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    • tobeloy
    • By tobeloy 3rd Jul 17, 9:09 PM
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    Separation Telling the children Yes / no
    • #1
    • 3rd Jul 17, 9:09 PM
    Separation Telling the children Yes / no 3rd Jul 17 at 9:09 PM

    Come here for a bit of support and opinion please. Me and my wife have separated, I was the one who initiated this, there was no affair etc it was a marriage that had run its course and no matter what I have tried for a year to resolve this it has not worked. We have been to counselling etc but are now parting amicably.

    It is hurting her more than me but we are amicable about it all. We have two children 2 and 5 yrs old, basically we are at an impasse with telling them, she wants to tell the oldest and I don't for now, we have various opinions from friends and family too but I have maintained all along its us that need to make the decision.

    I am moving out soon and will be living 10 minutes away, the wife is staying in the house we bought together and we are both paying the mortgage, I am paying support and the agreement we have is that I am welcome around to put the kids to bed, take to or pick up from school, pop in to see them etc providing I call before to check its ok.

    So its a good setup so far but my wife is adamant we should tell our 5 year old and I think we should not for now. He is a sensitive lad and he is very happy in school and at home and I do not see the benefit this would bring to him given that not very much is going to be different in his life at the moment.

    I say this as my job is very variable and both children have grown up and are used to the setup with my job, some mornings they will get up and I won't be there and sometimes they won't see me for a day or so just because of the hours I work. Both children know I am at the end of the phone and they accept that, both children are used to this and when I move out the situation is still going to be the same given the setup.

    The only difference is my clothes won't be in the house and some of my possessions but I seriously don't see our eldest noticing this, I will still be coming in to take him to school etc and this is what they are used to given my job and hours.

    My ex wife on the other hand wants to tell him and I think it will just cause major problems, questions and worry for our son, affected school life and concentartion, affected home life and blame etc...

    Its not that I don't want to tell him but I think now is not the time and if everything is going well and little is changing lets just see how it goes, if he asks then we will tell but if he goes a year or so with the new setup then its a case of casually talking about it as if there has been no major change when it does come out or if questions are asked.

    I went through a divorce when I was 5 and all I done was worry about both parents, especially my dad, I have experience and from what I remember it was a unhappy time for me with access etc.

    I love my kids, I want little disruption as possible for them and my ex wife just tells me we are lying to them, am I being selfish or sensible
Page 2
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 4th Jul 17, 1:07 PM
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    A 5 year old is more aware than you realise. They notice the little things an adult may not.

    Do you never eat with the family/

    Does he never see you in the bedroom - at weekends , holidays etc?
    Does he never see you in pyjamas?
    He will notice there are none of your clothes in the washing. None of your things lying around the house- shoes, slippers, phone, ipad, computer.

    He will notice you are not sitting have conversations with his mu, not sitting watching tv.

    These are all things that adult see but dismiss as unimportant so don't register them.

    5 year olds have not reached that stage and register every little thing.

    Neighbours will discuss the situation in front of their children and they will mention it to your child.

    Treat your children as the important little people they are and be honest with them.

    It sound like the separation is your problem more than your child's.
    • warby68
    • By warby68 4th Jul 17, 1:21 PM
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    Unfair on mum too. She will have to work much harder than you to maintain such pretence as the family unit will be with her pretty much 24/7. As she is struggling more than you with your leaving this will make it even harder for her, dreading and fielding the awkward questions far more than you. Its expecting her to live a lie really which is very hard when really, it serves only you.

    You probably don't intend it like this as your premise was that children are easy to fool but as everyone says, a 5 year old will pick up plenty and if its in spite in the playground he will have no defence. I have 2 sons, older now, but they always handled knowledge better than uncertainty.
    • gingercordial
    • By gingercordial 4th Jul 17, 1:22 PM
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    You don't often see unanimous MSE threads but this is one of them.

    Tell him straight away for all the excellent reasons above.
    • chesky
    • By chesky 4th Jul 17, 3:12 PM
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    You're obviously hoping that your son is at some point going to ask his mum the question 'why doesn't daddy .........' (Whatever) and she, poor woman, is going to have to tell him on her own.

    You're a coward.
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 4th Jul 17, 3:35 PM
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    "Marriage run its course" while you have a 2 yo child?
    Originally posted by justme111
    I was a bit surprised at that too.

    With the OP admitting that his wife is hurting more than him and that he is the one deciding to break up the marriage, I wonder if its actually as 'amicable' as he thinks it is.

