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How do I tell my daughter about my breakup? (He is not her father)


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Hello all,

 

I previously posted about my situation with my now ex-boyfriend "needing time to reevaluate his feelings" and to get his mental health on track. We ended up in a somewhat mutual breakup. He originally initiated the "space" situation, but I kind of ended it after a few weeks and further conversations with him. There was/is no animosity between us and since the official breakup almost 2 weeks ago, we have not spoken. I know I need an undetermined amount of space/time from him to heal over our breakup, and he needs the same in order to move forward and to focus on his mental health. Side note- his sister is my best friend (as he was as well prior to, and during our 4 year relationship). She has been very neutral on this situation, at least to me, and I asked her not to tell me about him while I heal and she is very much honoring that request. My daughter and her son are the very BEST OF FRIENDS since they have essentially been around each other since birth. All our lives are very intertwined since we have known each other since childhood. I am a bridesmaid in his other sister's wedding next year. I have full faith that with (loads) of time to heal and recover, he and I can be friends again. It won't ever be the same as before we dated, but I truly don't think we'll get through life without each other in it in some way.

 

So now that I've digressed from my original intention with this post, let me get back to what I'm asking. My daughter is 8. She has been around my now-ex since birth because of our long-standing friendships and history. He and I officially began dating when she was 4. Luckily for me, her father and I have a very good co-parent relationship even though he lives out of state. Because her father is very much involved with her, my daughter spends her summers with him and her stepmom. She will not be home for 6 weeks. This gives me time to get myself together regarding my breakup before she gets home...

 

I have not told her about my breakup yet as I do not see the sense in it while she's having a blast with her dad. I do not know how to go about telling her about it when she gets home. She adores my ex, and she will definitely notice that he is not around our house anymore when she gets home. He typically spent a few nights a week with us and some weekends. We did outings together and she'd love on him constantly.

 

Do I wait until she asks where he is? Do I tell her upfront when she gets home? How do you word this to an 8 year old who has know this man her whole life? Do I tell her he's not gone forever and she will see him around? I have done what feels like hundreds of internet searches regarding my situation, and it seems like there is literally no one else out there in a breakup/friends with exes family/friends-since-we-were-kids circumstance such as mine. I feel pretty unique in my situation and any advise would be greatly appreciated...

 

Never date your best friend, folks :(

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She's eight. Eight year olds are very aware of their surroundings and relationships between adults and the world around them. I would sit her down and explain to her that even though the relationship is over, it doesn't mean that home and the love in it changes. You should reassure her that you will always be her mom and you will always be there for her. What matters is your love as a mother. Waiting for her to ask is a betrayal of trust on your part and I would not wait until she senses something's different. She shouldn't have to put two and two on her own because she is still a child. She deserves to know coming directly from you.

 

You're doing the right thing distancing yourself from your ex and giving yourself time to heal.

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She's eight. Eight year olds are very aware of their surroundings and relationships between adults and the world around them. I would sit her down and explain to her that even though the relationship is over, it doesn't mean that home and the love in it changes. You should reassure her that you will always be her mom and you will always be there for her. What matters is your love as a mother. Waiting for her to ask is a betrayal of trust on your part and I would not wait until she senses something's different. She shouldn't have to put two and two on her own because she is still a child. She deserves to know coming directly from you.

 

You're doing the right thing distancing yourself from your ex and giving yourself time to heal.

Exactly.

....

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Just a side note. I dated someone post divorce and intertwined the kids. We parted but the kids suffered. His oldest daughter especially. I felt guilty for quite sometime and from that moment on I didn't involve my kids in my personal dating life.

 

When you consider the likelihood and the odds of forever-afters anymore, it's just not worth the risk.

It seems you went into to this with the best of intentions. I know I did.

 

Did you and the ex bf discuss any further interaction with your daughter? He did have a relationship with her after all.

The ex's daughter I spoke of had a lot of challenges and I stayed in touch with her for a few years. I hope it helped.

