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Hand hold please... Building up to "that conversation" with kids

(19 Posts)
Talith Sat 01-Jul-17 16:20:33

Separating, amicable but miserable and stressful environment at home (which makes him want to speed up the break... "To rip off the band aid". But not had enough clarity on financial arrangement or child sharing etc so am constantly trying to put the brakes on a little. Going to relate for separation counselling to sort these details.

I am terrified of not being able to kiss my kids goodnight every night or them not being able to sneak into my bed. Having to divide up their toys and having 'that' conversation. I'm scared about the bomb I'm about to set off in what they probably see as a fairly happy home.

My husband and I have no trust for each other and no sexual intimacy and we know as partners it's over. It's the hidden stuff the kids might not have clicked and I just am scared and in pain for what I'm going to have to do.

Please can someone tell me it gets better? That the conversation and transition might go better than I thought? Tips to help with kids coming to terms are welcome too. They are 7 and 10.

thistoosha11pass Sat 01-Jul-17 19:04:56

Watching with interest as I too am gearing up to this. Same position, no trust, we both know it's over, he is dragging his feet and I'm wanting it to become official. Good luck, don't forget to update flowers

CaptainM Sat 01-Jul-17 23:51:55

Separated a year ago and still in the middle of an acrimonious divorce. It was tough for all of us, including DC (4&6yo) but I have learned that children are incredibly resilient. There are tons of resources including child-friendly books which have facilitated our conversations and their school has provided great support too. It's hard to know what support there is out there, until you start the process. It's been a journey of discovery so far!

I was also really worried about time without them, but tbh, I am now incredibly grateful for my childfree weekends and my stbxh (who is as mean as ever to me) is actually making more effort than ever as he is now coming up with activities for his time with them. I'm less knackered all the time as have more time than ever before to recharge, get lie-ins etc. It really is about spending quality time, not quantity.

I remember the thought that gave me the kick up the backside and got me to get the ball rolling!

"We're their role models for what a relationship/marriage should be, how they should show up on these relationships and what to expect."

I was knackered, taking care of everyone and not getting any tlc. I didn't even have time for self-care! That's all changed now and despite the horrible divorce proceedings (thanks to an angry ex), I would do it all again, and trust that with full commitment to supporting my dcs, they'll be just fine. We all will be.

Do your research. Trust your gut and think about the cost of things staying the way they are. Also, be sure you've tried your best to work things out. We had lots of counselling. I made it explicitly clear that I was happy and was clear about what I needed to change. I didn't make the decision until I knew I had given it my all, and he was not going to change. The only alternative choice I had was to accept things as they were, and that's not one I could've lived with.

Good luck!

thistoosha11pass Sun 02-Jul-17 21:40:17

Thank you Captain, that was so helpful to hear. It's just intolerable here now, I'm so looking forward to moving on to the next stage, even if it is difficult. I too am looking forward every other weekend and having some lie ins, I'm knackered! Living with XDH when he is totally disengaged is exhausting.

plasticcheese Mon 03-Jul-17 08:47:35

Mine were the same age. They are coping with it remarkably well, there are low times of course but kids are more resilient than we sometimes give them credit for. My oldest wants us to be open and honest about what is happening, so secrets, that really helps. Good luck.

RodeoDriveBaby Mon 03-Jul-17 08:54:16

As a child of divorce I'd make sure you think about what's best for them, not what's best for you.

For us that was living with our mum and EOW with our Dad. Unfortunately he wanted us 50/50 (thinking of himself) which was an awful experience - just could never settle in one place. Luckily my mum put her foot down but it got very nasty.

Good luck, you will all be fine - we were all much happier in the end, once the dust had settled flowers

NotJanine Mon 03-Jul-17 10:34:55

Hi Talith

Sorry to hear to hear you are going through this. My DCs are older (teens) but they handled it a lot better than I expected. Kids are pretty adaptable and as long as you don't project your worries on to them they may not see it as badly as you think.

I'm not saying that it won't be tough, but try not to build an image of worst possible scenarios in your head. Take each day as it comes.

Ollivander Mon 03-Jul-17 21:30:06

STBXH and I decided to split over a year ago, I asked him for months to arrange to tell kids (8&4yo), only to be told no.

Behaviour issues with eldest meant school were involved and thought DS may know on some level, which was contributing to his behaviour.

