Autism And It’s Effects On Your Relationship
I know I risk laying myself and my husband bare here but I can’t help thinking this is extremely important. I want others to know its not just them.
The plain truth is not many relationships that involve special needs children make it the whole nine yards.
Before we became parents, Lee and I were loved up to the max. We were soul mates, true soul mates. I was searching for someone and he was waiting to be found. Our wedding was exceptional for how loved up the bride and groom were! We had teething problems but we very rarely shouted and screamed at each other once we’d found our groove. I can count on one hand the amount of full blown arguments we had. We wanted to be the best person we could be for each other. Like Jerry Maguire he “completed me”.
We knew being parents would put a strain on that blissful lifestyle but we weren’t prepared for what happened after the marriage. Miscarriages. Difficult pregnancies. Postnatal psychosis. Mental health diagnosis. Autism regression. Assessment and diagnosis for both kids. Bankruptcy. Alcohol dependence. Aneurysm and life threatening illness. A extremely destructive bout of MRSA. Massive hernia to fix and finally another mental health issue.
We’ve both seen counsellors in our time and both have wondered how on earth we are still standing. We are not really standing, more leaning heavily on each other now. And despite what we’ve been through we have been there for each other…even if we haven’t always said the right thing at the right time! When I became very ill post natally Lee took leave from work to care for us all and when the children were diagnosed he had to leave work altogether as their behaviour became more regressive.So we have been together 24/7 for the last 4 years. We like it like this.
Though we are strong together the cracks do show now. We moved through the acceptance process at very different speeds. A couple in our position very rarely feel the same emotions at the same time. One is ready to move forward as another one dwells on the past. One has a glass that’s half empty while the others is half full.
We were lucky neither of us were in denial over the diagnosis and we both wanted the same things practically for the kids but that starts to interfere as we move forward. Differences start to show. You start to lose reason with each other. Decisions become difficult. Debates turn into arguments. Who does what? Who does more? Guilt sets in as things don’t work out how they should. Blame leads to resentment.
We haven’t got this bad just yet but I’m acutely aware of the direction we could be going if we don’t accept that the stress of this life, the monumental decisions you have to make regarding the care of your child, will take their toll on our relationship if we let them. We may need some online relationship counselling because there are fundamentals you have to accept.
You must work together. The same as with your children you have to pick your battles. Sniping is pointless. We’ve started getting frustrated with each other. We got no one else to vent to. We lost friends along the way so we have no one to turn to, but each other. That pressure is huge. How do you cope with that?
Taking breaks is the answer but we do not get that opportunity. We would love to take time out just the two of us but with the two kids that’s a lot of responsibility to give to someone else.
But I dream that one day Lee and I will be able to spend a weekend together. To get to know each other again. Not to have to advocate, to assess, to monitor, to argue, to mother, to parent, to hold our tongue, to attend meetings after meetings. But to be together as simply Donna and Lee. Lovers. Soul mates. And friends again.