Ex broke news of divorce to our son before school

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  • #62343 Report


    Hello – my ex and I decided to separate in July. We’re still living in the same house, due to the property market / finances etc, and had been getting on fairly well as friends. Things have been more strained recently but we’d maintained communication and things were amicable on the whole. We had plans in place for when the house was going on the market and started negotiating on childcare arrangements. All was ok, not brilliant, but ok. Then this morning he asked if we could have a talk. I said not today as he seemed quite angry and edgy and I wasn’t up for a row, and could we talk on Monday instead. He wouldn’t accept this and started shouting etc etc, and then started shouting about the divorce in front of our 7 year old. I asked him calmly to stop and to wait until later, unfortunately he didn’t and carried on and on, and told our son that we were divorcing. All this was about 20 minutes before our son was due to leave for school. Our son cried and asked for confirmation that we were divorcing. My ex said yes. I spoke to our son to try and calm things – telling him we both loved him very much, that he was the most important thing, that things would change a little and we’ll have two houses but he’ll still see us both as much as possible. Basically trying to squash all the advice on how to break the news into 10 minutes.

    It was completely horrendous and I’m just left feeling completely broken.

    I’m really angry with my ex for doing that. I can’t understand why he thought it was ok.

    I had researched and planned, and bought books for my son about divorce, and thought we would work together to break the news to him, at an appropriate time, in the best possible way – if that is even possible. Not just before school when his dad is screaming and shouting at his mum.

    Just don’t know how to pick myself up. How to make it better? What can I do or say to help my son?

    Any advice appreciated.


    #62519 Report


    Hi ZoeH, I’ve moved your post up so other forum members see it. Best wishes, Helen

    #62662 Report


    This sounds very brutal and difficult. We told our kids recently (5 and 7) after weeks in the planning. All I can say is that it’s amazing how resilient they’ve been so far. Despite the circumstances, I’m sure your son will be ok.

    Just make sure you regularly ask if he has any questions, reassure him that it’s not his fault and that unlike adults, a parent’s love for their child can never change. You could also say that he’s welcome to talk to someone else (such as a family member or teacher) if he needs to, and that’s ok.

    #62712 Report

    Andrew uk

    Kids are stronger than we think.

    Those books are a good idea.

    As long as he knows you are there for him.

    Going to school will give him the stability he needs.

    Keep doing the things you and him enjoy doing together.

    The following might help. It was an earlier post i made –

    There are lots of books for kids on the market. I didn’t tell my kids. The 3 of them just moved out in June 2020 with no warning and i still haven’t been able to talk to them.  I don’t have any answers.

    They need to know that we are no longer a married couple but we will always be a parental couple. We will never be separate because of you. We’ve had a think about our future and our future is always going to be around you.

    The above was from ‘Woman’s Hour’ 8th October 2021 and might be worth a listen.

    Emphasis the positives – 2 houses, 2 bedrooms etc.

    Live with us both but at different times.

    Have a look at the following:





    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by GingerbreadHelen. Reason: Removed formatting code
    #62765 Report


    Hi all, I have just joined this group – 1st post.
    I too am separating from my husband. I have initiated it a month ago.  He says he is accepting it, though I’m not sure he is. We still haven’t told the children.
    we are still living together fairly amicably.
    I want to tell the children sooner rather than later even though my husband won’t live out until March. I think if we tell them this week it’s far enough away from Christmas to hopefully settle down a bit and also gives them lots of time to see us still living together while we work it all out.
    Does this sound sensible?
    Also someone above mentioned books for the kids. Can anyone recommend any?


    #62766 Report


    Zoe – I am so sorry to hear about your situation. How are you and your son now?
    Wishing you the best!

    #62768 Report


    Hi Gemma. We have only just told our kids and won’t be living separately until March either realistically, as we need to sell our house etc. Telling them now has worked for us so far. It has cleared the air, and the trepidation of telling them was far worse than the reality. They do have questions but we answer them as best we can, while providing reassurance. So, yes – your plan sounds sensible to me anyway.

    #62770 Report

    Andrew uk

    Hi Gemma. Would those websites help? Im going to google some books now.

    #62771 Report

    Andrew uk

    Google “kids divorce books”. I haven’t used any so can’t recommend.

    #62941 Report


    Hi – sorry for the delayed response – just wanted to say thanks for all the replies. This forum is such a support. Makes you realise you aren’t the only one in a sea of happy families. Take care all x

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