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Telling the kids he's leaving

(36 Posts)
Gordonbennit Wed 17-Jan-18 18:45:24

Just after some advice on the 'daddy's leaving chat'

Our boys are only 3,5 & 7 should we wait till DH does actually move out then tell them, or tell them before hand to kind of prepare them for when the time comes. Iv read stuff on here regards to leaving out the details like reasons were splitting which I understand.

Generally anything important I talk to kids about or do with kids should I carry this on by me taking to them alone or should me and soon to be ex talk to them together about it?

What do you think? Do you think at that age they will even understand what we mean?

I feel really nervous and a bit sick about this up coming chat sad

OP’s posts: |
BathTangle Wed 17-Jan-18 18:52:25

Am sure someone more experienced will be along with advice soon but my thoughts would be that you should sit down together to make it clear that while you will not live together any more, you as parents both love them all and will still both be involved in their lives.

When friends of mine did this, it was the DH who did most of the speaking as it was him who was leaving the family home and he made it clear that he wasn't leaving the children, but that he would be living in a different place where they would be able to stay with him about half the time. They told the children before he left.

Ilovecrumpets Wed 17-Jan-18 20:46:02

Hello Gordon

I’ve just been through this recently. Not sure I necessarily got it right but me and my husband sat down together to tell them. I’d read it was better to present it as a joint decision, so we did that, to stress we still loved them and were a family, just different. I told them when they would see daddy etc ( although they obviously need this repeating a lot). Also that they can talk to us at any time. We told them on the Saturday morning and my husband left Sunday evening before tea. I know some advice is to give the kids even longer - say a week - between telling and someone moving out, so they have a chance to get used to the idea and speak to both parents.

My husband was going to do the talking ( as his decision to leave) but when it came down to it I actually had to do it with him there. My kids are 3 and nearly 6 - my 3 year old understood something, my 6 year old fully understood. He asked a lot of questions that weekend - particularly ‘why’ an awful lot, so maybe think what you will say.

Hugs to you - I won’t lie, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done and it was absolutely heartbreaking seeing my eldest’s face. However I felt much better once it was done - I think you are in the most difficult place now waiting to tell. Also - it hasn’t been long - but so far my D.C. seem to be doing ok.

You might also want to tell any school teachers in advance so they can provide support.

MrsBertBibby Wed 17-Jan-18 21:09:42

You might find some helpful stuff here

Gordonbennit Thu 18-Jan-18 08:00:33

Thanks everyone for your advice - il have read of the link later today, I know it won't be easy, guess it will be take a deep breath and blurt it out.

As its my decision for their dad to leave (although he agrees the time has come) I will not doubt do the talking, out of guilt if nothing else.

He's only moving to a 1 bed property and has said he will alternate having a different child each week, so I can't even say to them you can all go visit together.

It is what is it is I guess - I keep reminding myself of all the times he's pissed me off and not been bothered when I get a bit cold feet about the move.

I'm dreading telling my family too-their all a bit 'put up and shut up' types, which is how I got into this one sided relationship I guess!

Have a good day all - hope it's a smooth one grin x

OP’s posts: |
GeorgeTheHamster Thu 18-Jan-18 08:03:53

Woman's hour yesterday had a good piece on this, and there's a podcast.

Having one child at a time is an awful idea, and very unusual. Are you sure you want to agree to that?

DuckOffAutocorrectYouShiv Thu 18-Jan-18 08:32:46

I agree that splitting the children up is an awful idea and likely to add to their emotional trauma. If it means he can’t have them overnight then so be it. Or he can get a sofabed and let the children sleep in his bed and he can sleep on the sofa bed when then stay over.

I’m sorry you’re going through this, OP. It can’t be easy. flowers

MrsBertBibby Thu 18-Jan-18 08:33:28

I assume It's to make sure you can't be seeing someone new.

My partner spent ages in a 1 bed flat while they sorted finances, his 2 boys stayed over very happily, it was cramped but he made it work. Although you need to get him in a
position to afford a more suitable home asap.

