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Amicable (so far) separation, what to tell 3 year old?

(6 Posts)
honeyandmarmitesandwiches Fri 08-Apr-16 01:16:31

As above really. I have a three and a half year old DS with my now ex partner. The relationship has never been right really but we (ex and I) actually get on ok as long as certain unresolvable issues aren't being discussed. We didn't really live together that well on a practical basis either (very different habits) and he basically never wanted sex after the very early stages of being together. Twice in the past year!! All of which is just some background and to explain that I genuinely think we have a chance of being better as friends than as a couple. We're both really committed parents and want to minimise the negative impact on DS.

So what's happened is that DS and I have moved in with my parents, two days ago. They live close to where we have been living and he has a fab relationship with them and also, we (all) lived with them for a year or so before so it's basically home from home for him. This is just until I get on my feet financially but could quite easily be for another year plus as I have some credit card debt to pay off and really want to get that sorted before looking for somewhere hopefully permanent for the two of us.

Ex and I have worked out visiting arrangements whereby DS will be with me the majority of nights but see his dad every couple of days basically including spending Tuesday nights into Wednesdays (he has every Wednesday off work and always looks after DS then) at our old flat where ex is still living, plus every other weekend. We would also like to make a point of still doing family stuff together (going for a picnic or whatever) every couple of weeks and DS will still see us interacting in a pretty normal way besides that, just not as much obviously. Ex is happy to pop over here and do tea time, stories etc maybe one extra night per week - although I'm wondering if that might be slightly stressful for DS in terms of then saying "daddy's going back to the flat now", could it upset him?

Also possibly relevant info, DS and ex have an ok relationship but DS is massively more of a mummy's boy. Basically I think as long as he's with me a majority of the time he will be fine with my ex not being there 'all' the time. Maybe that sounds mean to my ex or maybe it's just normal for three year olds to want their mums more, idk.

Sorry if this is tedious or too much detail but I'm just trying to give an idea of our situation as I feel in a way we are not a typical separating couple of there is such a thing? The romantic type feelings are long gone so it's very low key and amicable, I just don't have a clue what to say to DS.

I know it's ridiculous in that we 'moved in' yesterday and now on our second night and haven't actually had a proper talk but as he's so young and used to being here anyway, we really don't want to say anything that would worry him. But clearly need to say something at some point! Just don't know how to approach it really!! I don't want to make things worse by not dealing with the elephant in the room but should I/we just wait until he asks questions or what? Have we already made a mess of this? confused

DementedUnicorn Fri 08-Apr-16 01:21:55

I've no kids so I don't have a clue useless but I'm really struck by what a fab mum you sound like thanks

<also bumping>

VimFuego101 Fri 08-Apr-16 01:52:52

I think you should give some thought to whether your ideas about family picnics etc will work long term and if one if you gets another partner - but it sounds like the best case scenario to me.

honeyandmarmitesandwiches Fri 08-Apr-16 13:09:55

Thank you Unicorn smile. That was a lovely message!
VimFuego I'm prepared for things to change over time but I think it's good to try to do family stuff for DS' sake and although I can only speak for myself not my ex, any future partner would just have to be understanding. If not then they wouldn't be the partner for me. I know not everyone would be comfortable with the setup and that's their prerogative but as long as we're not excessively involved/ in each other's pockets, I don't see anything wrong with co-parenting like this even if in time other partners are on the scene.

Any thoughts on what to say to DS, bearing in mind his age and the situation in general?

honeyandmarmitesandwiches Mon 11-Apr-16 06:17:26


VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Mon 11-Apr-16 06:26:20

I wouldn't say too much to him at all tbh
He's so little that the change to his situation won't confuse him that much as he won't know any different. I split with ds dad when he was around 3-4 and didn't tell him anything immediately - like you, I was the stable parent and xh was often elsewhere anyway. When the time seemed right, as part of another conversation, I introduced the idea that his mummy and daddy were friends, not partners, and that's why we don't live together. We have managed to stay friends since that point so it is possible.
He has asked questions as time has gone on and we have answered them but it honestly hasn't been difficult for him to understand. He's a happy child and doesn't worry about us not being together as far as I can see.

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