Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

separated... telling kids today, advice please.

(13 Posts)
SuperSharpShooter Mon 09-Oct-17 09:57:47

I ended our marriage in January after nearly two years of trying to hold it together.
A bit of background... my STBXH has (diagnosed) Aspergers and as hard as he has tried he just hasn't been able to hold down a job or make his freelance ambitions come to anything. We live overseas and made the move based on what he should have been able to earn (growth industry blah blah blah) compared to what I would have been able to earn within my profession. He has earned NO money for over two years and we blown through savings and loans. I could see & knew what was happening with our finances... but he just couldn't/refused to see what was happening.
I finally had enough the beginning of this year, and took a job back i the UK for 5months, which has earned me enough to keep the kids here and at school etc for the next 6 months. And now have other earning options in the new year.
While I was away (I came back home every three/four weeks) my STBXH stayed at the house to look after the kids. When I returned, three weeks ago, he moved out to stay with a friend locally.

Today we will be speaking to the kids, and I just dont know where to start. They obviously know something is going on. They are 6 and 9 and not bloody stupid.
My STBXH is stuck in this 'being honest' mode ie, It was MY idea to end the relationship and if it was up ti him we would still be together. This is what he wants to tell the kids. I just don't feel its necessary to lay blame in this way. Going with 'honesty' I could tell the kids that Dad nearly led us to financial ruin... not gonna say that though.

I've tried to explain in an age appropriate way that I had to go away to work to earn money so we can all stay where we live/school/friends etc. Its killed me being away from them, but I've actually thrived professionally since being away. I've been a stay at home mum for nine years, supporting my STBXH pursue his career. I feel so STUPID for doing this and how I doubted my own earning potential etc (whole other thread)

So... we tell the kids today. I dont know where to start. I'm terrified he'll turn the blame on to me. We are meeting for an hour or so before we talk to the kids.

How will I steer it back around if he starts to lay the blame on me?? The last thing I want is an argument between us. This is meant to be about letting the kids know they will be safe and secure and loved by us both. My STBXH is SO black and white. He cant see that in the grand scheme of things... he is actually the one to blame (he didn't fulfill his promise to support us financially)
Obviously there is NO need to tell the kids this. He is hurting so much that he would actually prefere to tell the kids HIS truth ie, Mum asked him to leave, than an age appropriate reasoning.

I'm terrified ts all going to come out wrong leaving the kids even more confused. This awful conversation had been put off long enough. I just want to get It as 'right' as I possibly can.

Any advice greatly appreciated. TIA.

GullTQY Mon 09-Oct-17 10:20:45


I have recently seperated from my husband. He left this Saturday and I told my 7 & 2 year old on the Wednesday before.

I kept it as simple as possible, but I was honest. Mummy and daddy have been having some problems and have decided it is best to be friends. We still care for and love eachother but as best friends. I explained what was going to happen. My eldest was upset but said she understood. My 2 year old knows daddy isn't here but doesn't quite understand. It is no good to blame anyone, tell them it was a joint decision and no one is to blame, if your husband insists on not doing this then he doesn't really have their best interest at heart. It will be harder for them to understand and will cause more pain than needed. Spare them the details. If he doesn't cooperate, then maybe when you are on your own with them just explain that daddy is upset and really no one is to blame.

Talk to their school and explain what is happening, they will offer support for you all but obviously the children will be priority. My daughter's school have been lovely and both children are copies better than I imagined, I was dreading it!! Children are more resilient than we think. It is still early days and I'm expecting a bumpy few months but as long as they have the support of both parents they will be fine.

Stay strong and avoid this getting messy as much as you can, even if it's just you then stays respectful.

I wish you luck, hope it goes okay

Desmondo2016 Mon 09-Oct-17 10:23:47

The children do not need to know any detail at all. Please please just keep it simple. They won't care about the finer details they'll just need to know what the plan looks like going forwards and be reassured that everyone still loves them and mummy and daddy are friendly .

QuiteChic Mon 09-Oct-17 11:38:09

Will your husband remain abroad ? How will he finance himself if he does ? Does he understand that the truth is that he needs your help to clothe and feed himself ? If you're meeting up before you see the children it might be worth pointing out these facts and then he may see the merit of being kind to both you and the children, by gently explaining like Gull that due to some problems you've decided it's better to separate but stay as friends. Good luck to all of you, it must be very sad and scary.

SuperSharpShooter Mon 09-Oct-17 12:10:48

Thanks all.
QuietChic All of this has been pointed out, over and over. He just doesn't get it.
STBXH gets an 'allowance' from his parents. Before kids I always earned my own money. Accepting this 'hand out' from his parents has agitated the working class chip on my shoulder grin
Ill take this money now, as I dont give a shit where it comes from, but as part of a relationship I could no longer accept this 'charity' money. He genuinely has zero concept of the cost of living and that loans/debt and this allowance has kept us going up to now. Ive requested X amount each month from him to go towards the kids... by no means anywhere near what it costs to keep a roof over our heads. Even him giving this X amount to me will leave him with more in his arse pocket every month than I have had for the last nine years. He will be living rent free. He has holes in his shoes... no longer my problem.

