Going Separate Ways

Vaidehi came over to my place a month ago. She seemed stressed out, and looked as if she wanted to confide in someone.

That day, her husband, Vedant, and she had decided to go through with their separation. And the uppermost worry in her mind was the possible repercussions of the separation on their two children.

Going Separate Ways

Going Separate Ways [Illustration by Shinod AP]

“Sometimes, life doesn’t give you the time to get yourself together and start anew, especially if you have children,” she remarked.

Vaidehi has moved on. She has gathered the fragments of her life in a commendable manner and has managed to ease the rough moments for her children. “One must get up and pick up the pieces, since it is your children who are affected in the long run,” she says.

They always ask questions

Children are full of questions. And this is the most difficult part of getting used to the separation. They wonder why. Her initial response was to protect her children from any kind of grief, recounts Vaidehi.

But, the truth is: it isn’t the same and your children know it. When you are asked why, it is important to be truthful. This does not mean you have to get into the painful details of the affair – especially if the children are too young to understand.

It is important to reassure your children, that although you have decided to live separately, your feelings toward your spouse and their parent, has not changed. You still care for “her mother/father”.

Sometimes they cry

The crying does happen and it hurts, remembers Vaidehi. A veil of sadness drops over her face. She found that her children often cried when it was time for her to leave the children at her husband’s house. But she also discovered that they could be upset for a variety of reasons.

Maybe they want you and your spouse to be together, maybe they hate the idea of divorce and are crying out of anger. Maybe they feel like you don’t love them anymore.

With so many possibilities it is important to find out why. But, for that you need to ask. The answers might hurt, but you cannot ease their fears without finding out what they are.

Reassure them

This is the most important and the most crucial of points, feels Vaidehi as she looks back. Her children believed that they were to blame for their parents’ split. It was Vaidehi’s turn to reassure her children clearly that they were not to blame. She had been perceptive enough to notice some behavioural changes in her children and had asked them the reason. Again, you can’t ease your child’s fears without knowing what they are. Therefore, ASK!

Vaidehi’s survival kit
She lives by certain thumb rules to enable her children – and herself – to keep their heads above water and retain some dignity in the way they lead their lives:

  • Let the children know that you’re busy. Make sure they understand that you are not sad and depressed, so they don’t worry about you.
  • Tell them you will see them at a certain time so that they have a time to look forward to seeing you again.
  • Tell them that you will call them, and do it. They need to know that you are still an active part of their life.
  • Let the children take something back with them. It could be only a piece of candy or gum. Maybe a magazine that you both looked at. It will help to make the transition easier. It will also let them know that you’re not going anywhere.With some clarity Vaidehi has realised that she has a major role to play in helping her children and herself deal with the hurt they have encountered. And that means she answers all the questions herself, be at peace and then extend a hand to her children.

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