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Tue Jul 11 3:45 pm  #1

Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse

Hi All, 

I am looking for input from straight spouses who have divorced emotionally abusive or abusive partners who were also Gay in Denial (GID).   Specifically, I am requesting feedback on the issue of telling the children about the underlying reason that their parents are divorcing.   In my case, there is abusive conduct (emotional, "low grade" physical) and staunch denial of any SSA.   The GID spouse remains in denial about the need for divorce, the existence of a divorce proceeding or the existence of his SSA despite extensive and incontrovertible evidence of same.  Upon confrontation, he entered into what I now believe was a narcissistic rage which lasted several months.  Children range in age from pre teen to late teen and all at home.   Any advice would be appreciated on whether/what to share with them.  My objectives are to exit the marriage while causing minimal trauma and damage to the kids and preserving my relationships with them.  

Last edited by JenS (Wed Jul 12 5:57 am)


Tue Jul 11 4:11 pm  #2

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse

Hi Jen. My take is that if your children have witnessed the emotional and 'low grade' physical abuse that you are suffering in this relationship there is CAUSE ENOUGH for you to get out of the marriage and may be cause enough for your children to support you in that decision.

Children see and sense A LOT more than we realize.

I guess I'm saying that honestly about the root cause is awesome but it sounds like you have other valid reasons for getting out. Reasons your children will likely understand. You might mention the gay thing to the older children or simply say  that you think (know) their father might be unfaithful to you.

If he is a narcissistic abuser type just getting out should be your main goal. Getting out with the least possible drama. The truth about the gay thing can come later once you and your children are at a safe distance from him. Just my opinion.

Please be careful.

Last edited by Steve (Tue Jul 11 4:20 pm)

You have a future. A good one. It begins as a flicker of hope. Nurture it until it becomes a dream and when you are strong enough you will make it a reality. NEVER give up. 

Tue Jul 11 8:07 pm  #3

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse


So sorry.   My ex was abusive to kids  (pre-teen to teen ) saw it.   They lived in the "house of silence" walking on the same eggshells I did...afraid to upset the bear.   Her anger surrounded and permeated everything.

What  I learned.   The kids are so much happier now that they are out of the toxic environment.   The kids just want a mom and a dad..   That mom and dad dont live together ...well they rather have two non-toxic homes..     Why mom and dad divorced...well they can see abuse... if they ask I will tell them but  its not their burden to bear...they have enough problems of their own.    

So if your home is like mine was the kids won't mind  mom and dad separating..   Just be the same strong mom you always were to them.   I'm actually a better dad to them now that I am not demeaned and home is free of made up drama and stress.  

Wishing you strength and fortitude.

Last edited by Rob (Tue Jul 11 8:10 pm)

"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

Tue Jul 11 9:39 pm  #4

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse

Hi Jen, 

one option is the 'your father has a psychological problem, part of which is he doesn't realise he has one' approach.  it might help if you want to tell any of them anything if they know not to confront him in advance. 

Divorce gets worse until it starts to get better - that point being when the financial settlement is signed off.  Dealing with that was enough, I found it helped not to challenge or confront my ex-gid's denial.

I think trust your instincts as to how to proceed with each of your children.  wishing you all the best, hugs, Lily


Wed Jul 12 9:14 am  #5

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse

Thank you very much for the helpful feedback, Steve, Lily and Rob.   I will take this into consideration as I navigate next steps. 

One of my issues on this is that I do believe he is, in effect, gaslighting the children by love bombing me to make it appear that I'm just callously walking away from the marriage while he is trying desperately to hold our family together.    It's very unfair to the children to be caught up like this and I worry about them assigning blame to me as I'm the one driving the divorce and the changes in their lives.   That being said, they weren't babies when he was in his crazy phase so they no doubt have memories of that period of insanity, too.   

     Thread Starter

Wed Jul 12 10:23 am  #6

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse

My sister is going through a divorce, and most of what the issues were were kept from the children.  They are now 8 & 6.  They didn't see much of their dad's abuse, but just a little bit of it - right before my sister had her ex removed from the home with a restraining order.  That ONE incident with the kids (which was him screaming at them in the car and punching his seat) was enough to convey to them that Daddy wasn't behaving in a good enough way to be around them right now.  Sis said something like, "Remember last week, when Daddy scared you?  Well, he scared Mommy a few days ago, just like that.  And I can't have you guys be around something that scary and unsafe."  They were upset that their dad left, but they DID understand.

Kids understand more than we ever give them credit for.  You don't need to tell them everything in order to tell them enough.  Your kids are old enough to understand that his behavior was inappropriate and deceptive, and that you can't choose to stay with someone who treats you like that.  It's a really good lesson, actually.  It shows them that "love" doesn't behave that way, and love for one's self is important.  And that you will support them in the future in doing things for their own best interest, even if it's unpopular to society.  It's an example of how you need to be able to call love out on its poor behavior and not accept those kinds of acts.

They'll understand.  Trust me.


You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

Wed Jul 12 2:34 pm  #7

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse

Yes, it's very unfair to the children - their father is caring about his own image rather than putting their best interests first. Unfortunately from all i've seen and all I've read here this is not going to change, only escalate through and beyond the divorce.

Teenagers are so very vulnerable.

Don't play into his hands - let him be who he is - the sort of fathering he does, there's nothing you can do about it and trying to make it better or protect the children from it only puts you back in his hands.  You're doing the one thing that really does help them - in separating from him you are giving them a safe parent and home. 

Stay on the front foot and hold onto your confidence, gather as much support around you as you can.   xox


Thu Jul 13 8:20 pm  #8

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse

I'd have to agree with what's been said here. If he's in denial you can speak the truth about him all day long but it will be flatly denied and reflected back onto you. Speak your truth, whatever that is. Maybe make a list of reasons why you need to divorce. Then take any that read along the lines of "because he....", rewrite it to "because I...." (need, want, feel, deserve etc.) This way you can explain your decision to the kids. I'm sure the older ones are already seeing how difficult relationships can be from what they observe amongst their peers in school. Here's a good reason you can use to plant a seed in their heads.... "Because I can't allow myself to be bribed with gifts and smiles to stay when I know it's not genuine."

Good luck.


Fri Jul 14 6:02 am  #9

Re: Messaging to Children Around Divorce - GID Spouse


I like that word;  genuine.    I am genuine...what you see is what you get.   There is no deep dark secret and no covert lies.      My promises and vows are genuine.


"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

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