I know that having not would have been worse.

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Everything that Rose Moss said.

 

At eight, she probably knows a lot more about breakups than your realize - from TV shows, movies, family and friends. I think you need to find a quiet time to sit her down and tell her - and listen to any questions she may have.

 

At the end of the day, it is something that impacts her too. She should be told and not have to ask about it, IMO. But... I also wouldn’t project feeling about it on her. Allow her her own time and space to figure things out as needed.

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It's just life isn't it? Through the years she enjoyed having him in her life, as did you. Now things are different. You can't protect her from her own feelings of sadness. All you can do is help her through it. I think her knowing that you feel sad too and that you are sorry this has happened will help her in its own way. We don't have control of everything and you don't know exactly how it will be in future. It's okay to admit that to her. I think you're doing really well and she will be fine in time. Sorry for your pain.

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So maybe I am just looking at things too black and white, I just am not comprehending why you would take your daughter away from her best friend because two adults broke up?

 

To me you made a lifetime choice to involve him in your child’s life, it’s not something to take lightly, I have no desire to be in contact with my ex husbands family and friends but my child does, so I suck it up.

 

Right now you’re reeling from the breakup and you absolutely need space absolutely, but to take her away from her best friend...forever? I don’t know...seems kinda cruel.

 

Give yourself time and space to heal, then if you’re willing which I hope you are speak to his sister, arrange play dates let the kids exchange numbers, she shouldn’t lose her circle because mommy and boyfriend didn’t work out, I don’t think that’s fair, if you aren’t capable of doing that, totally understandable you’re human, a word of warning, she’s still young, my advise to you one single mother to another, don’t ever do this to your child again, seriously, do not intertwine your child’s life with someone whom you could potentially completely cut ties with, again,it’s not fair to the child in my humble option.

 

You’re still at ground zero of this breakup everything still raw, the dust hasn’t even settled yet, give yourself time, she doesn’t need to know right this second, focus on getting on solid ground then decide which route you want to take.

 

Good luck.

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So maybe I am just looking at things too black and white, I just am not comprehending why you would take your daughter away from her best friend because two adults broke up?

 

Hello. I think maybe you misunderstood. I have no intention of ceasing my friendship with my exes sisters. And my daughter will absolutely continue to have her friendship with my exes nephew. That is her best friend. I mentioned those things originally to try and display how interlocked my life is with that of my ex, through his family. And how my daughter might come across my ex from time to time because of this. His sister is actually a great help to me through this breakup. I have no intention to cut off her friendship with anyone.

 

I’m more looking for advise on how to tell my kid that my ex won’t be around as much anymore at our home or on our outings. How do you explain a breakup to an 8 year old?

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What I told my kids when their dad and I agreed to divorce:

"Dad and I have decided that instead of being married we're going to be friends."

 

I get this man isn't your child's father, but could you try a version of what we told our kids?

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Hello. I think maybe you misunderstood. I have no intention of ceasing my friendship with my exes sisters. And my daughter will absolutely continue to have her friendship with my exes nephew. That is her best friend. I mentioned those things originally to try and display how interlocked my life is with that of my ex, through his family. And how my daughter might come across my ex from time to time because of this. His sister is actually a great help to me through this breakup. I have no intention to cut off her friendship with anyone.

 

I’m more looking for advise on how to tell my kid that my ex won’t be around as much anymore at our home or on our outings. How do you explain a breakup to an 8 year old?

 

Apologies, definite misinterpretation.

 

Like I kinda touched on in my original response, youre at ground zero, emotions are still very high, so ensure you come to her when you’ve settled a bit and just explain that he’s going to be around less but nothing else will change the love is still there etc, you and he just are no longer together.

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Keep it simple. Not a lot of details. You two are no longer dating, but still care for each other.

She and her friend will continue to be friends.

`Do you have any questions?" In the moment she may not, but tell her the door will be open if at any time she has questions.

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