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Will you ever tell them the truth about the marriage? - Page 2

post #21 of 32
I absolutely told my dd's why their dad left. "He was using drugs and so then he could not think the right way." They thought he left because somehow they were not worthy of his time and attention and he could not love them cause they were not good enough. No way was I going to let them think that. I had to explain that when you use drugs your brain does not work. I also had to explain that he treated me meanly and had a girlfriend. And that I tried to help him "get better" for years. Because they love him and can't explain why I did not let him stay and why I did not take care of him and help him get better from the drugs...............

Now, they sort of get it. He was "sick" and acting babdly.

It's better for their image of him not to be a fantasy. And for their own self esteem to be intact.

Also, my stepson's mother died. So, again she is on a pedestal, instead of a true recolection of her. She was bipolar and abusive. Tried to commit suicide several times, etc..... My DH will not talk to my dss about the truth about her. He has a very skewed and repressed memory. Sometimes he will say I am hitting him, etc..... which is not happening. But, it is stuff his older brothers remember their mom doing to them but he was so young and now has this angelic picture of his mom.... so it can't be her and he believes it was me. It really hurts my ability to parent him........

TELL THE TRUTH in a gentle, simple way that a child can understand.... NO GORY DETAILS. BUT THE TRUTH!!!
post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thank you , I was starting to feel like I was crazy. I think this smile and don't talk about it attitude, or even the "we just didn't get along" line is harmful. It creats a distant between parents and children. They know if is the one thing you are not being truthful about. They can ask you anything except about this so it must be horrible. I think it makes kids think that marriages are fragile and that if dh and I get in an argument, then we just aren't getting along, either. Maybe we'll get divorced, then, too? I don't understand that you will tell children that a marriage ended because of addiction, abuse, or cruelty,but not unfaithfulness. How can they develop morals when what they witnessed is never addressed?
I agree with the pprevious poster, tell them the truth gently, and at their level.

My op might seemed biased, but I can be neutral, I promise. I was just asking how to address the situation when the problems inthe marriage were very one sided. Bio mom still has these problems now, and I did know the two of them at the time so it's not like I am just believing everything my dh says.
post #23 of 32
Be careful. There's a big risk of 'shoot the messenger.' Even when a child has problems themselves with a problem parent in a blended or not so blended family, their first instinct when someone else in the family says something about that parent is often to defend the parent and resent the speaker.
post #24 of 32
Thread Starter 
You are right, Mamastar, but I think there are risks either way. If you won't discuss it, or their is the risk of this distance between parent and child, the almost dishonesty of not speaking of a huge issue, the weight of a child's questions, the misconceptions they might create. If you do discuss it, there is the risk that they will feel like you are attacking the other parent. If he asks, I think I should ask his bio mom how she wants to handle it.
post #25 of 32
That's awesome that you can talk to her about it!

Definitely any overtures from me to my stepkids' mom are unwelcome. I've always envied stepmoms who are able to maintain that line of communication, to any degree - much better for the kids if you can work together or at least share perspectives on some issues.

I'm PM'ing you, as well, just to explain my perspective a little bit in a less public forum.

Good luck!
post #26 of 32
I agree with only age appropriate things. BUT I do feel, "we fought too much" or "we just couldn't get along" is too vague. When growing up I honestly thought my mom and step dad were getting divorced during every little spat, because of reasons like that. And also, I saw many things I NEVER told my parents about til later in life in their marriage. Like cheating, my dad knocking my mom across the bedroom with a single punch to the face. So when I got the reasons like they couldn't get along, it lead me to think this relationship with my step dad could be like that too, and I just didn't see it yet, yk. Or that stuff wan't that big of a deal and it always happened. I actually kinda hated my mom for putting up with that shit for so long, (married 20 yrs) and I became so against it that I had to be the one to wear the pants in my relationships to the point I became the verbal abuser.

My point is, is that just cause they don't bring it up doesn't mean they don't know about it. And sometimes things do need to be addressed, just so they really know it was totally wrong. Like drug use, they need to know how seriously wrong and dangerous that is. They don't need to hate them for it, but be aware of how people shouldn't put up with that kind of behavior or habit. And how it could harm them if they do. And to be nice about it or atleast not sound like your bad mouthing, let them know about what happens with addiction, and how it changes people and how sometimes they don't know what they are saying or doing. And that its not really them its the drugs. That way they know its okay to still love them, just not like what they do sometimes.
post #27 of 32

I'm for the simplified but honest approach

What difficult places some of you are in! I am so sorry.

