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How to tell family about separation ...

(11 Posts)
EsperaTaChikita Tue 28-Jun-11 13:17:15

So, things are complicated. H and I have split up. Lawyers are thrashing out a separation agreement, but the general gist is we will live together for the next 2 years, albeit legally separated, and then I eventually petition for divorce in 2013.

Now, I speak to my siblings once a week or so, but I've never ever discussed anything relationship-wise with them, despite H and I being together for over 10 years. As H and I will still be living together, I don't know whether there is any point telling my family about the separation now, or just waiting till the divorce goes through in 2 years' time. I'm not one for big family announcements and don't really think I can face all the questions that are bound to arise. To them, it will seem like a bolt out of the blue, especially given that we've both attended two big family events in the past year.

But I worry about them possibly finding out from other people. I know I would be hurt if the roles were reversed and I found out something like this from someone else, even though we aren't that close. Plus, my H is planning on letting his family know when he next visits them abroad, and it again doesn't seem fair that his side will know and my side won't.

I thought about just sending out a group text, but that somehow felt like it would be a rather cowardly way out and perhaps not very appropriate (given I am from a rather traditional background). So, how best to go about telling them and sidestepping the awkwardness that is bound to follow?

EsperaTaChikita Tue 28-Jun-11 13:45:12

Unashamed <bump>

nocake Tue 28-Jun-11 13:52:37

It is worth telling them either in person or on the phone, for all the reasons you've given. Please don't text them as it's very impersonal. How about doing it when your H tells his family? I phoned my parents, making sure they were both there when I told them. It meant they could talk to each other about it after the phone call without me being there.

However you choose to do it, it's not easy but it will be a huge relief when you've done it. Keep that in mind if you find your courage wavering.

mumblechum1 Tue 28-Jun-11 13:52:50

Firstly, why are you staying in the same house? I'm a family lawyer and although sometimes it takes a few months to sort out rented accom for one party, staying living together for two years is unheard of to me and I've been in practice for 25 years.

secondly, so far as telling family are concerned, I'd get on with it if I were you irrespective of the fact that one of you hasn't yet moved out, otherwise you're still going to receive joint invites for family occasions.

When I split with my first husband, I phoned my parents and told them that we'd decided to separate (didn't go into any detail whatsoever), and gave them my new address. They respected my privacy by not asking for any details, but told my sister and I suppose any wider family, and just let me know that they were there for me if I needed anything.

miranda66 Tue 28-Jun-11 14:03:14

I split up with my ex five years ago, and was absolutely dreading telling my parents - felt I had let them down etc.

However, I knew in my heart of hearts that I HAD to tell them, and to do it face to face. It was very upsetting for both parties but I was relieved I had done it that way.

Btw, they are still friends with my ex - he visits occasionally with our daughter. I have no problem with that at all.

EsperaTaChikita Tue 28-Jun-11 14:17:44

We don't have to live in the same house - it's just that, financially, it's easier. We can't afford to sell the house at the moment (negative equity), and we have associated loans between us that will make it hard to manage were either of us to move out straight away. There's also toddler DS to consider. At the risk of outing myself, I start training as a lawyer this year - the hours I'll be doing mean that there's no way DS could stay with me full-time, short of getting a nanny, which we also can't afford. I can't bear the thought of moving out, leaving him with H and only seeing him on weekends (if that!) together with being financially worse off.

I've calculated that living together for the next two years, hard as it will be, means that we can pay off all the loans in full and also gives us a chance to build equity in the house. Once I qualify, I can either look for a job at a different firm that won't require putting in long hours so I can have DS residing with me or, with my higher salary, we can afford a nanny between us so proper shared care of DS between both our homes is more likely.

Our house isn't huge, but it is big enough for each of us to have/maintain our own space - it's worked fairly well for the past 6 months, so I'm just going to grit my teeth and make it work. H is currently interviewing for higher paying jobs - should he land one, then we may not have to go the next 2 years like this. It's a horrid complicated situation all around, but it just feels like there is very little we can do for now, short of throwing ourselves into financial disarray. I wish H had thought of this before he decided to have an affair and ruin our family, but we are where we are.

I'm unlikely to see my siblings anytime soon, so I guess the general consensus is to tell them over the phone without divulging all the extra issues ....

Saffysmum Tue 28-Jun-11 19:51:44

I can kind of understand your practical reasons for separating but living together, but personally I think two years is a hell of a long time to do this.
Will you really be able to live amicably with a man you plan to divorce. Wouldn't it be better to bite the bullet, get it over with and move on. I think this way you are just prolonging the inevitability. As for telling people, well I guess the truth? Show them you are coping and have agreed to do this. You've explained it to us, so just tell them the same.

LadyLapsang Tue 28-Jun-11 23:48:21

Unless your family live very far away I think you should tell them face to face or at least on the phone. Sending a text is just not appropriate at all, this is the end of your marriage & that doesn't just concern you but has implications for both of your families and friends.

FabbyChic Wed 29-Jun-11 06:59:24

Have you considered how it will work if either of you meet someone else, or are you both planning on putting personal needs aside and being celebate for the next two years. I dont see many prospective partners being happy with your living arrangements. It is worth thinking about what if he meets someone and wants to live with her? or she puts pressure on him to move out?

Anniegetyourgun Wed 29-Jun-11 09:45:02

Mumblechum, I stayed for two years in the family home while my divorce went through, and I'm not surprised you haven't seen people do that because it was so ghastly I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Mind you a lot probably depends on the couple and the extent to which they can separate their lives despite being under the same roof. We couldn't, and he didn't want to anyway.

EsperaTaChikita Wed 29-Jun-11 10:14:38

Celibate?! No, no, my H doesn't do celibate (he's already joined up to adult dating sites and is probably sexting random women as we speak). Then again, I planned on being no saint either, but after a recent disastrous "date", celibacy will (or should!) definitely be remaining on the cards for a while!

I'm hoping once I start training, with the hours I'll be doing, I'll be seeing as little of him as possible (the downside is also seeing very little of my DS, but that would have happened anyway regardless of whether we were splitting up or not). I wish I could just decide to fuck it and dump my traineeship, but at the moment, I have very few alternatives that will give me the best chance of financial independence. And the last thing I want to do is go forward resenting myself and my DS for giving up a promising career that will make both our lives as comfortable as possible - my mother was forced to give her career as a barrister up once she'd had me and my siblings and it killed her being stuck in an unhappy marriage with no realistic prospect of leaving before we were all grown up (she died long before such an opportunity would ever have arisen).

I have booked a trip to see my sister in a few weeks, and another sister of mine will be coming up that weekend as well, so I've decided to tell them both in person and then by phone to the rest of my siblings as I don't know when next I'll get to see them. I'm not looking forward to it - I feel that over the phone, I can at least successfully deflect questions without appearing too rude or dismissive - but we'll see how it goes.

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