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Should I tell DC real reason for separation?

(44 Posts)
Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 22:37:55

Me and H recently separated due to him having affair with OW. Left me for her. Left family home a few weeks ago. Told DC who in general has taken news ok. Told that mum & dad been fighting a lot so decided better to separate. We were fighting a lot but because of OW (he followed script ie denied it for weeks). But have been asked why dad no longer wants to live with us.

H's parents split when he was at Uni but mainly due to FIL having numerous affairs during long marriage to MIL. Been reading about how children of parents who have had affairs are likely to also have affairs. But also that by being dishonest with children of the real reason for split that you you are teaching them it is ok to lie. I am not sure how true this is and I'm sure it depends on situation. So basically I am wondering if we should be honest with DC (8). Obviously at this age wouldn't give lots of details but wonder if it should be that dad now loves somebody else and that is why he has left home (he hasn't moved in with OW but renting own place for now)? Anyone else been honest with DC and did it make things worse or better?

Shurelyshomemistake Tue 16-Aug-16 22:47:52

Sorry you are having to deal with this sad

I don't have personal experience of this but my hunch is that it is probably better to tell them in an age-appropriate way if you're separated because of it. Otherwise he's likely to be confused about what went wrong.

Brushing it under the carpet strikes me as the kind of thing that possibly contributes to generation after generation thinking philandering is ok. It's useful (if painful) for your son to realise that lying and disloyalty can have horrible consequences and are not good behaviours.

If you do tell him that dad now loves someone else I think that you'd probably both need to make it clear to him that this won't happen in relation to him. Dad is dad forever, and mum is mum forever, and t hey will always be there for him etc. etc.

Also, he'll find out sooner or later anyway and will wonder why he was kept in the dark.

Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 22:52:03

Thanks for your thought shurely.
That is how I feel about the situation. I think it is better to be honest. Unfortunately I don't think my H would agree (partly because he is not accepting responsibility about what has happened). Worried if I go ahead and tell DC without his permission he will use it against me. Everything is still in very early stages and have not even begun to sort out finances, custody etc.

whogrewoutoftheterribletwos Tue 16-Aug-16 22:52:31

Personally, I wouldn't at this age. I'd leave it until (or if) they ask when they're older. It's not lying, just waiting until they are old enough to understand some more of the complexities of adult relationships.

At the moment you're hurting and you're angry. You'll just project that hurt and anger onto your children. It could possibly either ruin their relationship with your ex, or with you if they feel your bitterness. Best not to apportion blame when children are so young.

My mother blamed my father for everything. However, it made us resent her rather than him. She wanted him to be the villain, but the hate and vitriol just drove her children away. My dB moved out as soon as he could at 16 to live with my father and never spoke to my mother again. When she passed away she was desperate to see him, but he wouldn't reconcile.

Your children have two parents and need a relationship with both. Unless he is abusive towards them, highlighting the faults of their father because of the hurt he caused you will potentially damage all of your relationships

Lilacpink40 Tue 16-Aug-16 22:55:20

We were honest: DH had girlfriend and you can't have wife and girlfriend. Kids knew he'd been moody at home for long time too.

Mine always ask questions until they know everything so it's harder to lie (truth said in age appropriate way).

Shurelyshomemistake Tue 16-Aug-16 22:58:53

I can see what you mean Who...., but I wonder if the news could be imparted in a neutral way without accusation and blame. Just purely sticking to the facts.

I also think you need to consider whether anyone might spill to your child - e.g., children of friends, other kids at school (depending on whether you live in a small tactless, oversharing community). It'd be awful for him to hear it from someone else...

madmother1 Tue 16-Aug-16 23:00:08

Gosh that's really hard. My DC were alot older. My xDH had an affair years before and we stayed together because of the DC. We split up many years later as I just couldn't forgive him. I did eventually tell my DC who were 14 and 19 as they kept on and on about people having affairs and general asking why we had split. So, I sat them down and told them. They were both really upset and disappointed in their DF, but he doesn't know I've told them. I feel it's better out in the open. My xDH ended it with the OW years ago, but it ultimately destroyed our marriage. If your STBXH is going to introduce your DS to him then he'll have to be told. I think on simple terms as I hated lying. I've never spoken badly about my ex as he is still kind to us all.

Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 23:00:33

Sorry to hear your story whogrew.
I can also see it from your point of view and take that on board. I would like to think I could explain the situation in a non bitter way. Keep it simple dad and mum don't love each other anymore and dad know loves someone else. DC is likely to find out about relationship sooner rather than later since I suspect he will want to make OW part of DC life at some point in future. Also on a recent visit DC noticed text message arriving on H's phone from OW (didn't see what it said, just name). DC has good memory and not stupid think if OW is revealed at later date then may make connection. I genuinely don't know what is best to do.

Shurelyshomemistake Tue 16-Aug-16 23:01:40

And I wouldn't take too much notice of what your husband wants or would approve of etc. He lost his right to make a choice when he plumped for the OW. Do what you think is right, for you and for your child.

Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 23:04:58

Not in small community so I would like to think DC wouldn't find out from someone else. But a lot of family and friends know truth so I guess there is always the opportunity for DC to find out (even from just overhearing conversation by accident) so there is always that risk. I would hate DC to find out from someone else.

Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 23:05:45

Lilac - how old were your children when you told them?

ImperialBlether Tue 16-Aug-16 23:10:18

Your son's right to understand why his dad's left trumps his dad's right to keep his affair secret.

I agree with the PP - say that his dad had a girlfriend and you can't have a girlfriend and a wife. Tough shit on your ex, in my opinion.

Dozer Tue 16-Aug-16 23:14:39

I would tell the truth, factually, and then tell ex that had done so. I wouldn't talk about him loving OW, but having a girlfriend as PPs say.

Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 23:17:01

Yes think saying he has a girlfriend seems like a better idea. Do you think that is all I say. Should I say it is (her name) or leave that for him to give more details?

eyebrowsonfleek Tue 16-Aug-16 23:19:53

My children know their dad had an OW. Oldest worked it out from ex's behaviour. Younger ones didn't know until left.

If your ds asks again then tell him that dad doesn't want to live with you (mum) not you as in you and him. I think that's more important than the OW issue for now.

If ex is likely to introduce OW to ds and family then it's probably best to hear from you or him that ex has a girlfriend and her name is X. He might have other questions but just say that you don't know and get ex to fill in details like does she work in the same office or whatever.

flowersflowers to you. It's a really difficult conversation to have as you have to remain calm and factual when you actual want to scream and cry.

ImperialBlether Tue 16-Aug-16 23:20:50

I said that their dad had a girlfriend, you can't have a girlfriend and a wife. Her name's X and she was very nice and they wouldn't have to meet her until they wanted to. I said their home would be with me but that they could stay with him whenever they wanted, even if they decided that in the middle of the night.

I told them about ten minutes before something they wanted to watch on TV was on - after ten minutes of them crying, I said, Oh look, X is on TV! and the tears dried miraculously - they clearly wanted to stop crying and needed me to step in.

It was really awful - worst day of my life, but actually they accepted it really easily and it made me realise how much my ex had detached himself from family life.

ImperialBlether Tue 16-Aug-16 23:22:05

Sorry, I can see they already know your ex has moved out. I told mine he was leaving and why on the same day.

EllenJanethickerknickers Tue 16-Aug-16 23:25:15

My solicitor advised to to be truthful in an age appropriate way, as there had been a lot of lying going on. You want your children to trust you (both) and telling them ensures that they won't harbour too much false hope that there will be a reconciliation. I told mine that dad and mum didn't love each other anymore and that dad now loved another woman, but that we would always be their mum and dad and would always love them, and that would never change.

Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 23:25:58

Unfortunately my DC already knows OW & thinks she is nice. H met her one weekend & took DC too (only time DC has met her). That is when my suspicions began. OW is someone H works with which is why DC recognised her name when text came through on phone.

TangledUpInGin Tue 16-Aug-16 23:27:32

My exh had an affair and I told my dc that mummy and daddy didn't make each other happy anymore, but that we both still loved them very much - my dc were a lot younger though. Not sure what's the right way of doing things though?

EllenJanethickerknickers Tue 16-Aug-16 23:30:44

My youngest was 9 and oldest 13. The youngest was very tearful but got over it very quickly and still lives his dad very much. The oldest was much quieter and took a couple of weeks to seem himself. He's happy to see his dad EOW but doesn't have much respect for him.

Inertia Tue 16-Aug-16 23:31:04

I think I'd agree with previous posters- that dad has a girlfriend, it's XX, and when you get married you agree not to have any other partners so Dad has made the choice to have a girlfriend instead.

If your son doesn't know the truth, there's a danger that he might blame himself for the separation.

EweAreHere Tue 16-Aug-16 23:33:09

I agree with those that would tell your children why. Age appropriate way, of course, but don't lie. And don't embellish. But they deserve to know why, and that it's not about them.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Tue 16-Aug-16 23:39:52

I would tell them. In the way Imperial suggests - I think wording it to say that daddy doesn't love you anymore, leaves it open to suggestion about why that is, what did you do etc. which will then quite likely lead to having to explain that it wasn't anything you did, it's what he did.

flowers I would definitely tell the truth.

Greyanatomy Tue 16-Aug-16 23:40:52

Guess my only concern is what if he is no longer with OW. I have no way of knowing since I can't trust him anyway. I also doubt that he wouldn't be with her since he was so desperate for us to be over and be with her. But at the same time he appears to be in no hurry to start formal separation process at all. You would actually think he would be trying to start divorce proceeding ASAP if he was so desperate to be with her. Don't want me telling DC to backfire if he doesn't have a girlfriend!! Guess the texting would confirm they are in contact though. DC said last time there his mobile was constantly pinging (was always on silent before he left home!).

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