Eventually after numerous parties involved advised we should tell them STBXH agreed. It was surreal, like an out of body experience for me. Like you I took advice from MNers, sat them down in the afternoon and told them we had decided we weren't going to live together any more. Didn't say anything about not loving each other, that has come later as part of the DCs questions. I had to do all the talking as STBXH said he wouldn't as it would mean he would be blamed (go figure, by default leaving me to blame??) DC haven't seen it that way, and like most MNers say have taken it far better than I imagined.

Helped DS behaviour issues as removed some of the unspoken negative atmosphere, even though we never argued in front of DC. And support is available from school once they know. It really can be for the best, get the timing right and be brave. You can't predict how they'll take it but you can be there for them afterwards, to answer any questions and let them know how much you love them. I think my 2 are more settled now than before they knew, although we still haven't gotten to financial disclosure stage as STBXH is stalling, and we're still living together as he won't move out! But that's my side story not yours!

Good luck flowers

user1496940061 Tue 04-Jul-17 10:39:57

Reading and watching with interest.

Going through a split and not yet told the kids - dreading that moment !! Also agree it feels like a bomb will go off!!

We have agreed to have equal parenting (50/50) I gues as we will live close by and believe kids need and will want both parents actively involved in theirs lives.

mrssapphirebright Tue 04-Jul-17 13:04:36

My dc were 8 and 10 when exh and I split. i instigated the split in the August, we waited until the November to tell them. We sorted all the ugly stuff out first. It was hell, but the right thing to do. made sure when we told the dc we were both in a calmer place and actually had stuff to tell them, i.e the reason for the split, who was going to live where etc.

Our kids were fine. we have a 50:50 split and never had any problems with them adjusting. we did put them first at every point though, which is tough. Real tough.

wobytide Tue 04-Jul-17 13:33:31

I can heartily not recommend waiting till your OH goes to work the following morning after deciding to split and telling the children whilst they aren't there. Unless you're a narcissist and then it probably seems a good idea

Talith Tue 04-Jul-17 15:33:11

Thanks all. After more gruesome chats on that day and bolstered by Mumsnet in general we had reached a happier plateau with the next counselling appt planned to figure out the financisl specifics... He will buy me out of the mortgage as opposed to the reverse, which suits me as this place is a money pit. Then yesterday would you fecking believe it he got made redundant. Whilst this is deeply crap it means we have to slow things a little (he was more keen than me to get the physical separation done and dusted). I can see the panicky feeling does pass but bloody hell it's an emotional rollercoaster. Also he has told me he has a (low key) girlfriend now. Someone I know in fact. Whilst this is neither here nor there emotionally as I checked out years ago it is just making everything super surreal.

We have talked more about how to soften the blow for the kids. They share a room at the moment but will be able to have a room each so they can choose the decor and as we live in terraces with odd size rooms DC1 can have the larger room in one house and DC 2 in the other. Onwards...

bimbobaggins Tue 04-Jul-17 19:07:20

Kids are far more resilient than they get given credit for. We had both checked out of the relationship a long time before the official split and the atmosphere in the house was unbearable so when we officially split it was a relief.
It did take a period of adjustment getting used to shared care etc but both of us were so much happier seperated that is was a positive thing for my ds

user1496940061 Wed 05-Jul-17 14:58:53

Everyone tells me that kids will be ok and adapt very quickly. But it is heartbreaking to know their little lives will change for ever. They will probably never remember living as a proper family. We were a great family and really had lots of fun and home was happy filled with love. But now it's broken and I can't fix it !
Going to be such a tough period ahead for all of us.

RodeoDriveBaby Wed 05-Jul-17 15:01:26

They will probably never remember living as a proper family

Single parent families ARE proper families smile

user1496940061 Wed 05-Jul-17 15:05:28

Sorry i did not mean to offend
I meant as a family with mom n dad.

RodeoDriveBaby Wed 05-Jul-17 15:23:13

You didn't offend, I was just pointing out that all families are valid and can be happy.

A two parent family is ONLY the ideal if both are happy.

bimbobaggins Wed 05-Jul-17 18:20:55

User that is quite insulting, there are many many reasons why couples split it, but it's seriously not the end of the world if m&d aren't together.
I know a couple of families who are living in absolutely misery because they don't want to split up for the sake of the kids.
I also know people whose life as a child was miserable because their parents stayed together for their sake . I know what I prefer. Although my exp died recently so it's just me and dc, definitely not a proper family then

If things are so wonderful why are you splitting up?

user1496940061 Wed 05-Jul-17 19:48:59

I have said i meant no offence and hope you can understand what I was saying.

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