree with your dh here and say that honesty is the way forward - which is not the same as blame. I find that a really odd way of looking at it.
My dcs know my exH was the one who made the decision to leave
hard to hide it as he shacked up with the OW within a few months but I have never ever blamed him and our kids know that. They know that I did not choose to get divorced but that there were aspects of our marriage that he felt he could not live with. I have acknowledged that he felt unsupported in his bonkers ideas and that he felt he did not want to live with that.
You can be honest without blaming, pretending it is some joint mutual decision when it isn't is not fair on anyone. Your dcs are old enough to work out what's going on and they will blame you if they think you've lied to them thats what will piss them off, not that you don't want to stay with their father. Mine have been very clear that their anger with their father is about lying about the OW, not the end of the marriage.
I also don't think that honesty is the same as blame. Be honest as far as you can be. Because if you are not then they will wonder in future why they were given an untrue version of events.
I split up (my decision) from exP when my DS was 2 yo.
He is now 15, and has not asked why it happened.
OP - I do not think, if I were you, that I would tell the DC the reasons. Just that you (as a couple) have decided to separate. If they ask then maybe then go into detail.
It really does depend on the spirit in which 'the telling' is being done though.
In my case it was spite. I know that. It was obvious because he got in my face and snarled that i wont get away with 'the girls thinking it was a joint decision', and that he would 'put them straight'.
In your case OP, it sounds allot more civilised in your situation. A different scenario really. Every situation is different.
Better to be honest so there is no risk of your dc not trusting what you tell them in the future.
Especially with a 15 year old who may have an idea anyway of what's happening within your relationship or might have lots of questions.
My parents separated when I was nine. They never had a good word to say about each other from that day onwards. At that age I couldn't have articulated it but now I realise that I genuinely didn't want to know about where or how their marriage had gone wrong. I wanted reassurance that they were still my parents and that they didn't regret that part of their marriage. None of the rest of it felt like it was much to do with me.
"But if I wasn't the one to end a marriage I would not be happy for the children to think it was a mutual thing if it isn't."
I think your argument about blame is very self-serving.
Your children deserve to know the truth.
You are asking your husband to lie to them to make you look better.
You don't have to get into blame or recrimination, but your family deserves better than the obvious lie that you have mutually decided to end your marriage.
If it is the right decision, then stand by it.
My DH insisted on telling that it was my decision. In the name of 'honesty'. That felt very wrong to me, but in the end it hasn't caused any problems.
I would say be honest. Can't you say you want to separate without too much detail.
Or do you say mummy and daddy have decided to split for no reason
those saying 'honesty' surely total honesty would involve explaining exactly why.
Surely they don't have to say who wants the split just that they are splitting up. I think there is a big diference between saying 'we are separating' and we both want to separate'.
As I said up thread if he wants honesty and 'blame' he should get it including OP's reason(s) for wanting to split up
My husband left me for another woman. There is no way that I would let him tell the children that it was a mutual decision. Different circumstances to yours but even if he had decided to just separate I still could not have sat there and listened to him telling the kids it was a mutual decision. I don't blame him for disagreeing with you. Some things are tough and telling the kids that their parents are splitting up is hard however it is dressed up.
Looking back at the OP and bearing in mind their ages I think I would go for 'I'm very unhappy in this relationship and so we are separating as I can't stay in it'
Hmm, my Mum told us that it was her decision.
She said something like: "It's me that wants to break up. There's nothing wrong with your Dad, he's a nice man, but I just don't love him. I should never have married him really, but I am glad I did because I have you three wonderful children."
All true - BUT how could she have said that in front of him?
Or do you say mummy and daddy have decided to split for no reason
Obviously you don't. Children are not adults. They do not have a capacity to properly understand adult relationships. I totally disagree that children should necessarily be told the reasons for a marriage break-up. That is private, adult and may be completely inappropriate for children who don't have the ability to properly understand it or put it into context. I wouldn't advocate lying to children either - if they have questions, but I think too much information is passed on to very young shoulders some time. It creates an unfair situation when saying "Mummy/daddy is the one deciding/did this" and mummy/daddy can't fully give their side of the argument.
