Last night my wife and I told our kids about our impending divorce. Overall, it went surprisingly well. We were a united front and opened with telling them that we loved them and that we would always take care of them. and we re-emphasized that all the way through the conversation.
We used the word ‘separation’ instead of divorce and emphasized that we would still be a family, just one that lives in two houses. Our eldest (9) threw a temper tantrum when he asked if we were getting divorced and we acknowledged that yes, that was what was happening. We had to restrain him a bit, (this is typical behavior for him when he encounters things he doesn’t like,) some time alone in his room helped calm him down. His younger brother (6) took it better, but did get angry when his brother did.
They didn’t mention it again before bed last night and apparently it didn’t come up this morning, and I didn’t hear anything about it when I got home tonight. Time will tell how this plays out, but at least the opening went reasonably well.
It was still hard to do, and I know that the emotional impact of it hasn’t sunk in yet. I remind myself that while my wife is rejecting me, I will have the opportunity to find someone that loves me for me, and that sustains me.
For others who may find themselves in a similar spot in the future, (and I really hope you don’t,) here’s the structure of the conversation that my wife and I planned out before we talked to them. This isn’t strictly verbatim, but the talking points we referred back to.
Preamble — Mom and dad both love you very much, and we will always love you and take care of you, and we will always be a family.
Why and what — Mom and dad still love each other, but we’ve grown apart and it’ll be better for mom and dad to love each other as friends instead of as a couple, so mom and dad are going to separate households and be a family that lives in two homes. We don’t share the same goals and needs, and we need to be friends instead of a couple.
When — We’ve agreed that it’s best for mom to move, so some time in the next couple of months, the plan is mom will be moving into a house she’s buying and then you will have two homes and spend equal time with mom and dad every other week. We don’t exactly when this will happen, but we will let you know as soon as possible.