Beat Breakfast Panel: Do I tell my children the real reason their father left us?

I am writing in for the breakfast panel, which is my favourite part of my drive to work every morning!   First, a bit of back story:

 

My first husband and I have two children together. We split up when my oldest (now 7) was a bit over 1.5 years old, and my son (now 6) was only about 2 months old. And when I say “we split up” I mean “he left us for another woman”.

 

Without getting into too many details, he met another woman at work and decided to hit the “reset” button on his life – he moved out, got his own place back in Toronto (where we had recently moved from), and went from being a co-parent to the “fun dad” who sees his kids one evening a week plus alternate weekends.

 

We get along ok when it comes to the kids, and he’s always been good about being there when he’s supposed to be for them. He’s still with “the other woman”, and I’ve moved on and am in a new relationship (with a beautiful 1 year old daughter as a result!). There will always be a bit of resentment with what happened, but we’ve both moved forward and are past it for the most part.

 

My question is: at what age do I tell my kids what happened with me and their father? Thus far I’ve just brushed it off with a simple “things didn’t work out”, but my oldest daughter has been asking why. Do I tell her the truth: that her (and her brother’s) dad chose this other woman over us? Do I sugar coat it with happy endings? Do I wait until she’s a bit older?

I want them to (eventually) understand the full impact of the choices he made, but I don’t know if that’s fair to them, or if I’m letting my lingering resentment cloud my judgement here.

Signed,

Passing on resentment?

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