Home > Being Alone > The Impact of Separation on Your Adult Children

The Impact of Separation on Your Adult Children

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 12 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
Adult Children Separation Parents

It can be easy to overlook the impact of your separation on your adult children. You can think that because they have left home and have lives and families of their own that their parents’ separation will not affect them.

The truth is, your separation can have a massive impact on your adult children for a number of reasons. That is in no way to say that you should not go ahead with a separation that you want for this reason, far from it, but you do need to be prepared to deal with the fall-out of your decision.

A Surprise Separation

It can be very hard for adult children to deal with a surprise separation. Many parents have bad relationships but are somehow able to hide their difficulties, or parents who have a good relationship that quickly breaks down for whatever reason and want to split up straightaway. This is exacerbated by the very fact that your adult children are no longer there to see the day to day reality of your relationship.

Whatever the reason, a surprise separation can be very difficult as there has been no time to get used to it. Even though you will be dealing with your own pain and practical issues due to the separation, you need to accept that you must still be available to talk to your adult children about how they feel. Be careful not to lean on them too much. Although a brief swap round of the parent/child relationship is not too damaging if you can all handle it, don’t bad mouth your ex-partner – their parent – if you want to maintain a healthy relationship.

Separation after a Bad Marriage

Just because many people can cover up a bad relationship, most people can’t and you will be painfully surprised to realise just how much your adult children know about how bad your relationship is. Be aware that even if your adult children don’t know the actual details about your relationship, whether that’s affairs, money issues, addictions or whatever, they will know there is something wrong. More than likely they will blame themselves and think that they should or could have made a difference.

Your relationship issues will also be the blue-print for your adult children’s own relationships. If they’ve seen their mother put up with a domineering husband, or their father cover up for an alcoholic mother, then you are essentially telling them that this is acceptable behaviour. Although the separation will impact on them, you will at least have this opportunity to say that you can have healthier relationships and that it is right to leave a bad marriage that is unsalvageable.

Separating after a Good Marriage

There’s the rub. You may want to separate, but if your adult children feel that you have not made enough effort to make the marriage work, you will either need to explain to them why the relationship was unsalvageable or why you want to leave anyway.

You must give your adult children credit for being able to discuss relationships in an open, truthful manner. Although you still must not bad mouth your partner to their children, you can be honest to a point. No secrets or unnecessary details are a good starting place, even though you will need to be tactful and eloquent in how you discuss the separation.

Above all, give your adult children time to come to terms with the fact that the reality of their childhood may differ to what they thought, and this can take time and be very painful.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Wlfred
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi, me and my ex bought a house together We put down the same amount of deposit but I have been making all the mortgage payments…
    16 January 2021
  • Tweety
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hey me and a (guy)friend has a joint bond and living together became a nightmare as his not working anymore I'm 27 and his 57 he…
    28 December 2020
  • Kellyjayne
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hello, My husband left me at the start of lockdown and we have an 8 month old son. He moved out of the home we both own soon…
    30 November 2020
  • Withheld
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi Me and my partner separated 18 years ago now and myself and my 2 kids lived in the house. We were never married but the house…
    19 November 2020
  • Ramos
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Me and wife separated, we do have house under our both name we have two children one 16 and one 13. They do live with her at the…
    29 October 2020
  • Michelle
    Re: Buy Out The Mortgage From Your Ex
    My husband and I are separating he wants to buy out my share of the house. He has sought financial advice and we are…
    27 October 2020
  • Ash
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    My ex partner had me arrested to get me out of our home and lied to police. Since I haven’t been back to the home however I have…
    21 October 2020
  • Harbo
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    My ex partner has been renting out our ex home together as we are both living with new partner's in different homes. I’m wanting…
    7 October 2020
  • Marlene
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Good evening. My fiance was married in community of property. The house is in joint names as per divorce settlement wife must…
    6 October 2020
  • T.i.oakley
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I have a morgage half buy half rent my ex partner is on the papers but he has been left 12 years and dont know where he is I…
    6 October 2020