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After 30 years together, and 28 years married my husband and I separated. That was 3 years ago. My kids were 23, 21, and 16 at the time. They were picking up on our tension for years. Unless you and your husband were Oscar-worthy actors your kids know their parents have issues. All kids want is peace in the house and for their parents to be happy, together or not. Dealing with divorce is never easy but I believe they adjust.
well their dad has always been hard to please - they've always known that. Couldn't go downstairs at night to get a drink as it would wake him up, couldn't do this, couldn't do that as it would upset him. They know he likes to go out drinking and that he likes to sit by himself in another room. We haven't shared a bedroom for 2 years and they just take it that it's because he sleeps better alone and where he sleeps, no one disturbs him. So they've tended to always accept him as he is - and still love him very much. We've still done things as a family and even as a couple over the years. It's just really been since the end of last year. I'm still trying to be really nice and pleasant to him all the time, so I'm acting normal. He obviously isn't so much. So at their ages - early twenties - they probably have picked up and know it's not normal - but I think they probably don't care as long as we stay together. We don't shout or fight so they just accept it. He just sends me nasty messages by phone. My kids sound as if they are similar ages to yours. How did yours take it? Were they angry, accepting? Were they still living at home? If it was just me - I would be out like a shot, he has managed to kill all the feelings I had for him. But it's them I worry about. How are yours doing now?
I'm my case, our issues started years ago. But we acted normal and even enjoyed each other's company as a couple and a family. Just the intimacy part was gone. We were just roommates. My kids though knew something wasn't right. Now that they are older they tell me they suspected infidelity on his part with so many business trips. They were angry at him for doing that to me but still tried to keep a good relationship with him. But they became tired of the tension between us. Things only became even more strained after we separated. They didn't like that he started dating and didn't want to meet anyone he was seeing. Our mistake was this period of limbo. For the past 5 years it has just been my youngest in the house. We tried to keep her out of our mess. Decisions though should be made because I think kids deal with things better when things are clear. This is how it is, the new normal and they will adjust. Now they say they just want us to be happy no matter what we choose to do. We are spending more time together now seeing if reconciliation is an option. But it will be a lot of hard work if we do.
If you have decided that you are done with your marriage and there is no chance to fix things then move on. Don't prolong the inevitable. Especially at the age your children are you don't need to protect them at your expense. Take care of you! They'll be ok!
Clare - your situation resonated with me. My husband recently shared with me after being together for 30 years and married for 28 years that he wants a divorce and no interest in marriage counseling or working on reconnection. I have two sons ages 21 and 22 who are finishing college. They are both at key stages before graduation and I am concerned about disruption to their lives, but know they need to be told soon. I have asked my husband to wait to tell them until we can all be together in same city same room. He would like to simply tell them “ we have decided to divorce”. If they ask me I would like them to know that their father wants to divorce , but that I don’t. I would prefer to work on our marriage, but that divorce will still happen. That either way we will both love and support them through life. . My friends tell me that this view is more about me and not about my kids. Not sure what the “right way” is to talk this through with them.. if someone has been through this with young adult children I would also like to hear their advice for Clare.