Unless their is violence or outrageous bad behaviour, best to avoid blame at the splitting stage. DC will grow up and understand their parents in the full course of time.
To start bringing blame into it at all suggests to me that your kids are in for a rough time with 'who did what to who' and where they are being asked to place their loyalties over the next couple of years. That would be the worst outcome for them.
Just tell them that things haven't been good and you will be living apart, and it is no fault of theirs etc.
My teenagers (the ones still at home anyway) were relieved to be told, as they hated the difficult atmosphere. So yours may be fully aware already.
OP I completely agree with you, this is about the children, not you and your DH.
I do not understand why anyone would tell the children that it was one parents decision, that is simply not fair on the children as they will automatically feel more protective towards the 'wronged' parent.
As adults, the parents should be putting the childrens needs and feelings first, and whilst it is not right to lie to them, there are ways and means of going about things without getting them involved in what has happened between the couple.
It's pretty much irrelevant what you 'officially' say at this stage because at their age, chances are they know and it's a fair bet your husband will tell them the truth at some point anyway.
You can be honest without blame and there's no way I'd lie to my kids just to protect the image of a partner. I expect your husband feels the same.
I agree with Highjinx, and I felt exactly the same.
But if ending the marriage is the right decision (and we have no reason to doubt that it is) then there is no blame.
Just an explanation of what is happening and (roughly) why.
I can see the argument for refusing to go into whose decision it was.
But telling lies about it being a mutual decision to protect your own image is really not on.
Yes, it's the telling lies to children that I'm most uncomfortable with. As I recognise the poster too, there have been enough lies told already to sink a battleship. They've got to stop some time. Children don't want to deal with blame, but neither do they want to be lied to. It causes significant mistrust.
My ex husband did this to me. sad. ALthough without warning. We told them together and then he added his own little speech along the lines of "it isn't what daddy wants, I wish it could be different blah blah ". I was speechless. Your children will be fine about your divorce if you're both fine about it. I think you need to ask him how this embellishment will help hi children.
I really appreciate all the points of view here and it is really helping me think clearer before we tell them shortly...
I think it seems that if I could/should say something like this...
i have been unhappy for some time and that we have tried to make it work but we can't and for that reason we are going to live apart
We will then reassure them how much we love them etc and how they are not to blame in any way.
I can see a value in saying it is me and a value in being as honest as possible.
Do I use the 'd' word, or 'separate' or 'live apart' ? We will be doing all of those. I will be moving out but haven't found a place yet.
Separate is a good word, it covers all options without being too definite or scary.
badinage no lies at the moment. My husband knows everything. I don't want to lie to the children but I don't want to apportion blame either. As pointed out further up the thread I won't be pointing out my reasons etc and laying any blame with him.
Thank you for your input tho. Everything is taken on board x
LittleFreida how did you react when he did that? What happened after that?
Children don't want to deal with blame, but neither do they want to be lied to.
Keeping the relationship details between the parents is not the same as lying though.
I'd use the word 'divorce' because that's what you intend, but I'd spend far more time on explaining how this will affect them personally. Who they'll live with, when they'll see both parents, whether they'll have to make any big changes to their lives in terms of what they do or have access to, schools etc.
Personally, I wouldn't tell children until the physical separation is actually going to imminently happen i.e you moving out. Otherwise the grief is too protracted and confusing for them.
Your form of words sounds right to me btw. I don't have any problem with parents not going into the detail, just as long as they don't tell lies. Your kids' ages are also especially relevant here. Kids of this age aren't stupid, so lies always get found out anyway.
