He wants out before Christmas. No compromising, he wants to be moved out before Christmas. I just found out and nobody knows. Our kids are 12 and 14 and have no idea this is about to happen. The lockdown has put a lot of pressure on us as a family. It was not anything I thought could not be handled. It turns out this has proven to him that this family is all wrong for him and we are all wrong for each other. I am in shock. The kids know something is up, but I have not had the heart to tell them. How do I get through these next few months and beyond?
First things first, you must take care of yourself. Find space somewhere, on a walk, or yoga class, or even just a few minutes alone whenever and wherever you can. Keeping yourself centered is especially important. That is first and foremost the next step for you. You will have enormous emotional demands over the next months and nurturing your well-being will help you cope.
You have not mentioned any reason other than his life does not fit with the family. This lockdown has been extremely hard on the mental health of many people. Does he have other pressures that are affecting his life like job insecurity? Since the announcement was made, has he wavered in his decision in any way?
Answering those questions will help you decide how to proceed.
If he has not wavered then you need to start to plan for his move. The children need to be told and they need to be told by both of you together. He needs to explain his decision to them in a measured message with everyone present so that his plan is truly clear. There will be time for them to talk to both of you individually but when a momentous family life change is just ahead, every family member needs to be considered.
It will be sad, but it will also begin a new chapter in your family life. Your kids will have lots of questions. One of the most common reactions by children is thinking it is their fault. They need assurance that it is not their fault. Even if your husband is saying family life does not work for him, that is a personal choice he has made.
Talk to your husband before the children and plan a strategy for how to tell them. The message needs to be clear and try to stick to the facts. As their parents, you know your children best and together should be able to consider the best way to approach this discussion with them.
They will have lots of questions. Answer them honestly, even if the answer is ‘I don’t know right now.”
The next few weeks will be incredibly stressful for everyone. There will be arguments, and there will be tears. In any argument, the best strategy is focusing on the problem. That means that personal criticisms are not helpful. By focusing on a solution to the problem, you are channeling your energy in a positive way.
Your kids will be angry too. They will have a certain sense of helplessness as they see the family life they have known taken apart. Give them the time and space to grieve for what is being lost.
You are preparing for a very new life. Think about what your choices will be. The most immediate is what to do about Christmas. Will you celebrate it all together? Your kids will most likely want to be a part of the decision and offer their opinion so be sure to ask them.
We are limited in our choices with travel restrictions but there are a few things you can do. Make a list together of all the options and then decide.
There will be disappointment and fear about the future for everyone in the family. Your husband has made a huge decision during exceedingly difficult times. You cannot make any guarantees about what will happen, but you can be honest and sincere with your children and let them know how much they matter in your life. Letting them be a part of the process shows you respect their feelings. Focus on the immediate future and less on the long term for now.
If each family member feels they have some personal power and a voice, it increases the possibility that the best decisions for the whole family will be made.
For a complimentary divorce coaching session with Linda contact The Divorce Magazine UK.
ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON
“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl
Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.
As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.
She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.
She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’
In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.
She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.
She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.