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How to tell the children

(34 Posts)
tummytickler Thu 20-Sep-12 09:52:55

Dh left a fortnight ago. It was expected, I suppose, although I had hoped he might change his mind.
The children don't know he has left yet, as he works at a hospital doing crazy shifts, so is often not here anyway.
I really want to tell the dc, although he says not yet as he wants us both to be ok with things and for it to come across as a positive thing hmm
I am willing to wait a little bit longer, as I am going away next weekend to stay with my best friend and I don't want to say anything before then because it might seem as though I am the one doing the leaving.
I feel a lot stronger 2 weeks on than I did, and think I can talk about it with the dc reasonably, and so want to do it in 2 weeks time.
Any advice though? I am dreading it, and really cannot guess how they will take it.
I feel I really need to tell the dc, I need to move on, and having to pretend to loads of people everything is fine is really hard, and telling the dc is the first big step towards this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Sep-12 10:01:00

Children are usually pretty observant and they will have noticed things have changed and that you've been acting differently. They're also rather more practical and resilient than we give them credit for, so they appreciate honesty and will spot flannel or pretence a mile off. Main messages are really about reassuring them. How their lives will change (if at all), how they are loved by both parents and how none of what happens is in any way their fault. If you can do this together, great.

tummytickler Thu 20-Sep-12 10:07:12

Hopefully we will do it together as he has 'warned' me that he will be furious if they find out without him.
And he left me, so I am not getting all the shitty heartbreaking jobs to do on my own. I feel shitty and heartbroken as it is, and I want him to take a bit of responsibility for changing all of our lives so much.
He is a very good father though, and have no doubts that he will continue to be so.
Thanks Cogito

javotte Thu 20-Sep-12 10:22:56

Tell them soon. Together is better, but he can't keep you waiting indefinitely.
When my mother asked for a divorce she had the cheek to forbid my father from telling my siblings and me until she "felt ready" to tell us. I am still furious about it.

tummytickler Thu 20-Sep-12 10:24:29

Do you think I am doing the right thing waiting til I get back from my trip then? I don't want them to feel I have left them. And I really need this weekend away after all the shit over the last couple of months!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Sep-12 10:25:47

How old are the DCs?

squeakytoy Thu 20-Sep-12 10:27:02

how old are the children?

SorryMyLollipop Thu 20-Sep-12 10:29:36

I was in this situation about 6 months ago. The advice I got was to tell them together, to tell them when they're not too tired (we did it on a saturday morning), to be fairly upbeat about it and to plan something fun to do after you've told them to keep them occupied while it sinks in (I took my dc's to a friend's to walk their dog).

I prepared mine by explaining the difference between family love, friendship love and romantic love a few weeks beforehand. Then I could reassure them that their father and I had family love for them which is very strong and forever etc whereas romantic love can change.

Good luck x

tummytickler Thu 20-Sep-12 10:30:29

They are 11, 9, 7 and 5.
I didn't actually realise how tough it would be on my own with 4 dc, I am exhausted as I don't drive (test next month, so fingers crossed. First thing I did when he left was book driving test!) but walking to and from all the activities they do (which dh would usually do) is knackering me out, on top of work, emotional crap, and having friends over most nights.
Sorry, trying not to moan and be super positive about everything at the moment, but I am bloody tired!

tummytickler Thu 20-Sep-12 10:32:10

Lollipop did you do the activity with your ex dh?
I think the chat about different kinds of love is a great idea - I might try and work a conversation in that direction over the next couple of days.
How did they take it?

SorryMyLollipop Thu 20-Sep-12 10:38:26

I took them by myself as I needed space from him.

They took it quite well, they found it difficult the first few times he physically left the house after dropping them off or popping round etc. They are 6 and 4.

My youngest sometimes misses him and cries, my older one is more of a romantic idealist (bloody Disney! Grrrr) and sometimes gets upset saying that she wants me to be in love with him again. I say that's not going to happen. Her negative reactions were delayed by a few months actually so be prepared for outbursts etc a few months down the line

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Sep-12 10:42:30

I don't think, with children that age, it would be a good idea to tell them and then go on the weekend away. After you've told them you need to stick around for questions. Good luck

Lueji Thu 20-Sep-12 10:59:30

I agree that you should wait until you are around to support them.

However, I'd tell STBX to choose a date within the scope of a few days (a week) and tell him that if he doesn't then I would myself.

What if he is "angry"?

The children will twig sooner than you think.

Lueji Thu 20-Sep-12 11:01:30

Also a question.

Is he seeing your DC at all? hmm

Even though he has left, he should still be a parent. And actually take the children or deal with them for some time during the week!

