Feeling Torn in Half…

Last night I had a really bad panic attack. The situation that triggered it is a complicated one that has me feeling rather torn in half. As I have probably mentioned before, my husband is a special education teacher. He is extremely devoted to his work and his students and loves what he does. This past Monday, he found out that one of his prior students, a girl who is now 19, needs a place to stay. My husband would like for us to take her in. I am really conflicted about it.

My husband and I used to do foster care, so I’m not unfamiliar with taking in strangers and looking after them, but the reason we had to quit foster care was my deteriorating health. That worries me about taking in a new, adult person who has both emotional and developmental issues. It also worries me because we recently downsized into a much, much smaller house and the autistic side of me is deeply worried about having no privacy or time alone which is essential to my well-being. Plus, I don’t know where we will move all the stuff that is now in the extra room.

On the other hand, I do feel deeply for this girl who has been through A LOT. My heart aches for anyone who already struggles with physical or mental disabilities and then has to add the weight of being abandoned or alone. She is living my worst nightmare in many ways and I can’t help but feel compassion for her. However, having never met her myself, I also worry about whether we would be a good fit or not. Often, that is something you just can’t tell until you live together, and if we do take her in, there is a good chance we would need to keep her at least a couple years until she graduates school and is moved into some form of independent living housing.

I feel so conflicted and anxious.

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18 thoughts on “Feeling Torn in Half…

  1. In my humble opinion, I wouldn’t do it. Your own health is more important than some 19 year old former student of your husband and quite frankky, he should realize that. Knowing what you are going through, it’s hard to understand why he would even suggest it. Very inappropriate.

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    • I know deep down he just wants to help her and feels bad for her, but I do have kind of a bad gut feeling about the whole thing. To me, taking in an adult is a lot different than taking in a child, even if the adult is disabled and developmentally delayed for their age.

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  2. While I understand wanting to help someone in need. I also have some issue with the fact that that person is a 19 year old woman that is moderately close to your husband. Anyone being helped in a school type situation might be close to their teachers, and in that setting I think the boundaries may not be quite as rigid as a normal school scenario.

    think the situation might make for an uncomfortable situation that could become disastrous, but beyond that it is also a situation that could be harmful to your marriage. Even if your husband is a good man and trustworthy, you don’t know that woman’s intentions, and God forbid she makes a pass at your husband, or worse your husband makes a pass at her.

    It is a very bad situation that you should not allow in your life. Beyond being inappropriate, it is crossing the student teacher boundaries that are well know. I think your husband even suggesting it is almost borderline inappropriate. If you want to help her you could suggest local women’s shelters or other resources that will help her, but not actually endanger your marriage at the same time.

    Maybe it is me and the way I think, but my opinion is that having a 19 year old woman as a temptation in your home with your husband is a very bad decision that you very likely may regret badly if things go wrong. It is a inappropriate situation that could turn into a indecent one, and could be disastrous for your relationship if things go awry.

    Again that is just my opinion, but as someone that has been through a divorce due to infidelity from my partner, I am very aware of the temptations that could be a real issue in this situation. This is something you should never enter into your relationship. In my opinion maintaining boundaries are critical to a successful marriage.

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    • It is very confusing. The adult aspect bothers me the most too, although I also realize she is disabled and likely not emotionally or mentally her chronological age, but she is still technically an adult. I have been surprised that her social worker was pushing for it as well. I must admit that the worries about crossing teacher/student boundaries worries me too, even though he hasn’t been her teacher for several years. That is another thing I pointed out to my husband is that since he knew her several years ago, she may be very different now. A few years will change someone a lot, especially when they are living through traumatic personal experiences as she has done.

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  3. I don’t have any experience with this, so…. Taking in anyone, especially an adult in need, would be difficult (it’s a nice thing to do! But your health is important. I completely get needing privacy and alone time), Since you’ve never met her, could you arrange to meet her first to see if you two get along, and then decide what to do?

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    • If we were to take her in, I definitely would not do so without meeting her first, but after talking it out with my husband today, we are both leaning towards it probably not being a good idea. I know his heart is in the right place, but honestly he doesn’t need all the extra stress either. He already often feels overwhelmed with work and having to take care of me when I’m sick.

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  4. Maranda, if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. I understand your husband feeling the need to help, but it’s not up to him to rescue her. She has a social worker. She/he gets paid to fund the appropriate living conditions for this young woman. I have misgivings but it’s not up to me. But I’ll tell you this. If my husband asked me if a 19 yr old could live with us, I’d show him the door.

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    • LOL, yeah, I get that, but do realize she is not a normal 19-year-old. Her functioning is lower than that. My husband typically works with the lower functioning kids, so even the higher functioning ones he gets aren’t anywhere near normal development or mentality. He has had some students with the functioning abilities of infants or small children, so she is more advanced compared to that, but still quite delayed. However, I did warn him that even if she is mentally much younger than her age, she still has hormones and could develop feelings for him that are inappropriate.

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