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Shaken to the core


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This is a long one, sorry.

I am a 57 year old woman…

I am the mother and full time caregiver of an adult special needs daughter. She has autism. She cannot work, has some independent skills but is very much dependent on me for daily living, socialization, entertainment, everything. I have given up my life to take care of her. Even the thought of putting her in a home or the like makes me nauseated. I simply cannot do that.

I was married for over 30 years but the last 10 were awful but I had no way of financially supporting myself and my daughter without him. Then I met a man outside my marriage. We had a great relationship. We could communicate about everything and anything. We were in love and I still love him fiercely. After many years of knowing each other he offered me a way out of a marriage I was stuck in. 

He bought a house 1500 miles away from where we were at the time. He bought it specifically for my daughter and I to be happy…big house, her own art studio, pool, space outside everything. The day of signing on the house, I specifically reminded him of the challenges of my daughter and told him that I wouldn’t be upset, or blame him if he didn’t want to go through with it. That I had to know that he would commit to the long haul because I was a package deal and it would be challenging. He took time to think about it and said yes, he wanted to do this. So we did.

I walked away from everything I have ever known, work, friends, family. I left most of the marital possessions and gave my husband the house to live in so my daughter would have that consistency in her life. My new partner and I built a beautiful home together and we were happy even with the challenges of my daughter. It was “our” home. It is hard. She doesn’t want to accept him in her life and fights tooth and nail against him because he is not her father. She is mostly happy here and has adjusted. She still sees her father multiple times a year. 

Two years after moving my divorce is weeks away from being finalized and I will be giving up my right to the marital home (for a buyout) and my partner dropped a bombshell on me. He isn’t happy. He doesn’t like the restrictions of living with a special needs person. Of the lack of spontaneity and the lack of ability to run out and do what we want when we want. He isn’t happy. In essence he thinks his love for me may not be enough to overcome the challenges of her behaviors. In his words, he may not be man enough to handle my daughter. He says he is still in love with me. This was out of the clear blue. He never communicated any of this to me and when I asked why he said he dropped hints, hints that I didn’t pick up on. I was happy. I thought he was happy. He then told me that evidently long term relationships are not his thing. This even though we had multiple conversations about the level of commitment it would have to be. He knows I wasn’t looking for short term. But a long term partnership. I even asked him if he might someday want to get married. And he told me only a year ago that he wanted to grow old with me. 

I am soul sick. He has shaken me to the core. I believed in what we had built. I believed that this was “our” house not his house that I lived in. Now I suddenly feel like an outsider. An unwanted tenant of sorts. He says he hasn’t given up and is willing to work on it but I fear that he is just placating me.

I am terrified. If he decides he cannot do this anymore then I have no recourse whatsoever. It’s his house. I would in effect be homeless with my adult daughter with no means of support. I gave up nearly all of my furniture, clothes (climate change based on location) housewares. The money I will get from the buyout will not be enough to buy a home, it might last two or three years if I am excessively careful. Then what? Where am I supposed to go? 

There were many times I asked him if he was sure that this was what he wanted, and every time he said yes. That he believed in us. That he was happy with me. I invested 12 years in our relationship and after barely two years living together he seems ready to give up.

I can’t eat. My blood pressure is sky high. The level of anxiety over this is immense, I am shaking non-stop. And I can’t stop crying. I am 57 years old and have zero future. I have contemplated suicide for the first time in my life. 

What do I do? How do I get him to fight for what we had/have? How do I get him to see that relationships are hard work and you have to want it? How do I get him to see that “we” are worth it and that growing old together is worth it? I love him with all that I am but it feels like he is asking me to choose between him and my daughter. How could I ever make a choice like that? He didn’t live with his son growing up. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to raise a child, never mind one that is significantly different from others. He seems to expect her to react and respond the way a typical child/person would but of course she doesn’t and this frustrates him. 

Please help. Guide. Advise. How do I help him see the value of what we have/had?

