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If your parents separated when you were four or five please can you tell me...

(65 Posts)
ferriswheel Wed 07-Sep-16 20:36:48

...what you remember about the experience?
What you would change about how you experienced that time in your life?
And how it affects you now?

will be going through this soon with my children

JenniferYellowHat1980 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:40:13

I was a little older but my DB was that age. Our saving grace was out DM who, after the initial acrimony had passed, became the bigger person and was never negative or made us feel bad about spending time with our dad. We only went there every other weekend and I pity kids who have a 50:50 arrangement. She also never told my until I asked before she died that my DF rarely paid maintenance and never after she remarried angry

ferriswheel Wed 07-Sep-16 20:42:58

Thank you. Do you remember them giving you a reason? Do you remember feeling sad?

LemonBreeland Wed 07-Sep-16 20:42:59

My parents separated when I was about 6. I don't remember my parents being together at all and I don't really remember anything about when they actually split. The only thing I can remember is them arguing for quite a few years after, almost every time my Dad came to collect us. Try not to argue in front of the kids would be my best advice. A few years down the line they won't remember life before the split.

ferriswheel Wed 07-Sep-16 20:44:10

Thanks Lemon, that's what I hope. And that's part of the reason I want to get on and do it now.

Ilovepercypigs3 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:48:04

My DH was about this age and can't remember them being together... But he was massively screwed up by the subsequent bitterness and fighting so echo pp sentiment's that the most important thing is to try and be as civil as possible, especially in front of DC, when the split does happen.

FitLikeQuine79 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:48:06

I remember nothing. I was four when DM left and can't remember ever living with my arsehole of a father. Contact was sporadic as he couldn't be arsed. I wish he'd either buggered off out of my life properly rather than messing me about or had been a decent parent. Aged 20 I went NC and haven't seen him or spoken to him in over 15 years. My DM was brilliant and never stopped me seeing him. She only told me how abusive he was to her when I was an adult and asked her to tell me what it had been like for her.

DT2000 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:49:33

My parents separated when I was 5 (well into my 30's now) and I don't remember anything about the separation part. My mum moved us 100 miles away from family but even now we're all still close. My mum and dad kept things civil between them for my sake, they even spent Christmas at each other's houses (with new partners) so I wouldn't miss out on seeing either one (a lot of people think this is weird though!!)

Littleoakhorn Wed 07-Sep-16 20:49:39

My parents divorced acrimoniously when I was 4. I'm fine, normal, married with two kids and a good job. So far so boring.

The thing they and their families could have done better would have been to not bitch about the other side in my earshot and sometimes directly to me. Even at 4 I knew exactly what was going on. This went on for years from one parent and from my aunts and uncles and, needless to say, I have far more respect for the other parent as a result.

Christmas is a bit awkward now that I need to split my time between the in laws and my divorced parents, but they are (now) all well behaved enough to come round to our place and have a nice time.

Basically, don't get the kids involved.

ButtMuncher Wed 07-Sep-16 20:54:53

Following - my DSS was 4 nearly 5 when Mum and my DP split - and I've often wondered how he may translate this later in life.

chitofftheshovel Wed 07-Sep-16 21:04:58

Mine decided to tell us separately, so mum told my elder two siblings whilst collecting them from school and dad told me and twin. Not great.

They proceeded to go to court for the next 16 years. Fucked up.

Contact time was totally rigid. Down to the last millisecond. Not good.

Dad still, despite being married to another woman (one of the three affairs he had that I discovered as an adult) bangs on about "what mum did wrong" - totally shit.

Dad paid fuck all in maintenance, nada. - again totally shit.

It was an harrowing experience, if I'm honest. As for how I'd change it if I could, I guess I would ask them to be adult about it, and the children should know nothing about the ins and outs of things.

FWIW I separated from my children's dad when they were 4 and 2. He's a dick, but my children will find that out in their own time, they'll never hear it from me.

Best of luck with everything.

IWantAMooseCalledDominic Wed 07-Sep-16 21:09:25

Hmmm. I remember them fighting before hand - a lot. Then we went on "holidays" to my Nana's and never went back. Very traumatic and confusing. They had me passing messages back and forth between them, keeping secrets, bitched about each other constantly, and told me far too much about their marriage at a very young age.

I'm quite fucked up now, surprisingly hmm. I left my ds's dad when he was three so I've been very conscious of not doing any of the above. He's doing very well considering his father is such a twat.

So long as they have at least one loving, consistent parent (which I'm sure you are) they'll be OK flowers

MrsSnow Wed 07-Sep-16 21:11:28

Mainly that the arguing stopped.
I stopped waking up at night to find my mother crying.
My house turned into a happy home.
Yes it was hard but so much better. I finally had stability and security.

