I had become a statistic. Again and again, I had heard about the extremely high divorce rate among couples supporting a disabled loved one. And then I joined that “extremely high” category—a divorced mom with children ages 8, 12, and 13. The years as a single parent were difficult. Misunderstanding, judgment, and condemnation had driven me to the point that I was never, ever going to consider remarriage. Then, along came a “good friend”—to whom I had clearly communicated the fact that I would never marry again. He was patient, loving, and kind and put up with my utter resistance. Toban and I married in 2009.
But before we married, I had to lay some ground rules for how to date a single mom with an autistic son. I recently came across the list below and had to share it with Toban because I had told him every single thing on that list when we started dating. He recalls my telling him these things. He put my fears at rest then about my complicated situation, and he continues to put my fears to rest. In that, I take heart!
I understand divorce and the confusion it causes. May the Lord lead you in the way you should go. And never hesitate to remind your significant other of number 10! If you have more to add to the list, please share with us and add some comments.
Top Ten Things a Guy Should Know before Dating an Autism Mom
- Be patient. . . . My children and I are worth it.
- Be understanding. . . . I may have to cancel at the last minute.
- Be thoughtful. . . . If I did cancel, offer to come over for movie night and bring take-out that is kid-approved.
- Sometimes I have a short fuse. . . . Remember what I deal with every day.
- My children come first. . . . Deal with it.
- Some things in my normal everyday life might be more than you can handle. . . . If that’s the case, say so from the beginning.
- Being a mom is a full-time job. Being the mom of a kid with special needs is like having two full-time jobs. Being a single mom is like having three.
- Never say “I love you” unless you mean it. We don’t have time for games.
- Be kind. . . . That shouldn’t need an explanation.
- My house is always a mess. It’s my reality.[ref]Taken from Jennifer Hodgdon, “Top Ten Things a Guy Should Know before Dating an Autism Mom,” Autism Single Moms Blog Spot, http://autismsinglemomsblogspot.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/top-ten-things-a-guy-should-know-before-dating-an-autism-mom/, accessed May 15, 2012.[/ref]