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What to tell my 3 year old re separation and divorce

(5 Posts)
Gangle Fri 19-Aug-11 11:57:13

I've posted about this separately but after years of being emotionally abusive towards me, DH had an affair whilst working abroad and has told me that he wants to continue seeing this woman, despite her living in the US. He is currently in Paris with her on a long weekend. He moved out of the family home less than 2 weeks ago after 2 months of saying he didn't know how he felt and that he needed time to decide etc and also ridiculous things like I should be fighting for the marriage and begging him to stay etc. Him going to Paris with her is really the final straw (not that one was needed!) so I am filing for divorce next week. Needless to say, I am devastated by all of this and only just holding it together for the children. I need to think of something to tell my 3 year old as to why Daddy no longer lives with us and why Mummy and Daddy don't like each other (he has asked me a number of times whether I love Daddy and I've said yes but I don't want to lie to him anymore). I'm trying my best to be strong and pretend nothing is wrong but my 3 year old knows something is up. His brother is only 17 months so too young to realise. Can anyone advise as to the best thing to tell him? I had thought previously that we should say nothing and just say that Daddy is at work or Daddy is living separately as he wants to live closer to work (not true) but feel we need to be more truthful. I also feel like a failure as I just cannot put on a brave face and keep things amicable. I wish I could but I just can't after the way he has behaved.

InachisYarns Fri 19-Aug-11 18:56:48

I am so sorry. You know you are doing the right thing if you are 100% sure that you are doing the right thing. You will need to remember that at your lowest points. When my husband and I split, I told my then 3 year old that we were still a family, but that we lived in 2 houses. That and reassurances that we both loved him very much worked. I also got him to make a decision for when we had 2 houses, like where his bed went when we swapped rooms, and which friend we would take to the park at the weekend. It gave him a focus other than where is Dad and so was not a black cloud for him. I know it is hard, but you need to show that you can be polite and calm and diplomatic in front of and within earshot of the kids. There will come a day when they will recognise your efforts and love you for it. Keep strong.

vole3 Fri 19-Aug-11 19:05:11

Honey, I feel for you so much and it is rough that it is going to be you telling him on your own and not both together.

If there is some way that you could both be there to tell him, it would be better and also why should H wriggle out of such a sad and difficult situation.

I think all you need to tell DS is that you both love him very much, but Daddy is going to be living somewhere else. You don't need to say why, just say that this is how it is going to be from now on. Stress that DS will still be able to see Daddy and talk to him on the phone.

It is very tough going, particularly when the situation is not of your choosing, to remain civil and feeling animosity is only natural. I hope you have support and someone you can offload things to. It is deeply unfair that he gets to swan off and leave you to hold things together, but you are doing a great job.

Teaandcakeplease Sat 27-Aug-11 20:14:11

It takes time for the feelings to settle in the early days. You find yourself riding this crest of different emotions. Mine were 2 and a quarter and 11 months when we separated due to H's affair. I only told DD that we no longer lived together at that stage and we'd be in 2 houses. My DD knows a little more now at age 4 but not much. I needed good boundaries in the early days between my EX and I to help me cope, and to help me to be civil. Now however we are extremely amicable. Counselling was the biggest help to me in dealing with it all.

You've had some good advice from the others. How are you today?

butterflybee Tue 30-Aug-11 20:36:38

Two Homes by Claire Masurel was a brilliant book for explaining things for my kids (aged 2&4) although it does assume they'll be living some time with both parents..

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