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Man deeply in love with disabled son's teacher; 'I should leave my SAHM wife.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATE.

Man deeply in love with disabled son's teacher; 'I should leave my SAHM wife.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATE.


When this man is horrified by his wife and falls in love with his disabled son's teacher, he asks Reddit:

"I am in love with my disabled son's teacher? AITA?"

TLDR: My disabled son’s teacher is a better mom than his actual mom and I’m sad I’ll likely never be able to truly find love.

I am a 30 year old Dad to a 6 year old disabled son. I made the mistake of marrying someone that clearly should have never had kids. We had our boy when I was 24. We had known each other for about 3 years before this.

The relationship was almost always tumultuous, we were both absolutely terrible for each other. One day she told me her biggest dream was to be a mom & I made the mistake of believing that she would become a better person if she was a mom. I was wrong. She makes our son worse. My love for Gwen has deepened.

I got her pregnant almost immediately after and he was born with some mild autism and ADHD. He is developing mostly normally but he has a hard time with attention span & is currently limited in vocabulary.

We enrolled him in a private school that specialized in speech & motor delays. He was assigned a teacher named Gwen that stays with him pretty much all day. Before this, my wife would watch him all day while I worked as a SWE about an hour away. She’s still a “SAHM” because this program is only for a few days during the week.

Since enrolling him in this school he has made amazing progress it’s like he’s a different kid. He can speak a few words now, can hold eye contact for minutes at a time and is just overall happier.

Whenever he’s with his mom he’s the complete opposite. He’s scattered, always being yelled at despite the constant reminders that he is not like other kids. He’s just neglected, she never shows any affection and he doesn’t show her any either. They kind of just tolerate each other.

I’ve stayed with my son countless times whenever I have some free time from work to see what he works on with Gwen. She manages to somehow capture his attention, makes him giggle and laugh and learn new things daily.

She makes him little snacks and tucks him into his nap sack during the day. For anyone that works with developmentally delayed children, you know this is so f-g impressive.. I eventually found myself wondering how his development would have been like if he had a mother like her.

Now I would absolutely never do anything that would jeopardize Gwen and her livelihood. I understand my thoughts and feelings are inappropriate. I try to never do anything that would make her uncomfortable.

There have been moments where my son runs off and does his own thing where she just stares at me and gives me such a warm smile & I start to wonder if she feels the same way.

She even wrote my name with a little heart on it once. She’s a year or two younger than me, no ring on her finger. I have never asked her about that part of her life because I think it’s kinda inappropriate. Sometimes I just want to leave my wife. I don't think she's a good person.

I have pretty much accepted my life will be pretty much devoid of having a loving partner. The only joy I have is my son. In a few years my son will age out & I won’t have Gwen to look forward to seeing. It is almost cathartic to type this out, thanks if you read this far.

Before we give you OP's major update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

caddan8 writes:

I like spending time with my nieces. One of them, my godchild, goes on a weekend camping with me every year. I can be a good uncle. I'd be a terrible father.

You know what makes it that I can be a good uncle? I can go home at night and leave it all behind. I get my time when I can de-stress and not have to always be "on" around the kids.

I can almost guarantee that Gwen is similar. You are seeing her at her best...when she is on the clock, and is therefore "on" for the public. You don't see what she's like at home. For all you know, she walks in the door of her place and breathes a sigh of relief that she doesn't have to deal with anyone for the next 10+ hours.

A lot of people, both teachers and customer service reps, have very good masks. The mask is all you ever see, and it's easy to think that what you see is how they really are. You don't really know Gwen. You might think you do, but you don't.

failena writes:

It’s actually interesting to see this perspective. As someone who has always subscribed to the idea that many men take basic kindness as something more, it’s eye opening to see it written out.

You “love” this teacher for doing her job, and showing respect and kindness to your child. These are things you don’t feel you see from your actual partner (or ex partner? I’m not sure.) and because you never learned how to process this kind of thing, you equate it with love.

This is something I’ve personally experienced. I’ve always worked retail/customer service and I’m good at my job, and many men have taken my kindness to mean more than it does. My coworkers, especially.

They only see me when I’m “on” and while I do consider myself a generally compassionate person, I don’t think it should be equated with romantic feelings. I’ve always had a lot of male friends and I know many of them struggle with loneliness.

They’re made to feel like they can’t talk about their feelings or express emotions, especially with their male friends, so just having what I consider to be a normal friendship, is usually conflated with something else because they get a feeling they’re not used to.

But I’ve never gotten to read a firsthand perspective like this. I hope you continue to encourage your son that it is ok to feel things and express those feelings in a healthy way.

If he does have ASD, it’s likely easy for him to get frustrated, and for others to get frustrated with him. Most of the people I was referring to fall on the spectrum somewhere, and it can be very isolating.

I hope you find some more meaningful relationships and become able to differentiate kindness from romantic interest. Perhaps see a therapist, maybe one who can help with questions you may have about your son as well.

jujupeti writes:

The teacher has has training. Maybe it would help if you and your wife got some sort of training. Also maybe group events with other parents would help. They could give her tips, and coping mechanisms to help her better manage.

grouchydaisy writes:

I agree with this! I used to work with special needs children and I was thoroughly trained, had a master’s, had my certification, numerous clients, and had a years of experience...

