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Divorce/Separation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: Marriage Re-writes for Kids...
jagged
♂ Member
Member # 32317
Default  Posted: 4:16 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

...have started.

Lately, my DD6 has had some struggles re-surfacing with the D: expressing sadness over old memories, regret and occasional wishes that we could all move in together again. I’ve tried to validate her sadness, and tell her that I understand, but also explain to her that her mommy and I won’t be married again. She hasn’t pressed me – to date – with anything like “why not?”, and I’m grateful for that, but in the past, I’ve answered these infrequent questions (from DD6 and DD10) by telling them that it’s a thing for grown ups, that they may understand it better as they grow older, but that it had absolutely nothing to do with them and that both mommy and daddy love them very much.

But I’ve always worried about the different messages they’re going to get from XWW, who I seriously doubt will ever be capable of owning her shit. And the version of our marriage and divorce that she’ll publish for them. We divorced in 2012, and so both DDs remember what it was like when we were married: we didn’t fight, we didn’t scream, we got along genuinely well and spent most of our time together, and until XWW’s MLC and NPD switches flipped, we were “that” couple that everybody admired and wanted to be.

Today DD6 was explaining to me that the other day at her mom’s, she was sad about the divorce, and asked her mom why it happened. XWW told her we were fighting a lot. DD6 called her on it, and actually said she never saw us fighting; XWW said we’d fight after they went to bed or when they weren’t around, “all the time”. When DD6 asked what we fought about, XWW answered “everything”.

So this is how it’s going to be for my DD’s? No, I don’t expect her to come clean with a 6 and 10-year old, but what do I do? My girls were both in the room when DD6 said this, and my poker face sucked. I was pissed, and I said “Did mommy actually say that?” (DD6 sometimes invents wonderful narratives). DD6 said she did…and then said “but don’t be mad at mommy”. I felt even worse then, and changed the subject.

How do I deal with this? Even though they doubt it now, they’re getting the XWW’s marriage re-writes. I have absolutely no desire to unduly damage my girls’ image of their mother, as this will surely create some kind of issues for them to have to deal with.

But what about the importance of truth? Especially here, with the introduction of XWW’s family script? (XWW is the daughter and granddaughter of serial cheating women who are gifted artists in crafting themselves as victims of unhappy marriages…and I have zero doubt this script was an enabling factor in XWW’s MLC , the justification of her EAs and PA(s), and her subsequent attitude of “Meh…shit happens”).

Do I simply stand by and let them be told lies about their parents’ marriage, so XWW can make herself look better in their eyes?

[This message edited by jagged at 4:19 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday)]


One foot in and one foot back
But it don't pay to live like that
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks
For never to return

Posts: 333 | Registered: May 2011 | From: TX
Jduff
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Member # 41988
Default  Posted: 4:37 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I don't have an answer myself, but I am just as interested in the responses here as well. I'm recently discovering my own boys are getting the "re-writes" as well from XW. Thanks for posting this question, jagged.


Divorced - 5/23/14
Already in my New Beginning - :)

Posts: 446 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: texas
Dreamboat
♀ Member
Member # 10506
Default  Posted: 5:25 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Try not to respond to what your X says (or allegedly says) to your DDs. But when they ask YOU questions you can give them an age appropriate version of the truth. You can tell them that Mommy broke promises that she made to you and hurt you very badly. That she hurt you so much that you did not think you could stay M to her. Or if it was X's decision to leave, then you could say that Mommy did not think she could ever make it up to you so she decided not to be M to you anymore. You should not tell them that she had an A, at least not until they are adults and only if the specifically ask.

And note that your version does not contradict X's alleged version. If DD's ask if you were also fighting, then you can be truthful and say that you and Mommy had some very heated conversations about the broken promises. Or if you did fight about it, then you can say that.

The important thing is that YOU live an authentic life and that YOU model to your children what it means to live an authentic life.

HTH


And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off
-- Shake It Out, Florence And The Machine

Posts: 17606 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: A better place :)
jagged
♂ Member
Member # 32317
Default  Posted: 7:13 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you, Dreamboat, for that very wise advice. You're absolutely right.


One foot in and one foot back
But it don't pay to live like that
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks
For never to return

Posts: 333 | Registered: May 2011 | From: TX
tryingagain74
♀ Member
Member # 33698
Default  Posted: 8:05 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Tell them the truth. Please.

