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Separation out of the blue - how to tell children?

(5 Posts)
ditziness Fri 01-Jul-11 13:24:21


Married ten years, 3 kids ages 9, 6 and 2. Husband left recently (5 days ago) after two years of marital problems, illness, work and financial troubles and an unexpected 3rd child. Horribly stressful for all. I suspect he's depressed, husband denies it and blames me. i've been to relate alone, he won't come with me, denies that there is any problem apart from that he doesn't love me anymore. No affair apparently.

He left out of blue, cashed in savings and is renting a 2 bedroom house an hour away from family home, saying unhappy and doesn't want to be married anymore.

No idea at this stage about reconciliation or divorce at this stage. Hellishly raw and unexpected. 



How to tell children who are wondering where daddy is?
not sure that there's been no affair. still very early days. not made any arrangements. he seems to think that he can continue to come and go as he pleases. i don't want him anywhere near me. children think he's away on a work trip and are missing him. 

i don't know where to go from here.

not sure what to do.

the eldest took ages to go to sleep last night as she felt "unsettled" and "that something has changed". middle daughter asking for daddy lots. they know something is up. Should i tell them sooner rather than later, even though I don't know whether it's permanent? is it more damaging to be lied to or to be told it's over when we don't know that ourselves?



husband currently saying he needs space to figure out how he feels, whether he still loves me. 

School's over in 2 weeks, i could take the three of them away to their grandparents for the summer holidays and give him that space? and not tell them unless that space brings about divorce?

does anyone know of how you can get professional advice for this? is their some kind of family counsellor specialist to speak to? so lost

orangina Fri 01-Jul-11 13:27:26

I can't help, but bumping for you and hope you get the support you need. Un-MN hugs to you.

goodkate Fri 01-Jul-11 13:35:20

It is important to let them know.

My only piece of advice would be to tell them together in the most responsible way you can. That way you can tell them it was yours & his decision to split (even if it wasn't!) Otherwise children may blame themselves.

secretskillrelationships Sat 02-Jul-11 21:50:56

So sorry he is putting you through this.

I would tell them an edited version of the truth, personally. I did the 'mutual decision' thing (mainly because I couldn't have said 'he's leaving me' without adding 'the * bastard' on the end) and it didn't protect them from feeling it was their fault. If anything, it may have made it worse as we separated but he left them, iykwim. Don't try and hide it, they know something is wrong and will come up with stories to explain it to themselves.

I would say something along the lines of 'dad's finding life a bit difficult at the moment and he needs some time away from everyone to try to recover. It's nothing you or I have done, but something dad needs to sort out on his own. I love you very much and I know dad does too.'

Let them know that it's okay for them to talk and ask questions (but don't think you have to have the answers). I think it's okay to let them know that you would rather he was here too but they need to know that you can handle it for all of them (even if you feel you can't). Vent to friends as much as possible, away from DCs.

In relation to your H, put some really solid boundaries in place and soon. This is the issue that has taken me the longest to get to grips with. He is behaving badly. It is not only okay to not want him anywhere near you, it's positively healthy. He is giving out completely mixed messages. If he needs space, he needs space. That means he shouldn't be coming and going as he pleases. Try (and I do know how difficult this is in the middle of all of this) to work out what you would like and then try to put it in place. As a first step, insist that he calls before he visits and gives you some notice. Take the time when he is there to go and visit a friend, catch up with the shopping or go for a coffee.

Sorry, in answer to your question. There are counsellors who can help you with all this but you can't actually protect your children from the hurt he is causing you all. I know because I have run myself into the ground trying and failing. They will be hurt and you will be the one who has to deal with it and it is, of course, completely unfair.

kipperandtiger Fri 22-Jul-11 22:57:47

Hi ditziness, I do really feel for you and wish to offer my support. (another unMN hug). I think the way secrets has phrased the explanation to the children sounds quite good. Another suggestion is to explain to the older children "adults also have problems they have difficulty solving straightaway and that Daddy is taking a kind of holiday to try to concentrate on being able to get a solution to those problems"? The holiday at grandparents sounds like a good idea. It would be nice to have some support from others (you don't necessarily have to tell them much but just having their company would be nice). And the children get distracted doing summer fun activities with their grandparents and not being reminded of the empty place at the table/empty room left by Daddy. Wishing you all the best.

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