Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Help. DH with asperger's

(36 Posts)
Forsythia Tue 12-Jul-11 14:50:25

That's it really. Any advice ?

issey6cats Tue 12-Jul-11 21:16:52

my husband though not diagnosed as asergers has all the traits and two asd sons, when he gets all superior with me i tell him that he dosent know everything,
when he trys to dominate the food shopping whith the four foods he will eat i tell him i need to eat different foods to him , buy them and then get him to try them some he likes some he dosent,
when he gets up in the middle of a conversation and walks out of the room i shrug my shoulders and let him have his space as i know its not worth having a row over
when he refuses to eat out when we go out for a day i eat and tell him its his own fault that hes hungry
when he wont go out socially i go on my own with my friends
i have cultivated my own set of friends because he is not happy in social siutations
when im upset and know i wont get any emotional imput from him i phone my daughter and talk to her
you learn coping stategies to keep yourself busy and happy as aspies can isolate you very easily because they dont need other people they think you dont either, and no i didnt know my hubby was aspie when i met him as aspies are very good at been totally charming till they reach thier goal ie you and then goal acheived they move onto something else

Lara2 Tue 12-Jul-11 23:11:18

I'll second that issey - sounds like my marriage apart from the food. Sometimes I wonder how I stay married to him because it's bloody hard alot of the time. DS2 is Asperger's too which is abit of a mixed blessing. DH thinks he understands him, but I'm not so sure - DS2 gets so frustrated and pissed off with DH.
DH lives in a virtual world at home. He goes into his office when he has to (self employed) but has lately managed to work at home an increasing amount of time. I swear he wouldn't notice if I walked out and didn't come back.
I've also created my own life/friendships etc. But I suppose I'm bitterly disappointed that I've ended up in a marriage like this - it's hard to see how other couples are with each other, just the little sweet things they do that wouldn't ever occurr to DH. I don't think I'm being unreasonable to think that a marriage should be a partnership not sharing a house with a lodger.
I'm not sure how representative we are of Aspie/Nuro-typical relationship, but I'm pretty sure that they're all challenging.

KrispyCakehead Fri 13-Jul-12 23:59:19

Hello.. another here with an Aspie DP.. Undiagnosed but has it for absolute definite.. i diagnosed him myself nearly 3 months ago and frankly I cannot believe it took my over 2 and a half years to work it out. I have despaired of our relationship so very many times.. but couldn't give it up.. because inside this seemingly cold, distant, angry, aloof and unsociable man is someone else.. I get glimpses of him sometimes.. and I love the whole package.. somehow.. I spent so long not understanding how I could just NOT seem to communicate with this man (who had been so charming and attentive and yes, besotted with me in the beginning) when, of all the things in life I don't excel at, communication has always been my forte... It all made such sense once I realised... and the understanding helped me a lot....

Whether or not I am going to be able to live this life forever, I don't know.. I not big on self esteem but something I think even I deserve better...

I am currently reading all the books I can get hold of. Just read 22 Things A Woman Needs To Know If She Loves A Man With Aspergers by Rudy Simone which I thought would be lighthearted but wasn't.. (not unhelpful, just depressing!) Currently reading Alone Together by Katrin Bentley.. it's better.. it gives me hope because she's found a way to make it work...

Aspergers Syndrome - A Love Story by Sarah Kendrickx was the first one I read.. I kept wanting to shout OMG THIS IS MY DP!!!! (even though I already knew..) and I still keep having these moments every time I read of these women's situations.. even though, yes, I know he has it!

i would love to be able to chat on here with others in my position. I've registered with a few forums online but I am a MN Old Timer and no online community quite compares to MN..

I will leave you for now with a typical Aspie moment.. I was at home alone last night reading Alone Together and about how Gavin, the Aspie DH, needs Katrin to "always be the same" and not be emotional and "hysterical" because he just doesn't know what to do with that.. when DP rang me from work and commented on a text I'd set him earlier about how good the new lawn mower is.. (not that he cares.. he doesn't do gardens!) He said..

"I'm glad you're pleased with the lawnmower.. you become stressed and unpredictable when the lawn gets long.. like the dog when she hasn't been out for a few days..." grin

He said this completely deadpan.. wasn't trying to be funny.. or even insulting (I don't think he ever TRIES particularly to be insulting.. he just IS!!)

I spluttered for a bit (he never fails to take me aback with his comments although why i don't know.. I should expect them...) and said

"Well YOU could mow it sometimes.."