Truth doesn't mean bashing. It doesn't mean name calling. It means giving them the basic facts so that they understand that it truly wasn't their fault, and they aren't confused about stories that don't make sense to them-- "We were fighting all the time."

My ex tried to pull that crap, and it troubled my kids. He was counting on me to preserve his glossy image, and I didn't reveal anything to our kids until their counselor said that I should answer their direct questions truthfully. In a nutshell, I said something like this:

"Your dad started dating [the OW] while he and I were still married. He broke an important promise of our marriage; you don't date other people when you're married. Marriage means you are each other's one and only. When I found out that your dad did that, he hurt me terribly and shattered my trust in him. We couldn't stay together because it wouldn't have been healthy for any of us; we would have started fighting all the time if we had."

Are my kids disappointed in their dad? Of course they are. But they are no longer ANXIOUS. When the kids are given euphemisms from the BSs and misinformation from the WSs, the scenario that they create in their mind of what the truth is will likely be far worse than the reality. My counselor also stressed that my kids needed to know that they could trust at least one of their parents, and if I lied to them (at worst) or continued being evasive (at best), they might not feel that they could trust me.

Your kids are old enough to understand the truth. You aren't being nasty or vengeful if you tell them. They will likely appreciate knowing what really happened; don't ever count on your WS to tell the truth. I was glad that I told my kids when I did because my XWH tried to rewrite as well, especially when it came to his marriage of the Owife. I'm glad I got out in front of that before he could distort the truth to my kids. They've been through enough.


BS (Me) 39
Happily liberated!
Two DS and One DD
It matters not how strait the gate,/How charged with punishments the scroll./I am the master of my fate:/I am the captain of my soul.--"Invictus," William Ernest Henley

Posts: 3575 | Registered: Oct 2011
idontknowwhy5
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Member # 42648
Default  Posted: 10:30 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My IC told me to assure my kids that it's not their fault, that I love them, and to avoid drawing them into any hypothetical future fight between my stbxw and myself. Basically that even if she attempts to try to turn them against me by blaming me for whatever circumstances she ends up with, that I should avoid confirming or denying any blame and just reiterate that mommy and daddy's issues aren't something for them to worry about, and that we love them and that they are blameless.

My kids are very young though, my IC's advise might be different to some degree for older kids.


DDays- too many

Status - In D.


Posts: 90 | Registered: Mar 2014
peridot
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Member # 18334
Default  Posted: 11:22 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My XH re-wrote our marriage. I would tell my kids the truth in an age appropriate way. When they ask me something I am always honest.

Be honest with the kids.


I think...therefore, I'm single.

It is what it is.


Posts: 4751 | Registered: Feb 2008
allatsea
♂ Member
Member # 38923
Default  Posted: 7:23 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Lately, my DD6 has had some struggles re-surfacing with the D: expressing sadness over old memories, regret and occasional wishes that we could all move in together again. I’ve tried to validate her sadness, and tell her that I understand, but also explain to her that her mommy and I won’t be married again. She hasn’t pressed me – to date – with anything like “why not?”, and I’m grateful for that, but in the past, I’ve answered these infrequent questions (from DD6 and DD10) by telling them that it’s a thing for grown ups, that they may understand it better as they grow older, but that it had absolutely nothing to do with them and that both mommy and daddy love them very much.

But I’ve always worried about the different messages they’re going to get from XWW, who I seriously doubt will ever be capable of owning her shit. And the version of our marriage and divorce that she’ll publish for them. We divorced in 2012, and so both DDs remember what it was like when we were married: we didn’t fight, we didn’t scream, we got along genuinely well and spent most of our time together, and until XWW’s MLC and NPD switches flipped, we were “that” couple that everybody admired and wanted to be.


I could have written this exactly!

My exW took the kids and lives with the OM so my boys are pretty aware of what she's done but I know that she has rewritten the marriage so she doesn't come across badly. It hurts when my children think that what she has done isn't that bad. I badly want to set the record straight but daren't.



