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Dreading telling the kids about splitting.(52 Posts)
Together 21 years - 2 dc, 14 and 11, we have reached the end of the road. I am fed up being his housekeeper, he drinks too much and has retreated away from me more and more over the past eight months. Things have been slowly going downhill for about 3 years. Nothing big enough to break up the family though. Now I have had enough and told him to go. He is looking at a flat tomorrow, very local. I am dreading telling the kids, it feels like the worse thing I have ever had to do. I don’t think I will be able to hold it together. Any words of wisdom - please?
Thank you Abbie - it is my do I am most worried about- he is sensitive like me, and idolises his dad.
Oh so hard @firsttime - are you going to tell them together ?
Think I will tell DD14 myself, but I think we might do a family approach then with DS, DD, me and H. Not sure if this is a good idea though. This is just my thoughts- haven’t broached the subject with H yet - still too raw.
Also if anyone can help me get perspective on this. H has been on furlough for 51 days. He has drunk on every one of those 51 days usually 6 bottles/ cans of lager and then maybe a a glass or three of wine on top every three days. That is not falling down drunk but I think it is excessive and a very bad example to our DC, especially out DS.
That's objectively far too much booze. But you don't have to prove he has an alcohol problem to justify splitting up. Being miserable is a good enough reason. That's all you need.
My kids were little when I had to do this. It absolutely sucks, I won't lie. Be prepared for it to be really upsetting, for everyone.
I think with kids that age I would tell them as soon as possible and prepare to give them all the information they ask for, including things you may not want to say. They might ask lots of questions. It's their lives too. Don't try to stonewall, be as open and honest as you possibly can.
Remember to say really clearly that it's your fault (both of you) not their fault - nothing they did caused it and nothing they could have done would have stopped it. And that you both love them completely and unconditionally and always will. Have something concrete to say about when and how they will see their dad (hopefully there won't be any restrictions on them doing that).
It's a hammer blow and it's horrible. I feel for you having to do it. But one thing I've learned (ex and I split up 10+ years ago) is that what you do afterwards is what really counts. Being kind, not having rows, NEVER slagging the other parent off, making their relationship with their dad a huge priority even if it means sacrifices for you. This is how you show them that their well-being is still the most important thing for you, and it's also how you get to forgive yourself. I did, eventually.
Dear OP I am going to be doing this next week. I literally can’t sleep for the terror of what it will do to my 3 DS. I can’t offer any wisdom but know that you are not alone.
OP. Prepare what you want to say, I wrote it down on a word document and printed it out and got my exh to ok what we( I ) was going to say. I too was petrified but kept it together and stuck to the script.. it was so so hard but it's doable, you just have to say it. Once you've said the actual words the relief is great - and they begin to process slowly... thinking of you. Good luck
Whatonearth.. how old are your DS? I have 3 DS and they all handled it differently and like you was literally petrified of saying it to them. One of the reasons I stayed in an unhappy marriage for so long
Thanks all for the supportive words. Good tip Lushers, that thought of writing is down is daunting though, but I will practice out load the bombshell bit. I Know saying the words out load can take you by shock - even though they have been in your head for days. I really think/hope me and H can maintain a good relationship. We rarely argue now - I think we are past it. Which might mean the kids are surprised and won’t have seen it coming at all.
The alcohol thing is a biggie for me- I don’t want the kids to continue to see that as normal - I think my H saw it growing up and he is turning into his Father. TBF he has always had a pint or two after work in the pub and it was that in the main, following it on at home with another 4 cans - but that didn’t seem as obvious as the last 51 days - all the alcohol consumed at home. I don’t want to label him an alcoholic to the kids though.
Sorry that you are going through this too Whatonearth. Furlough has egsasabated our situation. If H had been at work, he does late shift 3 days a week so doesn’t drink then. It would not have shone such a light on the issue. There are other reasons for the split but, a lot of is related to the drink. Ie He never wants to do anything else at the weekends etc as he likes to have his pub visits watching the football.
You arent wrong that it might be the hardest thing you have ever done. There is no point sugar-coating this.
All I can tell you, having had my own hardest day almost a year ago now, is that you will all get through it. And there will be fun and laughs and smiles and happy times again.