Again.. completely deadpan response... "I don't do gardens.. I work, I earn money, I clean the house.. gardens; not my thing... (I'd also just read Katrin's definiton of how their brain's are hardwired by their mental "whiteboards" upon which a belief about something is written.. and thus does not change.. so somewhere, in his life of many broken relationships (with woman I quite frankly feel a kind of empathy with these days!!) DP decided that "he doesn't do gardens.." Thus he does not!!

I try to get by on the funny moments to be honest.. even though he's not being intentionally funny (although sometimes he will laugh at his own "quirks".. but he absolutely does NOT want to discuss Aspergers.. although as an intelligent man he must KNOW he has it, even if only since I have shown him lists of characteristics ALL of which he has right down to the obscure ones...)... because so much of the time I am so bloody lonely.. and disappointed... and starved of affection..

I also try to get by on the knowledge that (having had a f*ckwit for an ex H) this one won't cheat on me. When I was single I wanted an honest man.. well I cetainly got that! This one is totally brutally honest under all circumstances!

Be careful what you wish for... ;)

Berris Sat 14-Jul-12 19:30:24

I find it sad that Aspies are labelled in this way. I find it even sadder when men are undiagnosed as Aspie, but their behaviour is labelled as Aspie.

Maybe it's because I'm not NT myself, but I just don't see these behaviours that I see all over MN in my diagnosed-as-child- Aspie DP.

I'm not lonely. I don't go out on my own. I haven't had to build my own friendships. No, I didn't know from the start, but I knew something, and he also totally "gets" me in a way that pretty much no one else does.

My DP is an honest, highly intelligent, quirky guy, who entertains me all the time with some of his antics. Life is not boring or dull. Maybe it is because he's Aspie, and I have traits (undiagnosed, like most of the DHs on MN) that we are very good together, I don't know

Berris Sat 14-Jul-12 19:33:30

Oh, and I have affection by the bucket load. DP is very tactile, although I cannot stroke him too much, because it causes over stroke. That's no big deal.

My DP doesn't like to discuss being Aspie either - it tends to only come up in conversation when we've had a couple of wines. But that's also no big deal.

KrispyCakehead Sun 15-Jul-12 13:38:32

Berris.. find what sad exactly?

KrispyCakehead Sun 15-Jul-12 13:41:59

I have only "labelled him" myself because it is obvious that Aspergers is what he has. I would really rather that he didn't have it..

Berris Sun 15-Jul-12 14:02:17

Maybe my DP doesn't come across in these ways because he was diagnosed as a child, and is very aware of himself and has adapted.

I find it sad because there are women, and men, in relationships that are lonely and hard work, and they shouldn't be. I don't think I'm explaining well!

I don't know - I've seen posts where certain behaviours are unreasonable and there is often a post that links the behaviour to the partner being Aspie. I just don't see a lot of the behaviours in my DP that many NT partners do, I guess.

I love my DP as he is, in spite of, and probably because of, him being Aspie. He's the first partner I've had who completely "gets" me.

Kladdkaka Sun 15-Jul-12 14:10:10

I agree Berris. I find the sweeping generalisations about 'aspies' in this thread both sad and offensive. sad

KrispyCakehead Sun 15-Jul-12 14:39:15

If I've made any sweeping generalisations than I apologise. I only know what I am living.. my proper knowledge of the subject is only what I have learnt in the last few months since I realised that this is what is going on with my DP and in our relationship. I love him very much indeed and want to make it work but he is not even willing to discuss the issue.. he is so far from a place of acceptance that i don't think he ever will wish to discuss it!

Anyway I posted here before I knew there was a private place to be so I think I will stick to there..

Berris Sun 15-Jul-12 15:13:48

In the same way, I only really know what I'm living, and it is very different. Maybe, in order to help you work with it, don't push the Aspie issue? I know you recognise the traits, I know they can be very frustrating at times, but if he doesn't want to discover and be labelled, then so be it? I'm probably very clumsy in this, but I'm trying to help. Even if he did accept and go for a diagnosis, would it make any difference? At this stage in his life, probably not.

I think it is a question of accepting and understanding those traits, and thinking " ok, he sees this differently to me", and approaching things in a different way. Such as.....I know when to leave DP in peace, because he needs his cave and downtime. Sometimes I find that difficult, because he will shut everything else out - but he needs that time and space. It is a coping mechanism. I'm sure most NTs will recognise that they need similar, although they will probably approach it differently. I do get cross with him at times. I have bollocked him for it at times - he just approaches certain things differently.

FWIW, I don't think you, KrispyCakehead, have made sweeping generalisations. It is so often though that I see the label in NT discussions, and that is what makes me sad - it makes me sad that people are struggling, from both the NT and the Aspie side.

