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Telling the children that it is MY decision...

(72 Posts)
jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 12:14:51

Sadly my marriage is over - I posted in divorce/separation that we are telling the kids today and somebody suggested asking here for advice.

It is my decision and my husband wants to tell the children that and that I am the one who is choosing to end our marriage.

I feel incredibly sad and I feel it is better to be united in telling? Although I don't want to be dishonest?

I would like to tell them that I have been unhappy for some time and we have worked on it and tried to make things better but that we have come to this decision now together.

What are other people's experience of telling the children with or without apportioning blame?

It is my choice and I accept that and repercussions but I would like to handle it the right and best way for them (aged 11 & 15) (boys).

Thank you for any input x

DwellsUndertheSink Fri 19-Apr-13 12:21:07

do you have to go into the blame issue? Can you not just say that you (as a couple) no wish to be together but you still love them?

The minute you introduce blame, you are creating conflict and good-bad guys. This is not healthy for the kids to hear, and will damage your relationshop with them going forward. The only person whose needs will be met is your DH, who will have his wounded pride soothed. But its not about him - its about the kids, and both of you have to be united about this.

How would he feel if you sat and blame him for not making the effort to make you happy, for example. Or blamed his lack sex drive/table manners/motivation/whatever for the breakup - it automatically diminishes the blamed person in the eyes of the kids.

SUrely the goal is to have the children come out of this unscathed and with a good relationship with both of you.

verygentlydoesit Fri 19-Apr-13 12:27:25

You sound so strong Jenny, I take my hat off too you.

I don't have much advice, hopefully someone will be along soon who does.

Just a couple of things. My own experience of having divorced parents taught me how special it feels when one (or ideally both) parent manages to navigate this minefield without slagging off the other parent. I can see from your post that this is your intention and I'm backing you all the way. My Dad never put my mum down to me, and it made me feel very loved and somehow deepened our bond. Mum was more bitter, I don't blame her for this but it made things tricky between us.

I am seriously considering splitting with DP, the thought of telling our 6yo fills me with horror so I have a slight idea of how you might be feeling. Your post has made me ponder whether it would be more or less difficult if he was older like your children.

outtolunchagain Fri 19-Apr-13 12:28:31

I agree no blame at all , I have three boys of similar ages to your two and this s how I would approach it. I was also told by my parents that they were splitting up when I was 11 and think that the blame thing was a recipe for disaster.

I would just explain that as a couple you have decided to separate as your lives are going in different directions .The emphasis for them needs to be on what is coming not what has been .

So focus on the fact that both parents love them and will be continuing to support them and on practical things ,in my experience teenagers in particular just want to know that their lives will continue to be the same as much as possible and also that they will not have to take sides and get into emotionally supporting either party.

verygentlydoesit Fri 19-Apr-13 12:30:04

I agree wholeheartedly with dwells, your H is using this as a way to get back at you which is not the right approach for your DC.

jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 13:26:36

Thank you for your support. Trouble is DH doesn't see it that way. He sees it as being honest.

I doubt I can get him to see the neutral way is good. I may be back for hand holding later sad

verygentlydoesit Fri 19-Apr-13 13:31:59

Maybe it is 'honest' as he sees it but this is not a black and white situation where honesty is the best way to go.

It is most important to do the right thing for DC's than to stick to the 'truth' as he sees it.

Insisting on honesty is the best thing for him but not for DC.

I hope it goes ok, will be thinking of you.

foolonthehill Fri 19-Apr-13 13:34:49

I agree with all the posters about the right way.
however, I told the children that it was my decision (slightly different situation as domestic abuse). They have coped well (18 months on), I think helped by the fact that I have tried to be honest that even though it is my decision it is not one I am going to change my mind on. I have focussed on trying to keep other things stable for them and let them knowthe broad sweep of what is going on.

The main thing I would say is to make sure they understand the they are still loved, that the decision is not influenced by them, their behaviour or due to any circumstance they have been involved in, it is not their fault and also that what they do won;t alter what happens...this is a grown up decision.

Avoid watching "The Parent Trap"...ever!

aLl the best

jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 14:32:53

Thank you.

I've just spoken to him again - he called to check I am sure I want to do this sad

I tried to explain that it isn't right to apportion blame and that this can have a negative effect on the kids and he says he thinks that divorce will hVe a negative effect on them therefore we ought to be honest. He said he isn't doing this to hurt me etc etc. I told him I thought he is. Conversations like the one we just had confirm to me that I am making the right decision although it is bloody hard sad

Lemonylemon Fri 19-Apr-13 14:46:04

Agree with everyone else re. blame.

He's insisting on "honesty" to twist the knife just that little bit further, I think.

Startail Fri 19-Apr-13 14:53:27

I think my 12 and 15 year old DDs would see through anything, but the truth. I know DD1 has a tendency to listen to grown up conversations and would know instantly if DH and I's arguing was properly serious.

A 15y is almost old enough to marry themselves. They are going to be curious and they are going to probe.

Viviennemary Fri 19-Apr-13 14:58:33

Of course it is up to you how you deal with it. But if I wasn't the one to end a marriage I would not be happy for the children to think it was a mutual thing if it isn't.

