Divorcing Parents telling children Truth about love?

Erin - posted on 10/29/2014 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My soon to be ex husband has been calling himself "divorced" for 9 months. We have been separated a year. The divorce should be final the end of November. I still completely love him and have hoped and tried the last year to make amends. He says he has moved on. He recently told my 7 yr old daughter that "mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore"- which is a lie on my side. I tell her I still love daddy very much but daddy isn't going to live with us anymore. I also tell her that it's not because of anything she's done. She knows she can talk to me anytime about anything. Is it wrong for me to tell her the truth? I don't want to lie. I want her to know this is hurting me too and it's okay to feel hurt and cry. Am I doing the right things?

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Ev - posted on 11/01/2014

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I appreciate all the answers I have seen here. I agree that kids should be told the truth but it has to be done in such a manner to the age, understanding and so on of the child. Some are very sensitive and telling them point blank would send them into being sadder than needed or they will not handle it well. I never had my parents divorced but I can tell you that they did not tell me and my sister one thing until I turned 18. A lot of it was they deemed me too emotional to handle the news and the other was they did not want us to know until they thought we were ready. My mom had two more babies that did not live after my sister. And growing up we did ask for more siblings off and on not knowing the pain it caused our mother. When I was 18 and getting ready to take off from home to do my own thing, my mom and I cleared a trunk out for me to use and I found a baby outfit and thought it was my sister's. She said no and then told me that there would have been two more in the family. I do not know how hard it was for her to do that but she did. My sister was about 15 at the time. As for talking to my kids about my divorce with their dad, my daughter was 12 and old enough to know a bit more than her brother who was 5 at the time. I told her that her dad said he was done. And that we could not be together anymore. She kept asking me if we would get back together. I told her no on several occasions even to the point of the fact that you can not force someone to stay where they do not want to be. Finally I had to tell her with a phrase and it was harsh but I felt it was needed and my exact words were: "When hell freezes over is when he would take me back." I think she got the point. My son was oblivous as to what was really going on and why but he knew that is mom and dad were not together anymore. I just told him what he needed to know and that was mom and dad were not going to be together anymore. He adjusted to it fine. When he got a bit older and could understand more I explained it more so.

As for the telling the child that daddy does not love mom anymore may not be a lie on his thinking of things in this matter. Just because he does not love you anymore does not mean he lied. And you saying you still love him is not a lie either. That is how you feel. But to tell a child these things like this will confuse them. The better terms to use is that you love daddy still and would not want anything bad to happen to him and he should say something similar as well...even if its that he can get along with you but not live with you. Its complicated and kids only need to hear what needs to be said.

Julie - posted on 10/30/2014

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I would say yes, as a child of divorce and a parent myself, kids hate being lied to as much as parents do. I say honesty is the best policy but make it age appropriate of course. As a kid i was ok knowing my parents didnt have to be together to love me. Maybe you can tell her that love changes but never goes away. Best of luck. And you will find someone who totally adores you.

Jodi - posted on 10/30/2014

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"I would never disclose any of my adult feelings and resentments to her"

Uh, yes you do.

"I tell her I still love daddy very much but daddy isn't going to live with us anymore."

^^^^That is disclosing your adult feelings.

I agree with the other ladies. You need to move on. You are actually hurting your child by not doing so, whether you can see that or not.

Dove - posted on 10/30/2014

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You need to let him go. I would not have contradicted what he said even if it's not technically true. You could have said 'I will always love your dad because he gave me you, but we can not live together anymore'... and left it at THAT.

It is OK for her to know that it's hard on you because it's something different and you both have to get used to it, but she does NOT need to know that you are pining away for him. The marriage is over and you both need to accept that.

Now... IF down the road a reconciliation is possible... who knows? But for now... you need to accept that your marriage is over and you need to just focus on you and your child.

Michelle - posted on 10/30/2014

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I think you need to find a way to move on. Being in love with someone who doesn't love you back will only hurt more for longer.
He has told you how he feels, he is waiting for the divorce, he doesn't deserve you to be waiting in the wings just in case he doesn't like the single life.
Do you really want to be with someone who didn't want to married to you so much that you divorced? Really think about it.
1 sided love is very lonely.

Erin - posted on 10/30/2014

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The father and I don't talk anymore except emails about the kids(by his choice). He feels what he said was fine and won't hear my input or suggestions on anything. I wish and pray everyday it were different and we could work together. Unfortunately he has a lot of anger. My daughter knows she doesn't have to choose sides/ but I feel it's not his place to say "mommy and daddy" don't love each other anymore- because that's not true either. I would never disclose any of my adult feelings and resentments to her- she is only 7, not that age matters because I wouldn't do it anyway. But I am a very loving and caring person and I want her to know that. I am still hoping for a reconciliation someday - so I won't lead her to believe I don't have love for her dad even tho he told her different.

Michelle - posted on 10/30/2014

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I always just told my children that we couldn't live together anymore. They didn't need to know all the feelings behind the split, they were confused enough.

Jodi - posted on 10/29/2014

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Children don't always need to know the exact truth. Unfortunately, by the two of you having different stories and you deciding to tell her something different, you are not only confusing her, but you are involving her in your conflict and in what is essentially adult business. What is wrong with just saying "because mummy and daddy can't live together any more because we don't get along"? She doesn't need to hear about your hurt and anger and upset at the situation. Sure, you can say it makes you sad, but by saying what you are saying, you are kind of making dad out to be the bad guy and that's not ok. I would even go so far as to suggest you are placing her in a position where she feels she needs to choose sides.

You and dad need to make sure you are sending the same message.

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