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Help. DH with asperger's

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

That's it really. Any advice ?

Softywife Wed 05-Dec-12 16:29:53

Hi KittenCamile, I can't off any advice but I'm beginning to wonder if DH has asperger's.

The only thing I really struggle with is communicating during a 'row', something simple and not really important can esculate really quickly because DP feels like I can't hear him but sometimes I just don't understand what he is trying to say. Does anyone else have that?

Same here. DH thinks I'm not listening properly when I sometimes just don't understand him. I have to be patient and calmly tell him the bit that I DO understand and ask him to repeat the other bit.

DH is such a clever guy intellectually but doesn't handle people well (says inappropriate things, short fuse, very blunt, doesn't get tact, not good at eye contact, etc).

I hope you get some advice from MNetters with more experience in this.

KittenCamile Tue 20-Nov-12 14:03:55

My DP is an Aspie, he doesn't like to talk about it as others have said, he hates that it could be seen as an excuse for certain behaviour.

He is the most loving, caring and affectionate person I have ever met. He is VERY tactile (which I love!) And sooo funny. The amazing thing (and something I find increadably attractive) is that he doesn't think about things like I do, he looks at things from an angle I hadn't thought about. That's a truly intresting thing.

The only thing I really struggle with is communicating during a 'row', something simple and not really important can esculate really quickly because DP feels like I can't hear him but sometimes I just don't understand what he is trying to say. Does anyone else have that? It upsets both of us and honestly I don't know how to make that part work.

He is socialble but quite intense (I love watching him in social situations though, sometimes through my fingers!) He can be thoughtful but he does get it 'wrong' quite often, he definatly has emotions and he does have empathy but his empathy is more interlectual rather than truly from the heart.

I have read some of his traits on this thread but really not that many. I think the aspie spectrum is so wide that no two people really show the same traits.

95% of what makes DP special to me is his aspie nature its only when we row that we get disconnected. That I would truly love to work on. I love that my DP isn't like everyone else but as you can probably tell from this post, I'm dyslexic so that may help!

MoelFammau Tue 20-Nov-12 01:40:18

Thank you both. I'm unfortunately now ranting all over MNet. How embarrassing.

Screaminabdabs Mon 19-Nov-12 21:51:03

Moel, I've sent you a PM. smile

neverputasockinatoaster Mon 19-Nov-12 21:43:22

Oh MoelFammau.

I couldn't let that cry from the heart go unanswered. You sound so very unhappy and I just want to reach through the screen and hug you.

I currently don't know what to say but I am thinking of an answer. All I can say is that it is actually possible to be Aspie and be a bit of an arse. You shouldn't have to give up yourself like that. Will ponder and get back with thoughts later. maybe tomorrow mind as I have an observation tomorrow and I have dreadful heartburn and pmt so i need to go to bed once the bread has finished in the bread maker!

MoelFammau Mon 19-Nov-12 18:08:26

I'm struggling so much with my Aspergers husband. I love him, I miss him when he's not there... but I'm so depressed about how things are. I can't ask him to change, I know that. I've changed though to accommodate (stopped socialising, stopped cooking (it was non-recipe and he hated that), I've shouldered all the practicalities of having a flat, running a (joint) business, raising a child... I've stopped hiking, climbing and riding because he's not interested yet he doesn't like me going alone... etc etc).

I'm a shadow of my old self. I grew up with a mother with serious mental issues and was a carer for her since age 9. I feel I've been forced into that position again, when I really want emotional support, fun and laughter.

I don't really want to get into an NT / AS debate. I just need some support because it's so so isolating. No-one understands, they just laugh and say 'oh, aren't all men like that?'. Trivialises it.

I was a virgin til i met him. He has sex in a very mechanical way. I've never climaxed ever. I've asked him to do a bit of foreplay to help but he's not interested, doesn't get the point... I've stopped sleeping with him and he's sad about that but I never got anything out of it. I didn't feel loved or close or aroused... I felt nothing but aching sadness that I was just something to fill a need, not someone with needs of my own.

He's never bought me a bunch of flowers despite me saying so often that I'd love it if he did. He's never planned a romantic meal out or weekend away, or even an non-romantic one. I did them in the early days and now I don't bother.

