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Advice needed ...(17 Posts)
My Husband, who works away from home in the week, has just officially "left". As before his departure, he speaks to the children in the evening on the phone. My children are very distressed at his departure, as they miss him anyway and will see less of him. My Eldest (9) is beginning to be manipulative about her food intake and was refusing to go into School today. In the end, we brokered an agreement that I could be called at any time (bar one hour when I was unavailable) and the Head of School would check in regularly to see how things were going. I phoned and checked and also checked at the end of the day. She has been quiet and tearful but we got there. Her Father calls in the evening and asks how her day was and she says "Fine." What do I do? Do I tell him of her distress over his leaving and what it is causing her to do; do I not bother, as he has shown no particular interest in or awareness of his role in previous manifestations (e.g. the previously dry 4 year-old wetting herself day and night and the 9 year-old wetting herself twice in a week and the whispered fears of the 7 year-old whose sleep is disturbed by nightmares); do I tell their paternal Grandparents or what? Irritatingly, they behaved immaculately and slept well over the w/e with him at his Parents', whereasonably I am getting the tantrums, violence, broken nights and howling for their "Daddy". Genuinely not sure what to do for the best.
i found a mantra= 'your daddy loves you as much as he is able to.' It took them years of their own experiences with him to understand what i was saying. It seemed like a positive message to them when they were little and i felt good about saying it , as i knew what i really meant. So it served all of our purposes. As yours saw him only at weekends before the break up , can you say - 'you still see daddy at the weekend and he still phones you in the evening.' I also tried different types of counselling . Good to have an impartial referee when having family discussions. Maybe put the phone on loudspeaker so you can hear what he is saying to them.And def tell him about the distress or cue the dcc to tell him . Perhaps they can make plans for a holiday with him and other events to look forward to.It's going to be hard work but tiny steps forward must be celebrated.
Today the eldest asked me if Daddy wanted her and Siblings to be upset, to which I carefully replied that she would have to ask him. With a bit of a spark she said "Well, he's going to say no, isn't he?!". What can I say? I did say that I do believe he loves her but that, at the minute, he is thinking more about himself. It is so hard. Yesterday he "unmarried" me on Facebook and, today, he "friended" her.
Just love them yourself OP. Give him access when he is in a place to treat them as loved ones. Sadly in the meantime you have to calm your dcs down so that they feel secure.
I really feel for you. i'm in the same position. I have the children all week and every other week-end. it is exhausting and relentless being a single mum and knowing the 'D'H's don't really care about the devastation they leave behind (my 'D'H is sad, its a shame but no remorse because his happiness is more important).
But your kids will be fine, they are more resiliant, I have thrown my energies into them and treasure every moment I have with them now. (I hate weekends without them). And you will have those little moments with them and be the one that cuddles them in the night. If it helps remember that you can replace him (one day, when you are ready if you want) but he can never replace his children and he will miss so much.
They have seen me sad and cry (unavoidable - I have cried a lot) but I explain I am sad daddy has left me but we both love them and I am happy to have them and they make everything OK. Hope you can get some sleep.
Not much in the way of sleep here: first appointment with the solicitor tomorrow and H sent through a couple of dauntingly practical emails about splitting things. I have just re-read it and this sentence leaped out: "I want to get things for the house moved out of the joint account to your xxxx account. I'll still make sure you can pay for them I just don't want to be responsible for them." Says it all really. I am finding it hard to function and the children are in pieces and he just wants shot of us.
Cassa: what you say is true and, as I was comforting my 4 year-old who is/was the apple of her Father's eye, I realised it was a tremendous privilege to be able to love them, that they trusted me. The woman he is seeing had a child a very similar age to the one above, which will devastate her. I love the cuddles, I would happily have stayed being a mother and a wife but it is already such hard work.
Do they actually miss their children? He told mine that he loved them more than anything in the world, but it isn't shown in his actions.
Your last paragraph resonates. My Eldest got cross and said why couldn't we sort out our argument and I explained that I had done hurtful things but that I had said sorry and taken measures to change but that Daddy wasn't interested. She knows a little about my depression but I do feel I am carrying all the blame as his infidelities are unknown to them.
Monty their lives were so secure before. Like me, they don't get it.
i wd not be volunteering to take any blame - he'll be doing that in spades for you . Stand up for yourself and put the blame where it belongs. Do not keep his dirty secrets.
Opinion seems very mixed as to whether children should be told of infidelity.
I don't think it's fair to lay all that on young children.
The challenge with kids that young is that infidelity doesn't mean so much - it's not really a concept they can understand beyond their own experience of 'X wants to be Y's friend now'
As the child of divorced parents I know what happened but it wasn't a big revelation, it was something I worked out as I grew up, I understood more, and my parents shared more. When I was young I went through stages of blaming them individually, then I bagan to get a good idea of faults on both sides.
The hurt must be awful now for you - and for them. But play the long game, deal with the immediate problems and sadness, help them feel secure again. Over time they will work it out.
At their ages it's enough for your dc to be told that daddy doesn't love mummy any more but neither he nor you will ever stop loving them.
If you google search 'how to tell children about divorce' you'll find many online guides including this www.todaysparent.com/family/relationships/kids-and-divorce-an-age-by-age-guide/ and mumnset's own: www.mumsnet.com/relationships/how-to-tell-children-about-divorce
If he moves to introduce the dc to the ow your eldest will soon work it out and I would suggest you consider seeking a referral to a child psychologist if her behaviour deteriorates and organise play therapy for your younger dc who haven't yet got the vocabulary to verbalise their thoughts and feelings.
Have you thought about counselling for yourself to explore and process your feelings so that you can move forward without undue bitterness?
play the short game too- as your dcc's understanding of who is to blame will stick in their minds for a very long time and affect your relationship with your dccs for ever. Do not be the martyr - tell the truth in an appropriate way without unnecessary details. If you do not speak up for yourself, who will?
She is handling it so badly, 45 minutes to talk her into school, a major kicking screaming tantrum in the car and them heavy persuasion to get her into swimming and piano, I wonder if the knowledge, though painful, would hurt her.
She's aleady hurting though isn't she?
In my DSC's case they were never told and they turned themselves inside out trying to work it all out for themselves, coming to some wrong conclusions which were horribly damaging to their relationship with my DH.
You don't need to go into detail but to place the blame squarely on yourself is storing up a whole load of trouble for the future.
You have overloaded the children. You told them the breakup was your fault because of unspecified bad things you did.
I explained that I had done hurtful things but that I had said sorry and taken measures to change but that Daddy wasn't interested
You told them that you are a "bad guy" and Daddy had to leave because of that. They know you are a good guy. That's got to be distressing for them.
Even if they find out (which they will) that Daddy was unfaithful then they'll still wonder what absolutely horrific thing you did to him.
So now you've got to fix that somehow.
another horrible consequence of not giving cc the facts they can handle is they may blame themselves. But for sure the exh and his family will steer them firmly into blaming you. Put the blame where it belongs . Counselling for you and your dcc might be helpful if you can vet them first re truth telling. A feminist counsellor might be more balanced than the usual laying no blame 3 little monkeys sort.
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