    Not many women are completely fine about becoming a single parent of tiny children when its only a few short years since they were in love enough to create those children.

    Keeping up a pretence and trying to carry on with the children as if nothing has changed will be incredibly difficult for your wife.
    • KateySW
    • By KateySW 4th Jul 17, 3:37 PM
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    Tell him.

    I know you reference your own experience but on the flip side, my parents didn't tell me initially when they separated. I now look back on the memories I have from that period of time, memories that seemed wonderful, and know that they were false and my "happy family" actually wasn't. That never ever leaves you and it makes you question whether you were ever all happy together after all.

    In any case, even if the reflection when he is older doesn't persuade you that it's cruel not to tell him, I think you're insulting his intelligence for believing he won't notice anything. Tell him, reassure him, be there for him as much as you can and tell him everyday that he is still loved. That's the kindest way to do this for all involved.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 4th Jul 17, 9:05 PM
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    Tell him now, and tell him together.

    Tell him, explicitly, that it is not his fault and that you and his mum both love him and that he will continue to see both of you.

    What you are proposing to do is to lie to him and deceive him, and expect your wife to cover for you in doing that. That is not fair to him or her. It's also totally impractical. None of you live in a bubble, you and your wife have friends and family, you can't seriously imagine that no-one will ever talk about or mention the separation? You and your wife should also let your son's school know, so that they know the background if your son is upset or his behaviour changes.

    Also, children notice stuff and they imagine things. And what they imagine is often worse than the truth. It's incredibly common for children to think that they are to blame when their parents spilt up, and this can be particularly true for younger children, which is why it's important that he hears from you and your wife that he hasn't done anything wrong and that you both still love him and ill be seeing him.

    Even if you were expecting your separation to be temporary, it would be appropriate to tell him something.
    • tobeloy
    • By tobeloy 4th Jul 17, 9:40 PM
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    You're obviously hoping that your son is at some point going to ask his mum the question 'why doesn't daddy .........' (Whatever) and she, poor woman, is going to have to tell him on her own.

    You're a coward.
    Originally posted by chesky
    Not a coward, trying to protect my son from what i felt
    • tobeloy
    • By tobeloy 4th Jul 17, 9:47 PM
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    Can I just thank everyone for the input on this, I wanted honest feedback and I have it.

    'Marriage has run its course' maybe the wrong choice of words but we have drifted apart and counselling has not helped. We both love our children dearly, we are amicable and who knows if it will last. yes my ex is hurting but I would rather she hurt and know the truth than me lie to her about what was becoming inevitable.

    I don't confess to being a great parent but I am still learning and will now make time to sit and talk to our son together with mum.

    Appreciate everyone's input I really do...
    • Zeni
    • By Zeni 4th Jul 17, 9:50 PM
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    Please tell him. For so many reasons people have brought up on here.. What if he finds out from someone else? How is your wife meant to keep up that pretence every day when they ask 'where's daddy?' is she meant to lie to them everyday? (which if shes already hurting is really unfair on her) What if you or her meet a new partner are you going to hide it or lie?

    I can totally understand why you feel the way you do with your own experiences but you would be lying to your son to protect him and just delaying it. He will have to find out eventually and while I understand it will be really hard and it may make you feel some guilt for the situation (as you say it was you who initiated it and now have put your son in a similar situation that you were once in.. this is not a judgement just speculation why this must be hard for you to make this decision) you need to be honest and tell him. How would you deal with it if he foiund out a year down the line and then found out that you had lied to him for so long, that could damage their relationship with you guys. Children are so much smarter than people give them credit for.. Primary school teacher speaking here.. wouldn't beleive what children say in school that I bet there parents have no idea they notice.
    Swagbuckling since Aug 2016 - Earnings so far.. 55.
    • Loz01
    • By Loz01 5th Jul 17, 8:41 PM
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    Tell them (or the oldest), sit him down and tell him Mummy and Daddy will be living in two houses now, that you both still love him very much and that Mummy and Daddy are still best friends (however much of a fat lie this is)
    He will feel reassured, trust me.
    The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, is a true perversion - Harvey Milk
    • theguru
    • By theguru 6th Jul 17, 5:14 PM
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    Had the same problem when wanting to tell my 4 year old at the time. What we did was get a book and show pics of both new homes she would be staying at and how her bedrooms would look and pictures and words explaining how she would live with her mother and come stay at mine.

    She took it really well and I trhink you'll be surprised how resilient your eldest may be.

