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How are your DCs after separation/divorce?

(59 Posts)
Lostandlonely1979 Mon 14-Nov-16 10:28:01

Another poster's thread has got me thinking. I've been doing a lot of reading about divorce and its effects on children but I really want to hear from people who are going through it/have come out the other side. The good/bad/ugly - all of it.

I won't go into too much detail but in short, my situation is that DH and I are completely incompatible and what love there was on my part has died, despite a lot of effort (mainly on my part) over the past 3 years (married for almost 6). We fell into marriage/kids very quickly and we've both agreed that was incredibly immature and stupid of us, though we adore DDs of course and have no regrets on that side. But it is what it is and we have to make the best of this going forward.

We're in counselling but it's becoming more and more obvious that we will struggle to go the distance without compromising our indivudal happiness significantly. So - we'd be staying together for the kids, in a relatively harmonious friendship/partnership with very little genuine intimacy, though a lot of mutual affection. I think he's an utterly wonderful human being, I just don't love him.

So if you'd be willing to share your experiences, I'd be so grateful. Our DDs are 6 and 4. In general very happy, well adjusted little girls. I suspected they're picking up on all this, though DH disagrees.

Thank you in advance flowers

AhNurts Mon 14-Nov-16 14:37:47

Lurking here as it's something I'm also thinking about a lot...

comoneileen Mon 14-Nov-16 14:44:43

My kids have ups and down. They went through a tough phase. I put it down to the fact that it was completely impossible to be amicable with ex. He did attack me and said to the children that I did attack him. To them we are both liars.
Court awarded him most childcare has nothing could be proven. Several years down the line he is refusing to pay my divorce settlement.
He is a bully and shouts at them. It make me cringe, but that's not enough to stop contact. I just pray that it doesn't get physical when teenage hormones kick in.

Lostandlonely1979 Mon 14-Nov-16 14:47:18

Hi nurts, hope you can find some help here.

Comeon thank you for your input. So sorry to hear you're dealing with such a nightmare situation, and a difficult ex. Whatever struggles you and your DCs are having now, it sounds like removing you and them from the traditional setup was the best thing to do. Hope things improve for you very soon.

keepingonrunning Mon 14-Nov-16 14:53:15

What an awful situation for you comon.
I read that the most damage to DCs arises from the conflict between their parents. It is better for them if you can talk about their dad in only positive terms and if you are not able to, to discuss him as little as possible.

Lostandlonely1979 Mon 14-Nov-16 14:56:05

keeping that's what I've seen too,and it makes perfect sense. I have ample training in biting my tongue through having been a step parent. Husband's ex is a nightmare but DSD thinks we get on fine!

I feel as confident as I can be that negative comments and sniping wouldn't be an issue with us if we split.

daydreamnation Mon 14-Nov-16 15:03:39

I haven't got time for a long reply, will check in again later! My dc are 11 and 15, they were 3 and 7 when my ex h left.
8 years on the youngest finds it odd that we were ever married and my eldest said recently that she's thankful we separated as she loves her stepdad so much and can't imagine life without her half brother!
This is after many years of me worrying about them and being so careful about making sure we handled everything the 'right' way at the time. 8 years ago we were all devastated and at the time my eldest described the day we told them as the worst day of her life sad I guess midpoint is they do survive it and my two (I hope!) are relatively unscathed by it all.

daydreamnation Mon 14-Nov-16 15:04:30

my point

keepingonrunning Mon 14-Nov-16 15:09:44

If you look on a split as a catastrophe, DCs will probably pick up on your vibes and what you say and view it the same way.
Whereas if you explain it as a blip that just means everyone has to regroup and move on to other new opportunities, with luck DCs will do the same.

Lostandlonely1979 Mon 14-Nov-16 15:34:16

daydream and keeping thanks so much for your posts. I guess it's tossing up what's going to affect them more in the long term - a difficult separation now or ten more years of me dragging myself through this (before utlimately separating anyway, which is what I feel certain will happen).

I am not a good actress, despite my best efforts they can always tell when I'm upset. Which in the last couple of years is most of the time at home.