Gordonbennit Thu 18-Jan-18 10:59:27

Possibly the idea was mineblush can't remember now....the thinking behind it is

Dad will have them all together all day Saturday while I'm at work - then 1 will sleep at his, this way he can do something nice with that child and I can do something nice with the other 2 as no-one seems to get any special time with either parent...As one of the boys has learning issues when they are all out together it can become a bit of a farce as he winds the others up.

My thinking now - which could change I suppose is - I don't want them all to stay out together and me be alone without them. I know I could do things with friends etc but the lil 2 have never slept out and I'm not bothered about going out drinking or anything at the moment.

Their dad has taken this flat as its the cheapest he could find as he doesn't know how he will manage money wise.

Oh no you've all got me worried now....I'm completely trying to just see all this through rose tinted glasses though confused

OP’s posts: |
misscph1973 Thu 18-Jan-18 11:19:36

I have just been through this, we told DC (10 and 13) a few months before XH moved out. It worked well, they had time to adjust and they saw that we could still spend time together as a family, that it was "just" us a couple splitting up, not the family. DC ended up being very involved in XH's move and they actually enjoyed it.

I do understand that your situation is different, your DC are younger and one has learning issues. So maybe taking turns is not so bad. It's a good idea that your STBXH spends time in the family home while you work. Have you considered you staying at his flat for the weekend while he is in your house with DC? It might work.

You feeling lonely once a week is the least of your problems. You will adjust. I tell my DC that I will miss them, but mostly I will be looking forward to seeing them again and tell them to have a great time. You need to be strong, they will feel terrible if you show them you are sad. Show them you are still you. Fake it till you make it.

Ilovecrumpets Thu 18-Jan-18 12:10:20

Gordon flowers I know how hard the thought of being without the kids is at first. It was something I really struggled with.

However what I have realised and witnessed since telling the kids is how important time with their dad is to them. And I think they really gain a lot from having an overnight with their dad - even if I find it hard ( although I have found itnisnt as bad as I thought it would be!). My eldest in particular really wants to be with his dad overnight.

I also have the problem of not being able to afford for my husband to have somewhere at the moment. What I am doing - and I wouldn’t want to long term as it is difficult but as an interim - is I am moving out of the family home one night a week every other week ( will shortly maybe change to two) and I also let him have the kids at the house every Sunday and try to be out of the house that day. I am currently staying with friends but may have to stay in his place. As I say I wouldn’t want to do it long term - and it becomes even more difficult having to work out how my husband can have sufficient time with them at holidays but it is very important to the kids - as something to work towards even if you can’t do it now.

My youngest (just 3) had only spent one night without me prior to this ( not through my choice!) and he seems to have adapted fine.

Obviously only you know your kids and ex and situation and there may be very valid reasons why it wouldn’t work for you.

GeorgeTheHamster Thu 18-Jan-18 13:15:20

Ah ok, so they will be with him together in the day, it's just the overnight in their own.

If you think about what they need (separately from you you want for yourself), do you think this is the best option for them?

Gordonbennit Thu 18-Jan-18 14:23:04

Thanks for the advice..I think we will tell them in advance then so they can get used to the idea while we are both at home still to answer questions. Also you mentioning your son enjoyed helping with the move sounds good. They could choose some pictures for daddy to take to his new house and things like that...I hadn't thought of things that way before but sounds better than - daddys going and he's going tomorrow.

The overnight issue.

I see from two ways....they would love time alone with daddy.

I don't actually think he would have them all overnight at his.

The idea of me moving out for a night could work better though. I will put this to him later see what he thinks.

At the min he's been ok about things but feel as thought this could be the calm before the storm, I'm imagining in future when he alone in his flat the resentment might set in and him become awkward not wanting me to have any fun etc so I'm trying not to dictate too much about how things will be.

