One of the events that I dreaded the most in going through a divorce is telling the kids that mom and dad are splitting up.
To be sure, they had heard the squabbling and probably knew at least subconsciously that things weren't perfect. We have two sons, and I worried about how they would react.
My biggest fear, however, was that our failed relationship would affect theirs.
We were told to plan out how we were going to tell them, but due to several disagreements, that never happened. So one morning, we just called both of them into the living room and told them.
My wife started, and I chipped in where I thought it was appropriate. We emphasized that our splitting up had nothing to do with them, and that by doing so, we hoped that they'd have a more normal family life going forward.
We explained what the living arrangements were going to be like from here on, and we emphasized that they would have a role in picking out changes to the family home where I would remain and the apartment where their mom would move.
The older son took it better. He'd been privy to more of the problems close-up. The younger one, however, has let it be known that we've moved too fast for his taste, even though we've essentially been living separate lives for the past three years, albeit still under the same roof.
I don't want to look like a failure to my kids, but when I look into their eyes, I wonder what they're thinking about my role. Sure, I made plenty of mistakes, but I want them to understand that I tried exceptionally hard these last few years.
As a kid, I grew up idolizing my father, and I'd like for my kids to feel the same way about me. A divorce changes all of that, though.
It's been interesting to see how they have reacted now that their mom has moved out and all of the papers have been signed. We planned it for the beginning of the summer so that the younger kid could adjust before he started back with school.
But that brings more fear for me. Will his grades suffer as a result?
If they do, I'm sure I'll be second-guessing myself.
Next Up: Was divorce the right thing to do?
Just joining Chris' story? Check out what you've missed here:
Chapter 1: Out of the Blue
Chapter 2: The Fear of Being Lonely