I Wanted a Separation But Dreaded Telling My Kids

My husband and I decided to separate in October and it took us until February to tell our children. It was a long, hard, tense road. One I don’t think I could live through again.

The fear of telling our kids kept us living together a little too long if I am being honest. And when we finally sat down to tell them, it was enough to make me say, “Oh, never mind, we are not separating. It will be okay.”

This mom's story about her separation

I came so close.

Having a teenager and two tweens, I knew they would take it harder than they would have if they were younger. The understand the weight of the situation more now than they would have then.

[Read Next: My Son Graduating High School Hurts Like My Divorce]

My 13-year-old son struggled the most, and it wasn’t something I expected. He is stoic and doesn’t seem to get rattled easily. I knew he would be sad of course, but I thought his two younger siblings would be the ones I had to comfort the most; they are more emotional, get upset a bit easier, and don’t have the social life that he has to distract them.

But I was wrong. He immediately got up and left the room. I gave him a minute then found him in the corner of his room crying. I have not seen him cry in almost two years. I broke right there in that moment. I knew I could take his pain away for a spell if I kept on living the lie that was my marriage.

I so desperately didn’t want to be married anymore I was finding it impossible to breathe. I knew I would only inflict more pain and discomfort on my kids I if I stayed living in a life I didn’t want to be in. Not to mention what I would be doing to myself.

And in that moment of seeing my son sob, taking away his pain was only thing in the world I wanted to do; I wanted his pain gone that much.

We have come a long way since that day; all of us. I still have so many moments where I am lost.

I know full well I am not supposed to be married to the same man any longer, but I am lost when it comes to trying to make our new normal feel comfortable for my kids; I am consumed with it. Maybe that is what we latch onto in order to survive as parents.

I want to take it away; all of it. When you end a marriage and have kids, you are left to deal with your emotions and your children’s emotions It doesn’t just affect you, it affects the ones you love the most.

I wanted something different for my kids; I did. I thought I had found my happily ever after when I was wrong.

I tried as hard as I could for almost six years after my husband confessed to me he was having an affair while I was home taking care of three small children thinking he was working extra long hours.

I have done a lot of healing since that day, and I have come to realize I don’t just want more for my kids, I want more for me, too.

And maybe, just maybe, we will all end up with even more than we did when their dad and I were married.

To see the ones we love happy is truly the best gift. I know I can deliver that to them as a single mom much better than I could have being married to their father even though the future feels uncertain.

I know we are all going to be okay.


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About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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