I'm thinking of this from both an emotional and a practical point of view. Things like how they will cope living between two places, for example.

I feel certain I can deal with a split positively and avoid anything more than the natural fallout and confusion of the situation. Beyond actually making the decision, H and I will work together to make it as easy as possible for the girls.

comoneileen Mon 14-Nov-16 15:42:14

Lostandlonely1979 I think keeping it amicable is the best thing you can do to help them cope.

Lostandlonely1979 Mon 14-Nov-16 15:46:26

Thanks comon, I feel lucky that that is pretty much a given with my H. Amicable is not how I'd describe our relationship at the moment, mainly because I'm palpably miserable. Who knows what it'll be after another couple of years of this discontent.

Donatello68 Mon 14-Nov-16 22:56:14

I divorced recently and my DC are 11 and 12. My youngest is struggling with it all but, my eldest is coping well. My ExH was abusive. Yes, it is not a perfect situation but, it is far far better than living in a war zone. We are all (except the ExH) much calmer, relaxed and happier than before. I am sure that my DC would be worse off if I had stuck it out.

Myusernameismyusername Mon 14-Nov-16 23:14:12

Mine were very little
dD1 missed him for a long time, gave me hell in bad behaviour but over time it's turned into not being about us splitting it's because he is a difficult person and that alone just makes me know I did the right thing. She's always a bit conflicted because he just does enough to make himself golden parent a lot of the time, and she forgets all his bad points until she is having a bit of an emotional crisis - then he either makes things worse or she refuses to have him involved. For this I am so glad he isn't here every day. He is impatient and intolerant and I am expected to clean up all the mess their drama (stroppy rude behaviour) that is left behind. They just seem to make each other worse somehow by their stubbornness and nature. I couldn't deal with both of them like it at the same time, as if he was my son!!??!

dD2 does not miss him or remember him living with me and thinks usually hmm about the situation. She's outwardly glad we don't live together as she finds him very irritating.

I'm actually amicable with him but earlier thread of mine I posted he does the bare minimum he can get away with and I am bloody knackered. 8 years of 90% child rearing is tiring

Lostandlonely1979 Tue 15-Nov-16 09:50:34

donatello What an awful situation for you. Well done for getting out and protecting yourself and your DCs. I hope your youngest comes round soon.

Myuser thanks for your input too. It's good to hear that you can identify that your DCs are struggling because of his behaviour, not the separation. How old were your kids when you split? Sucks that you have to shoulder so much of the child rearing.

I can empathise with feeling like you have another child. Another person to shoo along and remind about all the things they haven't done yet...

Donatello68 Tue 15-Nov-16 16:49:36

Good luck Lost. It took me several years to pluck up the courage to leave. When the time is right, you will know what to do! flowers

Myuser, I can definitely relate to the situation that you have with your DC1, my DC2 is the same. I just hope that as she gets older, she can make more sense of everything. In the meantime...,!!!

Lostandlonely1979 Tue 15-Nov-16 16:58:50

Thanks Donatello I am absolutely terrified while being simultaneously excited about being free. Rollercoaster and if I could flip a switch and fall in love with H, I would do it in an instant.

Myusernameismyusername Tue 15-Nov-16 17:51:40

Basically you need the resilience of a super parent to do both jobs because ok, he might pay maintenance and take them out but the emotional side of bringing up children might be entirely down to you. From actually constantly re teaching 'right and wrong' to them (no you don't hit little Lottie back, no not all gay people should be hung) to you know, holding them when they cry because they don't like to cry at his house because he gets annoyed by it.
I would rather deal with all that and him once a week, than him and all of that all week.
I have never ever missed him.
Like I said DD1 can miss him but in reality he is not emotionally supportive and she does know this. She's more angry nowadays she is a teen but guess who gets the anger? Me!
They were 3 and 5.

DD1's behaviour probably can't all be blamed on him, but whenever it really comes down to it, it is. It's the poor examples he set and how he undermines me, his controlling nature and what she saw of it towards me and she can copy it.