I knew how to teach and interact with kids with special needs that an everyday parent wouldn’t. It absolutely did not mean I’d make a great parent, it made me a great teacher.

A big part of our clients growth is parent training. You two might want to seek additional services outside of school where they also teach parents on the same techniques. Or read books, watch more videos, but active hands on training/practice is huge.

I don’t know if it’ll solve everything about your marriage, but it’ll give you and your wife the skills she needs to support him at home and ultimately help with your little boy.

signal7 writes:

Divorce your wife. Go from there. I think it would be inappropriate to go and flirt with your son’s teacher. Especially since there’s absolutely no foundation. And if it all goes down your son is the one suffering the most.

But I do think it’s ok to give her compliments and thank her for being so good with your son. You can talk to her about your wife’s behaviour, it would maybe even help her to understand the whole picture.

With compliments I mean compliment her work with your son. It’s always good to hear that you’re being worshipped and do a good job.

Don’t pursue her. Deal with your home life first, get a divorce lawyer and figure out how to continue with your life.

When he’s old enough and the time comes where the work between your son and his teacher ends, see how things are then. Don’t mess with his relationship with the only woman who truly loves and cares about him.

Don’t risk him losing her. Put him first. You can talk with her about your wife, but only about him and her and how she treats him and if see if she has any advice. Not your love life.

This is her job after all, and you can imagine what it would look like if she’d start dating one of her students dads. So see how things are once they won’t work together anymore. Maybe you’ll already found another woman who loves your son like her own.

joxnyx writes:

Alright. So you're unhappy with your wife and say you'll never have a loving partner, to the point of fantasizing about your sons teacher.

How does your wife feel about your relationship? Does she love you? Does she want to stay with you? You say you need her to be a stay at home mom because you don't want to take your son out of the environment he is used to.

But that doesn't mean you need to be in a relationship with her. If she wants out as well, you can discuss either staying in a marriage of convenience, or divorcing and drafting something like a contract that outlines both your contributions to this situation.

If you want, you can make a deal with both of you getting one evening per week free to date/meet with friends/do something for yourselves.

Of course regardless of the way you two chose to approach the situation, any potential date will need to be informed about the situation, maybe even get an opportunity to talk to the person they're not dating to make sure everything is consensual.

That way, your son doesn't have to deal with changes in his environment but you also get to live your own life. If either of you meets someone else and it gets serious, you can renegotiate whatever arrangement you made and maybe slowly introduce that person to your son.

Does your wife want to take care of your son or does she do it out of an obligation? She might want to live her own life and have visitation with your son if she also feels she should never have had kids.

If she does want to take care of him, she might apprechiate some classes like others suggested. But if she doesn't want to take care of him full time, you can search for different options together. This is independent from your relationship with your wife, it's about what is best for your son.

You might get a full time nanny who is experienced with kids with his disabilities. Or you have a new partner who volunteers (without being asked or in any way manipulated to do it, or even you suggesting it as an option! no pressuring!!) to take care of your son full time.

Then you can all make an exit plan, with an adjustment period of your son having his mother and his new caretaker both available while your wife sorts out the logistics of how she wants her life to go from then on.

Don't approach Gwen about any of this. If you and your wife decide to split, stop wearing your wedding ring and that's it. If she approaches you about it, answer her questions but don't make a move. Remember that she's technically employed by you.

If she asks you out, you may say yes but ask her for recommendations of other potential teachers of your son.

Do not date her until she is no longer employed by you, otherwise the power dynamic between you both will be unhealthy for a relationship. If she still wants to date you even if she no longer cares for your son, you'll be fine.

Good luck! And as a tip: Maybe go to couples therapy with your wife, to help you both work out what your feelings towards each other independent of your son are, and to help both of you plan the best course of action moving forwards.
Also, communication is key. Communicate with your wife!

Then, OP provides this major update about ths situation:

I definitely did not expect to get so much attention on this post. I would like to thank everyone for their input in this. I don’t really have any friends anymore.

To answer some questions, my wife and I attended many trainings and sessions with my boy when he first started displaying signs of ASD. We should both know why he does and doesn’t do the things we expect him to.

He’s very much not an aggressive child, he just gets very excited. He needs redirection occasionally & my wife just starts yelling or getting angry at him for trying to stimulate his brain.

She doesn’t really show any kind of patience with him anymore. The reason we can’t divorce is because his program is only for a few days a week & he’s only ever been with Gwen when he’s not home.

I don’t know how well he would do if I took him out of where he is now and kept him away from home full time. He’s not verbal and I constantly worry about him If I am not the one with him.

I am also the only one with a degree, my wife would not make anywhere close to what I would make.

We barely make ends meet as it is. I don’t want to make it seem like I am a perfect person, I understand now I am likely romanticizing something that shouldn’t be. Gwen is just doing her job. I will do what’s best for my son & eventually myself, I’ll post an update in a few years if anyone cares. Thank you.​​​​​​

Looks like OP is NTA here. Any advice for him? What would YOU do in his situation?

Sources: Reddit
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