Friday, December 7, 2012

Autism and Marriage

  So I have wanted to write this post for awhile now, but I have been thinking hard on what I was going to write. My original title was Autism Vs Marriage, but I didn't feel that was right. First of all, I don't feel my son's Autism is up against our marriage. Secondly, I didn't want to offend anyone because this can be a touchy subject.
  Those who follow my blog know I am an honest person. I tell it like it is, and I hide nothing. So, with that in mind, here goes......
  Our marriage is FAR from PERFECT. As a matter of fact, we tend to argue~ a lot. You see, hubs is the authoritarian, and I am well... I am the sucker. Thing is, I have read all the books, I follow all the blogs, and when Liam is behaving a certain way, and hubs gets on him, I am quick to defend. I don't like to do that. I don't. However, if a behavior is Autism related, I make no qualms about letting hubs know. This does cause issues in our marriage. He gets upset with me. He thinks I baby Liam. I get upset because I think he needs to educate himself more.....This is where Autism causes a rift in our marriage.....Also, let's face it, it's stressful. The meltdowns, the lack of sleep, the obsessions.....the list goes on.... Hubs and I haven't even slept in the same room, in I think 4 years!!! We didn't sleep in the same bed because of his back problems, and he would toss and turn a lot, but then I had to sleep in Liam's room, because it was the only way for any of us to get any sleep. So now, Liam and I have a bedroom with our own beds, and hubs has his own room. NOT your typical marriage, but hey, it works for us. My mom reads this blog, so I am not even going into the sex issue. I'm just not. (you're welcome momma :)) I will share this pic though because it's perfect for what I want to say......Just scroll past it momma ;)
ha, told ya this was perfect :)

For all of these reasons, Autism has put a strain on our marriage, has also strengthened it.
  Autism has also made our marriage stronger. In the almost 8 years we have been married, we have been through a lot. A hurricane, hub's back problems, his 2 major surgeries, Liam and Autism, myself and Fibromyalgia....It hasn't been an easy life, but it's our life. Autism has taught us to stick together. To stand up for Liam and to educate others about Autism. It has helped us stand together to fight for what Liam needs and deserves. Autism has done all this for our marriage....So while I can say it has made it harder,  it has also made it stronger......I guess I am on the fence with this.....
This is kinda how I feel. Either hubs and I are at war with each other, or at war against the world and fighting for Liam's needs and advocating to spread awareness!

   So, I reached out to reader's on my ALFL page, and asked for their input on this subject.... Below I will add what was sent to me on this topic:

"I am currently married, but he is not the father of my children. I am divorced from my sons' dad, and never married my daughter's father. My sons both have ASD. Their dad doesn't accept that they have it, so now he has supervised visitation. He fights me at every turn. My husband is trying his hardest to be the dad that they deserve. He still has problems with some of their "issues" but I am strong and I deal with it in my own."

Sarah H says:
-I am married - 10 years
-Hubs & I both are NT
-Oldest daughter (6 years old) is autistic, SPD, ADHD, etc
-Also military family <--- adds lots of strain on top of it all
-We argue a lot over discipline w. Lou. What should we expect from her? What is too much? Do we expect less during medication changes? What about when she's had bedtime meds? Does medication mean she can act horribly and get away with it? One day I will be losing my mind and hubs can be the calm one, while the next day we flip roles. He lets her get away with more, gives her more treats to calm screaming and tantrums, while I am more of the iron-fist more often. We've done marriage counseling to assist with parenting her, but found that it didn't help as much as it can be hard to find a counselor who actually deals w. SN families.
You can find Sarah’s page here:

Harry writes:
"Hi. I am divorced and have been for 10 years. My son is ASD and was diagnosed while our divorce was already in the process. I will tell you though I am sure it would have been a deal breaker anyway because his was and still is in denial. It has been a source of added conflict throughout our divorce which is a shame for our son. One of the biggest issues was, with the court giving her full medical authority, she stopped his private speech, occupational and psychological therapies years ago which has hindered his development."