I know the advice given is the correct way forward here. Keep it neutral, assign no blame & reassure the kids we both love them and its he best for everyone to have two happy homes rather than one unhappy one (age appropriately)
I just so worried he'll 'turn' when we are actually talking to the kids. He has no filter.

Ive informed the school and they have assured me they will support the kids and keep me posted. Ive also told the school of STBXH Aspergers although he didn't want me to. I feel they need to know this, as social and emotional intelligence is somewhat lacking...they need to know why.
Despite all this he is a good dad, and does thing with the kids I've no patience for, Lego, computer games, outdoorsy stuff etc.
We will both be better parents parenting separately. He just cant see this.

Taking deep breaths as the meeting time approaches.

QuiteChic Mon 09-Oct-17 13:16:41

If he can't get it Super then be as blunt to him as possible, saying if he tries the "it's all Mum's fault" line - then he will be seriously hurting his children. They'll be wondering why their Dad is prepared to leave them with someone he's painted so black. It will make him look like a nasty, twisted man. Aspergers aside - they (men) do seem to come from a different planet sometimes don't they ?

SuperSharpShooter Mon 09-Oct-17 14:12:15

Thanks Chic
Yup, some men just don't like I being pointed out to them when they're fucking things up. I've been blamed for all his problems.
There is defo a fine line between Aspergers and ass hole ;)

We've just talked now before school pick up and he's agreed to lay no blame. Although I dont really Believe he understands why. He cut it a bit fine in giving us enough time to talk through properly, i'll have to make sure I remind him to keep to the same 'no blame' reasoning in the future, as I'm sure the kids will ask more questions after today.

So... fifteen minutes to go til the talk.
I feel sick. Wish me luck!

Myheartbelongsto Mon 09-Oct-17 14:17:02

Good luck!

SuperSharpShooter Mon 09-Oct-17 15:35:43

Thank you!

Talk went ok. Kids seem ok. Will report back after Ive been off for a little private cry.

LellyMcKelly Mon 09-Oct-17 15:44:53

Well done! Telling the kids was the hardest part for me. It's hard, but you must feel as though a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

QuiteChic Mon 09-Oct-17 20:05:02

Well done; I can't imagine this is easy for you (either of you) but I'm sure in the long run you'll all benefit from you taking control of your life.

Watermelonwoman Mon 09-Oct-17 20:58:13

Well done. It's really hard.
We have not long ago had the same conversation with our 3 children, although it has been somewhat easier as my husband does have some emotional intelligence.
Children know intuitively (and are told!) they are half mum and half dad. If they hear blame or slagging off of one parent, they subconsciously can internalise this to then feel dislike of themselves.
If one parent blames another, it potentially damages the relationship between the children and the blamer, NOT the one who is being spoken ill of.
Two very good and research based reasons to keep your dislike of each other and the reasons for the marriage breakdown very far away from their ears.
Speak only in neutral or positive terms about your ex-partner in front of them. It really is the best ( and often hardest) thing you can sustain.
When they are old enough, they will work it out for themselves.

SuperSharpShooter Mon 09-Oct-17 21:21:45

Thanks all.

Getting it all out here before hand really helped.

I used the line that - If you paint me badly here, you'll look worse in the long run, as I've never bad mouthed, or ever will, you.
This seemed to hit home. He basically left all the talking to me.
The kids had a little cry, but I think that was because they could see that I was upset.
They will see him all the time, and I dont even mind that it will mainly be for the fun stuff. Ive been doing most of the grunt work for years anyway. It will just now be in two houses, without arguing and resentment.

The house were he is living isnt really suitable for them to be there on a part time basis, so when I have to go back to the UK he will move back in, temporarily to look after the kids here. I hired a nanny to help this year, I'll do the same next year and will be able to return more often than I did last season and will be able to afford to bring the kids over during holidays, which the Grandparents and the kids will love.
The year after, I'll hopefully be able to live off commissions I've made this and next year.
It will be a unusual set up. But I already feel Ive gotten the best of me back after this last seasons work and definitely have more control already. Infact, I think doing things this way will be easier than EOW etc as he'll be left to it without what he considered me breathing down his neck and criticising.

Ive been assured by friends and family, that within time (if they dont already know) that the kids will understand that I was the one that provided the consistency for them, and later they'll understand the financial side of things. Its sad, but I honestly dot think he'll ever hold down a job/work of any value.

Im expecting wobbles, tears and probably a few tantrums. But today went better than expected.

Thanks again y'all. Im sure Ill be back for a moan at some point. But for now, onwards ad upwards!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: