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Managing tough questions

Iamtrash posted 4/3/2021 05:50 AM

How did you help your kids through this?

My oldest has moments where heís asking to sleep in my bed. (He never has before.) He will only ask me the tough questions. From what I understand, he has had tears a few times with BH but usually wonít talk about the hard stuff. BH encourages him and tries, but our son is adamant that Iím the person he asks questions to.

This morning, he is in bed with me. He says, ďMom, Iím going to miss dad when he moves out.Ē I tell him that even in separate homes, he will always have his dad. He will always be able to talk to and see his dad. ďI love dad.Ē I know you do, and he loves you. Then he asks, ďDo you love dad?Ē I froze. I told him you love dad and thatís whatís important. ďBut do YOU love dad?Ē I tried to avoid the question. But he wanted an answer. I told him that he loves dad and thatís whatís important. And that I wanted dad to feel better. Thankfully, he accepted that answer.

I hate these questions but I know he needs answers. I wish he would ask BH these things too.

What are some tips for helping them? He has high functioning autism, so his views are very one sided. But heís very smart.

HellFire posted 4/3/2021 08:05 AM

"He is your father, and because of that,I will always have love in my heart for him."

Or..

"He is your father, and because of that, he will always hold a special place in my heart."

How old are the kids?

Justsomeguy posted 4/3/2021 08:47 AM

I think the best rule is not to lie to your kids. My STBXWW has avoided talking to the kids about her A and the reason for out D. She does not want her image to be tarnished. Early on, my youngest asked me if I had cheated on her mom. Funny. Since then, I've tried to talk about it, but my kids have said that they don't want to. They said they want to stay kids for as long as they can. I respect their position and do not talk ill of their mother.

But, and this is a big but, I think they know more than their mother suspects. Some of it is inaccurate, so full honesty would go a long way in terms of how they develop. I have no idea if only knowing half truths will mess them up later, but I suspect it will do some damage.

My understanding is that your son has witnessed much and is looking for clarity. Age appropriate honesty is best IMHO. This will help him separate what he knows to be true from what he knows to be false. If you still love your BH, then say yes, but... if not, then say that feelings change. Just dont present feelings changing for a magical reason. This will put him on shaky ground for his current and future relationships.he might feel that on of you could suddenly start not loving him. You need to connect your A to the divorce and make it a teaching moment, thus reducing the chance of transgenerational infidelity, which seems to be totally a thing.

In the end, let your yays be yays and your nays be nays, as they say.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/3/2021 09:47 AM

Maybe answer that you can love someone and still know that the way they have treated you is not okay and that you can't allow them to keep doing it. Tell him that you and his dad have done things to each other that are hard to forgive, and that you've decided you can be better friends, and a better mom and dad to him, if you don't live together anymore.

You said he's seen your fights firsthand. This is an opportunity to tell him that he should never do those things to someone else, nor should he think that love means letting someone do those things to him. By separating, you are showing him to expect more for himself. I imagine you and Hallmack agree that you would never want your children to live like either of you have lived for the past few years.

Of course, like trickle truth, you won't get endless opportunities to prove you mean what you say. If you two get high, fall back in the sack, and start fighting again, then your words will be very hollow the next time you try to explain things to your son.

Iamtrash posted 4/3/2021 10:17 AM

Oldest is 8. HFA diagnosis What Iíve told him is that I lied and hurt his father and itís too painful for him to heal. Iíve explained parts of the affair in age appropriate ways but it still doesnít click. Today was a really bad morning. What should have been their Easter celebration (we started doing it on Sat due to HM working on Sun) instead ended up being a nightmare and HM leaving. Heís gone. Heís not going to be celebrating with us, so we will do Easter tomorrow. He said to me, ďMom, are we going to do my hunt tomorrow when dad gets home?Ē I just told him that dad isnít going to be coming home but will see him as soon as he can.

The 3 year old and baby have no idea whatís happening but the 3 year old knows something is wrong.

Justsomeguy posted 4/3/2021 11:19 AM

Hey, I'm sorry for all the pain you are suffering. It sucks and the prospect of losing my family sent me into the depths of darkness. But, as many will attest, it does get better, really slowly. I think that once HM and you find your safe spaces, you will really begin your healing journey. It was really difficult to imagine a better place when I was in the thick of things, but I've gotten there. I wouldnt call it great, but much better. Hell, I've even laughed a few times. Just last month,I had a belly laugh. Man, it felt good to do that.

Life will be different, but it can be good. Hopefully both of you can find goodness and joy again, and be the healthy coparent your kids need. Nut also, be the people YOU need to be for yourselves.

gmc94 posted 4/3/2021 13:39 PM

IMHO, the important thing is to view it in terms of how to help your children grow vs damage control for you and HM.

If this kid being witness to your fights with HM means he is aware you had an A, it makes sense he'd be asking about whether you love his dad. Because As and love don't mix. So - what takeaways do you want your child to have from this? You need to own both your behavior (eg having an A), and your boundaries (eg not remaining in an abusive situation with HM).

Iamtrash posted 4/4/2021 06:08 AM

Ultimately, I want them to know I want their dad to heal. I want the anger to pass. I want us to be at peace so they can have peace. I am terrified of them trying to take on the emotional pain of this. I keep reminding them their dad will always love them and see them. I keep saying that even though itís different, theyíre so loved by both of us.

The pain of this is so real. For all of us. I donít think I ever anticipated the extent to which this would hurt. For myself, I feel like I need to stop caring. But itís just not possible. Heís still the father of our boys. I couldnít sleep last night. I was getting prepared for Easter for the kids. I kept thinking how if I hadnít been a complete failure, we could have been there doing it together. Itís a terrible feeling to single handedly destroy the only thing you ever wanted. I keep hoping I will wake up and itís just a nightmare. I found myself getting stuck in replaying all the things I should have done better or differently. I found myself hoping heíd text and say he thinks we could make it, too. I stopped myself and chose to journal instead. I need to cope in better ways so I can be strong for them.

Iím keeping it together for them. But our oldest can see the pain. He woke up this morning and asked if I was ok. I told him I was sad but ok and he goes, ďItís going to be ok, Iím here with you.Ē Yesterday, he heard some stuff about the wedding rings being displaced. I didnít even know he knew. I kept busy doing things outside for most of the day. When I came in, he confronted me with a handful of plastic rings. He goes, ďHey mom, I thought you might be sad about your ring, so I want you to have one of mine. You pick the one thatís the the most special.Ē It was such a rush of feelings. On one hand, I felt so fortunate and proud. For him, due to his diagnosis, empathy is extremely hard. His views are very one-sided and he struggles to take perspective. He works very hard to practice this skill at school. On the other hand, I feel guilty. I felt like he was trying to take on the emotional burden. I donít want him to feel like he has to take on that responsibility.

Everyone says kids are resilient. But this is another level. To say Iím proud is an understatement. HM and I need to heal. Itís not a choice. We need to coparent peacefully and stop hating each other. These kids are absolutely amazing and deserve the best versions of us.

siracha posted 4/4/2021 14:15 PM

Your love affection attention and time is absolutely invaluable to them , as long as you keep your focus on that they will find their own way through the rest of it . I think you did great job with keeping your thoughts on what they are going through.
I would tell them all the same things you did , that parents love children forever but husbands and wives cant stay together without unless they are both happy. Id tell them that noone should ever be in a marriage where people scream alot at each other , because it makes people unhappy to be around screaming.
If you decide to tell them about the A id tell them that sometimes when you are sad its easy to think that a special friend can make you happy . But married people are not allowed to have special friends besides each other , its against the rules and then people get angry and have to get divorced .
Then ask him what makes him happy and tell him that his happiness is very important and it should always be a priority in every relationship including with his parents .

guvensiz posted 4/4/2021 17:13 PM

[This message edited by guvensiz at 5:36 PM, April 4th (Sunday)]

guvensiz posted 4/4/2021 17:34 PM

If you decide to tell them about the A id tell them that sometimes when you are sad its easy to think that a special friend can make you happy . But married people are not allowed to have special friends besides each other , its against the rules and then people get angry and have to get divorced .
Then ask him what makes him happy and tell him that his happiness is very important and it should always be a priority in every relationship including with his parents .

What an excellent explanation!

When mom is sad, special friend come and f... her, so he makes her happy. Is there anything better than make someone happy in this world? No. So he is the good man of the story. Who is the bad one? Dad of course, who doesn't allow the special friend to make mom happy.
There are rules that don't allow people to be happy and cause someone to get angry and divorce. But we don't know why these rules exist, as far as we understand these are not so important.
And then tell him happiness is very important and it should always be a priority. So, mom did the right thing with the special friend because he makes her happy and it is her priority as it should be.

I really can't believe I read something like this on this site.

[This message edited by guvensiz at 5:43 PM, April 4th (Sunday)]

siracha posted 4/5/2021 15:45 PM

I think ďexcellentĒ is over stating it but in either case, my friend , you are welcome .

[This message edited by siracha at 3:53 PM, April 5th (Monday)]

gmc94 posted 4/5/2021 16:34 PM

As a BS, if my WS were to use that 'special friend who makes me happy' line with my kid, I'd be livid.

IMHO, kids should be told in an HONEST and age appropriate fashion that takes ownership / accountability for the effed up choices of their parent(s). I've seen others basically say that they lied and broke trust - and try and find a similar situation the child may have personally experienced with a friend who lied. Most kids can understand the difference between the truth and a lie... but I can't say that most kids would have a clue what a "special friend" outside of marriage is or why that is wrong (I have a ton of "special friends" that contribute to my happiness, are strictly platonic, and would never be a reason to D).

I don't know if/how being on the spectrum would impact things, but I honestly believe that telling the kids about a post-A divorce can be a LEARNING moment. Learning that when we make poor choices, there are consequences. We can hurt others in ways that they can't cope with and can't easily overcome. Learning that when we screw up, we MUST own that and be accountable for it to everyone impacted, including our kids.

fooled13years posted 4/14/2021 09:36 AM

Iamtrash,

Managing tough questions

I received good advise from an older gentleman at the store the other day.

He told me to never be afraid to tell your children that you are just a person and as such make mistakes and sometimes make bad decisions.

He want on to say "when you do screw up make sure your kids see or hear you apologize and try to make it right."

JBWD posted 4/14/2021 11:18 AM

On one hand, I felt so fortunate and proud. For him, due to his diagnosis, empathy is extremely hard. His views are very one-sided and he struggles to take perspective.

This is a great opportunity to thank him for his kindness and understanding and explain that THESE are acts of love, the kind that Mom and Dad lost track of.

I wish he would ask BH these things too.

Bear in mind that this is something you canít control, and as such you waste effort and emotion on this. I similarly wish my kids would talk with me more about the D and about what I did wrong, but they are more open with their Mom.

Lots of the advice here is good- IMO the important thing to stress is that Mom and Dad didnít consistently love each other, though that can become a murky message. As I would explain it, betrayal and abuse arenít loving acts towards each other, and that pain is hard to recover from, and often too much to ask of a partner.

The important part is to address it. Your presence and actions will reinforce the message of what loving acts are for your kids to carry forward into life- and not only with partners(!) Yes, they do perceive more than we give them credit for, and thatís why we owe them discussion, because otherwise theyíre filling in the gaps with the worst case.

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