Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I haven’t written in a few days. That’s because I’ve been thinking. Thinking about how to word this post. I guess the title says it all: breaking up is hard to do. It is. Especially when there are kids involved.

My husband and I decided a couple of months ago that after a decade of being together, it was time to go our separate ways. This post is not about who is to blame or who did what. If you’re looking for that kind of drama, look elsewhere. Believe me, you’ll find it. I’ve read way too many blogs about man-hate than I’d like to remember.

I’m writing this post to tell you about how we told our children. I’m hoping that by doing so one of three things will happen: I’ll feel better by writing about it, you’ll feel better by reading it and be better able to explain this kind of situation to your children, or you’ll post some tips or advice to me about how to navigate these icy waters.

We told our three children on Sunday after church. He’s been living outside of the house for a couple of months now, but always comes home to see the kids on the weekend. We figured they’d have already assumed something was up, especially our nine-year old. It was her we were concerned this news would hit the hardest. We started by calling a family meeting. We explained the situation and asked if they knew what “divorce” meant. I cautiously watched my nine-year old. She was completely unfazed. She asked if I meant like her friend’s parents who are divorced. Yes, I answered. She seemed fine with that response. I’m sure on the inside she’s working through these emotions. It was then that my five-year old fell apart. He put his head on the table and sobbed. He begged us not to get divorced. At this moment, I was so happy we had waited to tell them. Had this been a month earlier, I would have sobbed with him. It was hard not to, but I did my best to conceal my sadness. He asked again for us please to not get divorced. He did that several times that day. We looked toward the highlights: two rooms with two loads of toys, two Christmas celebrations, two birthday parties and all that. He said he wanted to go live with his Dad. Then, moments later, he cried, saying he would miss me. We explained it wouldn’t be all or nothing. The kids would get to see both of us. But, the news was just too much. My son was devastated. He’d flash between excitement over helping Daddy find a new home to utter despair over losing his parents as a married couple. The baby, obviously, couldn’t understand what was happening.

Sunday night, as I said prayers with my kids, I got to the part we always say after I pray for them, “God bless Mommies and Daddies…” and that’s where my son stopped me. He interrupted the prayer, to interject his own: “Please God! Please don’t let my parents get divorced! Please help them stay married!” It was heart wrenching to listen to.

When my husband and I decided to get married, we vowed we’d never get divorced like both of our parents had. We vowed not to become another statistic. No one prepares you for how hard marriage can be. You promise to have and to hold, to cherish and honor, and then one day you don’t.

Every day since we broke the news, the children have come up with new questions. Yesterday, they wanted to know if Daddy was going on vacation with us next month. No, I explained. My son burst out with “But Daddy deserves to have fun too!” This morning, while still in bed, my kids asked about our Christmas tree. Who would get it? What would happen to the other house without a tree? My five-year old offered an idea, saying we’ll get another tree and we’ll help Daddy put up his and then they’ll help me put up mine.

I suppose my life will be chock full of questions by my little ones. I’m astonished by the things they say about it. While watching Super Nanny, the kids saw a separated couple and asked why they were getting a divorce. Who knows, I said. It’s an adult decision. They ask if it’s because “Daddy doesn’t love you anymore?” No, we love each other. We just can’t make it work.

There are books, I’m sure, about how to help your children cope with divorce. We’ve read up quite a bit already, but I’m eager to know what you suggest. What books, children and adult, do you think are helpful in explaining this kind of situation? What else works? We are doing everything we can to make this as easy for them as possible. But, coming from divorced parents myself, I know that’s not likely going to be reality.

If you can offer no advice, I ask this one thing: please say a prayer for my children today to help heal their heartache. I know they are resilient, but like any parent, I hate to see them in pain.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Jul 13, 2011 @ 19:41:23

    I’m broken-hearted with you. I’ll definitely be praying for you guys!

    Reply

  2. Domestiç Reclusë
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 02:22:49

    Aww, mama, I’m sorry you’re going through this, but it appears that you (and he?) are satisfied with getting a divorce vs. staying together, and you’ve addressed it with the kids, which is the hardest part of it, Look at it this way: you’ve just given the brunt of the news to the kids, and they’ve survived… Maybe disagreeing with the decision, but still, they are alive & well, and very much loved. You’ll soon go from climbing this hill — to reaching a plateau, where you both will hash out visitation, custody, child support. Once the kinks are worked out, it will be a somewhat easier, downhill ride from there.

    I’ve been on that road, and your kids are lucky that their parents seem to be handling it in a civilized/cordial manner. (I wasn’t as lucky, having to deal with a man whose immaturity exceeds that of his own son.) The big thing is to maintain continuity at both households, such as having similar rules/discipline, and communicating with each other any concerns or issues… If you two can continue communicating (and save the “adult talk” or arguing for another day, away from the kids), the children will see the visitation as less of a speed bump in their life, and more of an exciting adventure. 🙂 Good luck!

    Reply

  3. Kalley C
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 18:12:30

    I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Reply

  4. Amy
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 22:50:18

    Maybe take them to see a family therapist while you’re in transition? Divorce stinks…there’s no doubt about that. However, I know many families that really make it work well and actually seem healthier and happier afterwards. I know one mother who flies her ex-husbands youngest daughter (from a new relationship) down so her two older children can bond with their younger half-sibling. It’s very kind to make that extra effort for the newest daughter, and very healthy for all of the kids. I wish you both happiness in whatever path life leads you on. 🙂

    Reply

  5. Trackback: “Miranda Rights” Mommying « Mom Land

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