OP’s posts: |
misscph1973 Thu 18-Jan-18 14:39:47

I think at the end of the day if you DC are happy, then you stand a better chance of being happy. Your DC need both their parents, you have to step outside and look at the situation and see how you can minimise the damage. Part of that is ensuring that your STBXH has a chance to see his DC and also have a reasonable place to stay - it'sin your best interests.

If you work at doing what's best for the whole family, then you will feel better about the whole thing (I am sure you have feelings of guilt, regret, panic etc). Obviously do not sacrifice your self, but try to work out a solution that works for everybody.

At the moment I feel that I am bending over backwards to accommodate my XH, and the DC are blind to this. I grit my teeth and detach from all my anger and hurt from the relationship and focus on the future.

I did actually suggest "birds nesting", that's what you call moving in and out of the family home, to my XH, but he didn't like the idea. Personally I think it's a good short term idea, as it's expensive to split up and for younger children this apparently works well. I have a male acquaintance, he basically can't afford anything after he has paid rent for his flat after he moved out from the family home. He is so depressed and he is having trouble hiding it from the DC when he sees them. I really think that they would all be so much happier if they had rented a room for the parents to share while moving in and out of the family home, just for a year or so, and that they should have sold the family home and gotten new mortages for both of them.

Ilovecrumpets Thu 18-Jan-18 15:27:02

Gordon I am sure you will work out what is best. My husband also comes and does bath and bed two times during the week. Again I try to work late those nights, or meet a friend or just do something so he is on his own with them - although the first week I came back just in time for a goodnight kiss so they understood I would be there. It does seemed to have helped them knowing they still see their dad regularly and I have found it has lessened the chance of conflict between me and my ex being out ( and just accepting they may end up in bed later than I would like!).

Ilovecrumpets Thu 18-Jan-18 15:30:34

I think the other thing that is hard, is just accepting the compromises you need to make when divorcing. So I hate having to be out of my house all Sunday and fill the day and also would rather be in my house than going to stay with a friend every other weekend. But I just have to accept that this needs to happen for a while - and my life will be less comfortable - as a consequence of separating. As misscph says I thinknitnis much easier to get your head round if you just focus on the kids and see it as a phase you need to get through on the journey of separation.

Gordonbennit Thu 18-Jan-18 20:35:07

Yes your right, as ever it would seem since iv been phase leads to another to another and so on.

At the moment I'm in limbo, like when you are pregnant for the first time. You know you will have a baby and when, but to actually imagine life with the baby is hard to do, until it's here it's not really real (that is what I found anyway, if that makes any sense!!)

Il speak to him tomorrow about all this anyway - you have all given me lots of food for thought, thanks for the hand holding!

Hope all your lovely children went to bed happily without a peep flowers

OP’s posts: |
Ilovecrumpets Fri 19-Jan-18 07:46:15

Gordon that’s a great analogy re being pregnant! I will remind myself of that ( because although it remains challenging and the challenges change you do adapt and work it out!)

Good luck with telling the D.C. - am sure you will feel much better once it is done. I hated the feeling I wasn’t being honest with them before we told them. Also although it is really hard and sad and even though my husband was the one who made the decision - I do - most days - feel better at some level ( even with the sadness and fear about the future) as I have lost all the resentment I had towards him as I now have no real expectations of him. That was like a huge weight lifting!

misscph1973 Fri 19-Jan-18 12:36:29

Agree with Ilovevrumpets, great analogy, it's certainly a process. This quote helped me immensely in the early days: "If you are going through hell, keep walking".

I also felt much better after we told DC. I didn't want to tell them before Christmas, but XH thought it would be best, and on the advice of some friends I agreed. And although it was hard and sad, it was the right thing to do.

Ilovecrumpets, I know what you mean with no longer feeling resentment or having expectations, I had that. When we were married (well, we still are, but we are separated) I had so much resentment towards XH and loads of unmet expectations. I no longer have that, and it's such a relief. I do still have my moments, though, if we disagree. But I try to look ahead and avoid retaliating if I feel attacked, as it only makes things worse. I am getting better at detaching!

