Ask Kari: Should I continue to share holiday get-togethers with my ex-husband for the sake of our children?

Dear Kari,

My ex-husband and I are separated and our divorce should be final within the next few months. We have three children (ages 16-24) together and they would still like us to spend most holidays together; my ex-husband appears to like the idea too. I initiated the divorce, and he would still like to remain married. I feel caught between pleasing them all and starting new traditions as a single person. What do you think I should do?

Trying to Please Everyone

Dear Trying to Please Everyone,

I know that the separation and divorce of one’s parents can be very hard on children, especially if one parent still wants to remain married. You did not state the reason that you choose to divorce your husband, but whatever the reason is I recommended that you speak to your children and remind them that you are ending your marriage to their father, but you are not stopping being their mother who loves them deeply. Then, explain that you will no longer be spending most holidays together as a family unit as it is too confusing for everyone. Keeping clear boundaries will benefit everyone in your family moving forward.


As published in the August 2013 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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