ALL RELATIONSHIPS NEED WORK, IT’S NOT EASY KEEPING THE ROMANTIC CANDLE LIT ONCE THE INITIAL CRAZY SPARK HAS CALMED DOWN. LIFE IS BUSY, AND FINDING A GOOD WORK LIFE BALANCE CAN BE A CHALLENGE.

What happens to a relationship when the work life balance is not the only stress? Relationships that are part of a family where there is an autistic child are under far more daily stress then those who are not. This does not need mean that these relationships are doomed and will fail.What can you do to protect your relationship?

Let your children see that your relationship is important, stand united. Some autistic children will react better to one parent than the other. Do not let your child be rude or unkind to the other parent / step parent.

If you are the parent who gets brushed aside try not to take it as a personal attack, the child may well see that you have a purpose and only choose to interact with you when they need that purpose. For example I have 2 step sons who I love very much, they see me as the ‘fixer’. There is not a lot of interaction from them to me unless something needs fixing. I could be resentful about this but why? That is just the way they are, everything and every one has a place and a purpose to fulfil a need. They know they are loved and I am here when they need me.

Allow your relationship to be different from the facebook relationships, so going out on a date is a real struggle due to the inability to just book a babysitter. It is ok to have date night at home. Turn the phone off, turn the laptop off and just enjoy being together.

Be kind to one another. Meltdowns are exhausting for everyone involved. If one person needs to hide in the bedroom under the blankets to recharge let that happen. Remind one other how well you are doing and how much you value the support you get from each other.

Everyone has different relationships so don’t compare yours to anyone else’s. Remember that Facebook and Instagram are just the edited highlights of a relationship.

Spend time reminding yourself of all the reasons why you fell in love, think of all the things you have achieved together.

If you have a partner who is not biologically your child’s parent give them permission not to love your child. Of course they need to be kind and respectful, but do not expect them to love your child the way that you do. With time, love will grow but you cannot force love, and the extra pressure that can cause is just not worth it. If you can all live under the same roof with kindness, respect and tolerance then that is a good foundation for a family.

Allow each other time away from the house with friends, the chance to recharge and forget about home life for a short time can make such a big difference to positive mental health.

Keep talking to one another, stay friends use positive language, and most importantly – keep laughing together.