Jan shares
"Hi Jan here...Yes, i am Married ,been married 10 years but together for 20.I am NT, spouse NT but i think aspie, he has as many traits as kieboy.1nt child,19 years olld,1 autistic 13 year old. we handle life together, but don’t always agree. I say no shouting, hubby likes to shout, silly things like that.autism has put a huge strain on us because no one believed me when i said kie was autistic, even his dad, no one medical listened until he was 12.but,slowly it is making us all stronger, if we are honest. Diagnosis made a difference as i know i wasn’t going mad, kie knows what’s going on and his dad is slowly getting used to it. All we need now is to get him diagnosed LOL~~Jan."
You can find Jan here:

Kelly writes:
Hi! I'm married and my husband and I are both NT. We have 2 children. Isabel is 4 and she has ASD and Nathaniel is 8 months so we are not sure about him yet. He is not showing any symptoms of ASD but you never know. I believe that our marriage has become stronger since Isabel was diagnosed. We are really a team now and we communicate so much more. Our kids are everything to us autism or not. Isabel was diagnosed when I was pregnant with my son and I was so worried that having a baby would upset her. She has actually started interacting with him and it's great to see. I hope this helps.

Christel writes:
"Not married, divorced my first husband, and my second one is deceased. That is many years ago, so I consider myself single now.

I have a ASD, and so does my son, (12) My daugther(19) is NT
How do you handle life together/apart......I Live on my own, with some help, my son lives in a group home, and has found his place in the world too. My daughter lives on her own.

My son comes home every other weekend and a few days extra for the holidays, never more then 4, which is the limit for him and me being in one place without much trouble. My daughter visits when she wants and can.

When my daughter was a teen I was undiagnosed, and it caused a lot of trouble. She was a very difficult ten, and we almost lost contact between us completely. Since I have my diagnosis now and know i have an ASD, it has gotten easy. She now knows why mom is different, does some things different than the rest of the world, and why I am the way I am. Knowing has helped her Understand and to give some things a place in her life. Between me and my son I have had some difficulties, but it’s easier for me to understand him, then it is for me to understand some things my NT Daughter does/did. A big support for all of us is my mother, a super-strong woman who does what she can despite having a physical handicap to keep things as smooth as possible. ( and yes, that is a big shout-out/thank you to her!)

I have recently started to blog about my life, and my views on asd on my website. i also post other stuff there, so it also a page that shows some of my interests. Not sure if i should connect a facebook page to my blog, i might soon, though."
If You would like to connect with Christel and get a perspective from an adult on the spectrum, you can find her here…

Sheila shares:
“Hi in answer to your question on relationships. I have been with my hubby for 20years and married for 14years since our son was diagnosed 3 years ago with ASD and co-morbid ADHD we have come to the conclusion that hubby is and undiagnosed aspie he and my son have a lot of similar traits and since researching Aspegers to try and understand our son a bit more we have said hubby is definitely on the spectrum. My hubby often struggles with the feel of certain textures for example he can't stand sand, he can't wear thongs as the post between his toes irritates him, when shopping for shoes they have to jump out at him and say buy me or he won't even try them on and when he does eventually find a pair if they don't feel right straight away he won't buy them. I used to struggle in the early years of our relationship when he used to find it difficult to show his emotions to me he very rarely hugs me or kisses me but I know he loves me in his own way. When his dad passed away 4 years ago in a tragic accident we had to travel by plane for 24 hrs to get back to the family not once did he show any real emotion it was only once he saw his dad in the funeral home did it really hit home about the fact his dad was no longer around even then he didn't cry and show a lot of emotion he just looked shell shocked. I have known my hubby since we were in high school and I remember him at school as being this quite guy who never really looked people in the eye and was always the one in the group who seemed quite shy (luckily he was taken under the wings of a great group of guys who have always accepted him for who he is). he is 40 next march and has only ever had 2 jobs in his adult life as he doesn't like change but when he does make a change it is on his terms and he does it big style. when we bought our 1st house he told me that he would never move from there as his mum and dad had lived in their house forever and he had only ever lived there that was until the day he calmly came downstairs to tell me he had applied for a job in Australia with the company who he was working for at the time, 4 mths later he was on a plane to try out his new job in Australia to see if he liked it and to see if they wanted him it started out as a 4 week trip which eventually dragged out to 7 weeks and then he only came home because he missed me and Tom and we had our home to sell by January of the following year we were in Australia and have been here 7years now and have just bought our own home (which I have been told he will never move from again). Over the years we have had some trying times were we have had our issues mainly because Rob doesn't tell me what is wrong and I end up screaming at him (which we all know gets you nowhere fast with someone on the spectrum) but to be honest I wouldn't change a thing and it helps me to know that the right girl is out there somewhere waiting for my handsome young man to be their special someone and I often say to people who I speak to on the spectrum that worry about relationships there is someone for everyone and that person will come along just be yourself and they will either love you or hate you if they love you hold onto them with all your heart if they hate you let them go they are not worth worrying about. Hope this inspires other people out there to give someone on the spectrum a chance.”