    Sure she asks questions about why we live apart but as long as it's amicable your kids will be fine.
    • avogadro
    • By avogadro 6th Jul 17, 6:56 PM
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    You're obviously hoping that your son is at some point going to ask his mum the question 'why doesn't daddy .........' (Whatever) and she, poor woman, is going to have to tell him on her own.
    Originally posted by chesky
    Bearing in mind the age of the child/ren:

    "Daddy has a new house now, and lucky you, you'll be able to go and visit him there"
    • Newly retired
    • By Newly retired 6th Jul 17, 9:18 PM
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    Newly retired
    My daughter and her husband split up when the children were young. They took it very well, almost matter of factly, as I am sure they had sensed there were tensions between their parents. I have to say that they now have the best of lives. Two lovely homes, double the number of treats, holidays, birthday presents. Of course, this is only possible as there are no money issues, and is not the case for everyone.
    So tell them, deal with it properly, fairly and honestly.
    • Poor_Single_lady
    • By Poor_Single_lady 8th Jul 17, 1:23 PM
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    Sorry if this sounds rude but I think you are lucky your wife bothered checking your viewpoint.
    Once you have walked out she will maybe parent her way regardless of what you think because you won't be around.
    If I had a husband who left me with 2 year old and 5 year old I would change the locks and I would not be remotely interested in your parenting opinions.
    2017- 5 credit cards plus loan
    Overdraft And 1 credit card paid off.

    2018 plans - reduce debt
    • maman
    • By maman 8th Jul 17, 3:39 PM
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    I'm another in the definitely tell them camp. I'd tell both of them at the same time even though the youngest may not take it in properly.

    Your wife is going to find it very hard to appear amicable in front of the children 24/7 particularly as she hasn't initiated this whatever she's saying now. I do hope she can be mature enough to keep a united front with the children but sadly I have known many women who discuss their children's father negatively either directly to the children or gossip to friends in front of them.
    • Aced2016
    • By Aced2016 8th Jul 17, 3:58 PM
    • 233 Posts
    • 466 Thanks
    When I read your post I assumed you'd been married 20/30 years. I was shocked to see you had a two and five year old!

    I believe you should talk to your son and explain things and reassure him. To be honest I think your bored. Bored of your wife, having two young kids and life being different to how it was.

    I've 4 children and been with my husband just over 14 years, since I was a teenager. I've had times I've been bored, when things have seemed like its the end. But I've never gave up and I won't ! I believe in seeing marriage out (within reason) it needs worked on. And I want to ensure my kids are brought up with a mum and a dad together.

    Maybe you living on your own, after you've had your fun will make you see what you've lost.
    • PeacefulWaters
    • By PeacefulWaters 8th Jul 17, 4:26 PM
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    Maybe you living on your own, after you've had your fun will make you see what you've lost.
    Originally posted by Aced2016
    It made me wonder why the hell I didn't move out twenty years earlier.
    • jayII
    • By jayII 8th Jul 17, 4:31 PM
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    You are being selfish. You should tell them, but first you should try a bit longer to make your marriage work. You made a commitment and your wife presumably agreed to have children on the basis that you'd bring them up as a committed couple? I too was shocked to see that you hadn't been married for 20 years or so, with the way you talk about your marriage.

    Okay, things have been difficult for a year, but a year is really nothing, when you have very young children and thus very limited time to spend together and work on things. You're giving up at the time when things are hardest due to the normal demands of a two and five year old.

    If you can stay together and get through the next couple of years, then you will probably have an extremely strong and close marriage and relationship, just when your children start to be more independent and more fun to care for and to spend time with. All relationships go through rough times when children are very young, but strong and caring parents and partners work through the problems, rather than giving up.
    Last edited by jayII; 08-07-2017 at 4:33 PM.
    Fighting the biggest battle of my life. Started 30th January 2018.
    • LKRDN_Morgan
    • By LKRDN_Morgan 8th Jul 17, 5:21 PM
    • 280 Posts
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    Woah for a second there I thought I'd stumbled into mumsnet not MSE. So many bitter responses. Times have changed. People don't stay in unhappy marriages anymore for the sake of the kids. It doesn't do them any favours. Being around unhappy parents is not a nice experience

    Not sure if OP has responsed or not, I must have missed it in a sea of man haters but be honest with your boy. He'll work it out for himself anyway so better you're upfront about it than hear of from his upset mum. Things can so easily be said in the heat of the moment whilst she's still coming to terms with it
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