KrispyCakehead Sun 15-Jul-12 15:48:45

Ah ok, sorry Berris. Thank you.

I don't need/want/expect him to go get diagnosed..I don't seem much point in that either.. but I think it would be nice if he would discuss the situation with me and recognise the problem. He won't even do that; he just goes on a defensive rant about how I am "trying to ruin a nice evening, just when he was relaxed for one.."

I really did used to think it must be me messing up the relationship..Could not understand why we could not communicate.. I just could not see where I was going wrong. Aspergers has been a relief and a leaning curve but of course the "label" (even if only given to him by me) does not solve anything. Him recognising it and being willing to discuss it would just be meeting me part of the way and maybe showing me that he actually cares..

Berris Sun 15-Jul-12 16:11:31

He probably does recognise it - but is being a man and pretending there is nothing 'wrong'.

I know it doesn't solve anything, but when I learnt that DP is Aspie, it helped me in my approaches with him. Instead of being arsey with him with some things, I just realise why he does them that way. It helps my understanding of him. And maybe because I know realise that I have distinct Aspie traits, that helps too. He likes to watch hoarding programmes with me, because he says it helps him to understand me better (yes, I hoard - not to extremes, but probably only because someone keeps me in check!).

neverputasockinatoaster Sun 15-Jul-12 18:36:30

Berris - I too was saddened to read this thread.

My DS has just been diagnosed as Aspergers. The more I look at DH the more I see some of the traits of Aspergers. However, my experience of being married to him is not one of loneliness. It is one of joy. He is am amazing man. He loves me and my DCs with a passion. Our lives are filled with laughter, conversation, shared interests.....

OK, so he can be very single minded - he is currently building a rally car and he is completely focused on that BUT when I was training for the Moonwalk this year he allowed me to be as focused on my training plan as I needed to be.

In the summer our house and garden are often filled with friends - with people he knows and trusts my DH is a sociable man. He finds it difficult to get to know people and I suspect he would prefer not to try but he does.

Maybe I feel this was because I too have many Aspie traits... mine are mostly sensory related....

Recently I went to a conference where Tony Atwood was speaking. He said that to love and be loved by an Aspie was to experience the deepest love in the world. That touched my heart.

KrispyCakehead Sun 15-Jul-12 19:03:31

I am not meaning to be inflammatory in asking this.. but those of you saying you're sad.. are you sad that some of us have situations in which we are genuinely lonely... Or sad because you feel Aspergers is bring misrepresented?

Berris Sun 15-Jul-12 19:15:10

I do wonder if the problems that present in NT/AS relationships are because it is NT/AS, if that makes any sense. In DP, I have finally met someone who doesn't treat my traits and "things" like something weird. I don't get belittled for them (and I have been in the past). I have food texture issues, for example. DP tries to get me to try things, but understands when I go "eeeee, texture!". In some ways, we have very opposite traits - DP has zero concept of time, I have an almost obsession with time. He can easily spend all night coding, so I leave him to it and go to bed! I understand that to a NT, I'm difficult to deal with.

Socially, DP does well - it normally takes a couple of beers to help him, but we've been to festivals together, he will happily come to meetups with me with festival friends - in fact, its him who has facilitated it so we do go to meetups, whereas I've missed out in the past.

I love what you said Tony Atwood said at the conference smile

Berris Sun 15-Jul-12 19:19:21

KrispyCakehead - a bit of both, for me. I'm sad that your relationships are lonely, but I also feel (not really on this thread though) that Aspergers is misrepresented. There is often a generalisation that someone with Aspergers is an unfeeling person, unable to empathise or sympathise, who cannot socialise, who is reclusive, etc - again, not necessarily this thread, but have def seen elsewhere, and on MN elsewhere - and I do not have that experience at all.

To me, the Aspergers world is different, fun, sometimes unpredictable, not lonely, and never boring.

Kladdkaka Sun 15-Jul-12 19:40:59

I'm sad because I think Asperger's is misrepresented, as Berris said. It seems to me like people see some AS traits in their spouse, which everyone has to some degree, and then put down all their negative characteristics down to Asperger's. Characteristics which are categorically NOT Asperger's.

For example 'aspies are very good at been totally charming till they reach thier goal'. If someone is able to be charming when they choose, they absolutely do not have Asperger's. They would not meet the DSM criteria.

Or 'I'm not sure how representative we are of Aspie/Nuro-typical relationship, but I'm pretty sure that they're all challenging.' Being in a relationship with my AS (diagnosed) husband has been the easiest, most honest, no emotional game playing relationship I've come across.