Soul Sick
 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Soulsick said:

at do I do? How do I get him to fight for what we had/have? How do I get him to see that relationships are hard work and you have to want it? How do I get him to see that “we” are worth it and that growing old together is worth it? I love him with all that I am but it feels like he is asking me to choose between him and my daughter. How could I ever make a choice like that? He didn’t live with his son growing up. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to raise a child, never mind one that is significantly different from others. He seems to expect her to react and respond the way a typical child/person would but of course she doesn’t and this frustrates him. 

Please help. Guide. Advise. How do I help him see the value of what we have/had?

I'm sorry you are in this situation. Please call a suicide hotline and/or your physician or psychiatrist if you are contemplating harming yourself.  Maybe he realized that since you cheated on your husband with him that he doesn't want to sign up for also caring for your daughter because for all he knows you'll cheat on him if the going gets rough. And he knows you stayed in your marriage to use your husband for financial support so he's afraid you might do the same to him.

 I don't think you can tell him relationships are hard work because you went outside your marriage and cheated instead of divorcing your husband first.  You have no idea what he knows about raising a child. I knew a lot before I became a mother and he is a father.  

I think he didn't think things through just like you didn't - you decided to be with him when you were married.  Now he realizes that he was too impulsive and now reality is hitting him.  When you weren't actually available because you were married it felt more exciting and thrilling. Now daily life with an available woman who comes with a dependent is too much for him. It's not because she has special needs -it would have been any dependent that would be living in his home and affecting his lifestyle, his routine, his desire to come and go as he pleases, to have personal space as he pleases.  Would have been the same if you needed an elderly parent to live with you two.  For example.

You risked this outcome.  Most affairs do not work out.  Some do -as I know of some happy marriages between spouses who cheated on their former spouses - but it's rare and certainly given your child it was even less likely to work out.  Please do not blame him.  He certainly should have told you sooner. I can imagine you are shocked but deep down didn't you know by embarking on an affair that this was on shaky ground to begin with?  I hope you feel better soon.  

Edited by Batya33
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You make assumptions which are not true. And you are judging me without knowing the facts.

i was in an open marriage at the request of my husband at the time. I never cheated. It was the open marriage that ruined my marriage, 

 

thank you for your open minded, sympathetic advice. How exactly is this supposed to be helpful?

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Soulsick said:

He isn’t happy. He doesn’t like the restrictions of living with a special needs person. Of the lack of spontaneity and the lack of ability to run out and do what we want when we want. He isn’t happy. In essence he thinks his love for me may not be enough to overcome the challenges of her behaviors. In his words, he may not be man enough to handle my daughter. He says he is still in love with me. This was out of the clear blue. He never communicated any of this to me and when I asked why he said he dropped hints, hints that I didn’t pick up on. I was happy. I thought he was happy. He then told me that evidently long term relationships are not his thing. This even though we had multiple conversations about the level of commitment it would have to be. He knows I wasn’t looking for short term. But a long term partnership. I even asked him if he might someday want to get married. And he told me only a year ago that he wanted to grow old with

Well, OP, it is possible he meant it at the time.  Maybe still does.  But he is unable to continue in a conflictive and conflicted setting. 

 

33 minutes ago, Soulsick said:

She doesn’t want to accept him in her life and fights tooth and nail against him because he is not her father.

That kind of conflict day after day would grind anyone down.  Did he actually say he would turn you out on the street?  It is unlikely that he would. Do I understand from your first post that you moved to a different country with this man?

Meantime you need to calm down, if only for your daughter's sake. Everyone has a future, even at 57 years old, which btw is young!

33 minutes ago, Soulsick said:

I can’t eat. My blood pressure is sky high. The level of anxiety over this is immense, I am shaking non-stop. And I can’t stop crying. I am 57 years old and have zero future. I have contemplated suicide for the first time in my life. 

You need to have a sit-down conversation with him. In a calm and coherent manner. Ask him what he intends to do. Yes, ask him!  If he cannot live with you then discuss in a calm manner what the options are.

He did this, which shows a kindly nature:

"He bought it specifically for my daughter and I to be happy…big house, her own art studio, pool, space outside everything. "

Yet she fights tooth and nail against him, you say.  