Me 40
WW 38
Together 19 years
Married for 9
DS(1) 9
DS(2) 7
Dday 10th Feb 2013
She moved in with POS and took kids 23rd Mar 2013. WW now has new baby
Divorced April 2014

Posts: 660 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: UK
Holly-Isis
♀ Member
Member # 13447
Default  Posted: 8:13 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My IC told me to assure my kids that it's not their fault, that I love them, and to avoid drawing them into any hypothetical future fight between my stbxw and myself.

Just saying that's what my parents told us kids. Until they mentioned it, I didn't even have an idea that it could be my fault. I assumed it had something to do with mom's BF (OM). Them saying it wasn't my fault with no other information got me obsessing that it WAS my fault and they were just trying to make me feel better. Keep in mind, mom was an avid "mindf*ck" when it came to me. She messed with my head just for the fun of it. So obviously YMMV.

I was 8yo and before that I had the idea that mom having a BF was bad. Them claiming nobody was at fault and not wanting to share an age appropriate version of the truth left me feeling confused and guilty. And not knowing what was normal and acceptable in a relationship.


"Being in love" first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. *CS Lewis*

Posts: 11133 | Registered: Jan 2007 | From: Just a fool in limbo
jagged
♂ Member
Member # 32317
Default  Posted: 9:00 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you all for your replies and perspective - especially those of you who have experienced this as children.

I was 8yo and before that I had the idea that mom having a BF was bad. Them claiming nobody was at fault and not wanting to share an age appropriate version of the truth left me feeling confused and guilty. And not knowing what was normal and acceptable in a relationship.

Yes, this worries me. My DD10, especially, tends to internalize and overthink things, and I'm certain she isn't voicing all the questions she has.

I need to think about this, however, and what the reaction will be from XWW when she learns that her PR campaign will be contested. When we were going thru the fallout of her As and the D process, the closest she ever got to acknowledging that she'd done something terrible was the one-time admission to me that she hated her own mother for years when she found out about her mother's cheating...and that she didn't ever want our girls to see her that way. Yes, I nearly choked on the pathetic irony then, and still do today.

I'm sure it was her way of telling me - warning me, perhaps - that she'd be willing to go to great lengths to hide this from her daughters. I disengaged pretty quickly after 18 months of false R, and never shared or showed her my feelings about anything after that, but her take on infidelity and divorce is abundantly clear, and also comes directly from the family script - namely, that these are unfortunate and unavoidable things that happen when someone is "unhappy" in their marriage (stuff like counseling and therapy is for flaky people from California).

So anyway, while I realize my girls need the truth - a version they can handle - and while I could give a rat's ass if I piss off my XWW, I can be certain that she will counter whatever I tell them with her own modifications, and even contest whatever I say as the truth (for example, my rejecting the notion that we fought "all the time" and "about everything", neither of which are true).

So I fear more confusion and pain for my girls in the long run. XWW won't ever own her shit, and she'll fight for her version...and then my girls will have to choose what to believe, and realize that at least one of their parents is lying to them.

While I agree that the stakes are too high to say nothing, I know my XWW won't go down without a fight, and I don't want them in the middle.

This sucks.

[This message edited by jagged at 9:04 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)]


One foot in and one foot back
But it don't pay to live like that
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks
For never to return

Posts: 333 | Registered: May 2011 | From: TX
brokeninfl
♀ Member
Member # 21896
Default  Posted: 9:09 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm going to ditto the "age appropriate truth" when they ask you.

My IC was adamant that the most harmful thing you can do to a child to make them doubt their perceptions. Your kids are smart -- they know more than you think they know -- even if they don't know the details - and when you tell kids they don't see what they see, that they don't remember what they remember - it can set them up for a lifetime of issues because they won't trust themselves.


ETA: I had some push back from XWH about my "version" of what happened (he also wanted to go with the "We fighting/unhappy" route) and I was advsed by my IC that it is ok to just answer that with "I know that is your dad says/believes/ whatever, but what I know/believe/remember is XZY" and then leave it to them to take what we have said and let their own judgement take over the rest.

At least in my case, my 6 year olds can see through their dad better then I ever did before D-day - with ZERO need for me to do anythng but answer questions honestly. They love him, but they also *see* him.

When they filled out their mothers day thing at school -- one said "I love that my mom gives hugs and always keeps her promises"

xWh's for fathers say said "I love that my dad is nice and likes to have parties."

Yep, out of the mouths of babes....

