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What To Tell the Children During Separation?

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kellys2014 posted 2/7/2014 16:39 PM

Found out on Saturday. Babysitter, family friend, 24 years old to his 44. Physical part ended over a year ago, sexting has continued ever since.

Took a few days to get him to move out. (He was begging to stay.) Two nights without him, so far. First night was HORRIBLE. Physically painful. Last night was much better. Slept off and on. Actually felt hungry and ate a little dinner. So that's great. And he is very miserable in his new temporary digs, so that is GREAT.

But the kids... Right now we are telling them that Daddy has to work a lot for a while and is staying at work. This makes sense because of his job, won't go into those details. He is spending the evening with them tonight and tomorrow night (because I am going out drinking with my cousins ). We are all supposed to spend the day together on Sunday, our usual family day, although I'm rethinking that plan.

Anyhoo, back to the children. The first morning without him, my daughter - 5 - woke up crying. She was worried about Daddy not having any food or water. (?) She was worried there would be a kitchen fire where he works. (?) She is acting extra clingy, not wanting to go to school, etc. Keeps asking where he is and when she is going to see him, even though she knows the answer to both. Obviously needs a lot of reassurance and seemed to feel better after talking to him on the phone last night.

My son - 7 - has not expressed anything specifically about his Dad, but he is super emotional about everything. Yelling at his sister, over-reacting to everything - seriously, screaming at his legos, super frustrated about tying his shoes, etc. Obviously very distressed, but I don't think he even knows why.

I can't believe the immediate impact. I didn't think they would pick up on this so soon. How are they going to manage when we actually tell them we are separating? What and when should we tell them?

I don't know if this will be permanent and I don't want to stress them even more if he'll be back in a month. He wants to come back. And now, seeing the children, I think if he does EVERYTHING RIGHT from here on out, I have to give him a second chance.

I'm thinking that we need to sit them down and tell them that we are trying a new living arrangement to see how it goes for us. Does that seem like the right thing to do? But I kind of hinted about it a few days ago (bringing up a friend whose parents divorced) and they both started freaking out, "NO! We want to all be together!" so I changed the subject. I can't believe how quick they are to understand all this. They believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy and Elf on the Shelf and the Easter Bunny, but don't buy Daddy working a lot?

Just typing that makes me realize I need to be more honest with the kids about this, and soon. I know how it feels to be lied to and I don't want to damage the trust they have in me, especially now.

Dang. What to say? This is horrible. Just one more thing I would like to thank my WH and heartless OW for. Man, I really hope there is such a thing as Karma. I can't believe I allowed someone to mess with my children's hearts like this.

[This message edited by kellys2014 at 4:40 PM, February 7th (Friday)]

cmego posted 2/7/2014 17:56 PM

My kids were about your kids age when we S, but it was "for good". I'd given him the second chance and he blew it.

Kid appropriate honesty is always best. Have all of their questions answered. 1. When they will see Dad. 2. Where they will see him 3. And "why" this is going on.

They can sense the tension and kids are not stupid. But, you can say something like, "Mommy and Daddy are having a big fight right now (because those are terms they can understand) and we need to live apart while we figure out how to handle it." If they ask if you are divorcing, tell them the truth, "I don't know right now. I promise as soon as we know what is going on, we will let you know. We both love you very much and it has nothing to do with anything you have done."

Later, I told my kids that when you get married, you promise each other things. Daddy broke one of those promises and hurt Mommy's heart and it can't be fixed (that is how we explained everything to our then 9 year old).

As they have gotten older, they have been given more details.

Hang in there!

[This message edited by cmego at 5:57 PM, February 7th (Friday)]

painfulpast posted 2/7/2014 18:53 PM

And now, seeing the children, I think if he does EVERYTHING RIGHT from here on out, I have to give him a second chance.

I have to agree that your kids sense something is off. They either picked up on the tension or heard some fighting.

As hard as that is to see, you don't HAVE to give him a second chance if you don't want to. Kids are better off with parents in separate homes than parents that hate each other in one home. If you can't be happy with him, your kids will know. Letting him come home for their sake isn't really helping anyone. Sorry - but that's the truth. I know you want to make everything right for your kids. That's normal, and all of us mom's go through it, for all sorts of reasons. But if you see how they are now, after a few days of the tension, how will they be after a few years of it?

You need to take care of you. As long as you and your WH both love your children, they will be fine, regardless of where your marriage ends up.


iamsoblind42 posted 2/7/2014 23:33 PM

Hi Kellys,

Do not reconcile for fear or because you think it is what the kids want. What do YOU want?

I almost got divorced 7 years ago when my son was just in 5th grade. I reconciled for the kids. Now he is a junior in HS and when I asked him recently why he did not seem overly upset or surprised by our recent separation he told me it was because he has been expecting it for 7 years. He knew his Dad would screw up again. So here I am 7 years later wishing I would have ended it 7 years ago.

Kids are smart. Give them a Mother they deserve and can look up to.

solus sto posted 2/8/2014 07:36 AM

Gently, kids waking up crying and worrying that Daddy won't have food know that Daddy's not just working a lot.

Age-appropriate truth.

ETA: As the daughter of parents who stayed together "for the kids," I can't tell you in strong enough terms that it is a TERRIBLE burden to place on children. They know. They blame themselves.

And I say this with great understanding and compassion, because I spent a handful of years, before my "last" dday (and before understanding the extent of stbx's depravity and dishonesty and disorder), treading water because I believed it to be best for the kids.

It was the worst possible decision (or, really, failure to decide) I could have made, causing terrible damage to my kids.

Whatever decision you make, make it for the right reasons. Make it because it's workable. Make it because it WILL benefit the kids.

For you, staying together may just be the right choice. But make it a REAL choice--not the default "should" that so many of us fall back on without really thinking of the long-term implications for everyone involved.

[This message edited by solus sto at 7:46 AM, February 8th (Saturday)]

StuckinNJagain posted 2/8/2014 08:01 AM

I am struggling with the same subject here. Mine are 16 DD & 12 DS and I have been very careful to try to keep things quiet so far. My WW and I haven't argued or faught during this time but there is zero intimacy or physical contact. I just cant go there yet and not sure if/when I will be able to do so again. In fact, WS has been going above and beyond since DDay to be a good wife. Doing many of the little things that I have asked over the years but she just blew off because she didnt want to or didnt care enough to do.
I know the kids are old enough and smart enough to understand but I am afraid to bring it up to them. Maybe they know, but they haven't hinted either.
I have always been a very involved dad in everything and at some level I feel like I needd to protect them emotionally from the fallout that is/has to come. I get a physical pain in my gut at the thought of telling them.Is this normal? I dont know. However, I also think I have to expose the affair as this is the second one and maybe the fact that I didnt expose the first in some way allowed the second to happen. I have also never told any family of friends and in some way I really regret it. I dont know if the time to speak up is right away or wait until I am ready. I have the thought in my mind that I will wait until I have made a decision on R and at that point I will speak up. However, I dont know if R is dependent upon teh openess either. I dont think this answered your question but just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in this delema. I run this same issue through my brain 24/7. I am going to seek IC soon in hopes of figuringthis out myself.
Best of luck and hope for you!

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