It seems that he's being really selfish and one more reason to tell them sooner rather than later (after that weekend).

tummytickler Thu 20-Sep-12 11:09:01

I think I will do that Luiji
The fucker moved to an entirely different town (although only 40 minutes away) so will have to give him a time frame to get himself over and talk to the dc, as I would like to do it separately from his visits to the dc, or when he picks them up to take them out.
When he gets his own place, hopefully everything should be less confusing and more settled for them.
They haven't seen him since Sunday afternoon, but they have hardly mentioned that they haven't seen him. I guess that just shows what a joke our marriage has been over the last couple of years.
I can't help myself wondering what he is up to though. He has stopped updating anything on FB at all, and I had to drag the address at which he is staying out of him kicking and screaming (he is staying with his brother, but I couldn't remember the address)
Before he left he was very emotional and said he wanted us to hang out and be great friends, and now he is being awkward with little things like telling the dc.

tummytickler Thu 20-Sep-12 11:12:08

Luiji he is seeing the children. He will be over tonight, and then on Saturday for my birthday (great!), stay on the sofa whilst I go and cheer in a new year of my life and then take ds to football on Sunday.
Last week he was also over a few evenings.
And he has them all next weekend whilst I am away.
He has been pretty good, but only doing the fun stuff, I need to make sure he does the rubbish stuff to, like trying to pin down ds to do his homework!
When he is over I go out, and get back after he is asleep on the sofa, so I don't have to see him

foolonthehill Thu 20-Sep-12 11:51:30

yours are the same age as mine. Exhausting but you will get through it. much love and unmumsnetty ((((hugs)))).

Glad he is around but remind him about the boring things....why should he be disney dad?? He can do homework too and asap get him seeing the children out of their home, and in his (or macs) it's confusing for them.

Jux Thu 20-Sep-12 12:34:33

So he's popping in, dossing on the sofa, so that he can pretend nothing has changed when in fact, everything has.

I doubt very much your dcs are unaware that there is something massive hanging over them. Have you thought that the longer you leave it, the more betrayed the older ones might feel at the deception? Who can they trust then?

He left. He left the children with you so he trusted you to look after them and that means that you do what is best for you and the dcs. You don't have to dance to his tune. If you want to tell them, and he wants to be there, then he turns up when you tell him to. Otherwise you tell them anyway. Probably better coming from you anyway.

Numberlock Thu 20-Sep-12 12:40:31

he says not yet as he wants us both to be ok with things

What do you think he means by this OP, is he trying to keep his options open in case he suddenly decides he wants to come back? (Not that you'd take him back obviously, just wondering.)

I am going away next weekend

Do you mean tomorrow or the following weekend? If it's next weekend (ie 29th/30th September), I'd tell them before you go, ie tonight or tomorrow. You've still got over a week to answer any questions they may have and the older ones must have noticed things are different and started to comment, surely?

Also, the sooner you tell them the sooner you can sort proper arrangements for them to see him at his place. He clearly can't keep on as he his doing!

Lueji Thu 20-Sep-12 13:34:18

I suppose he means that he wants tummytickler to be her "happy self" and show how "great friends" they are, so that the children don't think it's his fault.

I'd try to avoid blame in this, but just stay neutral and state the old mum and dad don't love each other anymore and dad is not living here anymore.

When talking to the children, you can show that you are sad. If you seem all upbeat and making it into a good thing, they may feel that they are not allowed to express their unhappiness.
Make sure you allow time for them to talk to you, and each in private, even if it starts off as chit chat about silly things.

I hope all goes well.

tummytickler Fri 21-Sep-12 09:55:30

Thanks everyone. He came over yesterday afternoon, and arrived a little early to finish something in the garden and tell me that we should start seeing other people! I said it was none of my business anymore, and I don't want to know anything about it unless it is a serious relationship and she might meet the dc. His answer was that he wanted me to know in case I heard anything from anybody else! Bloody great.
He then went on to want cuddles all the time and be very sweet and tell me he will always love me.
Why is he making it all so hard? He was so sweet yesterday.
We spent about an hour together, then I went out with a friend and got pissed. He was hoping to spend the evening with me! Wtf??
Apparently my reaction to his announcement was too relaxed/happy (it wasn't, but I have had enough of being a sobbing mess).
Anyway. I told him that I would be telling the children when I get back, and he is to let me know the day off work for that week so we can do it together, or I will do it on my own.
He seems fine with that. I wish he wouldn't be so nice. It is much easier to do this when he is telling me not to text him anymore/being a general dickhead.

Number - it is the weekend of the 29th, but I am leaving midweek so we would only have a couple of days before I go, it is my birthday tomorrow, and I don't want to tell them on my birthday!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 21-Sep-12 10:21:00

He's behaving in a very cruel manner by on the one hand announcing he has a new girlfriend and on the other wanting to 'cuddle' and spend the evening. I think this is even more motivation to formalise the whole thing i.e. tell the children, talk to the solicitor, tell friends and family, fix access times. All the time you're being kept in this no-mans-land where he pops round to do the garden when he feels like it and acts like he still runs the show, you can't move on.

tummytickler Fri 21-Sep-12 10:23:46

He did say he isn't seeing anybody at the moment, but was open to that (as I wont have him back - uh, you left me!!). I am guessing that probably isn't true if he is worrying about me hearing something from somebody else.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 21-Sep-12 10:24:40

Yes, if he's worried about you hearing something, it means he's already actively dating.

knitpicker Fri 21-Sep-12 10:30:50

Hi TT, I read through the posts and immediately thought that this man has met someone new - your latest post has definitely confirmed it in my mind. I'm surprised that you haven't had the avalanche of wisdom that an OP like yours would usually bring - sort out your finances, get some legal advice and family support, sort out division of labour wrt kids etc. Don't let him screw with your head. Stay strong.

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