[This message edited by brokeninfl at 9:19 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)]


"On the other side of fear lies freedom"

Me - 36 BS
Him - doesn't matter
2 DS
DD 11/08
Divorced.


Posts: 1074 | Registered: Dec 2008
staystrong101
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Member # 41068
Default  Posted: 9:31 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I agree with Tryingagain. I also happen to be a therapist. The worst thing you could do at this point is to lie to your kids. I realize you don't want to hurt them more by letting them know the awful truth about what their mom has done. However, to let them believe you had been fighting all the time, in order to protect XWW in their eyes, is a disservice to the kids. I think you should say that you loved their mom very much, and you got along well and didn't fight. However, she chose to have a relationship with another man that is not allowed in a marriage. And you will always care for her because she is their mother, but you were not able to stay married to her because of the choices she made, and some day they will understand. I wouldn't say anything about fault. I would just say that you and their mom both love them more than anything in the world and that will never change. Kids I have seen in counseling have shared with me that when the BS parent has lied to them to protect the WS, and the truth came out as they got older (and it always comes out eventually) they have felt betrayed by both parents. They have told me they always had some idea there had to be more to the story, so naturally they started to assume they weren't getting the whole truth, so it must have had something to do with them. So later they realize not only did mom betray them by cheating on dad and destroying the marriage, but dad betrayed them by lying to them about it. Simple, direct and honest is the best way, IMO.

Posts: 80 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: United States
ideservebetter45
♀ Member
Member # 36951
Default  Posted: 9:48 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

we didn’t fight, we didn’t scream, we got along genuinely well and spent most of our time together, and until XWW’s MLC and NPD switches flipped, we were “that” couple that everybody admired and wanted to be.


Wow this was us..exactly.So of course I didn't see the affair coming.Couples wanted to be us.Perfect family. ugh...


Posts: 151 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: ideservebetter45
7yrsflushed
♂ Member
Member # 32258
Default  Posted: 9:50 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My kids were 8 and 5 when stbxww moved out. I told them both with stbxww sitting there that Mommy had done some things that really upset daddy. She had broken some promises and because of that Mommy and I could no longer live together. I stressed before after and during the conversation that neither one of the kids had done nothing wrong and both mommy and daddy loved them both very deeply. We would always love them and even though Mommy and Daddy can't live together anymore they will always be our kids. My oldest still asks on occasion about us getting back together but I calmly explain that isn't going to happen but I still love him and his sister either way.

My main concern was making sure both my kids KNEW that they did NOTHING WRONG and did NOT cause the D. I also try to be careful in how I word things because I don't want them thinking that if they upset me I will "divorce them". I fully plan on telling them the entire truth when they are older.

Just keep answering their questions, be consistent, and honest. You will be fine. If either of them don't seem to be coping well get them in counseling. I have my oldest in counseling and it helped.

[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 9:53 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)]


D-day 5/24/11
BH = Me
2 children
The first true sense of calm I felt in YEARS was when I filed for D...
D hopefully official any day now, off to check the mail again.

Posts: 1899 | Registered: May 2011 | From: VA
sparkysable
♀ Member
Member # 3703
Default  Posted: 9:56 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

we didn’t fight, we didn’t scream, we got along genuinely well and spent most of our time together, and until XWW’s MLC and NPD switches flipped, we were “that” couple that everybody admired and wanted to be.

Wow this was us..exactly.So of course I didn't see the affair coming.Couples wanted to be us.Perfect family. ugh...

Me too! It must be a NPD trait.


D-day OW#1 2/2004; R for 6 years; D-day OW#2 5/2010

Marriages that start this way, stepping over the bodies of loved ones as the giddy couple walks down the aisle, are not likely to last.


Posts: 3314 | Registered: Mar 2004 | From: NY
dbellanon
♂ Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 11:25 AM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I wish I had an answer for you. I worry about this too as my daughter gets older. My impression is that she will hear many versions of the story over the years as both of us try to figure out what to say to her when she asks. She was 3-going-on-4 when XWW moved out. At the time, we told her that she had to get an apartment closer to school (which was true). She didn't even know what marriage was. How could I explain divorce. But she will ask, and I think all the time about what I will say, and I worry about what XWW will say.

Your XWW's answer, while frustrating, could have been worse. At least she's not outright blaming you. It at least shows that in her own way, she's not trying to get your children to take sides.

