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How do a reassure my DD and say the right things since separation?

71 replies

teaandcakeplease · 02/05/2010 19:03

Bit of background for you. My H and I separated at the end of October 2009. He was and is still having an affair. The divorce is now progressing, since he made it clear he has no wish to ever move back in or end affair.

Lat year was very hard on my lovely DD. She missed her daddy terribly as he was away an awful lot (carrying out affair) which unsettled her as he was often away for days and when home seemed very out of sorts and then it all came to a head when I discovered the full deception and moved out with 2 DCs.

My DD is age 2 and isn't 3 until July. My son is currently 15 months. My son is a very sturdy chap and seems to be fine with everything. However my beautiful daughter (even now) still struggles and misses her Dad

She often cries and says she misses him. I try to ensure she see's him at least 3 times a week and does good things with him and me. My H is living with his dad, unemployed and looking for a job, so he has plenty of time on his hands right now. However the OW lives 4 hours drive away so whenever he goes to see her he is away for 3 nights at least. So my DD and DS will see him lots and then he goes away for a big stretch and then they see him again. Which in a weird way is harder on my DD it seems.

I said to him we need clearer boundaries and contact times as I hate how distressed she gets.

Can someone whose been through this tell me what I say to my DD to reassure her and advise me on contact regularity that will bring her more peace and security.

FWIW my H is fairly unstable and cannot cope with looking after them overnight or seeing them alone. Just so you know now before advising me.

Sorry it's so long.

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elmofan · 02/05/2010 19:10

tea its SS&S here from housewives estate So sorry you are going through a horrible time . sorry i dont have much advice for you but you sound like a wonderful mum x

teaandcakeplease · 02/05/2010 19:50

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colditz · 02/05/2010 19:52

Sort out set contact times, then do a wall chart of the days. Mummy days are pink days, daddy days are blue days, and a little picture of DD moves through the chart so she can always see which day she is on.

elmofan · 02/05/2010 20:03


treetroppo · 02/05/2010 20:11

You do sound like a wonderful mum. No real advice I would be interested to see what other MNers write to you as suggestions - but just keep as strong as you can and that will mean so much to them, I hope you have plenty of support yourself.

teaandcakeplease · 02/05/2010 20:22

I like colditz suggestion.

However I'd also like to know what to say to her clarified. I want to reassure her as well. I struggle on what to say when she's upset and missing him, as I haven't found an adequate way to explain anything to her really. I just say he doesn't live with us anymore but Daddy loves you very much and you'll see him in x many sleeps

It doesn't seem sufficient to me

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feelrubbish · 02/05/2010 21:07

Small children get most of their sense of security from the person who is with them the most which is you at the moment.
Looking back my dc's self esteem etc (when pre-schoolers) came from how secure and confident I felt about life and my ability to be a good mum.
They were clingy and difficult when I was struggling with an abusive realtionship and initially after leaving then got better when I got better.

I think you have to be positive and upbeat. So life is different now but it will be fine. Life with mum and dad living separately is OK.
If you are feeling sad and worried about the future she will pick up on that, if you are low she will think there is something to worry about.
Reassure you that you will always be there for her.
My ds1 wanted constant reassurance that he could ALWAYS live with me and kept asking things when I am 18 do I have to live myself he was 4) I don't want to. He was satisfied eventually that I would always want him and never get fed up with him but I may regret it when he is 35.

You will be understandebly devastated by all that has happened so so may need to fake it for a while - as well as getting as much outside support as possible - practical and emotional so you can have the energy to deal with it all.

You say that you ensure he sees them at least 3 times a week, which id great - BUT his relationship with them is his responsibility he should be making arrangement and ensuring he has adequate time in his life for his children. Clearly you shouldn't be obstructive to this but it is not your job to force him- that is his responsibility.

Having 2 small children on your own is so exhausting and you shouldn't have to worry about him.

teaandcakeplease · 02/05/2010 21:50

The kids have been happier and more stable since we separated. Sleeping better, less tantrums too.

It is hard but I'm at peace. The early days I had hope we'd work things out (in denial) that probably helped me along for a while. Until I finally realised it was never going to happen.

But generally I'm very happy. Lots of friends and support as well, as I go to a friendly church. As both my kids are so incredibly small though, it does a new dimension to this shenanigans.

