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Dating and Autism

Posted by on Jul. 2, 2013 at 3:49 PM
  • 11 Replies

Good Afternoon Everyone.

I'm hoping to get a little advice from you all. I recently (6 months ago) started dating someone who has twins with Autism. Up until a couple months ago I didn't have any experience with Autism and quite honestly, I find myself so nervous around them. I'm afraid I'm going to do or say something that might upset them. I'm not sure where they fall on the spectrum but I can tell you they are very much into their electronics, repetitive speaking/noises and just being with each other.

I am divorced and have 2 kids of my own: daughter is 12 and son is 8. My gentleman-friend has his kids every other weekend so as not to disturb their daily routine too much during the week (though he does go to see them alot, just not for overnight visits) and we typically don't see each other much those weekends. He tends to keep them close to home since taking them out in public can be a challenge.

Here's my much as I enjoy this man and hope that things contnue to progress, I'm not sure I'm prepared to take-on this role. And it could be that I just don't have the experience and knowledge to make an informed decision? It could also be that I'm being selfish and I like the ease of the life I have? I've been reading posts on this site for a couple weeks to try to gain a better understanding but it's left me more confused than before. You all seem to be super-moms, capable of handling anything and here I am questioning an every other weekend visit. But...what if God forbid something were to happen in the future and they came to live with him full time? Could I handle that? Am I being selfish? (Be honest).

Thanks for listening.

by on Jul. 2, 2013 at 3:49 PM
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by Carissa on Jul. 2, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Thanks for your honestly. For me I carried my baby for 9 mo, delivered him and then over the next few years I started to see delays and eventually at age 3 he was dx with autism. We moved on from there..therapies, school, diet changes, supplements..etc.. Many ups and downs.. I don't know how I would feel to all of the sudden have children on the spectrum... It would definitely be an adjustment. My friend adopted a 2 yo from china. They were told he had some minor delays and pretty much only his eyes were an issue..nothing about the major delays he had.. He ended up being dx with autism and she shared her journey with me and the thoughts and feelings her and her husband and daughter had. It definitely took them time and it wasnt easy, still isn't.   I am not a super mom and  am still learning every day.

however,  before you get too serious with this man you will have to make the decision if you are ready to be involved in his kids lives. it will be work and it will take a lot of patience.  I don't think you are being selfish at all... Infact, the fact that  you are in this group and even asking this and doing some research shows you care. I'm pretty sure you will do what you feel is best in this situation. Hugs!  

One more child and the other kids I know that are on the spectrum are such a blessing to me..  Have been blessed to have my son in my life and the others I work with at church.. Don't count out the blessings and joy these kids may bring you if you do let them in your life. 

by Emma on Jul. 2, 2013 at 4:21 PM
All I can say is get to know them and give them a chance before deciding the kids are the factor that would end your relationship. I'm an autistic adult - having supportive people around me as a kid would have made a huge difference in my life. Instead, I had to muddle through it alone. My suggestion? Get to know them. You may find them bright, unique individuals, who just have some awkward social graces and communication difficulties. they still have feelings, a brain, and a heart. I have classic autism, I raise a family, I'm happily married. I'm hard to be friends with because of my communication difficulties and awkward quirks.... All I can say is - get to know them before you make a decision. They might be some of the most wonderful kids/people you know, but if you won't give them a chance... you won't know. We do have issues with transitioning and routine's changing on us - but as we get older, it generally gets easier to adapt. As a child, sensory issues, stress, and communication issues cause some behavioral problems because we don't have a better way to communicate *yet*. That doesn't mean we won't learn. it just means you need to be patient while we learn. All I can say is if you don't think you can handle it.... I don't think that's wrong. It's better to admit it before they get attached too you. My only thought is - give them a chance to know them before you make up your mind. And, if you have any questions on what having autism is like, we have a lot of autistic mom's on this group who can give you a unique perspective.
by Kari on Jul. 2, 2013 at 8:05 PM

No you are not being selfish, you are being honest. Do you think we would pick this? That is essentially what you have to decide, do I want to pick helping care for these children? Autistic children can be a wonderful joy but that is how I feel about my own child, I don't know how I would feel about another woman's children and that is just being honest also. Just be present when you spend time with his kids and think about how it would be if you had to raise them and the impact it would have on your children. It is ok if you don't want to take that risk and it DOESN'T make you a bad person. You have your own children to raise...good luck, you will know when you know.  Xo

by Bronze Member on Jul. 2, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Heck no, you are being honest.