This sentence from 'neverputasockinatoaster' hit the nail on the head for me:

He said that to love and be loved by an Aspie was to experience the deepest love in the world.

Kladdkaka Sun 15-Jul-12 19:47:25

My aspie husband makes my breakfast in the mornings, brings me flowers, encourages me in whatever I do, raises my daughter as his own, and loves me unconditionally. He is the most generous, warm hearted, loving and devoted man I could ever hope to meet.

ForEverAgain Sun 15-Jul-12 20:11:06

As someone who is NT and has AS husband, I am sad too.
I am sad to see so many people who are struggling in their relationship.
I am sad to see that people who are in NT/AS relationship can not say they have specific problems associated with AS.
I am sad that it seems that AS men are always labelled one way or the other. So they are either 'difficult to live with' or 'absolutely lovely, fun, never boring'. It is sad that there is no room for them to be who they are. Some of them fun and loveable and some of them difficult to live with (both due or thanks to the way AS express itself).
I am sad that you only hear about AS in a negative way or a positive way.
I am sad for myself to be struggling in my own relationship.

And it has nothing to do with the fact that DH loves me or not. Nor does it have anything to do with the fact that AS men can love, do love and when they do, it is something more 'complete' perhaps than you would experience in an NT/NT relationship.

I have no doubt DH loves me. I have no doubt that he doesn't do anything malicious and tries to hurt me. If I was, I would have left a long long time ago.

But no, most of the time, life with him isn't fun. It can be very lonely and is actually very predictable.

And I am absolutely sure that life for him isn't easy either. There was a thread on the Mental health board as a support for people who have AS. Their description of their daily struggle resonated with me very much. I could see my DH there.
A lot of them were commenting how difficult and painful it is for them when they want to say something and the person on the other side doesn't get it. When it is taken the wrong way. I get that. Completely.

But I would also like to see people getting that being on the other side is hard too. Because if the AS partner isn't getting understood that means that the NT partner is left trying to understand what they wanted to say in the first place. They might being hurt themselves by the remark or they might left wondering how they have hurt their partner AGAIN because it is obvious that they have hurt their AS partner (because they didn't get it).

If AS is hard on the person, it is also hard on their partners too.

I have read before one thing that is very true about Autism.
When you have meet someone with autism, you have met someone with autism.
Not making any assumptions on whether someone is or can be difficult to live with because of AS would be nice.

Berris Sun 15-Jul-12 20:25:06

This is why I wonder whether the difficulties present because of NT/AS differences. The 3 people on here who have been positive (myself, neverputasockinatoaster and Kladdaka) are either diagnosed AS or have recognisable AS traits, albeit undiagnosed. Maybe our own AS traits mean that we are in the AS world, so see things differently to NT.

I'm not going to pretend that it is rosy all the time. DP does drive me bananas sometimes, but I am able to deal with it because of AS, so I understand him and he understands me.

ForEverAgain Sun 15-Jul-12 20:48:42

Maybe our own AS traits mean that we are in the AS world, so see things differently to NT.

That is a possibility yes.
I think also people are just different (AS or NT) and are better able to deal with different situations.
So there is certainly a 'right' mix of AS/NT and a 'wrong' mix iyswim.

neverputasockinatoaster Sun 15-Jul-12 22:12:36

I am sad because people are lonely BUT I am also sad because of the way Asperbers is portrayed.

My Father is another one who shows Aspie traits and as a child and young adult I 'got' him. My mother did not and hence they are divorced. His current partner 'gets' him and they are blissfully happy. She accomodates his 'foibles' with such love. I love my father deeply and he is an amazing grandfather - he 'gets' my son and my son 'gets' his grandad. I lve my mother too but she doesn't 'get' either of my children.. my DD is closer to NT than my DS but has a whole raft of sensory issues........

There are times when my MIL asks me how I deal with x or y, how I cope with the fact that, sometimes, his rally car comes before anything. My reply is that I knew what he was like before I married him and that there are other times when we come first. I know I drive my DH potty at times when I won't eat tomatoes but will eat tomato soup, or when I have to hang my feet out of the bed because the sheets feel wrong.......

BUT I love him and he loves me and in all the 15 years we've been together loneliness is not something I have ever felt.

(ASD genetic? I think my family might point to that! grin)

Somebloke Sun 15-Jul-12 22:37:25

There are two issues in the negative stories here.

1. Individuals who display autistic traits

2. Individuals who indifferent about the effects these traits have those around them

Simply because someone is on the spectrum does not preclude them from caring about the effect their behaviours have on the people around them. Someone on the autistic spectrum cannot help 1, but they can take action around point 2.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now