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To people who have separated, how do you get over the pain of seeing your children less?

(28 Posts)
shocked2 Sat 18-Jun-11 15:11:36

For lots of different reasons I do not want to be with dh anymore. Were it not for the children we would have gone our separate ways I am sure. As usual, since it is the weekend and dh is here, I feel down and withdrawn. I feel intimidated by his sarcasm and short temper and kind of wait till Monday to start living again - unless that is somebody is coming to our house and then I can relax more. However, kids are 5, 7 and 9 and can't get my head round seeing them less. I think it's right that many mothers and fathers now get shared care but don't know if I could handle seeing them only 50% of the time sad. Also can't get my head round the fact that their world would implode sad.
There are lots of things I need to sort out in the house but because of the situation between dh and I or the way he is, I feel totally unable to get on and do them - does this sound familiar or am I making excuses??

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 18-Jun-11 15:18:07

Would their world implode?

Or would they feel happier with two parents who were living apart but who were happy? Don't underestimate the impact it has on a child when a parent is unhappy. Don't you think they would prefer you to be happy?

You may see them a bit less, but when you are with them you will be happier and more relaxed. Won't that be worth it?

smokinaces Sat 18-Jun-11 15:26:59

Would your partner want shared care? My ex didnt want 50/50 split - he is quite happy with 24 hours every weekend. Means although I see less of the kids, and miss them, I get a good amount of time to myself to relax.

My children were younger when we split, but I was 11-13 when my parents broke up (it took a while!) and believe me I was relieved when it finally happened.

waterrat Sat 18-Jun-11 15:34:52

When your children are grown up, would you want them being in a relationship like the one you are in now? Sadly, the longer they watch and (unconsciously) learn that 'this' is what relationships are - the more likely they are to follow your pattern. Children take in so much - no matter what you try to hide, they will be seeing and learning - they may learn that unhappiness, bottled emotions, living in fear and sadness are normal. THey wont get the chance to see a happy, confident relationship in action - or even a happy confident mum in action.

YOur children need to learn that life is what you make it, and that they can choose happiness - for this, they need to see you happy. Although you would miss them - you are already really sad and unhappy now - are you sure they would be with him half the time? I imagine its more normal for children to have a single home.

letitlie Sat 18-Jun-11 15:38:47

I'm with The Magnificent. It doesn't have to implode, it just has to change, and also agree with the comments about happiness.

I will not pretend its easy and yes, I miss my children terribly when they are with their Dad, but they now get to spend time in a happy house (hopefully 2 but I can't vouch for the XH's) rather than a miserable one

winnybella Sat 18-Jun-11 15:44:55

My parents divorce when I was 8 and I was soooo relieved.

We do 50/50 split with DS- week with me, week with ex. Works ok. Ex is a twat (although a reasonably good father) and still seems to hate me for leaving so I think that stresses DS out (i.e. ex's hostility towards me). They have a very close relationship, though. I got used to it and tbh I don't really miss him much when he's gone-maybe just the first day iyswim but time flies. We also split holidays so he'll be going to his paternal gps in July and then with me to visit my mum for most of August. We also live a mile apart, so sometimes I see DS during ex's week or take him when ex works.

Diggs Sat 18-Jun-11 15:57:44

I LOVE my time away from my kids ! Ive got a social life again , i can go out for the first time in years and do what i want , im certainly not sat here crying into my weetabix about having a entire child free weekend ! I know im meant to bleat about missing them but i dont . Its nice to have a break and be a person again .

And would he even be able to do the 50 / 50 thing ? Does he work ? Even if he doesnt , that sort of arrangement doesnt always work out in the kids best interest , theyre sometimes not keen on keep packing bags and shuffling between differant houses . I would avoid phrases like " world imploding " as it is quite dramatic and very negative . Their world will not implode , it will change . They will probably have a better relationship with their dad , theyll probably spend more quality time with him. Theyll have a mum whos happy again and theyll see that it isnt ok to treat people like your husbands treating you .

