Autism Destroyed My Marriage, But I'm Not Mad

07/15/2015 08:44 EDT | Updated 07/15/2016 05:59 EDT

I'm sure you hear it all the time...

Autism has a bad rap with families and marriages. Pulling them apart. The stress, the constant worrying, the lack of time with your spouse and other children. The focus becomes your affected child and there is no time for you and forget about your partner.

I thought my marriage was strong. It wasn't strong enough.

My spouse and I did what many parents with special needs or otherwise children do: give everything they have. Every spare waking moment directed at the children. We were tired and weary. Timothy (my ASD child) had a very long and aggressive period that we couldn't seem to come back from.

I cried and I cried often. Timothy focused a lot of his aggression on me for some reason and it beat me down, really far down into a deep pit of despair. I couldn't take him anywhere without a second adult. He destroyed our home; his anger apparent on our living room walls. My partner couldn't understand why I cried. It hurt. Even though I tried not to let it feel "personal" it was. I didn't feel supported from my partner -- although looking back maybe he was supporting me in his own way.

Sleeping alone, working alone, parenting alone... that's how it seemed. The crushing weight of autism was breaking me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was distanced from my friends, coworkers, family and most importantly my spouse.

That seemed to be the beginning of the end. We drifted apart slowly not even noticing at first. As usual, the children were priority but I'm here to tell you that's wrong.

Who was there before your children? Your partner.

Who is your backbone? Your partner.

Who will be there when your children grow up and leave the nest? Your partner.

Let's be honest. There is no handbook on parenting or managing a marriage and special needs. You sort of have to fumble through it, messy as it can be and figure it out on your own.

If I can give you anything from this to take away, I want to encourage you to make time for your partner. You -- Moms and Dads of the specials -- are as important or more so than your kid. I'm serious! Make time for each other. Love each other. Hard and often. Even if its only a few minutes a day or a monthly date night. Learn from my mistakes. You'll be glad you did.

As for me, I have learned so much these past few months on this roller coaster called love and marriage and special needs, all blended into one: I call it: "One day at a time."





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