‘My marriage has broken down, and I don’t know how to talk to my young son about it’

Ask the Expert: ‘I left his father because the relationship had become abusive’

‘My relationship with my ex-husband is not great most of the time, but we both do our best to not let that be known to our son.’ Photograph: iStock

‘My relationship with my ex-husband is not great most of the time, but we both do our best to not let that be known to our son.’ Photograph: iStock

Question: How do I talk to my son about the breakdown of my marriage to his father? We split up shortly after he was born, so he has never known us together. He will be four in a few months, so it will be another little while before he fully realises that most people’s parents are together and live in the same house, I suppose when he starts school in a year.

My relationship with my ex-husband is not great most of the time, but we both do our best to not let that be known to our son. We do not bad-mouth each other to him, and I always talk up his weekends that he spends with his dad as being great even when my son himself says he’d rather stay home with me etc. I know his dad says nice things about me, although he has told our son that he still loves me, which is a difficult one to navigate. So far I have changed the focus of the conversation when it comes up.

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