You built a life together and then you created one. It was a partnership that was meant to last forever. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always pan out the way we plan. No matter what the cause for the split, when a child is involved, it needs to be handled delicately. For those wondering how to break up with the father of their child, here are some steps to make this difficult transition easier for everyone.
Make Difficult Decisions
If you are truly unhappy in your marriage or partnership, and you have taken steps to try and fix the issue to no avail, it may be time to sever ties. However, children are forever. This means that whether you like it or not, the father of your child will always be in the picture.
No matter what the cause for your separation, you need to figure out a way to coexist for your child. In cases of infidelity, this can be an extremely hard hurdle to make, but it is important to remember that this is for the sake of your baby.
First, decide what you want out of this change. Living arrangements will be the most immediate alteration so contemplating your options is important. Moreover, while full custody may seem like the most ideal option, if drugs or abuse are not the cause for the separation, then keeping your child away from their father can be quite detrimental to their health.
Dr. Robert Bauserman of the Baltimore Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted studies that found that “children in joint-custody arrangements had fewer behavioral and emotional problems, higher self-esteem and better family relationships and school performance compared with those in sole-custody situations.”
Remember to think about the big picture. Your decisions will have an impact on the next few years, not just the next few days and weeks. Having answers to these types of pertinent questions is imperative to having a constructive conversation with your spouse.
Talk To Your Significant Other
The next step is to talk to your significant other about your need to end this marriage. Find a place to talk privately and remove any distractions.
Ambushing them before work or a fantasy football party is only going to cause this discussion to become more heated. This can lead to rash decisions being made.
Finally, unless there is a clear-cut reason for this change, try to not place blame. The overall goal of this decision should be to create a better existence for all parties involved.
Talk About Your Child With Your Spouse
Once the decision to separate has been discussed, the two of you need to make a rational and fair plan that benefits every person involved. Research indicates that “Children benefit from emotionally stable parents—adults who are recuperated enough, in the case of divorce, to focus on the basic job of parenting, including establishing stability, exercising fair discipline, providing love and being emotionally responsive.”
Therefore, custody, visitation, holiday schedules, house rules, and big life decisions are all topics that need to be addressed before presenting this life-changing information to your child.
If you take the initiative to decide on these potential issues, you can make this transition easier for everyone. Cooperation, while difficult, is imperative for fostering a healthy adjustment for your child.
Have A Family Meeting About the Breakup
Once you have ironed out the details, talk to your child as a united front. Again, this needs to be done in private and preferably on a weekend. This can give them time to react and reflect on the information presented to them.
Let them know that this is in no way their fault and give them as much information as possible about how things will be changing in the coming weeks and months.
Additionally, let them ask questions. Be prepared for angry and candid comments. You are turning their world upside down and they have no control. Lastly, continue the conversation. Just because the band-aid has been ripped off, does not mean that the wound is healed.
Regularly ask them how they are doing and feeling. Encourage conversations and find ways to keep their routine and life as normal as possible.
Watch What You Say And Do
You and your husband are separating, but he is still an integral part of your child’s life. Thus, watch your words. Malicious and negative comments will only strain your relationship with your child. You don’t want your child to feel as if they are walking on eggshells or that they have to pick sides.
This also applies to how you act around him as well. Children are very perceptive so mind your manners and avoid passive-aggressive behavior. A cohesive relationship is important for the mental and physical well-being of your kids.
Additionally, don’t forget to have candid conversations with your immediate family and friends as well. They don’t need to like the situation or your spouse, but respect is required. We teach our kids to treat each other the way we want to be treated. Remember to practice what you preach.
Moreover, do not cut out his side of the family once you have decided to split. Having a stable support system will give your child some normalcy. If they were regularly involved in your child’s life before this change, then don’t alter the routine.
Know That Your Child Will Be Okay
Additional studies show that “about 80 percent of children of divorce adapt well and see no lasting negative effects on their grades, social adjustment, or mental health”. By choosing to prioritize your happiness, you are creating a better environment for your child to grow up in.
Furthermore, by separating, you are eliminating arguments, teaching them about compromise and you are removing stress. Chronic conflict can have a detrimental impact on your child as well as your quality of parenting. Divorce is an ugly word, but staying in a bad marriage for the kids can oftentimes be the greater of these two evils.
Final Thoughts – How To Break Up With The Father Of Your Child
The most crucial step in breaking up with the father of your child is to find a way to forgive the other person for their wrongdoings. While this may seem like an impossible task, maintaining a positive environment for your children needs to be the primary prerogative.
Lastly, if your child does not seem to be taking this transition well, consider taking them to counseling. This can be with a professional therapist, a church leader, or even a godparent. “Children at times need a third party and a safe space to express themselves when they are under the stressors of separation or divorce.”
In their eyes, this can almost seem like a death. They need time to grieve the loss of the family unit they have always known and cope with their new normal.
It is imperative that you and your spouse prioritize your child over your grievances and continue to work as a cohesive unit. Be patient and know that the end justifies the means. Time and patience will heal all wounds and your family will find a balance once again after breaking up with the father of your child.