Ilovecrumpets Fri 19-Jan-18 19:51:21

missc that is exactly it - the detachment. For me it was so strange I just had this moment when I realised he would never give me what I needed, genuinely didn’t appreciate all the sacrifices I had made and was making for our family. I think he always must appreciate it really - but nope. It was when he wa telling me he was leaving - it was like a lightbulb moment and I just let go of any hope of getting what I needed from him.

Obviously it still gets to me at times and I am not a paragon of zen, but genuinely it was like a huge weight just lifted. To be replaced with intense sadness but that is in some ways easier to handle, because I know one day it will lift.

misscph1973 Sat 20-Jan-18 10:47:07

crumpets, it's very conflicting emotions, isn't it? You know it's for the best and that you are on the right track, but it's also painful.

Now my XH is living on his own, he's doing all kinds of things he would never do for/with me. I thought I would feel really bitter and resentful, and I am a bit, but I am actually also feeling very pleased for him! We are both in our mid 40s and we both needed to grow/change, and it just wasn't happening with the dynamic in our relationship. So far (2 weeks) we are both really enjoying living on our own. There was so much tension between us, and we were so stuck in negative patterns.

Gordonbennit Sat 20-Jan-18 19:19:14

The negative pattern is where me and my STBX have been for, well I can't remember when it started really, I always imagined that life would be so different with him and kind of thought maybe he's disinterested in Us this week but soon he'll come round...I always imagined one Sunday he'll jump of out bed 'come on family lets go out and have some fun!' But no, that was just my pipe dream. He was more bothered about having a lie in. I realised eventually he will never change, he always said his best was never good enough for me - but I learned over time that it was never actually his best he gave us, just as much as he felt like at the time.

Oh well I'v crossed one bridge telling him to go, many more bridges to come no doubt.

Its so sad that we feel sad but thank you for your input, I do appreciate reading how you've both felt and how you are managing the positives. I think I mourned the death of my relationship a long time ago but sure once the door shuts and he's out it will all come out again.

flowersflowers to you all - your kids will one day be so proud of the strength youve found I'm sure smile

OP’s posts: |
Ilovecrumpets Sat 20-Jan-18 19:59:13

Gordon that’s exactly it - I don’t know why I thought one day he would change but I really did, for a very long time, and made so many sacrifices. thinking that one day he would put us first. I can see now we were in a very negative cycle.

I hope you are getting through the days OK. Once he has left it will probably feel a lot better, as then you can get on with actually dealing with it and helping the kids rather than having all these unrealised worries. I think you can take strength from the fact that you have taken the decision to leave - I’m not sure I would ever have been strong enough to do that. It’s only now I am out I can see quite how bad things were.

The other thing I am realising is it is ok to feel how you feel. I have had a lot of people telling me I should be angry, not to be pleasant to him etc etc. Whereas I feel like I spent all my anger and resentment in the relationship. And I think that is OK!

As I’ve mentioned on another thread my lovely friend who has been through this said to me ‘the sun will shine again’. I try it remember that when things seem really tough. flowers

misscph1973 Sun 21-Jan-18 08:54:14

Very similar here! We had a lot of hard times in our relationship, and I think on an unconscious level I was always thinking that when we had more money, when the DC were older, then we would have a better relationship. But of course this never happened!

I had to admit to myself that I was never going to get what I wanted out of the relationship. It was very hard to admit to myself, it felt like I had failed.

I hope you all had a good weekend. I have been working and I am picking DC up from XH this afternoon, can't wait to see them.

Keepingcoolwhenitshot Tue 23-Jan-18 14:53:00

Following. Have to tell my D.C. 4,7 and 9 that we are separating. We live abroad and I am moving back to UK with them in a couple of months. My xh/ h / their dad will follow a couple of months after. Heartbreaking, gut wrenching but similar, my needs will never be met and I will never be 'good enough' for him in his eyes. So painful and makes me feel a failure too. Dreading telling the dc and wondering when to. Is two months too long for them to know?

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