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Advice on how to tell children (9 and 10) that we are separating

(7 Posts)
islandgirl Mon 15-Aug-11 12:52:06

After 5 years of no intimacy, and 18 months of talking honestly about our relationship, in January I made the decision to separate after 14 years of marriage. I have told no-one except my sister, and most family and friends would consider us to be very happily married. We do get on,and rarely argue, but i am tired of living a lie, and want to change how I live.
DH wanted to keep this to ourselves until we had reached a settlement, and as we are close to that, I want to tell the children while they are still on school holidays, and we can have time with them.
It is something I am dreading, and I was hoping that some of you might have advice on if there is a more gentle way to tell them, although I think honesty is best, they are only children, and I want to try and manage a terrible situation in the best way.
They are close in age, and very close as siblings which I hope may help, and we had planned to tell them both at the same time.
Thanks for any thoughts

GabrieleJ Mon 15-Aug-11 20:16:33

Just say the way it is they're 9 and 10 so they aren't that young and I think they will appreciate to hear the truth. Yes, it will come as a shock but don't play it down and if you're 100% sure you will not get back together make sure you don't leave them with hope that you might.

It's good that you get on and I personally think that once that pressure of being together in public goes away you both even feel happier and more relaxed.

Best of luck (not sure if that was helpful at all) smile

ImperialBlether Mon 15-Aug-11 20:24:52

I've had to do this and I have to warn you it's initially awful. I think the worst thing is that if they haven't seen any fights, it's harder for them to understand the reasoning behind it.

I took my children away to my sister's for a few days the day after I told them. They didn't see the connection - the trip had been planned for a while beforehand.

Also, plan when you tell them - the time of day, I mean. Don't make it too near to bedtime. Don't make it at a time when they might have children knocking at the door. Make sure they're in a room where they can cry (ie not the front room where children playing out can see them.) Make sure there's something that's happening about 15 minutes after they've been told - mine liked watching Coronation Street and there was a big episode on that they were looking forward to. I told them 15 minutes beforehand, dealt with their tears and questions, then said, "Right, let's calm down a bit and watch Coronation Street." I think talking about it for too long is a really bad idea.

So sorry for you all that you're having to go through this.

chris123456 Mon 15-Aug-11 20:27:17

Sort the big stuff out first.

piellabakewell Mon 15-Aug-11 20:32:06

Mine were 10 and 12 when it happened. Unfortunately they had to put up with living in the same house for a further eight months, but they were old enough to have noticed that their parents were not happy together. Their dad refused to be involved in telling them (since he felt it was my decision and I had to deal with it) so I told them at my mum's as I needed the support. They had a little cry and ten minutes later it was like it never happened!

Two years on, we have moved out, they see their dad every week, and we have both started new (not live-in) relationships. My new relationship finally gives the girls an appropriate role model for how a relationship should be. They are in no doubt as to how my partner feels about me and he helps out around the house in a way their dad never did. He goes up to say good night to the girls, whereas their dad rarely bothered. We have all gained enormously from having him in our lives, so there is only goal was to get away from my ex and I couldn't have foreseen how much better things could be for all of us, including my ex, who I'm sure is far happier now than he was when he had to live with me!

Good luck, I hope all goes well.

greeneyes747 Tue 16-Aug-11 00:14:08

Totally agree with the others. Be honest, pick the right time - not the night before school, not when you have to rush off somewhere, but don't spend the whole night talking about it. Mine were 10 and 12 too, and honestly it was the worst thing I've ever had to do. But we told them together, all cried together, and all got through it together. It's painful and awful to know that you are causing their pain, but if you have to separate then you must be honest.

That was 19 months ago now (sometimes seems like 2 weeks...), my kids have settled into their new living arrangements and we have continued to be honest with the kids about everything. Yes, we all still feel sad it didn't work out, but we would have been way more unhappy if we had pretended we could continue as we were.

Good luck with it. You will know in your heart if it's the right thing to do.

tokenwoman Tue 16-Aug-11 07:58:07

mine were the same age many years ago, we told them together it was the worst thing I have ever had to do, its is just an awful thing to have to do but if you both do it together it does help, we had balloons in the room to help after the inital mummy and daddy are not going to live together anymore etc etc and despite my exh being a total arse during and after the divorce Ive never tried to sabotage their relationship with their father they are now almost adult and reasonably well balanced <<big hugs to you>>

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