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Recently separated. Best ways to manage transition for my daughter?

(3 Posts)
aztec Wed 11-Sep-13 08:10:27

Apologies if I am not following the proper etiquette but this is my first ever post here.

Quick summary of my situation: My wife and I have recently separated, she has gone to live with her mum for the time being as it's unclear whether the separation will be temporary or more permanent. In comparison to how the house felt like while she was here at times, I think it's for the best right now but I hold out hope that we might be able to resolve things through counselling. I'm not convinced my wife shares the same thoughts however, but we will see.

We bought a house about 3 months ago. About 2 months ago I discovered she was having an affair and then we separated about 2 weeks ago. She's living with her mother on the other side of the city and my daughter lives with me most of the time.

I'm interested in trying to manage the situation as well as possible so that my daughter does not feel too affected by the changes in circumstances. My wife and I came to the arrangement that on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays X (my daughter) stays with me. On Tuesdays and Thursdays X's grandmother picks her up from school and she stays with them. The weekends have tended to be a mixture depending on what the situation is.

If anything, since the separation it means X now sees more of her mother that she would have before as my wife used to leave for work before X woke and got home well after X had gone to sleep and so it's probably a very positive thing in this way.

Are there any specific pieces of advice people would give in terms of dealing with the separation as well as possible for the sake of the little one?

(Sorry if it's too long - I've deleted whole chunks to make it more readable as it is!)

somersethouse Wed 11-Sep-13 08:21:35

Firstly, you sound like a lovely father and I am sorry for your situation.

I have found that, since separating from my husband, routine is key. Also, to have it all down in writing, not 'let's see at the weekend', you need to have your plans and your child needs to know what they are doing.

So, as you are doing already, we Split up the time. You are doing more than most fathers. I do the following ... Wednesday nights my DD is with him and rather than every other weekend, for the whole weekend, every Saturday night and Sunday day she is with him. Neither of us wanted a whole weekend without her and neither would she.

The law where I live is Wednesday nights and every other weekend.

We keep things civil and as my DD was only 4 when this happened, it is normal to her I think. She seems very happy. She also gets more attention from her father, much as you describe the situation with your child and her mother.

We both do not criticise the other and get all excited as in 'oh you are going to see papa today, how wonderful, you will be doing such lovely things etc etc'

Good luck OP smile

aztec Wed 11-Sep-13 14:40:01

Thanks for the reply. I'm definitely keen on as much routine as possible as I've found it helps my daughter a lot, the only problem is that my wife hates the idea of having routines and resists them at every opportunity.

I hadn't considered having it all down in writing as I think I'm holding out hope that our situation can still be resolved and am trying to resist any moves to make it feel more permanent. My wife has some anger management issues that she has admitted she needs expert help in dealing with but to my knowledge hasn't been back to see the psychologist after her first session and I've said that us going to some counselling together would be a condition of us getting back together.

The criticism thing is interesting. I always used to suggest to my daughter that she shouldn't say that she loves me more than her mum and that she should love us both equally but I've been less inclined to do that recently and let her comments pass without a response. Also, it sounds like my wife's mother is trying to influence my daughter with comments I hear second-hand through my daughter. Things like: "daughters should be with their mothers" and "women have to stick together". My mother-in-law doesn't know that my wife was having an affair, and although I'd quite like her to know, it's not my place to tell her and could cause more problems.

I'm just a little bit concerned that some kind of stealth persuasion is going on to try to get my daughter to want to spend less time with me, but I guess if I just keep on being who I am with her and taking care of her well then it shouldn't be too much of an issue'

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