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Aspergers Hubbies - is there an opposite condition?

(111 Posts)

Have a lovely husband. Really, a lovely man. Everything I suck at, he's great at, and vice versa - we should have the happiest marriage because we complement each other perfectly...

...only, he's sooooo Aspie it's astonishing - and I am, well, the opposite.

It's all come to a head (after ten years and three kids) and I started looking into separating, the lack of affection and refusal to compromise has worn me down, and I gave up trying. But, by Jove, that did the trick!!!

So, now, he's actually listened to me, to what I need and how I'd like it if we were a team. We sat and talked for an hour, instead of him going and buying compost, which is what he wanted to do. Seriously, that's a first! He said he loves me, that he wants me and he will do anything to sort it out - he's genuinely not realised how unhappy I have been. Which is remarkable symptomatic.

I persuaded him to take the AQ test - he scored 37, anything above 32 suggests aspie tendancies. Average score is 16. He challenged me to take the same test - my test result is 4.

So, he's one end of the spectrum, and I am the other. He says that is a disorder just like aspergers, only sregrepsa...

It'd be bloody marvellous if there is a "label" for being opposite of aspie, he'd really understand that!

Anyone heard of anything as bonkers like being TOO empathetic?

Am chuffed to bits, I really love the eejit man.

amberlight Mon 21-May-12 20:12:37

Just background info, not aimed at anyone in particular:

Intriguingly, the AQ test is pretty much deadly accurate, when compared to the findings from full diagnostic testing. A score above 32 has very little chance of being wrong. But the test itself isn't a diagnosis, of course.

Autism doesn't mean lack of empathy. That's another myth. It means we can't show empathy using body language, and we can't see body language in order to decode what the person is thinking. If someone says 'I'm feeling really sad', we can then know what to do. So it's like saying someone who is deaf has no empathy if they can't hear your distressed tone of voice. And we react more slowly - we need time to think which words fit best. That's not lack of empathy but a problem getting what we feel to come out in the right words. The feelings are in there.

Wonderful people, aspies. Loyal, honest, determined, focused, careful....but so easily overwhelmed with sensory stuff, sudden routine changes or unspoken non verbal clues that we may miss. Nothing to do with being mean, horrible, nasty, abusive or manipulative, at all. No more chance of that than from anyone else alive.

FakeFurCoatAndThermalKnickers Mon 21-May-12 22:24:09

I scored 4.

DH scored 37.

Had never thought about him being on the Autistic Spectrum, until we had some friends round for a meal a few weeks back. They brought along a friend who was staying with them. She has a formal diagnosis of Aspergers, has had since she was a child (I know because she told me minutes after meeting me; just said 'oh, by the way, I have Aspergers, so I sometimes find social situations difficult...and if i say something that sounds rude, don't take it to heart.' ) Towards the end of the evening, she asked me when DH had been diagnosed with AS, was it as a child or as an adult...I was a bit stunned, and explained that he hadn't been. She was very apologetic, and explained that she can usually spot other Aspies, and he was just so Aspie that she thought he must know.....
Having read up a bit about it now, lots of things fall into place.

Not very sure what to do about it all now, if I'm honest. Encouraged to hear about the progress you've made, OP.

FakeFurCoatAndThermalKnickers Mon 21-May-12 22:26:20

Should clarify that i was stunned just because it had never occurred to me that DH could be autistic, and like other posters, I've had times when I'd been really hard on him thinking he was being deliberatley unfeeling...

bialystockandbloom Mon 21-May-12 23:16:24

Amberlight what a useful and illuminating post, thank you smile

ShoshanaBlue Tue 22-May-12 02:27:35

I scored 42!!! I'm not sure whether or not I did the test right, but this may be the only test I ever do well on!!!

Amberlight - thanks for that! Totally makes sense - I know that DH FEELS it, I know that he loves us and it's just that it doesn't occur to him to express it, and because he thinks it's unneccessary he doesn't think it's worth doing - even if I stipulate that I need to hear it once in a blue moon.

And, because I am emotional and needy not asperger's, if I don't get reassurance then I think that he's not saying it because he doesn't mean it, therefore he's not happy in our marriage, therefore we'd be better off cutting our losses now because he's never going to try, there's never going to be a solution to our strife and I'm not living like this forever...

