@Bunzo (fair warning I am a writer by nature so you might want to find an easy chair and a beverage…lol )
My sz son did date a girl with sz a few years back. Initially I accept all people and don’t use facts about them to judge the real person inside. I try to give that inside person a chance before making any judgement calls. So, having said that, initially I adored this girl, she was so sweet and smart and funny. Neither my son nor her, could drive so they would make a date and I would give my son the money for the date and then drive them to the date, usually a local restaurant, public park or mall. Then I would wait for them to call for a ride home. For a brief time it seemed to be going very well.
I still laugh remembering the one time I went to a restaurant to pick them up and they came out from behind the restaurant which was a vacant grassy field (in the summertime) and they were covered with dry grass, all red faced and giggling. Long story shorter, the girls parents were her legal guardian and I have the opinion from interacting with them that they were very hard on her because they were very devout Catholic and they expected that she remain “pure” at all costs until legally married,she was 28 at the time and my son was 26. Needless to say that I think their expectations under the circumstances were somewhat unreasonable. I tried talking to them and I told them that I saw our kids as being “serious” (aka making out every chance they got), with each other but not necessarily considering marriage so early in their relationship and when I mentioned the story about them coming out of the field all disheveled and laughing, they said I was mistaken and that I totally misread the situation that their daughter was a “good girl”. I just knew that my argument that “Girls just want to have fun.” would not fly with them, I never discussed the subject again with them.
Oddly enough she seemed very lucid and capable when she was with my son and I. Yet later after dropping her off at home she would quickly become delusional and very unraveled which I derived from her 30 or 40 nonsensical phone calls to the house afterwards. I don’t know the whole story of her home life or how things really transpired. I just know that in the days and weeks that followed she was found wandering the streets naked, she was also found walking in the rain through a creek bed barefoot and catatonic and she sat in front of our local library and said she was going to sit there until she married my son. Her parents called me and my son to come to the library to talk her into going home with them. We did and she went home with them.
This is where my son really took notice, he said to me, “I like her a lot Mom, but I never said anything to her about being married” It was obvious to me she was seriously declining and I had just gotten a half way level grip with my son’s condition. This was going from being fun to being very stress filled for him. Her parents were already asking me to advise my son not to return her calls anymore. They explained she was going to be getting ECT shortly and they were moving her to a relative’s home in the country. I agreed to not assist the kids in getting together anymore. My first priority was my own son.
It did hurt my son to not see her again and I had to remind him how ill she was and how she had to be much more stable before she could deal with a relationship of any kind. I reminded him how much I liked her and how I supported them being together but now she needed to hopefully go and get better and we could not help her with that. I told him our new “family rule” about dating was that the person simply had to be at least ‘as stable’ as he was if not maybe a bit more so. I thought based on our experiences and the outcome that that was a reasonable thing to strive for. I am not sure if he fully agreed on it or understood it --but he never argued with me about it.
Today my son does not seem to feel like girls will like him and that speaks to me that his self esteem has suffered over the years. He doesn’t believe me when I tell him how smart and funny and handsome he is because as he says, “Moms opinions do not count” But just the other day he ran into an attractive young lady from an AA meeting he use to attend and they talked and laughed maybe 30 minutes outside of a store while I was shopping and I pointed out that she seemed very interested and very happy to see him. He just said, “yeah she’s nice.” One thing I can’t get him to understand (yet) is that in order to meet someone or maintain a friendship he has to put himself out there and be seen other than in his own home or with his mom all of the time and he needs to return phone calls which he does not (yet).
Of the negative side effects of sz isolation and apathy are the worst I think. Especially when the sz person does not even recognize they are isolating and being apathetic. When you asked about my hopes and dreams (for him) that’s a tough one. When my son was a child I dreamed what all moms dream…graduation, dating, maybe having a family a career…everything. Learning about sz and his specific conditions (my son is also on the autism spectrum and has a history or atypical seizures which are now controlled) I try to take my hopes and dreams and squish them into tiny time slots of no more than a week to a month at a time.
This month I hope his mood stays even and we keep stable on food and exercise and that his dentist visit goes well and we have have a Happy Thanksgiving. Next month will be other things and so on and so forth. Making grandiose long term plans is a fool’s game in my opinion…with sz you are setting yourself up for disappointment because the illness and the course of treatment is never a straight line…this illness makes you be mindful and grateful day by day. I feel that my son is already a success because he has beaten so many of the statistics that defied him even making it to 32.
Overall I wish my son many happy life experiences, many smiles and I hope over time a few good solid friends…maybe in years to come a partner of his own to love who loves him back and maybe some part time endeavor/job or steady hobby. I don’t plan for any of it though, I support him, cheer him on and try to guide him forward on his good ideas and try to help put a brake on his not so good ones…one week or one month at time.
This relationship with my son will always be a labor of love for me. It is an integral part of my life but as the years pass I am realizing it is not my entire life (as it once was) as I develop outside interests and new outside friendships and work on my own hopes and dreams. In spite of all of the ups and downs between my son and I…I do find that taking better care of me now (separate from him) makes me better able to be (and feel) more present and more positive with my son all of the rest of the time. I hope my story helps even a little.