Having said that , it isnt easy and theres lots to consider . Are you absoluteley positive its over ? Have you discussed the possibility of a divorce ? The sad thing is that some men only realise what they stand to lose when theyre sat in a shit flat on their own eating pot noodles in their underpants , but then its too late .

shocked2 Sat 18-Jun-11 16:43:05

I find dh intimidating to talk to about anything to do with "us" - consequently I have no idea of what he thinks about our "relationship". We rub along okay during the week but I feel anxious a lot of the weekend due to his abrasive manner, bad moods and sarcasm.... This morning it was the fact that there wasn't enough margarine... That sort of things upsets me and I then find I withdraw completely and feel as if I am walking on eggshells. Dh is all over the dc of a weekend and there are no nice words or physical affection between him and me... I don't know if this means that things are over or not. I do know that dh and I do not talk about anything of any importance and I feel TOTALLY incapable of doing so because he very quickly gets angry and counter-accuses. He would say that all the problems in our relationship are due to having a messy house. I find his communication style aggressive and feel totally and absolutely not important to him. It is possible that he feels the same way of course.

shocked2 Sat 18-Jun-11 16:43:43

When I say he is all over the dc, I mean that he is cuddling them etc...

woeisme48 Sat 18-Jun-11 16:52:29

I know exactly how you feel and could have written similar...time for a show down with him to find out what is going on instead of just reacting to him all the time.
I did this and cleared the air and told him his behaviour was unacceptable.

Gay40 Sat 18-Jun-11 16:53:07

This is going to sound harsh, but you'll learn to love your little bit of free time and even look forward to it. I do. It doesn't mean I love her any the less, and there is the odd moment when I'm doing something and I have a little twinge of missing, but I do enjoy my own time, even if it is just jobs in the house.
Plus, I know DD is with her father and he is just as entitled to time with her. It doesn't really feel like I see her less. She seems to come back as quick as she went, if you know what I mean. Plus I get to work longer for a few days and then have shorter days when she's here.
It's ALL about maintaining communications with the ex. DP and DD's father split amicably and still are very fond of each other, so we have it easier than most.

Diggs Sat 18-Jun-11 17:11:24

He sounds emotionally abusive and controlling Op . I think i would arrange some counselling for yourself before you make any major decisions .

shocked2 Sat 18-Jun-11 17:22:48

Thanks for messages everyone. Not being rude at all Diggs, but how do you think counselling just for me would help? (Really want to know your thoughts as I have considered it as well, but in some ways I think it is dh who needs counselling!).
I spend a lot of weekends feeling frozen into inactivity but don't know if I would be like this anyway, or if this is a result of not getting on with dh.

malinkey Sat 18-Jun-11 20:16:50

Sounds like your DP needs more than counselling! And while you think that might be an option for him, you can't make him do it and you can't make him change.

Counselling for you could help you to understand why you think it is ok to put up with being abused by someone who's supposed to love and care for you. You might come to realise that you really are worth so much more than that. It might help you to understand that you are not responsible for his behaviour, only in how you respond to it and in what you are prepared to accept.

Have you read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft? Might help you understand some of your DP's behaviour.

And if you do split up, the childcare won't necessarily be split 50/50. Would that be in the best interests of the children? Do you and your DP currently split care that way? If not, it wouldn't follow that the children would spend half of their time with their dad if you are the primary carer and do the majority of the care at the moment. I would also recommend reading The Guide for Separated Parents: Putting your Children First which gives great advice on how to put the children first in your decisions should you split up.

waterrat Sat 18-Jun-11 20:23:41

shocked - counselling is such an amazing tool to express pent up feelings, talk about how you have got to this position and how to move forward - both out of the relationship and to ensure you don't end up with another controlilng man in the future. IN the end, you cannot change him - and counselling that actually works needs deep commitment - so rather than thinking about his needs or behaviour - you can go and start to sort your own feeling out. If you find a good counsellor it will be a refuge and a place to rebuild yourself. Im sure there are reasons in your past why you have ended up in a relationship where someone is unkind to you - is it what you think is normal? You can unpick all of that in a safe space.