Funko Tue 15-Nov-16 18:36:21

Absolutely bloody fine! I split from my now ex h 3 years come February. Apart from the initial shock when my DS oddly equated us splitting up as 'he will lose all his stuff!' When he was immediately reassured and corrected he was and continues to be fine. Bit of awkward where he'd rather stay at home with me than go to his dad's which mostly subsided (no abuse or nastiness in anyway, we'd outgrown each other and I was sick of having a man child as a husband!). Kids are resilient. Ensure they know they are loved, it isn't their fault and co-parent as best you can. No snidey comments about the other and ensure you communicate on parenting. It's not all been plain sailing but as long as kids know nothing of any issues they will be fine.

RedYellowPinkandGreen Tue 15-Nov-16 19:40:38

The biggest surprise to me has been how well my children have coped so far. Its only been a few months. I have a toddler and sleep has been a bit of an issue but that won't be relevant. My 6 year old has completely taken it in his stride. He wanted to be in bed with me for a while but I think that was more about his younger brother being there.

He took the news really well. We were so taken aback. He was even excited about 2 homes. We gave him time to visit the new house, pick some things out and get used to it. Over this few weeks he gradually asked lots of questions. About what marriage is and how it will be different. We talked about different family set ups. My parents are divorced and he had a nagging worry because he knows we never see my Dad. So he had a serious explanation about how different his dad is. So I guess lots of opportunity for questions.

We talked about families we know with divorced parents.

He also needs a chance to be sad without me coming at him all glass half full. So sometimes I prompt do you remember when conversations and we share memories and acknowledge it's sad. I can't magic that sadness away. Its the reality of our family set up changing.

He was never a child who liked routine but I find now he really needs to know where he is going to be and when.

I suppose my advice is not to assume how they will be.

Really good point about not breaking it like it's bad news. I tried to be really neutral and acknowledge good and bad points.

(I learnt from telling him he was getting a new little brother. I was so keen to allow his feelings and I felt like I was ruining his life and that's how he responded!)

Didn't ever really get into it not being his fault. Didn't seem an issue. But talked a lot about difference between adults relationships and those with children.

Honestly, Both have sad moments missing the other parent when they are at the other home. In reality though they see more of their dad now than they did before.

Overall my DC are noticeably livelier and chirpier. Not blaming stbxh. I think it was because I had got so incredibly depressed. Its taken a while to shift that but we're much better.

I hope things work out for you. Sorry this is such a long reply but I know how terrible I felt about DC and I wanted you to know it can be ok.

donners312 Tue 15-Nov-16 20:34:16

Things could not be more acrimonious with me and ex if we tried but now i have zero contact with him and his family.

However despite this DC are definitely much happier - I don't really know why suspect that having no dad around rather than an uninterested, grumpy twat living with them might be the reason.

they very rarely see their dad and sometimes things flag up from DD but nothing major. I do worry about them not having a proper dad but i can't make him behave like one (believe me i've tried) but honestly they are more than Ok.

I have a great family though and that helps i think

Lostandlonely1979 Tue 15-Nov-16 21:31:30

Thanks so much for all your comments, it's really good to hear positive stories and get some hard-earned advice. I'm lucky that H is very hands on and will continue to be a great father, I know this for certain. He will probably want them at least two nights a week, plus holidays etc.

CrabbyJo Tue 15-Nov-16 21:36:49

I think the younger they are the easier it can be mostly. Mine were 3 and 1. Both teenagers now and their parents being separated is all they've ever known.

Lostandlonely1979 Tue 15-Nov-16 21:41:52

Thanks Crabby. Mine are 4 and 6 and everything I've read suggests it gets harder the older and more aware they get. Several people on here, whose opinions I've come to respect greatly, have all said they wish they'd left when the kids were smaller.

Funko Tue 15-Nov-16 21:55:26

Mine was 8, I think their level of self esteem and comfort, security with both their parents helps more so than age in itself.

If they feel secure, safe and loved and clear on routine and boundaries etc it's all the more easy for them to rationalise for themselves and accept.

Also, the older they are the quicker they are to twig... ooh two households... potential for playing parents off and extra attention and gifts! 😄

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