...cue large temper tantrum from me, look of bemusement from him.

The good things about him are exactly as you wrote, Amber. I am going to print that off and stick it on the fridge!

He's totally reliable. It would never occur to him to have an affair - he is married. Full Stop. Why would he look at another woman? He's married!

He is very motivated, and delights in Getting Things Done. He works hard at everything he does, and excels at most of them. In fact, he excels at everything.

Truly, he's the smartest person I've ever met - he's also rude, snobby, judgemental, short tempered and objects to my taste in music and wallpaper and "No, I don't like your new dress. It's red. Prostitutes wear red dresses. I don't want my wife to wear a red dress" - cue temper tantrum from me because I LOVE my red dress because it suits my colouring, makes me look a size smaller than I actually am and I feel all vampy in it - and, it was on sale, and he knows nothing about dresses or colours and I am Not Taking It Back Because Your Are Being Ridiculous. And, what's this about prostitutes having a uniform? Mentalist. And then he gets defensive and I'm quicker witted than he is so I get the upper hand, and then he gets mean and then it's a Proper Fight...and then he won't apologise for saying I look like a prostitute, because, well, he didn't. But, I think that he was implying that (and that I wouldn't earn very much for selling my services) because I am lacking in confidence because he won't tell me that he loves me because there's no need - he married me, didn't he? It's obvious he loves me...

...and on...and on....and on...and on.... and on...into misery and separation and divorce - only, I'm far too bloody minded for that.

He's Much Happier since taking the AQ thingie. He seems to be delighted with the numbers as they suggest that whilst he might be odd, but I'm a pure weirdo.

That's fine by me. It's stopped me from looking up separation agreements and flats to rent.

Onwards and upwards!

gladiolus Tue 22-May-12 13:19:30

There are two Asperger's/autism tests, here: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html

and here: http://www.instructables.com/community/test/

The first merely indicates where you are on the Autism Quotient (AQ); the second will tell you (probably) whether you are Aspie or not.

I am 'probably' Aspie according to this test and it has made things make a lot more sense. Now I know why people react to me the way they do, and have done all my life.

I cry buckets at films and telly, but if dh says to me "How would YOU feel if I did such and such," I look at him blankly and say "I haven't a clue. Do it, and then I'll know!"

spendthrift Tue 22-May-12 22:57:36

Amberlight, echo that was an excellent summary.

Over and fake, going to pm you.

This is a fascinating thread, I've been lurking rather than contributing but there's a lot that speaks to me and my family here.

ceeveebee Tue 22-May-12 23:27:14

I got 31. I do have some traits that could be bordering on autism I guess, I don't like any change to my daily routine unless i know about it way in advance. I have a 'thing' about numbers eg will count (in my head) the number of items I am hanging out on the washing line, I add up my supermarket shop in my head. Also I know I have a habit of just interrupting and talking over people. But then I (think I) can 'read' people's expressions and I am generally quite a social person. Will get my DH to take it as I think he will be higher than me.

Fake, your extra dinner guest can spot other folk on the spectrum?

Am looooving that - kind of like GayDar, only AspieDar?

Chuckle.

TheUnMember Wed 23-May-12 08:20:11

Current research indicates that people on the autistic spectrum actually have more empathy than those who aren't. So much so that they easily become overwealmed and shutdown as a coping method. This shutdown appears as lack of empathy to the untrained eye.

That's interesting, Un. My blokie comes across as being a cold fish most of the time, and then he surprises me.

For instance, when our own son was 10 weeks old and gravely ill in hospital - nothing. No visits, no phonecalls, "busy at work"

When Madeline McCann went missing - floods of tears. She and our DD are the same age and look similar. Now, I don't want to start a thread about the McCann's sad situation, and, of course, any parent would feel for another who had a missing child...but, for weeks, DH kept waking up screaming "where is she?"

Also, his aunt had a still born baby before DH was born. Every now and then (usually after too many vimtos) he talks about this baby cousin that he never knew adn never would know - with real grief.

Our own kids - nothing. Sad news about someone we don't know - physical and psychological distress for months...

So, what the research is suggesting makes total sense to me.

