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amicably separated - but what's best for DCs?

(6 Posts)
roundwindow Sun 19-May-13 12:33:44

Dear purveyors of fine MN Wisdom,

Please can I ask for your kind and honest opinions?

DH and I have been 'separated' for a few years, but perhaps not in the normal sense. As a couple, after 7 years or so of marriage (and haveing been together 6 yrs before that) we eventually found our differences and difficulties overwhelming, but neither of us felt able to call time on the marriage. He has been living separately but tends to spend his weekends based here with me and our two DCs, so essentially we spend a lot of time as a family. At these times we generally get on really well. We're still really close and best friends. Occasionally he takes the DCs to his place for the night but this is as an odd 'adventure' rather than the norm, iyswim

There has been an OW for him with whom things seem to have cooled off a bit as far as I'm aware, but I haven't been involved with anyone else since we separated. I'm fully prepared that should this situation change for either of us in the future, then this might be the time when things change shape, eg. his time with the DCs is spent away from our home, we no longer spend christmases together etc. but neither of us seems to be in any rush to change things before the situation is forced.

What I'm wondering is: Is this OK for our DCs? My fear is that the abnormality and perhaps lack of clarity in our situation might make them feel insecure? That we don't quite fit with other models of intact/separated families that they're party to in other family members and their friends at school's lives? They're 8 and 5, and we like to keep an open dialogue with them as much as possible. Our official line to them is that 'mummy and daddy are separated but we're really good friends and still enjoy spending time all of us together'. But I think to them we're just a family... and I suppose I'm starting to harbour some anxiety that the 'separated' bit hasn't really been made meaningful to them and has the potential to be some kind of ticking timebomb of pain and disillusionment in the future?

Any thoughts gratefully received, I just want to feel as sure as anyone ever can that we're doing the best possible things to ensure the DCs optimum wellbeing in a slightly-less-than-ideal situation. Don't we all smile

Lweji Sun 19-May-13 12:50:11

Not sure about wisdom. wink

But, I'd feel that as long as you and the children are happy, then it's the right thing for them.
It is possible that should you be with someone else that any sudden changes may bring confusion.
I think the key in these situations is to keep talking and to tell children the truth. They will understand.

roundwindow Sun 19-May-13 14:35:19

Thank you, that's massively reassuring. And I'm definitely not rushing to find someone new, can't imagine trying to bring anyone else into their lives. But you never know what the future will bring, I guess.

DaemonPantalaemon Sun 19-May-13 16:02:28

I have great news for you: you are a familysmile The lovely thing about kids is that they accept what you present them as the "norm". Keep telling them that, yes, you do not live with each other, but that you are a family that cares for each other. I am in your exact situation. My exP and I are the best of friends, we are bringing up SuperKid together, we are separated but we do lots of things together as a threesome. It works for us, we are both single, and we will worry about Other Halves when they come into the picture. For now, SuperKid is happy, and sees nothing abnormal about two parents who live in two different cities but who absolutely adore her and respect each othersmile

roundwindow Sun 19-May-13 16:09:17

Oh wow Daemon, it's so lovely to hear that someone else is in my situation.. and so positive about it. That really really gives me strength smile.

I think my gut feeling is as positive as yours, but I'm from a fairly conservative family who still loom fairly large in our lives so am struggling to come up with a 'status quo' that they can relate to. But I think you're right about kids living their own norms.

Thank you

2013go Sun 19-May-13 17:35:55

My situation is exactly like this- live a few streets apart- spend time all together sometimes and it's easy and pleasant. Absiolutely no desire there, no regrets to be apart- totally incompatible! But both love the dcs very much and both sometimes like to take them out together.
Had a partner recently who utterly hated the whole situation, having only had very acrimonious divorces as models, and went non stop beserk about it all the time, so I cut right back and barely saw exdh but even the mention of him led to rage and sulks in exdp- even bloody 5 minute handovers!!
So, I think new partners present the only difficulty- but if the new partners are normal and well-adjusted people (instead of rage riddled possessive types) and the transition and communication are well handled then what would the problem be?
I'm glad I made the break- it gives me and exdh both a chance to be ourselves and we get on much better as friends than bickering in a relationship. But I also count my blessings every day that we had an amicable split.
I think for the dcs it's a healthy thing and we always answer their questions with honesty- just 'mummy and daddy found it hard to live with each other and be married but we care for eachother and both love you very much' kind of things
I still hate leaving them and waking in the morning on the days without them here, so I think I'm less well adjusted than them! They just give a kiss and a cheery wave!

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