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When is the right time to tell the children?

  • booklady
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23 Feb 08 #14892 by booklady
Topic started by booklady
Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question - I did look at the children section but the posts all seemed to be concerned with the legal and financial aspects relating to children whereas at the moment I (and my husband) are more concerned with the emotional aspects.
Our daughter will be 16 in July and is sitting her GCSE's this summer, and our son 10. We do seem to be agreed on not telling them that we will be separating (and presumably ultimately divorcing) until after the GCSE's. But we have already started to tell, in confidence, a select few others . For instance I told my managers at work because I was worried that I might throw a wobbly at work and I wanted someone to know why. I have also told my sister because I need her emotional (and possibly financial) support. He has also told his sister and brother and has gone to tell his parents this weekend. Initially we weren't going to tell anyone before the kids and within a week I think we've already told nearly 10 people. His family have been told so as to avoid any awkwardness re visits etc between now and the summer. But I am terrified that there will be a leak somewhere and the children will hear first via a third party.
The other thing worrying me is that we are due to go on a long planned family holiday with my sister and brother-in-law to Florida at the end of June - just a few days after my daughter finishes her exams. My husband was never keen on the idea of going to Florida anyway and whilst it wasn't top of my list of places I wanted to go to I know the kids will love it plus my sister has a villa there so there are no accommodation costs and she has paid for the kids flights. So do we spoil it by telling them before the holiday or do we both still go and continue to try to play happy families whilst having the fact of the impending separation hanging over us? If we do tell them before we go should my husband still go so that they can still share the experience with them or would it be better for us all - and certainly me - if we left him here to pack up his stuff and move out whilst we're away?
How have others coped in similar situations?

  • mike62
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23 Feb 08 #14893 by mike62
Reply from mike62
There is never a 'good' time to deal with this with the children. They have firm loyalties to both mum and dad. Anytime is going to upet them. But they are resilient, despite what we may think. I have a 15yo doing his gcse's in June too. We told them some time ago. Yes, they are affected, they don't like it, but if it is handled well, they recover and move on more quickly than you might think.

It is about not demanding that they divide loyalties. They want quality time with mum and dad, but if that is separate, as long as it is fun, that's ok. Yes, they yearn for the old days, when all were together, but they do get used to it.

Don't get too hung up about it. It affects mum and dad more than the kids - believe me.

What about a little white lie? Mum and dad are not getting on too well. Lots of pressures. We need some time apart to get our thoughts together. Dad is going to move out. We will see how things go for a little while. That could get you past June.

Reading your posts, it is a horrible position to be in. Mine is not dissimilar. But we all have a right to a happy life. Mum might be so much better without dad, and better able to be mum to the kids without him. There are a lot of negatives about separation and divorce, but some positives too.

Don't be hard on yourself. You deserve happiness too. Your kids have a lot more time to find it than you, and will recover and adjust.

Take care and keep posting


  • JD09
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24 Feb 08 #14894 by JD09
Reply from JD09
I agree with Mike, there is never a good time. If it's somthing that has got to be done only you know your own children best. If it were me though I'd wait until after GCSE's have taken place if that's at all possible. Then when they go on study leave might be better timing.

Keep posting
Take care

  • gone1
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24 Feb 08 #14905 by gone1
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Not the same. Kids were in on the affair from the start and encoraged it. Well one did (youngest) and the eldest was non fussed. So I have never been thru what you are about to do. In my mind its best to tell then ASAP as they are of the age where they will fully understand. Kids are not stupid and at this age they will know anyway that something is not right. What I would do is jointly sit them down and tell them. Tell them what is going to happen and why. Tell them that you both love them and that this wont affect them (it will) but keep saying the love and support message. Leave it at that. From what I know of kids it wont sink in right away and they will go away and think on it. A while later they will come back with questions. Answer truthfully and fully. Never hide things from kids. They will remember that you decieved them and will hold it against you later.

Be united in front of them. Dont rubish each other to them. Provided you are honest and supportive towards them they will hopefully come thru this without to much damamge. Remember these are little adults. Good luck. Chris.

  • Angel557
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24 Feb 08 #14906 by Angel557
Reply from Angel557
As it's already been said there is never a good time to tell the children , but you have told 10 people this time next week those 10 people could turn into 20 people and your children may hear it 2nd hand.So i think thats something you both need to consider.

  • rosiegirl
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24 Feb 08 #14907 by rosiegirl
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I agree with Angel. We agreed to wait a month until my son had done his exams and it was one of the hardest times of my life. I told one very close friend as I had to have somewhere to go to break down and she was a loyal and trusted friend who never betrayed the confidence but was there for me totally.

My ex told some of his aquaintances one night, next day I had a stupid inteferring woman friend of his come up to me at school and express her sympathy while other people were around, including my daughter even though she had been told to keep it quiet! People have a habit of not being able to keep juicy gossip to themselves.

  • booklady
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01 Mar 08 #15452 by booklady
Reply from booklady
Sorry to take so long to thank rosiegirl, angel, chris, mike and jade for their comments and advice - I've been at work more than usual and haven't had any uninterrupted access to the computer at home.
We are still intending to not tell the children until the summer after my daughter's exams are over. They may be aware of a bit of a frosty atmosphere but sadly that hasn't been entirely unusual over the last few years. I do have implicit trust in the few people I've told and he has told mainly family who are not local and we are unlikely to see in the next few months.
There's been a bit of a spanner in the works this week as my husband seems to have suddenly woken up as to just what is at stake and is rapidly back-tracking on his decision to leave. He apparently never realised it was going to end like this and wants to try again - and this time he means it! He's not a schemer and so I honestly don't believe there is some underlying plot to force me to be the one to leave. But I have spent the past 5 years or more (probably 10) pointing out how much is at stake and although being 100% committed to the children and the idea of family he has consistently found it impossible to try to make our relationship work - basically it always boils down to the fact that he feels no desire for me. And as well as leading to no sexual interest it has also made it impossible for him to show any interest in me - I've felt like an afterthought in his life for so many years. I honestly don't think he has the capacity to consistently behave any differently. So although I'd never stopped trying to turn things around until the final split 2 weeks ago - his failure to do anything at all for my birthday was the final straw for me - once we'd crossed that line I felt a huge sense of relief (along with the anger and sadness of course) and I've been looking at the future as a challenge. I'd rather be on my own now at 48 than struggle to keep it together until my son is 18 by which time I'll be 58. He is saying he understands my reluctance to try again but he is determined to show me that he really means it. I'm just left thinking that yesterday was the 28th anniversary of when we got together and today is our 22nd wedding anniversary and neither have had a mention so just how hard is he trying? He's not making it very hard for me to keep my resolve.

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