The biggest worry for me is that DD will have a skewed view of how marriages are and how they end. Ours was not a marriage that just didn't work. It was a marriage that needed work, but that was instead discarded and disrespected by one party. I don't want her to be married one day and find herself troubled in one way or another and adopt for herself her mother's terrible terrible solutions to her discontent.

So I'm trying my best to think of ways to teach her the kinds of lessons that I've learned from this whole experience without getting into too many of the specifics of what happened between her mother and me.

How exactly to do that, I'm still figuring out. I worry all the time that the message she receives from her mother is not toxic and false, and I have to think about how to counteract it.


ME: BH, 28
Her: WW, 27
DD: 4
Married 6 Years.
DDay: Early May, 2013
Divorced

Posts: 213 | Registered: May 2013
gonnabe2016
♀ Member
Member # 34823
Default  Posted: 2:16 PM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The thing is that your DD already has a decent idea that your ex is a bit *off* in her version. DD called her out on the "fighting *all the time*" comment.

My kids are older so I don't have anything to add to this discussion. I usually just go with "Huh. That version is very *interesting*" and then just go about my business.

(stuff like counseling and therapy is for flaky people from California)


ZeroPants is always good for a laugh......


"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott

In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.


Posts: 7941 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
cmego
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Member # 30346
Default  Posted: 2:26 PM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Mine were 5 and 8 at time of S, and ex refused to tell them the truth. "We were not getting along" was the answer for quite some time. Probably a year or more. But, my older child is astute and was asking pointed questions and so I stopped lying to her (with approval from her IC).

At first it was, "When you get married, you make promises to each other. Daddy broke one of the promises. He hurt Mommy's heart and it can't be fixed."

Later it was, "You are not supposed to date others when you get married. Daddy did and that is not OK with Mommy."

Now ex simply says, "I hurt Mommy's heart."

At about 9, my dd asked if I would give Daddy another chance, I told her I did and he broke the promise again. I've never seen her cry as hard as she did that day.

Now, he is openly gay and we have very open discussions about how Daddy tried to hide who he was, and that hurt Mommy and we will never get back together. How he shouldn't' have married me, but I have no regrets since I have them.

Open. Honest. Age appropriate.


me...BS, 43 years old, 2 small kids
WS, 41, multiple gay affairs
M 15 years, together 17
Divorced

"For whatever we lose, like a you or a me, it's always ourselves we find in the sea" ee cummings


Posts: 4113 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: South
Jduff
♂ Member
Member # 41988
Default  Posted: 3:00 PM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

When XW and I sat with our kids, I made her do the explaining. She gave the similar "daddy and I fight a lot" bullshit excuse as well. I remember my boys looking confused as I was by that statement.
It made me think back to when the last one of the very few arguments we had over the 16yrs of marriage. The last one was right before Dday, but it was like one of maybe four arguments that I could ever recall. Back then I was wondering "Where the hell did she get this idea that we argued constantly?" until it hit me one day. The OM and his wife actually did argue constantly. My XW just adopted the OM's issues as her own to justify and rationalize her actions. What a chameleon.

But I will ask my boys what they actually remember of this "mommy and daddy argue all the time" statement, then validate it with my own observance.


Divorced - 5/23/14
Already in my New Beginning - :)

Posts: 446 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: texas
kernel
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Member # 27035
Default  Posted: 8:32 PM, June 4th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So later they realize not only did mom betray them by cheating on dad and destroying the marriage, but dad betrayed them by lying to them about it.

This ^^^ is why age-appropriate truth is the best way to go. They need to know that YOU will always be honest with them. While no one thinks it's a good idea to bash your X to your kids, it's also not your job to make the X look good by skirting the truth when X did something bad. How else will they learn what is and isn't okay in relationships?

My kids were all adults when X flipped his shit, and I started out with the cover up the truth stuff for fear of who knows what ((because what would be worse than reality, for fucks sake, but hindsight is 20/20)) and it came back to bite me in the ass when they found out the ugly truth behind it all. They were seriously pissed off that I tried to protect them by keeping the whole truth from them. I think that can also happen with young kids when they find out the truth when they are older. And they will find out.

[This message edited by kernel at 8:34 PM, June 4th (Wednesday)]


"On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% - and that's pretty good."

Posts: 5058 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: Midwest
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