Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

Ending my marriage (added complexity of having an autistic son)

Community Member
Hey everyone, bit of a longer post so my apologies, and thank you to those who read and provide their perspective.

I’m 34, my wife of 2.5 years is 28, and together we have a 2yr old son. Our son is autistic (not officially diagnosed, but all of our allied health specialists agree he is somewhere on the spectrum). This has put a significant strain on our marriage over the past 12 months as our son (let’s call him ‘H’) can be very difficult to manage.
It is reaching the point where I can’t see the relationship recovering, and the lack of improvement in H is continuing to be detrimental to my mental health, and presumably my wife’s too.

I am at the point where I am almost ready to leave the relationship, but am burdened by how difficult H is to manage and don’t want my wife to go through this on her own. We live close to my family but 12 hours away from hers, so outside of my family and her very few friends she has little support. She also does not work because my son has therapy and other activities 4 days a week, and I don’t want her pressured to work as the time she spends with H is so valuable for his development. So I feel like I am stuck in this relationship whether I like it or not. To be clear, I’m not wanting to not be around my son. I honestly think it would be easier for my wife and I to share his care so we each get a break from him but also have relatively equal care and time with him.

I guess I’d just like some advice from others who have been in or can relate to my situation? I’m happy to go into further detail and answer any questions if needed.

I’m at a loss and feel terrible how things are turning out. I can feel my life deteriorating and all aspects are being negatively impacted by this situation😞
1 Reply 1

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

In any relationship where there is children involved I'd normally say what was told to me by my kids (then 7 and 4yo) by their principle- "kids are more resilient than we adults are". Having a special needs child I don't think changes that fact.

What is crucial is how well you and your wife can communicate effectively to plan living arrangements to share your son for his benefit. Commonly couples communication has broken down prior to breakup, if good communication can be maintained you're over the biggest hurdle. That is, apart from the "elephant in the room and that is her moving back "home".

Your son is young enough for your wife to receive pension and benefits, plus child support from you (if, you have your son under certain number of hours a fortnight eg equal time =no child support payable). These amounts can be found on the www. She might well work part time but essentially she'll have the time to care for him mostly with you living nearby it can work well.

It's rarely feasible living with a partner for 16-18 years "for the sake of the child", good intent but not realistic.

Plenty to think about. In the meantime perhaps a few days away on your own with your wife could be fruitful.