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How do you explain divorce to a child with autism?

(6 Posts)
sc13 Sat 13-Aug-11 20:28:09

Yesterday DH has announced that he has been seeing someone else and that they intend to make a life together. This came as a complete shock - DH says I have neglected him, that all I can talk or think about is DS (5, dx of ASD), that when he (DH) was extremely stressed because I guess of this whole ASD situation, I told him to pull himself together because DS has to be our priority. The other, older, woman has time for him (no kids), values him, listens to him and they have shared interests. Whatever, he's probably right and this is all my fault.
My real concern right now is, if it comes to it, how the hell do I explain this to DS? He's a sunny, happy child, who loves both of us to bits, and is keen to do things with mummy and daddy. His language is coming along, but there is no way at present he can grasp the concept of mummy and daddy love you very much, but. Should I just not tell him anything right now, and try to keep his routine as if nothing had happened? Even if DH moves out, it would be very close to here.
Has anyone here been in a similar sort of mess before? Thanks - I'm trying to stay calm.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 13-Aug-11 21:10:41

Sc13. Firstly, I'm so sorry. We all get obsessed with our dcs because they are children who cannot look out for themselves, whereas our partners are grown ups who can. I don't know the details but it sounds like your Dh is being selfish, and i'm a bit cross that he is puting his behaviour all down to you however, in families with a child with SN it is sadly very very common.

You have only just found out so it is far too early to be making concrete plans about how you are going to handle this. Probably low key is best for your ds but it is too soon. Try to take one day at a time and find dome RL support too.

So sorry again.

coff33pot Sat 13-Aug-11 21:54:27

Same as Starlight...I dont know your circumstances but making your DS priority is NOT a reason to blame you. He is a child and your DH is a grown man who has obviously spat his dummy out due to lack of attention. It happens and it is very hard to concentrate on being a married couple when so much is going on with your DCs.

I would also wait. You have just been told this news so there it has to sink in properly with you first and you need to plan concrete plans on when your DS is going to see his dad and how often, where he is going to live etc. Best way for DS is to be as amicable as possible and I hope your DH does this for him.

Really you need all the positive facts before mentioning it to your son. I am sorry for you and I hope it all goes as smoothly for you as poss x

IndigoBell Sun 14-Aug-11 10:21:54

Very sorry to hear about your marriage.

Don't blame yourself! You are quite right to put your child's needs above your DH's 'needs' - it's his child too! You should be furious with him, not blaming yourself.

Unfortunately it's very common for parents of SN kids to divorce sad He's not the only man who can't cope with the extra stress and demands sad

I don't know what or if you should tell your DS. It's not clear from your post much about him. I guess the most important thing will be to have a stable routine for him. So establishing exactly when DH will see him, and making sure he keeps to it would be a priority for me.

samels001 Mon 15-Aug-11 00:56:44

Hi sc13, I'm very sorry to read your post. I empathise totally as I'm in a similar-ish position. DS is not confirmed ASD - we have only just started investigations for him also aged 5. (My own belief is possible PDA.)

STBEH was/is having an affair (similar excuses given) and moved out in July to his own place (only a few miles away). I won't bore with the details here but talking to DS was really left to me. I just said that Mummy and Daddy no longer wanted to do the same things together. (It seemed simple and appropriate for a 5-year old - plenty of time for him to find out about the truth later). Also, we both loved DS very much and he would see Daddy and have his own room. So I made sure that DS saw the new flat before STBEH moved out and then on the day STBEH moved in I took DS over to see Daddy and we took some cuddly toys over. (Great - cleared a few out of here).

So I feel I have started to deal with the practical matters but I am not sure if we are fully dealing with DS emotional side. There is a book written for children about Daddy moving out - I will see if I can find the title and post back.

sc13 Mon 15-Aug-11 15:01:37

Thank you so much to everybody for your messages, and especially to same - so sorry you're going through a similar process, keep being strong - you sound like a great mum!
Things here are still in flux - repressing my natural instinct to embroider DH's face with my fingernails, as they say where I come from, I have persuaded him to give the relationship another chance through couple counselling. We'll see what comes out of it. Thanks again - I know this sort of things is very common in families with children with SN, which is helping not to feel too sorry for myself.

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