If we don't tell them till it is about to happen it presents other problems - we have bought a spare bed which is coming next week and I am moving into the spare room. That would be 'odd' to them. Also I am looking to buy something so it could be quite strained and take some time. In that time we have weekends away with family that only one of us will be going on and other occasions that we won't both be attending.
Luckily they won't have to change schools etc and I am looking for a house close by.
Jenny99 - I was speechless. And I've been pretty much speechless about his behaviour ever since. The children were fine but definitely not aided by his victim shtick.
Fair enough. Hope you find a house quickly. Are you going to talk to their schools?
Yes. One doesn't go back until Wednesday and we are planning on emailing that we need to see his teacher before school as a matter of urgency. We will email the other school on Sunday and request a meeting with head of pastoral care and form teacher and follow up with a phone call on Monday to make an appointment.
Good luck with the initial disclosure. As long as you both agree to answer any questions they've got in the next few days and in the weeks/months following with honesty, hopefully they'll be okay especially as the schools will be on board too.
I would definitely say no blame at all just you don't want to be together/aren't making each other happy. My parents were 'honest' when they told us - it was a disaster.
I'm horrified by those who are saying 'be honest', much better to be age appropriate, reassuring and united in your willingness to properly parent.
Tell them, then go out for a pizza and be kind to each other, all of you.
Good luck, OP.
From reading your other threads you sound incredibly selfish and I totally agree with your DH that your DC should be told that YOU have taken the decision to blow their lives apart.
Your DH, who you admit is a 'decent man' has worked his bollocks off for years to enable you to have a mortgage free lifestyle on £300k a year while you have been a SAHM for 15 years. Now as the DC have grown up, you are bored with DH, had an EA with an old boyfriend and want your DH to hand over the house to you and spousal support and, for him to go and live elsewhere.
I think you've got a flaming cheek and should grow up. Your DCs are the ones who will suffer due to your 'midlife crisis' and I feel very sorry for them. I also pity your poor DH. I hope you tell you DC the truth about why you are splitting up as they are old enough to understand, and they can then decide who they want to live with.
I speak as a 41 year old woman who still does not know why my childhood was ruined by my parents divorcing (and the subsequent hatred for each other and toxic remarriages) as they decided it was 'nothing to do with me'. I disagree, it was my life that was shattered. You take the decision to do that to your DCs, you take the fallout.
But if I wasn't the one to end a marriage I would not be happy for the children to think it was a mutual thing if it isn't
I'm horrified by those who are saying 'be honest'
I don't think others were saying be honest without condtion. It was more be honest rather than have OP say one thing and DH something quite different.
I am not looking for him to give the house to me.
I am going back to work and have set the ball in motion.
Obviously there is more to it than that I am bored with him. I am not that shallow.
I begged him for years to take a lower paid job and less stress and for me to go back to work but he didnt want that.
That was at the cost of our marriage
Don'tparktooclose - you sound nice .
Mostly I've been saying 'just don't lie' actually.
As the OP knows, I'm no fan of some of her past actions but at least she had the decency to tell her husband about her affair and is now ending her marriage instead of pretending that everything was okay and stringing him along in complete ignorance that something massive had changed her feelings towards him.
With luck, this family will work better with the parents apart and the OP and her husband will be able to have happier lives.
Wow. I've only seen one of your other threads, jenny, and that was too painful to comment on. But after DontPark's summary I have to post.
You are acting out the life of my mother 30 years ago.
The mother I no longer speak to.
It don't have a problem with her leaving my father: that's her right. It's her persistent teflon refusal, even now, to take responsibility for her actions, and her willingness to sacrifice anyone - my father, us, family friends - to deflect that responsibility, that has destroyed any respect or possibility of an ongoing relationship. To this day, she keeps up a constant background patter of self-justification which necessarily blames everyone else, to the point I can no longer be complicit with it.
I found your previous thread chilling. It was the one where you were afraid that the children would prefer to stay in their own home rather than spend as much time as you wanted at your new, second household. Your solution was to force the children's existing home to be sold. You'd be prepared to sweep away your children's remaining security, as cover for your moving out, in the mistaken belief this would stop you looking like the "bad guy".