My H often sends me texts asking to see them, so it's not all me being a pushy mum. But I do need more consistency, instead of current wishy washyness. IYSWIM.

Just want to hear from other mums whose H's have left them and what they did/ do I guess. My DD has been especially tearful today about wanting to see him but he's away until Weds

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NicknameTaken · 03/05/2010 13:59

My daughter is the same age and what works with her is to keep it simple and utterly certain. Daddy's day is Friday, and she always wants to be told that. His contact schedule is a lot more complicated, but she gets unsettled by explanations. At that age, they don't fully understand the days of the week, so I would pick one day when she tends to see him and call that Daddy's day. If he sees her another day or doesn't manage it on that day, it doesn't matter too much. The point is that she knows that Daddy's day will predictably roll around.

NicknameTaken · 03/05/2010 14:04


Because at that age, they don't measure the passage of time like adults, and she mightn't even register a missed visit. What registers with her is that you always give the same answer and give it with utter certainty.

teaandcakeplease · 03/05/2010 14:27

I see what you mean

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QueenofWhatever · 03/05/2010 20:23

I think you're doing the right things. My backstory is almost identical to yours, but my DD is five. She misses her Dad dreadfully and when she cries, I just hug her and say I'm sorry it's so hard for her and she feels so sad.

I don't try to explain why so much anymore, I think she picked up on enough of the abuse (non-physical, but still very real for her)to know why. I encourage her to talk about her Dad and at the same time, if she doesn't want to I leave her be (tricky as I'm so nosy!).

The thing that seemed to help the most was taking her to Disneyland Paris. Sorry!

teaandcakeplease · 03/05/2010 20:35

Disneyland Paris

What every time they miss their Dad? (joking)

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teaandcakeplease · 03/05/2010 21:43

elmofan are you still around?

How goes things?

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cestlavielife · 04/05/2010 09:59

as feelrubbish said : "They were clingy and difficult when I was struggling with an abusive realtionship and initially after leaving then got better when I got better.

I think you have to be positive and upbeat. So life is different now but it will be fine. Life with mum and dad living separately is OK."

tell her it is ok to feel sad because daddy used to live here - but it is ok because even tho daddy lives elsewhere he will see her every week.

elmofan · 04/05/2010 11:27

Hi tea Sorry you must think i am very strange after getting that other thread deleted its just that my ex mate did see it & dropped hints about it to let me know so thought it better to have it deleted .
How are your dc's ? poor dd & poor you what a horrible situation you are in if you ever need a listening ear just let me know xx

teaandcakeplease · 04/05/2010 11:54

Really? So she popped round did she? Or passed you on street and mentioned it?

I haven't paid for CAT, I can receive them but haven't paid to do it myself. So contacting you would be tricky. Or am I being daft?

Lack of sleep and 2 LO's has fried my brain

Thank you cestlavielife for your advice. You also commented on my original thread when choosing to end it and were helpful there too.

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elmofan · 04/05/2010 12:08

lol I'm just as bad i haven't got a clue how to CAT i could post my email address if you like ?

teaandcakeplease · 04/05/2010 19:48

Good plan Elmo.

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elmofan · 04/05/2010 21:23

Hi tea , you on here now ?

teaandcakeplease · 04/05/2010 22:31

Well sort of. Left PC on and went next door to watch tv


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elmofan · 04/05/2010 22:52

Sorry ive been in & out a lot today , was just wondering if you were online for a chat , not much on TV tonight

teaandcakeplease · 04/05/2010 22:59

I was watching pre-recorded stuff.

Want to start a thread in chat? Titled something random?

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elmofan · 04/05/2010 23:22

ill try think of something to start a thread in chat in the morning as its getting late now & I'm shattered , dd woke up at 6am this morning , no rest for the wicked ehh
off to bed to catch some zzzzzzzzzzz's night .

teaandcakeplease · 05/05/2010 09:12

I'm out at a mums and tots this morning. Catch up later Elmo? After 1pm would work well as both kids will hopefully be napping.

Silly sod of a H is still away, 7 days now since he saw kids and he's not replying to texts on when he plans to see them next. There's all these men who are separated who'd love decent contact with their kids, I want to give him that and he's more interested in the OW. It's mad I tell ya!

My DD has already said this morning "I miss daddy, daddy lost"

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