My 'dad' didn't pay maintenace, didn't make an effort to see, didn't stay in touch and never behaved as a normal father.

meridithssister Wed 07-Sep-16 21:13:40

Not me but I have just asked my son who is 18. He was five when I split up with his dad. He says he can't remember us living together at all or the very expensive 6th birthday party I threw the git

Heychickadee Wed 07-Sep-16 21:14:39

I don't remember my parents divorce (I was 5), I guess I always just saw them as 2 separate entities. I loved them both so I didn't really mind.

Lewwat Wed 07-Sep-16 21:16:20

My parents separated when I was 4, I remember the night my dad "left" the screaming, shouting, banging on the door. I remember my mum standing in the way of the car door when my dad came to pick us up one time, so he couldn't leave without effectively running her over. I remember hiding under tables because I didn't want to Hear all the arguing. I remember each parent slagging off the other and making me feel like I had to pick a side.

But I grew into an emotional stable adult... Just.

Keep it amicable, and keeps the nasty stuff away from your children

DeadGood Wed 07-Sep-16 21:16:54

I was 7 and remember surprisingly little as well. They won't remember. Sounds like you are very mindful so they'll be fine - best of luck

SenecaFalls Wed 07-Sep-16 21:17:39

I was five. I don't remember being told anything, but I don't even remember them being together so they may have told me something. I had close contact with both parents throughout my life. They didn't really talk about their relationship and were outwardly cordial at least.

emwithme Wed 07-Sep-16 21:21:45

I was 3 1/2 when my parents split up. I do not remember Dad being at home at all, my only memories are of me and mum (and big brothers) at one house and Dad and Step-mum at another. It was just how it was.

Icecreamandsunscreen Wed 07-Sep-16 21:21:53

I don't remember much from when they split up, but up until I started secondary school I didn't know anyone that came from a single parent family, all my friends had parents that were together and I remember feeling like the odd one out and hoped they would get back together. That went away when I started to meet new people who's parents weren't together though, and it's not affected me at all since.

moveoverhogger Wed 07-Sep-16 21:21:55

I was 4 and remember hearing them screaming at each other in arguments. I also walked in on them when it looked like my dad was about to physically attack my mum. That was over 30yrs ago & they still hate each other to this day. Both slags the other off and having a family event where both of them are in attendance is horrible. I have to split my time between them both to keep them happy. I decided to elope rather than have them both at my own wedding.

Chippednailvarnishing Wed 07-Sep-16 21:23:00

My DF was rarely in the house when I was awake, so when they did finally split I didn't really notice. I have very few memories of them together, my DF has flittered in and out of my life, never paid maintenance and made it clear that he wasn't interested, which resulted in horrendous feelings of rejection as a teen.
I do remember having to speak to a solicitor and a judge at some point and being asked who I wanted to live with and being to scared of upsetting anyone, so said I didn't mind. That gave me nightmares for years...

Mummamayhem Wed 07-Sep-16 21:23:07

I cried when my parents told me, because to be honest i knew i was meant to!

I remember feeling excited to put my hand up when asked who had separated parents at school.
I was very aware of the competition between parents throughout my childhood of who me and my sister liked more. Both parents would be obviously hurt if i told them about the other.

My mum was very upset about being dragged through the courts twice for residence. I remember the social workers visit very well (aged 5) i was desperate to live with my mum but never said so.

I absolutely hated the shared care arrangement - always moving between two homes, not being able to see my friends on my dads 'days' my parents were useless at helping me pack anything so i never had the right stuff at the right house, i used to sneak off and walk 'home' from my dads to get my things. I never felt settled. Moved out at 17 with boyfriend, im very much a home body and am anxious leaving home.

WantAnOrange Wed 07-Sep-16 21:23:25

I was 4 when my parents got divorced and I can't remember it, or anything beforehand.

The thing I would ask them to do differently; I was not allowed to talk about the 'other' parent with each side. It was never explicitly said but that is the message I got loud and clear. I wish I could have been able to talk freely about my family and ask questions! I'd love to see my parents wedding photos, my baby photos etc. Where did we first go on holiday together? Are there photos? I think of how much I treasure those things about my own children's childhoods and how I document it all in photo albums and baby books and I wish I had that part of my history. I wish Mum hadn't been so hurt that she wanted to wipe that part of her life from memory because part of those memories are my early years and I'd like to know.

I wish both my parents had known that their relationship is nothing to do with me. I can love my Mum and love my Dad and they can hate each other and that is OK. We are all entitled to our own, separate relationships.

Girlsinthegarden Wed 07-Sep-16 21:26:58

I don't remember anything apart from visiting my dad's new place. I remember their behaviour later though.

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