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to tell dd that dh and I are separating before Christmas?

(50 Posts)
Lucyintheskywithdiamonds Sat 18-Dec-10 12:38:59

DH and I have separated, although he is still living here. He was meant to be moving out today but this has fallen through until January 17th. I think it is still a good idea to tell dd1 (8) what is going on this weekend. (not dd2 (3) as she obviously has less understanding.) for several reasons:

she will have christmas to distract her to a certain extent
she will have her family around her over christmas to support her
I think she may well pick up on something, if she hasn't already, which i don't think she has.
she has two weeks to get used to the idea before she goes back to school
she has a while to get used to the idea before dh moves out

however, dh thinks we shouldn't tell her as he thinks it will ruin this and future christmases for her. I can see this point of view but I think she will have the usual anti climax after christmas anyway and then we will say 'and by the way daddy's moving out'and there is nothing to say that she won't associate with christmas anyway.
so WWYD? thanks.

taintedsnow Sat 18-Dec-10 12:41:04

I wouldn't tell her before Christmas. I think it's a bit heartless tbh.

I suspect you may get wildly varying opinions on this thread though.

Sorry you're all going through this. sad

Lucyintheskywithdiamonds Sat 18-Dec-10 12:44:14

thanks. I think you are probably right. I just can't seem to think about it objectively.

verytellytubby Sat 18-Dec-10 12:46:08

I don't think I would tell my DD (also 8) just before Christmas.

I'm so sorry and hope you are ok (well as ok as you can be).

taintedsnow Sat 18-Dec-10 12:47:41

It's difficult, I do understand why you're thinking the way you do, but I think it would just be a bit too unfair and upsetting to do that at Christmas. Just get the next week out of the way, let her have Christmas as she is expecting it, and gently break it to her afterwards, with a united front if you can.

Shit time though, you have my sympathy. sad

PhishFoodAddiction Sat 18-Dec-10 12:48:01

It's a tough call, I'm sorry that you're going through this.

If you think DD1 will pick up on the vibes between you and H then it maye be kinder to tell her. It may spoil her Christmas if she feels the tension between her parents but doesn't know what it's about.

OTOH, it does seem a bit harsh to tell her right before Christmas.

You know her best so try and think from her point of view- which will be less hurtful, being told her parents are splitting up, or feeling a bad atmosphere and not knowing why?

Best of luck with your decision, and keep reassuring your DDs that you both love them and it's not their fault. (My parents split when I was 3...I had more understanding than they thought sadly).

Lucyintheskywithdiamonds Sat 18-Dec-10 12:49:34

Ok thanks for that Phish. We will do. for dd2 too.

BarbarianMum Sat 18-Dec-10 12:51:18

How amicable is it all going to be?

If very, then you could tell her now and use Christmas to show her that mum and dad are still friends and love her and her sister v. much. The added advantage would be that you are both around to deal w. the emotional flak plus answer questions as they come up.

But she is going to be v. upset and angry and the last thing she needs are the 2 of you bickering, so if you are not certain that you cannot avoid bickering and recriminations then perhaps best to leave it til after.

Animation Sat 18-Dec-10 14:20:11

No, there's no need to tell her. Just keep things non dramatic - it's less traumatic for kids that way.

This is something that you and DH need to shoulder on your own over Christmas. Tell her eventually when things are cool - and more settled.

spidookly Sat 18-Dec-10 14:46:40

I don't really understand what Christmas has to do with the timing of massive, important news.

She's going to be upset whenever you tell her, and like you say Christmas is as likely to distract her from the enormity of thd news as anything else. It's not like it will upset her more just because of the time of year.

Iheartchristmas Sat 18-Dec-10 14:51:06

Could you do it this weekend so that she has a week before christmas to start to deal with it?
I also agree that it would be good for her to see Mum and Dad - separate but able to still live together/be friends/available for her over the next few weeks.