It will also help you look at painful issues like this - the welfare of your children and how you feel about missing out on time with them - and will let you really think abouthow you feel.

shocked2 Sat 18-Jun-11 22:12:38

Thank you. Is it normal to feel totally unable to talk about anything with your partner apart from very practical stuff? Feel totally down and depressed today and dh and I have hardly said a word to each other yet he does not seem to have noticed. I actually feel kind of dead and as if I will never be able to do all the things I want to do through being woolly headed and indecisive.

The thing about leaving dh is that I am not blameless in the breakdown of our relationship. There are lots of things I could have done differently. Also he works extremely hard during the week trying to cover mortgage and debt.... Isn't it then awful to limit someone's access to their children by swanning off? I'm afraid I cannot see the wood for the trees and as no outsider is ever with us really (and if they were dh would not tell me off in the way he is prone to doing at weekends especially), there is no outside voice to validate the way I am feeling - totally energy less and as if I am never going to get anything accomplished again.

Blethermouse Sun 19-Jun-11 10:52:27

I think he is making you feel negative and you are being badly affected by the atmosphere in the house and his lack of communication.
You are losing all your confidence in what you want to do.
Step 1... tell him you are not happy with the status quo re how he tells you off and never working on projects together and communicating.
Step 2 tell him these issues must be resolved as you are unhappy and he has to change his behaviour and it is not your fault.
Tell him you will tell family and friends above if you want to.
Set a finite time of about 6 weeks to get back on track or you want a trial separation.
Stick up for yourself, but in a fair way .

malinkey Sun 19-Jun-11 12:04:11

In answer to your question, no it is not normal to be unable to talk to your partner and it is not normal for him to ignore you and to tell you off like a naughty schoolchild. It sounds horrific. Also for your DCs to witness him treating you like that is very unhealthy - they might learn that that is how women should be treated.

It doesn't matter whether you are blameless or not - it certainly doesn't sound like you now have any type of relationship at all. I suspect that all his blaming and criticising of you is making you feel that way anyway. And your inability to see the wood for the trees could be helped by talking it all through with a counsellor. Why don't you book an appointment to talk to someone and see how it goes?

devastatedofdorset Sun 19-Jun-11 12:34:29

i sympathise with you - i split from my husband just after Xmas when i caught him having an affair and asked him to leave. He believes that he is entitled to 50 % of our DD's time - he sees her twice a week after school and one full day at a weekend and this isnt enough for him.

Whilst my situation is different to yours i can understand how you feel. I do enjoy my free time now though - this will come for you too although if someone had said this to me 5 months ago i would not have agreed with them.

Stay strong and do what is right for you - lots of others have commented that it isnt right to stay in an unhappy marriage and i think that they are right- everyone deserves more than that.

Vix1980 Sun 19-Jun-11 19:41:29

I read something on here last week that could help you, Its better to say you come from a broken home than to say you live in one.

My parents split up when i was young, i only got to see my dad every sunday for a few hours but i loved it, i had my mum all week who would look after me,play with me etc, then at the sunday id get taken out by my dad and get to see all his side of the family. Sure in the back of my mind i wish things had been different but faced with this situation that they were both unhappy together it couldnt of gone more perfect. Dont underestimate your children, they can probably sense the tension anyway so giving them a happy household with a chance to see their parents at their happiest is all a child could ask for.

You will definatly learn to love your new found freedom too, although it will be a hard wretch to get use too it will certainly come to you in time x

Diggs Mon 20-Jun-11 11:42:13

Counselling is really good in these situations op as you have probably lost sight of what is normal and healthy , as you say , there is no outside voice to help you validate what your feeling . Youll be feeling a lot of guilt about the possibility of splitting up and if *things really are that bad*and an outside opinion can be a real eye opener . Sometimes its enought just to have someone say the way your being treated isnt ok .