My situation seems a lot less complicated because my dh never married his ex, and in fact, it was her that broke it off him when she was pregnant. (This was really hard on dh because he dad was sick most of his childhood and died when he was a teen. So he never wanted to miss any part of his kid's life.) Most people find it hard to believe that a preg. woman would walk out of a relationship, but she did. But I am so grateful that she did, because 1. They wouldn't have been happy. 2. I was able to marry the love of my life and one of the greatest men that I've ever know because of it. :LOL :LOL

Anyway, my 5 year old dss asked me so I told him. DH and I always said to be honest but fair when he asks so what I said worked for him. I told dss that when his mommy was growing him in her belly that she decided that she couldn't spend forever with his daddy so they broke up. Then I let him know how glad I was because now I get to love his daddy and spend forever with him and I was also glad that I got to love him (my dss) and that my life would be so sad without them. That worked with him at least for now.

The thing is if he starts asking more questions, I really don't know what else to tell him. There wasn't anything more to it. Surely, since it is the truth, he'll be able to accept it. Right? I guess after 4 1/2 years of marriage to this man, I still find it amazing that anyone could let him go.
post #28 of 32
Thread Starter 
Though even in your neutral reply, there was some blame given. You said she decided to leave him. Is that her truth too or would she say she had to because of X, Y and Z? When he is older and interested in whose "fault" it was, what will he think? Our situation is similar, the ex left dh, but I think that dss feels it must have been his dad's fault. I think he thinks this because dh and I are happy and stable and have a house, and jobs, and all that while his mom stuggles. Even though that reality has nothing to do with their marriege, I think he feels sorry for her so thinks his dad must have done something.

Even in simple replies, it is complicated. Is it possible to be neutral and still tell the truth?
post #29 of 32
That's part of the problem though, I guess. For any relationship to fail something had to happen. I think trying to hid the reason doesn't help, but when you are honest you have the valuable oppertunity to keep negative feeling or connotations out of it. I just feel honesty helps, and that was absolutely what happend.

While talking to him about it, I did go more into the whole -Everyone wants your mommy to be happy, and if she wasn't happy with Daddy that wasn't good for anyone thing. I also went into how Daddy just must have been meant to marry me, because it makes us all so happy. And now I get to be his [insert his special name for me here].

We definately do want the best for dss's mom since that is what is the best for dss so I was really careful with how it was said. Plus, she is one of those types who would probably rather be seen as the dumper than the dumped. It does certainly go against some old images.
post #30 of 32
Oh, and is it her reality? Yes. The reason she told her parents and everyone else was, "I just couldn't see spending my life with him."

After she broke up with him, she accused him of immaturity, but that was mostly b/c he wanted to know such silly things as what his role in his child's life would be.
post #31 of 32
Jumping in here for a bit but if I stay too long I get upset all over again - we have one of those situations that is the epitome of a bad divorce.

We have struggled because the ex told dsd that DH walked out on them (he left when she refused to quit her affair), that he was going to hell because he is Jewish, and that I messed up their relationship (I met DH after the ex married the guy she had the affair with). We'd love to rat the mom out but dsd is 10 and has started doing the math and realises her stepdad has been around longer than DH and the ex have been divorced. Besides, no matter what, I believe that a child have a sound relationship with their parent and that is more important than anything.
I will say that the things that her mother said for years had serious consequences regarding my relationship with dsd, dh and dh and dsd. We tried to say nothing and just correct the lies but she is with her mother more and what child wants to believe their parent is lying to them.
Now whenever the ex is mad she withholds visitation and stops dsd from talking to her dad. It's really hard on the other 3 because they miss her and want to know when they are going to see her.
Compound it all with the fact that our parenting styles/lving choices could not be any more different and it's just a mess
post #32 of 32
I am soooo sorry, and I agree with you that the relationships with the parents are the most precious things to keep intact, not just for the relationships themselves, but for the child's well being.
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