“Back-To-School” Can Also Be “Back-To-Romance” for Special Needs Couples
Romance for Special Needs Couples
It was the last thing I needed to see at the end of my workday. But there it was on my kitchen table: Lorne’s back-to-school supplies list. Notebooks, pens…and the list goes on. It’s only been a few weeks into the summer and we’re already in back-to-school season. It’s way too early to deal with the stress of a new school year. What I need right now is a little relaxation, not long lines and crowds of harried shoppers.
This summer, I want to have some family fun and spend quality time with the man who shares all the ups and downs, craziness and stress I do: my husband. With all the challenges of raising a special needs child, and managing work and family responsibilities, it’s hard to remember how easy and carefree life was when we first married. Back then, it was only the two of us and love and romance were in full bloom.
I know things will never be that simple again. But there’s no reason why we can’t take a few hours, a day or a weekend for ourselves. Every couple needs some time alone together to reconnect and keep the emotional and communication bonds strong. And we’re not going to feel guilty about having some enjoyment, because we’re dedicated, loving parents who are devoted to our son. Just ask Lorne’s teachers and therapists or our neighbors.
Now, I’m not talking about an extravagant vacation. With prices constantly increasing on back-to-school clothes and supplies, we have to watch our budget. But there are a few easy ways, couples like us, can have a romantic adventure right at home.
Call Your “Summer Angels”
These are your wonderful family members and close friends who always offer to help. Well, it’s time to take them up on their offers. Tell them (well in advance!) that you’d love it if they could watch your special needs child and/or other children for a few hours or a day or two. Staying at your house, with familiar surroundings, will make it easier for your child.
Take Advantage Of Summertime Weather
Plan an old-fashioned picnic at a park or beach. Grab a blanket, pack some sandwiches and chips, bring a cooler for refreshing drinks and fruit salad and scrumptious cupcakes for dessert. Play cards, listen to music, or relax and have a good time just being together. Try to choose a time, like mid-week, when it’s not overcrowded and you won’t have to fight for a desirable spot and parking spaces.
Have Fun Again
Participate in hobbies, activities and events you enjoy. Go swimming, dancing or to an amusement park. Create new memories. Take pictures and use them as screensavers on your computers or cell phones. Whenever life wears you down, these happy memories may be all you need to get through the day.
Enjoy Special Dates
It doesn’t have to be a Broadway show or a 3-course meal at a 5-star restaurant. An entertaining, summer movie or a quick bite at a neighborhood diner is fine. And a weekend brunch at an outdoor cafe can be very romantic. The essential thing is that you’re spending valuable time together without preparing meals, tending to your child’s needs and doing the laundry simultaneously.
Develop Creative Traditions
Establishing new routines can add some excitement to your relationship. For example, jot down relaxing things such as “I need a back or foot massage with scented oils” on small pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Each week, take turns picking one out.
Keep The Romantic Fires Blazing
Remember, attention and affection for each other doesn’t have to be reserved for just date nights and special occasions. You can create amorous evenings, anytime. Once the kid(s) are asleep, have some wine and delicious dessert by candlelight or snuggle on the couch while you watch a favorite show.
A little extra effort on both sides can generate ongoing intimacy. A kiss or hug in the morning or a love message by e-mail or text. Tell each other “You look nice in your swim suit or your cologne/ perfume smells really good.” It’s always great to hear compliments, especially from your spouse. And seeing each other as attractive partners can make you feel desired and positive about your relationship.
Surprises Are Wonderful
You don’t have to wait for birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day to do something unexpected and special for your partner. Give him/her a balloon that says “You’re Amazing” or “I Love You.” Buy a small bouquet of flowers or something that your spouse wants like athletic clothing.
Get Started Now!
Deanna Picon,is the founder of Your Autism Coach, LLC, which provides support programs for special needs parents. She’s the author of “The Autism Parents’ Guide to Reclaiming Your Life,” available from Amazon and www.yourautismcoach.com.
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This post originally appeared on our July/August 2019 Magazine