It will also help you discover why your here . For me it was the usual story , my own father was an abusive dickhead and it was totally normal to be around that sort of behaviour .I had no boundrys whatsoever ( what were those ?!) and so started to get some . In all honesty , the counseller did for me what my mother should have done when i was very small , ie , tell me its ok to say No , its ok to expect to be treated properly ect . I learnt i had a tendancy to ignore things i didnt want to see , and that my reluctance to assert myself had come at a heavy price , i had replayed my parents marriage and married a man just like my dad .

Consider contacting womens Aid who will refer you to a local centre . The one i went to was just a house that i had passed many times without realising what it was . It was honestly just like going for a brew with an old freind , she was loveley .

Something i discovered i had been doing ( which we all do ) was affording my H and others special rights just because we were in a relationship . I was told that if i wasnt sure whether it was ok , to replace H with someone else . So in your position , swap your H with a freind who ignores you , is aggresive with you , who you dont feel you can talk to and who intimidates you ect . Would you accept that in a freindship ? Of course not . It would be clearly abusive and everyone would wonder why you were freinds with such a horrible person . You wouldnt want that person round your kids modelling this shit behaviour .

allegrageller Mon 20-Jun-11 11:51:05

I can tell you 50/50 will be hard for you (2 years down the line it is still incredibly hard for me. I lose interest in life when the kids arent' with me, even though they often drive me mad when they are ;))

However, the flexibility of life without kids can be a boon. You have to try to enjoy it.

Also I have to say that my kids don't seem to mind it and that after all is the important thing- them not me. My grief is incidental if I can give them a good time when they are here (not that I feel I always do!! Life as a p/t single parent is very odd and hard to get used to.)

My ex was a hugely controlling lawyer who got 50:50 largely through intimidation and because I was severely depressed at the time we split. Unless your ex is prepared to take injunctions out on you at every turn and can afford wraparound care as mine can, bear in mind he's very unlikely to get 50:50.

NewXBea Mon 20-Jun-11 13:09:38

Just wanted to add, it wont always feel like this.
Hard though it is to imagine from where you are now, but you may well get used to it and even start to like your time apart even if you still miss your kids.
I'm 9 months on and am without my boy on Thursday and Friday nights. I hated it at first, and avoided the empty house, but now, I am also really starting to appreciate having time to myself and my adult social life. Little by little this can build in to a new positive life for your self. Maybe not the one you imagined but a good one all the same.

I am also much less convinced than I used to be that this is bad in any fundamental way for my boy. He doesn't like to leave me, and I feel angry at my ex for putting him through that sadness, but he does have a good time when he's there, and I know he gets to grow when he's apart from me too.
It certainly doesn't weaken our bond in any way.

It will get easier.

carlywurly Mon 20-Jun-11 13:43:34

I miss my dc's when they're away and hated the first weekend without them so much I made myself ill. Six months on, I'd met dp and we went to Paris for a long weekend. I started to see the benefits of shared parenting. Things can change so quickly!

Try and look at the free time as a positive and fill it with things for you which are difficult to do with dc's around - shopping, exercising, socialising or trips away.

I now love both my weekends with the dc's and those without. They're completely different but great in their own way. Give it time though, it's tough to start with.

barbiegrows Mon 20-Jun-11 14:07:17

Shocked2 - you are the story of my life - I see it time and time again. I am now trying to detach myself from his hostility (still in the relationship).

You are probably exhausted. This kind of behaviour is tolerable for a while, we cope with it, muddle along, offer excuses. The kids come along and you really have to cope because you don't want the whole family upset. You are still in the relationship because you are strong - but now it's too much and you may be starting to cave in. This is completely natural. You should not have to fight to survive emotionally.

To answer your question - As main carer I don't think you would only have 50% of your kids' time - generally it's 'every other weekend' - that's what I see from many of my friends. I would like to add that I'm only still with DP because it's a crap time to leave and it's now been 25 years, also my DCs are a lot older than yours. Yours will be fine with a complete change of scene because they are still very young.

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