It is very hard being a parent with a child that has Autism.  So it must be INCREDIBLY hard to be a step-parent of a child that has Autism.  

I'll be honest, if you have any doubts now, I'd probably break it off now.  

by on Jul. 2, 2013 at 8:12 PM

As your relationship becomes more serious, I think that it's very wise of you to consider whether or not this is something that you truly want. Afterall, you were not handed this role as most of us were, and you do have a choice in the matter. Keep in mind though, it's not a decision that you have to make today or tomorrow. You can take your time learning about autism and getting to know the twins. It's not something to be taken lightly, so don't feel like you need to rush into making a comittment right away. I think that when you do get to know them, you'll probably come to find that they're a lot more like typical children than you might realize, and that should help you to feel less intimidated. I'd suggest following their lead on this one. If they're into electronics, try to join in on the fun. If they're doing something repetitive like spinning in circles, join in. You'll know when you've started to connect with them, and it'll get easier. You might even be surprised at what they can teach you about yourself =) 

Feel free to ask any questions that you might have. I'm on the spectrum myself along with my son, and there are plenty of women on the forum who have all kinds of experience with it, so I'm sure you'll be offered lots of advice. 

by Member on Jul. 2, 2013 at 8:14 PM

It sounds like you know it will be hard and you are unsure if you can make a commitment. I can imagine only being around neuro-typical kids it would be quite an adjustment having special need kids as part of your family.

Do you find something like autism overwhelming, because we have all felt like that and can relate.

I think you are thinking things through and only thinking of your guy's kids. Do you know how old they are?

Please post with any questions you have about Autism, okay?

PM me and we can talk about it further.

by Jen on Jul. 2, 2013 at 10:04 PM

All I can say is that when it's YOUR OWN do ANYTHING to help them. I'd move mountains for my kids. That doesn't really make me a supermom. It's just me being a mom. Cause I believe that most moms would do the same. 

I've never been in a situation where I was in love with or dating a man who had kids that weren't my own. And I hear how some step parents claim to love those other kids just as much as they love their own kids....but I don't see how that is really possible. I mean, I guess it is possible and I've never been in that situation so I can't say but I do know that I have babysat for my BEST friends in the world and I try REALLY hard to treat their kids as my own. And while I am super nice and caring towards them, I know in my heart that I don't feel about them the same way I feel about my own kids. 

So, I can't answer your question. I don't know if you could handle it. I don't think you're being selfish. I think you're being realistic. 

by Member on Jul. 2, 2013 at 10:12 PM

My super-mom cape is fake shhhh lol. I have four kids and I have been with someone who had 2. After we split (we were together 5yrs) I knew I could never be with someone who has kids. I'm a disgusting person I know, because I expect someone (married now) to be able to handle and deal with my kids. But I was being honest with myself as you doing, THIS IS A GOOD THING!! I think it's important to ask yourself these questions and know the answers before you go to far into this relationship. I can't tell you what to do, but I have no doubt you will figure out what is best for you. Parenting is hard job no matter the circumstances.

by Darby on Jul. 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Welcome to the group!  These ladies have some great advice:)  Hugs!

by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Thank you all for the great advice!

This is all new to me. I've dated a man with kids before but not a man with special needs kids. From the time I have spent with them, they really are wonderful girls, just completely different from what I'm used to. They are 9 but function at a much younger age. They do not eat regular food, they are only just recently potty-trained and they dont communicate well. And maybe these are things that will change as they get older, again, I don't have any experience with this. I guess you could say I'm trying to learn as I go. :)

A couple of you mentioned having patience...ugh, I am definitely not a patient person! Their father is VERY patient and is a fabulous father, you can see it in the way he speaks to them and tries to teach them things. Maybe that will come to me too!

Thanks again!

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