It must be very difficult for him. 

Edited by LaHermes
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Is your daughter eligible for financial assistance from government programs? My cousin has Down's Syndrome and he receives money from the government for his basic needs such as housing and food.

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Posted (edited)

It is understandable that you do not wish to put your daughter in a home.  Nonetheless, there are centres where young people like your daughter can go for a few hours a day.  It could well be a good experience for her as the personnel in such centres are trained to help, support and encourage. 

50 minutes ago, Soulsick said:

is very much dependent on me for daily living, socialization, entertainment, everything. I have given up my life to take care of her.

A few hours a day would also give you some time to yourself.

Would you be prepared to look into this option.

And:

"She still sees her father multiple times a year. "

Does she actually stay with him, back at your former home?

Edited by LaHermes
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11 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

Well, OP, it is possible he meant it at the time.  Maybe still does.  But he is unable to continue in a conflictive and conflicted setting. 

 

That kind of conflict day after day would grind anyone down.  Did he actually say he would turn you out on the street?  It is unlikely that he would. Do I understand from your first post that you moved to a different country with this man?

Meantime you need to calm down, if only for your daughter's sake. Everyone has a future, even at 57 years old, which btw is young!

You need to have a sit-down conversation with him. In a calm and coherent manner. Ask him what he intends to do. Yes, ask him!  If he cannot live with you then discuss in a calm manner what the options are.

 

 

Not different country but from the northeast to the extreme South. Traded snow for heat which is what we both wanted. 

We have had several calm conversations. He is still unable to verbalize exactly where he feels the problem is. He admits that my daughter is part of it but that he still loves me deeply. The options…neither of us has a solution and that is the scariest part of all. 
 

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6 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

It is understandable that you do not wish to put your daughter in a home.  Nonetheless, there are centres where young people like your daughter can go for a few hours a day.  It could well be a good experience for her as the personnel in such centres are trained to help, support and encourage. 

A few hours a day would also give you some time to yourself.

Would you be prepared to look into this option.

I have looked into this. There is a place close by where we live. For me the issue is cost. Insurance only pays for some. I won’t ask my partner to pay for her care. I will use the money from my settlement to do a trial run for her but history has shown that she doesn’t deal well with other special needs people. I am hopeful but not very optimistic. 
Thank you, for your thought filled and kind responses. They are appreciated.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Soulsick said:

neither of us has a solution and that is the scariest part of all. 

I trust you read my entire post?

Solutions are found through discussion, calm, centred discussion. There are always solutions. Please try to take the words "scary" and "panic" and the S word out of the equation if you can. 

If you feel an objective third-party could be present and help you in these discussions, then try this idea.

You did not reply to my question as to whether you would be prepared for your daughter to go to a centre for a few hours a day.

OK seen it now:

"For me the issue is cost. Insurance only pays for some. I won’t ask my partner to pay for her care. I will use the money from my settlement to do a trial run for her but history has shown that she doesn’t deal well with other special needs people. I am hopeful but not very optimistic."

You are aware that there are trained personnel at these centres who are not special needs themselves.  She would be interacting with them. 

Besides, (and I don't know where you are) but I know that there are charitable organizations who run such centres, or some of them, and you would not be paying out a lot, if anything. 

Meantime, it is vital that you keep the conversations with your partner going.  From what you say and your description he sounds like a decent sort of person.  Mention to him the possibility of her going to a day centre for a few hours, for example. 

You might also approach your ex (who is after all her father) so that he could contribute towards any care.

Edited by LaHermes
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21 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Is your daughter eligible for financial assistance from government programs? My cousin has Down's Syndrome and he receives money from the government for his basic needs such as housing and food.

Sadly she gets very little from the government. Why? Because I take care of her. The logic is insane but that’s the way they see it. Since I am supporting her, she must not need the help. If I move out and have zero income it would increase but then I would be on welfare. 

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5 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

I trust you read my entire post?

