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Divorce because of affair - tell the kids?

(15 Posts)
cvchap Sun 07-May-17 22:12:40

I'm getting divorced because my husband had an affair. He's been gone for four months and we are 110% over. My question is do I tell my just turned seven year old why his Dad is gone? He still has access, is paying maintenance and we've told our son a fluffy lie about us not getting on. I really don't like lying to him and I'm torn. Son has said a few times that I "let daddy go" which I hate! Think he sees me as always being in charge and holds me responsible as I am generally the responsibility queen managing our lives. Everyone knows what's happened so one day I figure I'll have to tell him anyway. I'm a very honest parent and always use reasoning and I'm struggling in this situation. Any advice appreciated. I just want my son to be as little affected as possible which I know is a ambitious desire!!

troodiedoo Sun 07-May-17 22:19:58

Please don't tell him why. It will just hurt him more. He's saying you let him go because he's confused and you're a safe target unfortunately. It's shit and unfair I know.

Just keep it simple and vague, you and daddy don't get on any more but you both love him very much. Kids don't need a post mortem of their parents break up at any age.

MrsBertBibby Mon 08-May-17 07:35:57

I'm not sure I agree. A 7 year old doesn't understand the awful betrayal of an affair. But if everyone else knows he will learn in time at an age when he does understand, and that will be a huge shock,learning both your parents lied aboutique something that will shape his life so drastically.

There are lots of 'uncomfortable' truths kids are much better growing up knowing, like adoption, paternity, etc.

It doesn't have to be some big reveal, or finger pointing excuse for drama. Just tell him Dad wanted a girlfriend and that you can't be married and have girlfriends.

If you present it as mundane fact it will just be something he grows into understanding as he matures. He won't really understand the real meaning of it now, but he needs to have something true in his mental landscape to grow into.

SoupDragon Mon 08-May-17 07:39:52

I never told mine. DS1 would have been about 7 and he recently, at 17, said that he doesn't want to know. It had never been mentioned by any of the DC before.

troodiedoo Mon 08-May-17 07:45:21

MrsBertBibby I can see your point. I think the key is to present the info in a matter of fact way without adding your emotions.

Smidge001 Mon 08-May-17 07:50:16

I think what MrsBertBibby said is excellent advice.

BillyButtfuck Mon 08-May-17 08:01:15

My parents told me at about 7/8 that my mum had an affair and they weren't getting back together.
I'm glad they were really honest with me. I was obviously devastated but I was allowed to make my own decisions then when she moved in with her dickhead partner whether I wanted to meet him or not, knowing the full story. He wasn't just a new boyfriend from after the breakup, I knew everything and chose never to have anything to do with him.

It also made me and my dad a lot closer and ever to this day we are each other's best friend. I'm still close with my mum and I'm really grateful that they were honest and straight with me so I could make my own decisions.

Garlicansapphire Mon 08-May-17 08:06:48

I'd err on the side of age appropriate honesty. Do the explanation together - thats my one regret we didn't do that - instead my X told the kids he wasn't supposed to be in the house (shitbag). My DD overheard an argument and my DS blamed me for making his Daddy go away and she said to him ' thats not fair, Daddy was mean to Mummy'. I explained then and have discussed it since as they've grown up. My XH has never really talked about it but then he's a plank of wood. I on the other hand and am very open and they are with me. But I dont try and bias them against him.

Phillipa12 Mon 08-May-17 08:10:39

Agree with MrsBertBibby i told my 7 year old as i was the one getting the fall out and the blame for daddy not wanting to live with us, he hadnt had an affair but i just said that the divorce was daddys decision as he didnt want to live with mummy because he didnt love me anymore. Exh was not happy but as i pointed out it was the truth, i did tell him that i have never and would never bad mouth him to the dc, irrelevent of the fact that his treatment of me was truly awful and i expected the same courtesy in return. Ds's behaviour is now a lot better with me and when he does bring the divorce up he always states that he knows its not my fault, i do always make sure that i tell him that even though daddy dosent live with us daddy still loves him very much. As much as i would love to tell him the extent of his fathers awfulness towards me i know that he will find all this out in the future, and if he wishes to talk to me about what he finds out then fine, and if not so be it, sometimes being the bigger person is very hard!

NaiceBiscuits Mon 08-May-17 08:27:55

I told mine, but not straight away. They already knew that Ex had done something that had hurt me, because he'd told them that it a moment of self-pity.

When I did tell them, they were so relieved because then they stopped blaming themselves. I had made it clear so many times that it wasn't anything to do with them, but they still thought it might be, until I told them the age appropriate truth.

How you tell them, is also important. They love the other parent and look up to them, so it's important to say it in such a way that you affirm their relationship with the other parent, and that the dc are loved by everyone. Doing it in an angry way, or trying to evoke pity for you etc, will just hurt the dc in the long run.

cvchap Mon 08-May-17 21:50:30

Ex isn't with the woman he screwed for a year behind my back so thankfully she won't be in my son's life and I don't have that factor to deal with. However it does mean the whole daddy wanted a girlfriend approach a non-starter because he doesn't have one. I absolutely hate the fact that in the future my son will find out the truth and think I lied. It is very out of character for me to lie and he absolutely trusts me. I think I'll stick with my gut to not tell him for now but opt for matter of fact information sharing with no emotion gradually over time when appropriate. To say I hate my ex for prioritising his dick over his son is an understatement... Thanks!

troodiedoo Mon 08-May-17 22:10:28


NaiceBiscuits Tue 09-May-17 10:06:51

You can tell him that daddy did have a girlfriend and that broke the special marriage promises.

TreeTop7 Sat 13-May-17 16:00:01

I agree about telling him in an age appropriate way.

weekendninja Wed 24-May-17 22:11:45

We did. I explained different types of love and explained that daddy felt the type of love for mummy towards someone else and this was not the way things should work. It was all age appropriate and whilst sometimes I had doubts whether we did the right thing, I'm sure it was.

I now know I don't have to worry about having the conversation in years to come and them feeling like I lied to them. Also, having to lie to them telling them that I didn't want to be with their DF just felt wrong because this wasn't the case and the situation wasn't my fault.

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