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When and how to tell children

Grundy456 posted 11/11/2020 04:32 AM

So me and partner are heading for separation.

He thinks weíre still working at fixing things but is continuing to engage with OW and he knows this is unacceptable to me.

Iím detaching emotionally, getting paperwork together.

This will blindside him Iím sure as heís covering his tracks well.

Heís enjoying the excitement of the chase of OW and she sounds pretty fed up as itís impossible for them to meet up for anything other than a coffee at work.

Iíd like to pack his stuff all up and dump it outside one day when he gets home from work and change the locks.

But realistically I need for it to be as smooth as possible for the childrenís sake.

How do we tell them? When do we tell them? How much do we tell them?

Thanks for your help

TwoDozen posted 11/11/2020 10:09 AM

Hey Grundy. Iím glad you asked this question as I may be following in your footsteps and these questions are starting to weigh on my mind also. Sorry canít offer any advice but hoping my reply will bump this to the top for some replies from the Wise people at SI.

Phoenix1 posted 11/11/2020 13:33 PM

Age appropriate truth. Always. They don't need dirty details, but they need truth. Otherwise, when they do find out (and they will, if they don't know something already), they will resent any lies.

Ideally, if you can both sit down with them and tell them, that would be great. That would prevent him from twisting the truth behind your back. Unfortunately, that is not always an option.

Honesty, assure them you both love them and none of this is their fault, and let them know you will always answer their questions truthfully. Then follow through.

How old are the kids?

BrokenheartedUK posted 11/11/2020 14:50 PM

Hi I rechecked your previous post and your children are 11 and 13, right?

They are old enough to be told the trust as Phoenix1 said but in a factual and not salacious detailed way.

In the best of terrible circumstances, telling the children together is better, but if it's going to be an undermining narrative with your STBX denying everything than that's a tough one.

Whatever/however you tell them, make sure that they know that they can come to you for honest answers to any questions.

Practically speaking, telling them in advance of your STBX's moving out is much better and doing it on a Friday after school so they have the chance to absorb the information over the weekend. And be prepared for them to act out or be angry, it's normal though not particularly easy. Contact the school to let their advisor or whoever they're close to know what's going on and that they need support.

Grundy456 posted 11/11/2020 15:45 PM

Thanks for your info.

I have a close relationship with the children. The oldest is harder and doesnít talk. He struggled massively through lockdown and I got some support in place through school but he refused it.
I will definitely ask the school to keep an eye on them. I know that a mum I know told me they were great with her son when her and her husband split.

There will be lots of tears Iím sure. But I think theyíll also be angry and disgusted with him. They have met the OW before, Iíve met her once (which is a whole other thread) and I think theyíve met her a few times but a couple of years ago.

I agree honesty is best. Presumably heíll move in with her and so when the children visit (I hope they upgrade to somewhere more than her rented room) theyíll realise.


I just canít believe after all he said 6 months ago, heís back doing it again. Although heís probably justifying it by saying heís not actually sleeping with her (although I think they were together last week).

The tears he cried and how bad he felt, the shame of what heíd done. How could he look his children in the eye, how could he have jeopardised being with them all the time.

All for a cheap thrill.

He even said to her, having said he canít meet up but hopefully soon, donít be negative, be positive, think of the thrill the excitement.

Not much excitement for a single woman waiting on a few stolen moments every few months!

He can have all the excitement he can get very soon!

CoderMom posted 11/30/2020 22:30 PM

Counseling might help all things pertaining to this situation.

How do I know? I have been in your shoes.

NEWPERSON posted 12/1/2020 02:16 AM

I left the house in June 2020, all cause he would not leave from last years September after a year (2018) found out he has an affair with his PA(married woman).

I have 2 sons (13 and 9), I started taking them to therapy in early May because I wanted by the time I tell them they understand that they are loved and they can talk to me about anything.
We then told them end May I was leaving the house -the youngest one cried and the oldest one seemed strong.We told them the bare minimum because I did not want influence how they see their dad but would like them to find out themselves -which i think they will because he is not a consistent person....the therapist advised that I do so....kids see themselves 50% mommy and 50%daddy so whatever you tell them they reflect it on themselves. We told them together that we were no longer happy together and that we don't want them to be in an unhappy home -When they are over 20 I will tell them the whole truth so they know what broke their family -they deserve that much.

they were in therapy for 4 months -then they asked to stop .....I told them we could start whenever they need more sessions.
the eldest one started having meltdowns, when he came to my place he would cry and I would hug him and assure him that I understand his pain ...so I think your eldest one you will have to keep an eye for since he bottles things as my eldest also shrugged it off when we told them and I thought oh well I don't have to worry about him....

6 months later I am slowly getting to my normal self (laughing and just appreciating small things like sunshine) I am a better mother cause I am more involved with my kids(my ex is a narcissist)so he was demand and often competed with kids.

my advise would be treat your kids with care and kindness-even though we want it know what the father did ,...its not the time....let them be kids -if they know something then its ok but don't feed anything more....they will make their conclusion and one day when they are young adult you can engage them....how I see is - you are not lying by not telling the full gory story but keeping it when they are old to deal with it better

Thumos posted 12/1/2020 12:53 PM

They are old enough to be told the trust as Phoenix1 said but in a factual and not salacious detailed way.

What's an example of an age appropriate thing to say to an 11-13 year old? Any examples of what people would say or have said?

Phoenix1 posted 12/1/2020 15:37 PM

What's an example of an age appropriate thing to say to an 11-13 year old? Any examples of what people would say or have said?

This is very subjective as all kids are different in terms of emotional or intellectual maturity. So the answer is - it depends.

Assuming an 11-13 year old understands basic right from wrong, the meaning of promises, etc., an example might be something like, "When people get married they make a promise to each other not to ever have a boyfriend/girlfriend while married. Mom/dad broke that promise and had a secret boyfriend/girlfriend. Because of that we can't be married anymore." It can easily be modified to fit a particular situation. The point is being honest and factual without bashing the other parent or getting into ugly details. It is also important to emphasize that it is no fault of the child and that you will always answer any questions honestly (age appropriate). They need to know they have at least one stable and honest parent they can count on.

Thumos posted 12/1/2020 16:59 PM

The pickle I am in is that this involved another boy (son of OM/AP) who was the best friend of my son at the time four years ago. My son is a very smart kid and he's already asked me to level with him about why he and his friend can't have playdates anymore, although he hasn't brought this up at all since switching to a new school and a new friends group.

So... he's going to put two and two together. He's going to know that the "secret boyfriend" was the father of the former best friend, and that the secret boyfriend was the reason he couldn't be in touch with his friend again. I'm probably going to have to confirm this for him. I find the prospect of this conversation gut wrenching.

But otherwise this is very good advice, and I thank you.

Anyone have any perspective on what they would say if the child asks "why now?" Again, my son is smart and perceptive and probing.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:01 PM, December 1st (Tuesday)]

Marz posted 12/1/2020 18:48 PM

Why the age appointment truth?

Kids arenít stupid and they need at least one parent they can trust/count on.

It an be as easy as mommy has a boyfriend, marriage is for 2 people only so we canít be married anymore.

I know a guy who stoop up with his wife, lied to his kids then found out his stbxw introduced them to her AP the next day. The kids were very confused and he was very angry at himself for his actions to his kids.

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