Solutions are found through discussion, calm, centred discussion. There are always solutions. Please try to take the words "scary" and "panic" and the S word out of the equation if you can. 

If you feel an objective third-party could be present and help you in these discussions, then try this idea.

You did not reply to my question as to whether you would be prepared for your daughter to go to a centre for a few hours a day.

 

Perhaps our messages crossed, but I did answer. Yes, I have considered and am considering this as a possibility if I can work out the financials. 
 

The scary and panic words are a reflection of my emotional state. When we talk (he and I) I have been able to be calm and constructive to a point but resolution eludes us both.

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I am very sad for you . My adult child is Autistic and requires my assistance as well. He does get money from the government but that of course is not daily assistance. 
 

If you are considering suicide you NEED to call a hotline. 
 

If my husband and I divorced I would choose to be alone as this is often the outcome for people who have their disabled children that need everyday care. 

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Best to take things at face value and believe it when he says this isn't right for him. He's not what you thought he was and he didn't know what he was walking into.

Figure out what you can about getting back on your feet without this added relationship issue so you can be with your daughter in a more stable environment. 

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Posted (edited)

I saw your answers OP. Look, there are always solutions. But the bull has to be taken by the horns so to speak:

Let us suppose that he no longer wishes to live under the same roof as you and daughter. Would he he be prepared to let you live in the house?  Would he/ could he live elsewhere in the locality?

I feel that such practicalities should be addressed first and foremost. 

Even write down the many thoughts, ideas and proposals that are running through your mind right now. 

You remarked:

"He then told me that evidently long term relationships are not his thing. This even though we had multiple conversations about the level of commitment it would have to be. He knows I wasn’t looking for short term. But a long term partnership. I even asked him if he might someday want to get married. And he told me only a year ago that he wanted to grow old with me. 

After many years of knowing each other he offered me a way out of a marriage I was stuck in. 

Well, OP, the wires evidently got crossed somewhere along the way. 

And now, this present day, a pragmatic solution needs to be found, acceptable to all.  

Edited by LaHermes
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39 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

Meantime, it is vital that you keep the conversations with your partner going.  From what you say and your description he sounds like a decent sort of person.  Mention to him the possibility of her going to a day centre for a few hours, for example. 

You might also approach your ex (who is after all her father) so that he could contribute towards any care.

He is more than decent and I am still deeply in love with him, hence being soul sick. I have shared with him about the center nearby and his is hopeful as well. 
 

As far as my ex… I have asked him and his partner who I have a good relationship with, to take his daughter for an extended time so that I can have a mental health break and she can spend time with him. His partner is willing. His response boiled down to… it’s inconvenient for him, even though he is out of work for the next several months. 

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

Maybe he realized that since you cheated on your husband with him that he doesn't want to sign up for also caring for your daughter because for all he knows you'll cheat on him if the going gets rough. And he knows you stayed in your marriage to use your husband for financial support so he's afraid you might do the same to him.

 I don't think you can tell him relationships are hard work because you went outside your marriage and cheated instead of divorcing your husband first.  You have no idea what he knows about raising a child.

You decided to be with him when you were married. 

You risked this outcome

What an incredibly hostile, judgemental and useless post directed to a person who might be suicidal.

To the Op- you might want to seriously approach him about putting your daughter in a home and having him help with the expense, he might be more than willing if that's the main issue here.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Soulsick said:

I left most of the marital possessions and gave my husband the house to live in so my daughter would have that consistency in her life.

Why can't your daughter live with her father? 

He seems to be able to provide more stability and consistency for her.

You cheated and followed a wild dream for yourself, to her detriment.

Sorry things turned out bad for you.

Edited by Wiseman2
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OP, I know you said that you don't want to put her in a home and you've dedicated your life to taking care of her. However, what will happen to her when you are no longer able to continue due to age or health issues of your own in the future?

It may be wise to start working hard with her to get used to living in a home while you are still able to fully be there and help her adjust and advocate for whatever she needs including finding the right place and the right fit for her. Ultimately, it will be to her life long benefit and help her transition better than in an abrupt emergency situation. This would go a long ways toward ensuring her long term quality of life.

