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Telling the children we are splitting up - how?

(19 Posts)
suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 17:52:55

Many years ago I received great help and support on here about my husband's despicable behaviour. I didn't leave - a combination of factors being my DS begging, my mental health, and fear as we had just moved to a new part of the country.

3/4 years on I am stronger and have told him that we are over. I suspect he has Narcissitic Personality Disorder (formally known as 'being a cunt') but he does tick every box. I have booked mediation and counselling with Relate, seen a solicitor and am compiling the financial documents. He has agreed to move out, doesn't want a lengthy drawn out divorce and will (he says at this point) play ball.

We have 4 DCs and I have to get them through this with minimum damage. I can't leave it to him. Last time we were going to split up he told them in my absence "Daddy won't be around much for a while". fucking gobshite. I immediately returned and tried to undo his damage whilst hearing DS's heart breaking.

I am trying to think of the best way of telling them. He is going to buy a flat, and I have said we will tell them when he is actually going to move - there is no point upsetting them and then he doesn't go (he is away A LOT with work and I think it would be confusing for the younger two as they do ask 'when is Daddy home?"). He is "too busy" with work to look so I am sending him so I will end up doing it all for him just to get the arsehole out. I don't have the capacity for it as I'm 99% single working parent anyway and this is taking up way too much of my headspace.

Now I don't think its me who should be explaining it to them. They aren't stupid and are old enough to question things (between 7 - 13). We will tell them together, but he needs to come up with the explanation. I am not taking responsibility for this. My view is I was in it for the long haul, it was he who chased women and slept with prostitutes.

Apart from "Your dad is a total cunt and isn't good enough for us", can anyone give me words of advice or benefit of your experience please?

Vivacia Sat 08-Nov-14 17:57:08

Now I don't think its me who should be explaining it to them... I am not taking responsibility for this.

I think that you are mixing two issues up here - telling the children and allocating responsibility for the end of the relationship.

From what you say, I wouldn't trust him to tell the milkman. I think you should tell them and just tell them that you and dad don't love each other any more and that he is moving out.

FelicityGubbins Sat 08-Nov-14 18:08:20

I agree, they will have already had experience of some of their school friends parents separating so they will understand more than you expect them to.
A basic... "mummy and daddy are going to have different homes but that we both still love you very much" is enough for now

suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 18:11:58

hmm fair point, thanks. You are right.

But I need the words so they don't feel fobbed off. I need to explain it to them, they are smart kids, and they need to grasp some sort of understanding.

His explanation to me was 'I'm scared of getting old, of not being a player. I'm sorry' . By text.

This is a 50 year old man with four kids after a 14 year relationship (he curbed his 'narcissism for 7 of those' he told me).

It will be me who breaks the news. he will fall apart and feel sorry for himself. I shall pick up the pieces and compensate for him as usual.

We will be so much happier without him.

suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 18:13:11

Even for the 13 year old?

Vivacia Sat 08-Nov-14 18:18:34

His explanation to me was 'I'm scared of getting old, of not being a player. I'm sorry' . By text.

"Dad doesn't want to be married to me any more, he wants different things. Sometimes this happens in adults' relationships."

How's that?

Vivacia Sat 08-Nov-14 18:19:08

I shall pick up the pieces and compensate for him as usual.

Are you actually doing it for him though? As in your motivation?

Dowser Sat 08-Nov-14 18:21:07

I can't Think that anything you do is going to be easy.

One suggestion maybe is to say remember when we were going to split up before and we thought. We will give it another try as you guys were so upset.

Well we did try and hasn't worked. I. Sorry guys, we are really going to split up now and we will do everything we can to make this as painless as possible for you .

Something along those lines


Vivacia Sat 08-Nov-14 18:32:00

I disagree dowser children internalise things, they may feel that they are to blame or responsible. This is an adult situation, external to them and their actions, imho.

Hassled Sat 08-Nov-14 18:41:49

I absolutely understand why you don't want to take any responsibility - he sounds like a complete wanker - but I do think making it all his fault is going to make it much worse for the kids. When I split with my older DCs' father, we stuck to the party line which was that we both loved them loads and loads but didn't love each other anymore, and that was that. The reality was that he'd had an affair, but I didn't want the DCs to hate him, because I figured that was just more shit than they needed. Later on they worked it out, but they could cope with it at that stage because the shock of the separation had passed.

suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 18:46:37

how old were they Hassled when you split, if you don't mind me asking?

suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 18:51:06

I think it needs to be a conversation. I don't think they will simply buy the 'we don't love each other any more' line.

I need to be able to look them in the eye and have answers ready.

"Why can't you just try harder?" was DC2s plea last time? "Well go to nana's for the weekend so you can go away together" "We'll be really good".

He was 7 at the time.

suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 18:54:48

My motivation is damage limitation. I can't trust him not to put his dick into someone else, and I can't trust him to think through the impact of the words that come out of his stupid mouth.

That's the think with narcissists, its always about their feelings. They don't get beyond that. If he is sad it is because I am making him go. If the children are sad, its my fault for breaking up the family. It's my fault he has to go and seek affection elsewhere because I don't give him any yada yada yada. I'm going off topic, sorry. I think I need to start and alternative bitter and twisted thread as well.

Vivacia Sat 08-Nov-14 19:07:13

I think it's heartbreaking that he felt so responsible for his parents' happiness.

Hassled Sat 08-Nov-14 19:16:27

5 and 7

suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 19:19:58

I could hear his heart breaking. I will never forget it.

He is a wonderful little boy, so emotionally intelligent. His dad sneers at him 'don't be a baby' when he is sad and upset, and has a go at him for any slight thing (as he does me). Picks on him all the time. because 'he can take it'. But DS2 adores him, just wants to please him. They have interests in common so H is happy to spend time with him when it suits. Very different with DS1 (who couldn't, and wouldn't 'take it') who H sees as the golden child yet barely engages with. Hasn't even said hello to him tonight.

Dowser Sat 08-Nov-14 19:22:09

Well, I've not had it to do. Well I did but my youngest was 23. That was bad enough.

Good luck OP. you sound a lovely mum. I'm sure the words will come just fine.

suspiciousandsad Sat 08-Nov-14 19:24:16

Thanks Dowser, that's really nice to hear.

Vivacia Sat 08-Nov-14 19:30:29

But DS2 adores him, just wants to please him

Presumably to avoid the bullying he sees everyone else receiving!

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