Jackson shares
“okay I'm rather ADD so I didn't pick up on exactly how you wanted me to answer questions. I can share with you what Autism has done to our marriage through 23 years. Right now what frustrates me most is that I'm the "interpreter". My husband seldom talks directly to Ian. He talks through me. This is partly my fault. I'm so afraid hubby will say something in the wrong way and he will melt down and I don't need that in my life...that I just jump in. This is tiring. This is old. I wish I could stop. I wish I could be in a place in my life that I could handle an occasional meltdown and not walk on eggshells. I know it has been hard for hubby to put up with my seeming obsession with this child/person. Now that he is technically a "man" (and that is a HARD word to use) hubby wants him to have a "normal" life. I'm still protective. I know my hubby sees eternity stretching out before him with this person always in our home. We are at the point where we are planning our retirement and our retirement includes a grown person in our home possibly forever. We yearn for an empty nest where we can run around the house naked and that's just not going to happen. Hubby keeps making plans and I keep saying "What about Ian?".
I know that a lot of your readers are struggling with younger austistic children, but I wanted to put this out there. They become autistic adults and they still need care. We are not saintly. We struggle and disagree about what's to be done.”
Jackson also opens up to me about SEX in an Autistic household”
“I was reminded this morning also of another challenge to marriage with an autistic "child". Sex. I swear we went years without it. Ian was in hospital quite a bit so we were not even physically in the same spot. We celebrated a wedding anniversary in the hospital. Later the code word for sex was "Is the boy asleep?" He has learned to knock before entering our room if the door is shut. He has NOT learned to wait for the "all clear" before opening the door. This of course leads to lots of embarrassment. Later he will ask "were you having sex?" It seems he asks this in front of other people a lot. His brothers get grossed out at the thought of 50 year old people having sex and the pastor just turns red!”

Heather writes:
“I’m sending this message in response to your questions for your blog. I am married. My spouse and I are both NT. We have three children. All boys... they are Caleb 10, Aden 5, and Logan 3. Aden is our only child with a diagnosis of ASD. Our life is one big roller I am a stay at home mom and my husband works 12 hour days, 7 days a week. So finding "adult" time is hard then you add in 3 kids, one with autism. It can be very straining on our relationship. But we have learned to take each day and embrace it. Our son Aden has helped us open our eyes and see everything in a different perspective. I wouldn't want my family and my life to be any different.”

Nita shares:
I will say I believe autism has strengthened our marriage. We had a lot of issues before, especially backbiting. When we received Kylee's diagnosis that caused a lot of turmoil and practically no one in the family even talks to us on my husband's side. It is so sad. Before, I would have said it could've made our marriage wobbly but my husband has stood up and been amazing. Once he was on board, lol. Long story short, we do not let anyone's negative opinions color our situation and feelings. People have nothing better to do than ignore us and our daughter, go for it. My mother in law has practically ignored my child. She let her stay over New Year's of this year. Hasn't called to do anything with her. All year! That used to take it's toll before but now, neither of us care. When Kylee brings it up, we answer her truthfully and carry on.

Wendy shares:
I am happily divorced. My son's dad has no clue where my son is. The last time I talked to my sons dad the awful man told me that when my son turns 18 he would kick my sons a** and beat the autism out of him. To say the least if this man ever found out where my son is he is not allowed to go near my precious baby. Even though my son resides in a group home sometimes there is a strain. Misbehaviors  that I also have to deal with. Sometimes I do wish I did not have to do this alone but then I think what an awful man his dad is and then I think how lucky we are not to have him in our lives. My son does miss having a dad at times. Btw I call his dad a sperm donor. My son is now 15 when he was 1 his dad went to jail and when he got out only seen him a few times. So for the last 14 years I have been mom and dad.

So there you have it.....Different people, different perspectives on Autism and Marriage. Months ago, I read a blog by Autism Daddy where he listed ways he and his wife keep their marriage strong. I LOVED it. You can check it out by clicking here: Autism Daddy

For info on Autism and Marriage, check out the link below. I turned to Google , and found a site with many helpful links:
More info CLICK HERE

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