In your shoes, I'd open my mind to that and start exploring all the different options and possibilities on that. You have to look beyond just today and what's best in the long run for the both of you. That includes finding financing - some places are non-profits so it may cost little or none. You may be able to get other assistance as well but it all takes time, so it's important that you start on this sooner rather than later.

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Posted (edited)

a man that chooses a woman who is married is not a quality man. I am not surprised he is bailing on you right before you could legally in every way be free to marry him.  Its not about you --- there are many commitmentphobes who sweep unavailable people off their feet all the time.

Did your first marriage end partially because you gave your all to your daughter and none to your husband and also gave him no opportunity to also do things for your daughter? There are plenty of programs - special school programs for autistic adults, adult foster care, some organizations that teach job skills (if she can do things to warrant an art studio, she can do the light work). I knew of one organization that had contracts with local businesses and their clients with special needs had the satisfaction of working and they assembled boxes for a boutique (gift boxes), put together marketing folders together and very light assembly .  This place had little cottages around a garden where they could live semi-independently or they didn't have to live there.  They had to be able to feed and dress themselves which seems like your daughter could do, they didn't take on anyone with severe physical needs (if using a wheelchair, they had to be able to feed themselves etc too

Anyways, firstly decide if you are moving back to your old area or staying and after that, find resources so that your daugther has some programs that expand her interests and abilities so you do not have to be your all - only half of it -- and therefore you can work and have a life outside of her as well.  A support or social group with other parents in your position would be good too.

Edited by abitbroken
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My cousin lives in a small, privately run group home. And he absolutely loves it. They have events and field trips to zoos and farmers markets and to the beach.  They have dinner together. They do birthday celebrations. He has so much fun that when his sister takes him for an outing he asks when he can go back to the home!

Plus, the people operating the home are experts. They provide compassionate and professional care. The cost is covered by government benefits.

And as mentioned before, what will happen when you're unable to care for her or when you are gone? Plans need to be made for that.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, gamon said:

What an incredibly hostile, judgemental and useless post directed to a person who might be suicidal.

To the Op- you might want to seriously approach him about putting your daughter in a home and having him help with the expense, he might be more than willing if that's the main issue here.

 

 

No -I absolutely validated her concerns and implored her to get help.  I think it's incredibly useful for her to see her role and choices in all of this.  Not judgmental -she got married, she stayed in a bad marriage for financial reasons she claims and instead of divorcing first started an affair.  She had time to go outside the marriage while caring for her special needs daughter so clearly she is able to multitask.  I feel that she's very judgmental about her affair partner -and as I pointed out as a human being he should have given her a lot more notice of course!!

I don't think this man should have to contribute to housing for her daughter.

Edited by Batya33
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That is one of my fears as well when I am gone. My son has no siblings and will have no one. We work hard on life skills. He knows how to bank and pay his bills and he can shop. He can wash his own clothes. We have to attempt cleaning and booking appointments and more independence once Covid is over. We want him to only need minimal assistance. Every autistic person is different though and can have different support needs depending upon the day or situation. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Soulsick said:

He is more than decent and I am still deeply in love with him, hence being soul sick. I have shared with him about the center nearby and his is hopeful as well. 
 

As far as my ex… I have asked him and his partner who I have a good relationship with, to take his daughter for an extended time so that I can have a mental health break and she can spend time with him. His partner is willing. His response boiled down to… it’s inconvenient for him, even though he is out of work for the next several months. 

I am sorry if I came across as judgmental or harsh.  Would her father be willing to pay for her to be in a suitable living space?

Edited by Batya33
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Well I don't think you both knew what you were getting yourselves in to and that's okay. Sometimes you take a leap of faith and it works out or it doesn't. I met my husband online so I can't judge because we only knew each other for 6 months before we moved in together. 

I think it's really important that you start getting your daughter used to living in group homes. You can't take care of her forever so the quicker she gets familiarized, the better it is for everyone.

 

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