The Dating Game Is A Little Tougher When You re An Autism Parent

The Dating Game Is A Little Tougher When You re An Autism Parent

I have a dilemma. My child has autism.

Oh, please, don’t for one minute think he’s my dilemma, because he’s not. He’s a fact of life and a part of my life and I wouldn’t trade him, or his sister for the world. It is what it is and we’re doing OK.

But I’m going to be dating a lot more soon (well, hopefully I am. ) and I don’t truly know whether I should talk about my disabled kid or just talk about my kid and mention his disability at a later time. One good friend whom I trust implicitly (and someone who has a disabled child of her own) suggests I not tell a future dating playmate at all. “Just let him meet David, then explain that he’s a child with autism. Once he’s met him, the word won’t be so scary.”

She’s right. Nobody could meet David and find him panicking in any way. And that way seems a lot more fair to David, too. After all, he’s David very first and foremost, and he just happens to have autism. Not a big deal in our house, most days.

Then again, is that fair to the guys I might eventually date? If you were getting affixed to someone and they had something big like that hidden away, wouldn’t that make you distrust them a bit? Or wonder if they were ashamed of it? I’d hate for anyone to think that. Plus, if he’s gotten to know me well enough to be introduced to my kids, he’ll most likely know about my blogs or at least have friended me on Facebook by then.

But the fact is, for some dudes, dating a woman with a disabled kid that might be living with her through his adulthood would be a deal-breaker. Hannah Brown, author of “If I Could Tell You” (a book about raising children with autism) talks about how different it is being a single woman with a special needs kid in her article “Divorce After Autism: Going It Alone.” Like Hannah, I’m sure there are slew of custodial autism Dads out there. I just haven’t met any personally. I have met and do know a large amount of single autism moms, tho’, and we all face unique challenges when we attempt to date.

I’d love to hear from any of you in my situation (or who have practice with friends in this situation). I love my kid, but autism is a scary word to most people, until they’ve met someone like my David. Obviously, this isn’t very first date conversation, but at what point in the dating process do I introduce my son’s disability?

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