TheUnMember Wed 23-May-12 09:46:38

It supports what autistic people have been saying for ages. Unfortunately for many years researchers could only base the focus of their work on what they observed. Now as more and more autistic people are speaking out, they're beginning to realise that what is going on inside couldn't be further from what it looks like on the outside.

gladiolus Wed 23-May-12 10:08:10

I think sometimes the seeming lack of reaction is a coping mechanism.

When you see bad things happen to other people, it's easier to feel sympathy.

But when they happen to you, it's different.

Certainly, if I get bad news, my first response is to go very very quiet. I am internally analysing my feelings. It's almost as if I'm thinking, "Okay, how should I be reacting to this?" And it's only after a while that the actual feelings start to come through. It's really weird. But then when they do come through, you feel so bad that you try to suppress them so it doesn't hurt.

And I can certainly see how that would come across as unfeeling or uncaring. My dh described me recently in counselling as being Spock-like. I had to remind him that Spock did have feelings, he just controlled them.

gladiolus Wed 23-May-12 10:08:59

Oh, and that's only for bad feelings btw, I have no problem displaying love or happiness, it's only the bad feelings that hurt and require suppression.

myfriendflicka Wed 23-May-12 12:02:19

How fascinating. I scored a six in the aq test.

I do worry that my daughter has aspie traits. My son is very emotional and empathic (and I am) and she hates that with a passion. I also wonder about denying emotions being a coping mechanism for her (she has been like this since her dad died, or perhaps I have noticed it more).

I do often think we should all do much more work re emotions, perhaps starting in schools. (this is from someone whose parents always said: Don't show your feelings, and punished/criticised me if I did).

Anyway this has given me lots of food for thought.

Thank you.

(Goes off to do more research).

Gladiolus and Un - would you say that you are somewhere on the spectrum then?

I can't tell you how helpful your posts are to read.

Seriously. I wish I'd known all this a decade ago. Would have saved so much angst and so much unhappiness (and a few bits of crockery!)

TheUnMember Wed 23-May-12 15:25:58

I am and I have a doctor's note to prove it grin

So is my daughter, husband, brother, mother and nephew.

Spendthrift - you & me have opposite conditions - if our MN names are anything to go by!

DSs (those that can speak) say I'm autistic about diagnosing ASD & AS (i.e. it's a repetitive, obsessional behaviour, in the same way as their brother plays with musical toys). I don't tell the person I've diagnosed though! I scored 5 on that test.

CleverHans Wed 23-May-12 23:24:06

I got 7. Now to ask my wife to take the test :-)

gladiolus Fri 25-May-12 11:34:34

According to the second test, yes. I can't remember what I got on the first one, but it was high enough to make me wonder. I think it wasn't high enough to be classed as autistic but higher than normal.

And then various things I read, and identified with, about Aspergers drove me to take the Aspie quiz (the 2nd test), and my results were:

Your Aspie score: 129 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 80 of 200
You are very likely an Aspie

I haven't sought an official diagnosis though, but it explains so much about my entire life!!

Hullygully Fri 25-May-12 11:50:38

I got 5, but you know how the answers will determine you so it's a bit daft - easy to rig.

yes, I think that the Force runs strong in my husband's family in general. They think that I'm the oddity, once I was politely engineered away from a funeral incase I would cry...

In their world, one does not cry at funerals.

In mine, one cries wherever one takes a fancy for it.

spendthrift Fri 25-May-12 12:29:26

Cheapskate, ha! On phone so can't do laughing emoticon.

I am a 6 as well. Cry at family funerals, well any funeral, sad songs, military parades, any old excuse. And need support in uncertainty. Whereas dh, aspie traits, went to bed one evening this week when wed been given potentially vv bad news, was quiet and analytical about it and couldn't sleep at all. I at least got some sleep though not a good night. His relief the next day was amazing, expressed on email at work.

So your theory, Un, begins to make sense to me too.

mybabyweight - presumably the funeral was for one of his side of the family then? Going back through the generations, I'm sure my maternal grandfather had AS, but he was an RAF officer, so it was impressed upon us grandchildren, from an early age, that he was used to certain things at certain times etc. I now think he joined the forces because he liked things to be so regimented.

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