WoTmania Fri 19-Apr-13 15:02:25

I think you're probably right. It may your final decision but I would imagine there is a lot leading up to this. How would he feel if you said it was your decision to leave and then detailed the exact reasons why you want to end the marriage?

CinnabarRed Fri 19-Apr-13 15:06:46

How would he feel if you said it was your decision to leave and then detailed the exact reasons why you want to end the marriage?

^ This.

Honestly can go too far. I completely understand why he might not want to go down the no-blame route, but tough. He needs to think of the children.

ProbablyJustGas Fri 19-Apr-13 15:17:36

As a stepmum, I would agree that avoiding blame and sticking with a united front is best. The kids will be hurt and confused enough about your news, without trying to decide who is the "goodie" or "baddie". And it may backfire on your husband anyway - he might be a bit desperate for the kids to see it as your "fault" and therefore take his side and stick up for him, but what if they take it a different way and decide he didn't work hard enough to make you stay?

My DSD's parents split when she was three. Four years later, she still hates that they'll never get back together. But the adjustment has been easier for her, IMO, because the adults in her life have always stuck with, "Dad and Mum didn't want to be husband and wife anymore." This is the real truth anyway. My DSD's mum was the one that technically called it quits and was the one who packed her things and moved out. But my DH was the one who then asked for her to hand over her housekey and drew up the separation agreement. In their case, anyway, it took two to get divorced.

fluffyraggies Fri 19-Apr-13 15:17:39

I ended my marriage and my XH wanted exactly the same as yours OP ... to sit down and tell the children that i had broken the home up and that i was to blame. At the time they were 9, 12, and 14.

I was desperately worried and upset about how this would affect them, as you are now. He said if i didn't sit down with me and do it his way he would tell them all 'even worse things'. He made them all sit down and here his version of events. As it turned out his track record as an useless apathetic father meant his plan to use them against me was a complete failure. The kids were fine. They rose above it and i am so so proud of them for that. They are still fine, no thanks to him. But i've never forgiven him for his selfishness that day.

Don't let him do it.

catsrus Fri 19-Apr-13 15:18:38

I'm going to agree with your dh here and say that honesty is the way forward - which is not the same as blame. I find that a really odd way of looking at it.

My dcs know my exH was the one who made the decision to leave hard to hide it as he shacked up with the OW within a few months but I have never ever blamed him and our kids know that. They know that I did not choose to get divorced but that there were aspects of our marriage that he felt he could not live with. I have acknowledged that he felt unsupported in his bonkers ideas and that he felt he did not want to live with that.

You can be honest without blaming, pretending it is some joint mutual decision when it isn't is not fair on anyone. Your dcs are old enough to work out what's going on and they will blame you if they think you've lied to them thats what will piss them off, not that you don't want to stay with their father. Mine have been very clear that their anger with their father is about lying about the OW, not the end of the marriage.

Viviennemary Fri 19-Apr-13 15:21:50

I also don't think that honesty is the same as blame. Be honest as far as you can be. Because if you are not then they will wonder in future why they were given an untrue version of events.

Yonihadtoask Fri 19-Apr-13 15:23:16

I split up (my decision) from exP when my DS was 2 yo.

He is now 15, and has not asked why it happened.

OP - I do not think, if I were you, that I would tell the DC the reasons. Just that you (as a couple) have decided to separate. If they ask then maybe then go into detail.

Good luck

fluffyraggies Fri 19-Apr-13 15:29:09

It really does depend on the spirit in which 'the telling' is being done though.

In my case it was spite. I know that. It was obvious because he got in my face and snarled that i wont get away with 'the girls thinking it was a joint decision', and that he would 'put them straight'.


In your case OP, it sounds allot more civilised in your situation. A different scenario really. Every situation is different.

WeAllHaveWings Fri 19-Apr-13 15:46:10

Better to be honest so there is no risk of your dc not trusting what you tell them in the future.

Especially with a 15 year old who may have an idea anyway of what's happening within your relationship or might have lots of questions.

HighJinx Fri 19-Apr-13 15:50:03

My parents separated when I was nine. They never had a good word to say about each other from that day onwards. At that age I couldn't have articulated it but now I realise that I genuinely didn't want to know about where or how their marriage had gone wrong. I wanted reassurance that they were still my parents and that they didn't regret that part of their marriage. None of the rest of it felt like it was much to do with me.

AThingInYourLife Fri 19-Apr-13 15:53:01

"But if I wasn't the one to end a marriage I would not be happy for the children to think it was a mutual thing if it isn't."

Me neither.

I think your argument about blame is very self-serving.

Your children deserve to know the truth.

You are asking your husband to lie to them to make you look better.

You don't have to get into blame or recrimination, but your family deserves better than the obvious lie that you have mutually decided to end your marriage.

If it is the right decision, then stand by it.

LittleYellowBall Fri 19-Apr-13 15:57:25

My DH insisted on telling that it was my decision. In the name of 'honesty'. That felt very wrong to me, but in the end it hasn't caused any problems.

JustinBsMum Fri 19-Apr-13 16:01:56

I would say be honest. Can't you say you want to separate without too much detail.
Or do you say mummy and daddy have decided to split for no reason confused

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