KerryMumblesBahHumBug Sat 18-Dec-10 14:54:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChippingIn Sat 18-Dec-10 14:55:38

I'm sorry but I agree with your DH. There's no need to make Christmas a 'trigger' for her every year. Get over Christmas & New Year - do your bloody best to get on. Tell her after New Year. As an adult she will thank you for this not being what she thinks about from August on when the Christmas Cards come out. Trust me.

(My parents didn't divorce but I associate Christmas with something else negative and it is very very hard.)

rainbowinthesky Sat 18-Dec-10 14:59:30

Don't do it. Poor kid sad At least give her Christmas.

orangepoo Sat 18-Dec-10 15:01:12

I don't think you should tell her before Christmas. If you do tell her and then you behave civilly at Christmas, she will not understand why you can't stay together - she will be heartbroken and keep asking you why you can't stay together. She also won't be able to enjoy the magic of Christmas because she will be preoccupied with the bad news.

I also think if you tell her before Christmas, many future Christmases will be spoilt with bad memories. If he is not moving out til Jan 17, I would tell her at the start of Jan personally.

Re your 3 yo - watch out with that - my DD is nearly 3 and she would fully understand if we told her daddy was going to live somewhere else. And she would be mortified and she would cry and scream and tell everyone repeatedly that Daddy lives here because he is in our family. My H has had an affair and temporarily left earlier this year so this is not just my guess at what could happen, unfortunately.

MummyEms Sat 18-Dec-10 15:02:25

Definitely wait until the New Year...all I can envisage is all you guys sat around for Christmas dinner with LO's crying "please don't go daddy"!!!

Let them enjoy one last Christmas as a family and tell them once all the celebrations have been done. Then hopefully they won't associate this with Chistmas...you tell them before and they will probably never enjoy Christmas again.

Lonnie Sat 18-Dec-10 15:02:46

Dont tell her before her sister its WAY to huge a thing for a 8 year old to be asked to keep secret.

tell them both together when you feel that the time is right.

Personally I wouldnt before christmas if you feel the little one is not ready for it.

ChippingIn Sat 18-Dec-10 15:03:03

Spidookly - because it acts as a 'trigger' if she finds out now, right on Christmas/New Year - that will 'trigger' this feeling for a very long time - if not forever.

MummyEms Sat 18-Dec-10 15:05:26

Also make sure you tell the school too so they can keep an eye out and be a bit more gentle with DD.

Hope it all goes well...but please wait until next year!!! x

KangarooCaught Sat 18-Dec-10 15:11:32

Actually I can understand your thinking perfectly, but maybe it should have been done with a few more weeks between telling them and Christmas, but I guess you only now reached this point. So actually although I get your thinking, I do agree with the others saying to delay, because can't see how Christmas won't be tainted or their being upset at H leaving. Christmas can be stressful enough. Tell them in the NY, removed from Christmas, with the routine of school for your older dc. Is 17th Jan a school day?

doublechocchip Sat 18-Dec-10 15:13:09

I wouldnt tell her before christmas. My oh's mum left the family home on christmas eve and only since we have had children has he started to enjoy it again.

NestaFiesta Sat 18-Dec-10 15:17:29

When I was 10 my Mum told us all she was leaving my Dad and we left with her the same day. This was ten days before Christmas. We had a very weoird Christmas Day that year at my nan's house and half with my Dad at his house. Why my Mum couldn't have waited I don't know. I would have liked one more normal family Christmas had I known it would be my last.

GruffalosGirl Sat 18-Dec-10 15:20:26

I wouldn't tell her before Christma, it will ruin it for her. I also wouldn't tell her too soon before it happens. When my mum and dad split they told me a month before and we still went on the holiday we had booked. Knowing it was going to happen and feeling like they had some big act going on was incredibly stressful. I would rather been told one week and it happen the next. I was twelve though not 8.

Monty27 Sat 18-Dec-10 15:23:53

Don't tell them. They'll associate xmas with their parents' break up forever

Hope you get through it ok and tell them after.

spidookly Sat 18-Dec-10 15:25:08

Why is having Christmas as a trigger worse than having January as a trigger?

I agree though about not making her keep it a secret from her sister.

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