Please do not do this stuff.
You are perfectly entitled to leave your marriage.
But if you want a) to hurt your children as little as possible, and b) keep their respect, trust and love, you MUST take the responsibility that is yours. You must be honest that you are doing this for you, not scapegoat others. You must be honest that this will hurt your children, and acknowledge their pain if they need to express it to you. And you must not lie: people can adjust to change; deceit, not so much.
If you can do these things, you may well come through with perfectly good relationships, indeed a better family for your children under the new arrangements.
If you can't, you may lose them through your actions around the divorce, not because of the divorce itself.
How did you get on Jenny, how have the dc taken the news?
'D'H told my dc he was leaving on Sunday because he didn't love me and didn't want to live with me. They are 4 and 7 and have not taken it well. Hope you are all ok x
You should be honest that it was your decision because it's true.
I'm sorry if my previous threads have not read as I have intended.
I hve never been trying to monopolise my children's time and I won't be doing that.
I have been very unhappy for several years for many reasons and have made mistakes in that time. Most of us make mistakes some times. I was able to be completely honest here to try and help me through a very hard time and I am grateful for all support and criticism I received.
Thank you for all support and all comments. It was awful to tellthe children and was the hardest thing I have ever done but I think thanks to you all we handled it well.
I said that I am unhappy and that daddy and me have tried very hard but we can't make it work. I said that it was me who wasn't happy and we were very honest without being inappropriate.
Both children were very upset and cried, as did we.
The older one said he knew it was coming. As soon as I told them to sit down he had tears in his eyes. Over the last year I have said repeatedly to my husband that he knows something as he is intelligent and sensitive and my husband has said that is ridiculous to suggest.
A lot of tears but a lot of honest discussion and then a family board game.
thank you all x
I am in a similar position as you in that it was my decision to split and you are right that the older children just know anyway so I think it is right to be honest (without the gory details of course.)
Op, are you intending to move out without the children?
And you are 'still' blaming your husband for your sons upset. Take a long hard look in the mirror lady. Unless you assume responsibility for your behaviour, you have a ling and difficult road ahead.
I am not blaming my husband.
My husband and I have decided that we will buy a new house for me and the children will have homes with both of us and we will aim for the split to be 50/50 (now it is 80/20).
OP I didn't understand why people were so horrible to you on your other thread and I don't in this one either. I hope it goes well and your boys aren't too upset today.
Thank you notmostpeople. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Some of the negative comments can be helpful.
But more often they are just incredibly hurtful. But I try to be reasonable and remind myself that this forum is a cross section of real life with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
All comments are gratefully received and all comments help me in a constructive way.
My fear is for the people who start threads who may be already unbalanced and may not see things in an objective way as I feel I can. I appreciate and value what everybody has said and even the hurtful comments give me a lot to think about.
Although obviously the support helps a lot and helps me stay strong xx
Jenny when you think back to the complete state you were in over that other bloke and how much of an obsession it was to the point of complete insanity, of course your son would have noticed that things were far from okay. Your husband's insistence that his son hadn't noticed a thing is all part of his anger with himself that he himself didn't tumble what you were up to. But your son saw far more of you than your husband did - and was bound to notice that you were behaving very strangely. Don't blame your husband for any of that. Neither should he blame himself. He trusted you.
And be careful of rewriting this so that the marriage break-up is all about being a lonely wife and mum who 'couldn't help' reaching out for attention. If you don't spend a bit of time now looking at your own behaviour and your own personality, you'll miss out on learning quite a lot about yourself.
Glad the disclosure went as well as could be expected.
"My husband and I have decided that we will buy a new house for me and the children will have homes with both of us and we will aim for the split to be 50/50 (now it is 80/20)."
Sorry , what do you mean by these numbers ?
Are you expecting him to finance your life, apart?
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