Of course I can't change him. But I'm screaming inside. I can't shout at hom for something he can't help, but I cry at the unfairness. His life is obsessively following his one interest - vintage film equipment. We both work in the film industry so it was hidden just how dominating that interest was until much later. He literally has 9 tons of obsolete film equipment. I know this because I help him move it whenever we move house (we freelance so have moved at least once a year). I'm destitute because we have to rent a huge warehouse to store it in... he will never throw any of it away. And buys more all the time.

Sorry this is long. I'm just so so desperate for advice, for something to change... I feel resentful... And I know its not his fault.

LadyInDisguise Mon 16-Jul-12 14:34:50

Agree with both posters above.

I would like to point out that it doesn't mean only the NT partner should change or make an effort.
Like any relation, there is a need for both partners to adjust and adapt (up to their own limits as to what is acceptable and their own abilities).

This actually true for any disability not just AS. A disability is no excuse to hurt other people feelings. Nor Is It a reason not to change, again within the limits of the disability of course.

Berris Mon 16-Jul-12 14:06:40

I wrote what I thought was quite a good reply, then MN decided I wasn't logged in... Wish I could remember exactly what I said, because it was better than what I've actually written now! Apologies for that!

I think that ommmward makes a lot of valid points. It is difficult for a person with AS to adapt and change, because their brain is wired up differently. What a NT person sees as "normal" is sometimes completely alien to an AS person. It is a question of adaptability. Consider trying to control yourself, your behaviour, how you think, how you view the world for the majority of your time. That's hard work, and that's what can be expected of an AS person at times. If the AS person is controlling various aspects for the majority of the time, they will need some downtime and a release. A NT person would need something similar too.

A NT person is going to be more adaptable. It can make sense to a NT person, where it simply does not to an AS person.

I will not pretend that there are not certain aspects of AS behaviour that are very hard work at times, but I do think for a NT/AS relationship to work, the adaptability and an adjustment in expectation and thinking from the NT person is needed. More so than on the AS side, because the AS side cannot see what the NT thinks as 'normal' (whatever 'normal' is!). I think that is why my AS Traits/AS relationship works - I see things in a similar way to my DP.

ommmward Mon 16-Jul-12 12:39:36

I think it needs to be a two-way street, Kladkaka, but actually, more of the NT person adjusting. Because the NT partner has the societal norms as back up to everything they do - they can be sitting there thinking "but I'm married. I know what married is supposed to be. I'm a round peg. This is where the round hole should be. Oh, no, wait my OH is in fact making the hole be square".

It shouldn't be a question of trying to make that hole round, nor of the NT partner squeezing and squashing themselves into a square shape. It's a question of working together to find the hole and peg combination that works, and that takes patience, creativity, out-of-the-box thinking on both sides, willingness to look extremely unconventional.

I think it's possible to have a great AS/NT marriage, but I think it is a lot harder for the NT partner, because for it to work, the NT person is going to have to let go of normal=conventional=as a rule-of-thumb probably right.

I'm not sure labels are important, particularly (although I think it can be a lifesaver for an NT person in an AS/NT relationship - because it is a first intimation for the NT partner that the challenges the partnership faces aren't going to be solved by the Cosmo advice columns, yk?).

Kladdkaka Mon 16-Jul-12 12:02:45

Why is the onus on the person with AS to change who they are to suit the person without a disability? Would this expectation be considered acceptable for other disabilities? To my black and white AS brain, you either love and accept your partner for who they are or leave them to find someone who does.

ForEverAgain Mon 16-Jul-12 11:03:52

I think you have forgotten a few things though.
3- whether the partner can actually cope with the autistic traits
4- whether the autistic person is actually aware of the autistic traits and if it is something they accept.

I actually do think that when people are diagnosed as children ,the scope for point 2 to happen is bigger.
When they are diagnosed as adults (or undiagnosed), they have developed their own ways of coping and these aren't always supporting point 2.

<<Skip the fact that it is extremely difficult to get diagnosed as an adult thanks to funding cuts>>
<<Also skip the fact that some adults with AS will NOT want to hear about AS or a diagnosis. They will also refuse to accept that they are 'different' on some levels. This doesn't happen as much when the diagnosis has been done as a child>>
<<Finally skip the last fact that quite a lot adults nowadays would never had had a diagnosis of AS as a child as it wasn't existing as a condition when they were kids>>

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.

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)

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.

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 20:11:06

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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!).

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 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.

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