Steel yourself. Imagine the worst. Know you will all get through it.
I was also most worried about my anxious little 10yo who absolutely identified with his dad. He has been pretty ok and has surprised me hugely. His OCD has actually improved.
@Lushers my 3 are 12,10 and 9. They idolise their dad who up until a few months ago was the perfect dad and husband. It’s him that wants to leave although after everything he has said and done I accept the marriage can’t be saved. But it was never something I conceived would happen to us. He’s like a stranger now. I’ve just made a schedule for the summer hols and the thought of not seeing my babies for a week or more is killing me. But what can we do. All the advice I’ve had is to reassure them of your love, not badmouth the ex and support them in every way possible. I have told a few close friends and have just set up a WhatsApp group asking them if we can arrange get togethers for the week after he goes. As in for the boys. It’s a nightmare it truly is, and I’m so sorry you are suffering too
@firsttimemama the drink is a big factor for my ex as well. He also started smoking again after 17 years. Not sure if it’s stress or a desire to be a teenager again!
That must be really tough Whatonearth. My H is a really good Dad too really. He worked the early shift for the past 9 years and did the school pick ups and dinner every night. (I did everything else ) He is reliable and dependable in the main, in spite of the alcohol consumption. He has taken the DS out on bike rides every day ( he stops at the offy most days) in the lockdown and takes him to football etc. He is just not engaged. With me anymore, He also is disinterested in our home and doesn’t pull his weight on maintenance or cleaning. But has improved on clearing up the kitchen.
Have you been to marriage counselling? It is 15 years since we told our children, XH and I are both remarried now, and I still cannot think about the look on my son's face when we told him we were divorcing without crying. This is serious shit and turmoil for children. Please get marriage counselling first if you haven't already, before you pull the pin once and for all on that grenade.
Obviously get counselling if you think it might be salvageable. Pixelated is right on that
But sometimes you need to pull that pin, unfortunately. Things will never be the same again. And some people will judge you harshly for it and call you selfish. If you're sure, you can and will deal with this. But it is hard all round.
It is also very hard as an adult to deal with the knowledge that your parent stayed with an unsuitable spouse because they didnt value themselves enough, or worse, sacrificed themselves for you. Only you can decide which is the lesser of the evils. There isnt a harm free solution, either way . And your happiness really matters, too, obviously.
I have thought about counselling and would go, but I have been here before and relented with him saying that he would try harder etc. This time though he has not even tried to talk me round. I truly think he knows it is over for him, but he just didn’t have the guts, conviction or motivation to upset his comfortable life. I have made us a lovely home, he gets his washing and cleaning done His admin, his holidays booked, why would he walk out on that? He had his pub and footie, he has never really been a ladies man. So this life suited him down to the ground. He has his pub mates and I think a couple or all of them are already Divorced and I. Think he thinks that the grass is greener over there,
Why do you have to do it ? Why are you not doing it together ?
Yes WTWN, I have pulled the pin, I cannot walk that back without just cause. But if he wants to try, this time I will only relent if he quits the drink - which 99.9% know he won’t do and agree to counselling. Like I said thought that grass looks green for him.
You’re second point is also spot on. Neither of my children need to see poor role modelling on relationships- I am so keen that my Daughter has the self respect that I need to and will show. My son needs to learn and understand too. Or he will be heading for a miserable adulthood.
I don’t think I will have anyone judging me - I think most will think me a saint for putting up with 21 years!
Stuffed Penguin- yes he is not off the hook. He will do it too. The difference is I know for sure that he is not loosing sleep over the pain that our poor innocent DC are about to have to absorb.
Went through it recently, things not right fit 4 years but we had managed to get along well but the last year was very tough, drinking as well. We had agreed to split in April but covid happened so stuck it out, then it was too much, furloughed, drunk every day doing minimal stuff while I was out at work every day.
We told them together (late teen and almost teen) and were honest about how it was going to work that we want to be able to be in the same place together without tension.
They understood and were sad I also felt that I was destroying our youngests world but so far they have adapted well.
Ex and I get on so well now, the constant tension and snipping has stopped so time together is pleasant now (still furloughed so comes over every day)
We won't go back but we are Co parenting, friends and still able to support each other, losing our years of friendship would have devestated me but this I can work with.
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