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Aspergers DH....Can it work, really?

(76 Posts)
AspieWifie Sun 14-Apr-13 13:13:22

I have name changed for this. Please be gentle with me, I've never had to post on Relationships before.

My husband has Aspergers. I am continuing to learn what this means in terms of our relationship. I know this is something that he cannot change. I have only recently accepted that he will not change (this was very hard for me as I am a hopeless optimist).

We have tried all sorts of ways to try to communicate better; we went through nearly a year of counselling and it did help while we were doing it. But now that we have been finished for a few months, things are going back to the way they were before, even though I feel I have changed and learned and have grown so much from the therapy.

We are currently reading self-help books specifically about Aspergers relationships.

He has been officially diagnosed in the last couple of years and has received CBT therapy and goes to a support group. He is very intelligent and very loving and caring (in his own way). He is a devoted and loving father (again, in his own way).

What has come up recently is that now I am realizing that my needs cannot be fullfilled by him, I am starting to take care of my needs more and more. I have my friends who I can talk to, I have my personal time to de-stress, I have my kids to keep me more than busy and happy, I am doing a course to hopefully have a career when the kids are older.

This has left him feeling left out and out of sorts. His night-time routine has changed because I am no longer staring at the t.v. with him every night. He is becoming even more reliant on me to make life ok for him.

It feels like I am between a rock and a hard place.

I love him and I would love to live harmoniously with him under the same roof, but is this possible? To live harmoniously together we would have to understand what the other person needs, right? And give and take on both sides. Is this even possible with a DH who has Aspergers?

Is there anyone out there who has been married to as Aspergers man? How do you make it work? If it didn't work, how did/do you manage, especially if there are children involved?

I love him, I do. I'm just so emotionally drained.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Apr-13 13:33:28

I think, if you take the Aspergers out of the equation, what you're essentially talking about is 'compatibility'. It is entirely possible to care about someone but be so incompatible that living with them makes you miserable. It's clear that a lot of effort has been put into the marriage by everyone but some things simply can't be fixed. You may find your DH makes a better friend and co-parent than a partner.

smileyforest Sun 14-Apr-13 13:40:10

I was married to an Aspergers...he was also EA...it didnt work for me....I din't find out that he had Aspergers until 15y of marriage...people kept telling me he was odd...I just didn't see it...he is now married to a Japanese...which is quite common to marry someone from a different culture as then Aspergers is rarely identified as a problem but more a culture issue iyswim

I'm in quite a similar position to you op. i've been married for nearly 12 years and have 2 dcs. My dh was diagnosed last year by Maxine Aston (we travelled quite a distance to see her as no local help here for adults with as). We had a lot of problems v similar to yours and I really felt that the diagnosis would be a turning point but it hasn't been - in fact things are worse than ever.

You said that your dh is a good father 'in his own way' - do you feel the children are better off or worse off living with him? I'm trying to work this all out for my own situation so don't have anything to offer really but I'm worried that my children are starting to behave in ways that they see him behaving and they're suffering for the way that he can be.

I totally understand about not having your own needs met. It sounds like you're doing very well with things -do people know about his diagnosis or how does that work?

AspieWifie Sun 14-Apr-13 14:02:30

Snap- With regards to the kids, they only see him for about an hour during the weekdays (he works long hours sometimes), and on the weekend he does spend time with them, but it is short but sweet. He overloads very quickly, so I have to always have an ear out to pick up the signs of an impending 'I need some time to myself'. For example, he will play with them for a half an hour (usually at my insistance) and then need an hour to 'unwind' from it. My DC are 4 and nearly three, so quite young yet, but my daughter is starting to pick up things more now.

So, to be honest, if the kids only saw him for some quality time on the weekend, it would be about the same as to what they are getting now. He adores the kids and they adore them, I could never ever get in the way of that, no matter what happened.
People do know about his diagnosis, but I have to explain what it means as they don't know about it.
Is there any support groups specifically for wifes of Aspergers men?

HansieMom Sun 14-Apr-13 15:05:32

He would have a hard time as a weekend dad. What would he do? Play with them half an hour and then escape to another room for an hour?

There are forums for people married to aspies. There are a lot of unhappy women venting there. You can google married to aspie.

thewhistler Sun 14-Apr-13 15:09:55

Aspiewife,Snap, am about to pm iou.

Pendipidy Sun 14-Apr-13 15:10:43

Can you tell me how you got him diagnosed? Did he want to? What signs are there?

KansasCityOctopus Sun 14-Apr-13 15:16:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KansasCityOctopus Sun 14-Apr-13 15:24:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KansasCityOctopus Sun 14-Apr-13 15:25:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thewhistler Sun 14-Apr-13 15:30:17

Er, pmd you three times, Sorry

Dp is almost certainly on the spectrum, but then so am I and two of our children so for us it does work yes, but only because we're both similar in thought and personality. We both need similar things from the relationship and can both do just fine without supposedly normal things like socialising.

Imo, your problem isn't your husband's aspergers but that ye are simply incompatible personalities.

Branleuse Sun 14-Apr-13 15:37:43

i dont get it. Surely he was aspergers BEFORE you married and had kids??
Has he only recently started not meeting your needs?

AspieWifie Sun 14-Apr-13 16:45:38

I appreciate all of your comments.

Having a DH who has Aspergers is a very unique experience that only other wives of Aspergers men would understand. (As I am NT and DH is AS, the dynamics of the relationships are very different than two people on the spectrum, I appreciate this).

I am trying to tap into that well of knowledge from other women who are/were in the same situation. While good intentions from family/friends does help a lot, they cannot experience what I have and what other wives of AD men have.

I've been pointed in the right direction for some very specific and helpful support, which I was hoping to get, as Mumsnet can be a wonderful place for support! Thanks for that! flowers

Bran- My DH was not diagnosed until a couple of years ago, long after I fell in love with him. Yes, we knew he was a bit different, but thought we could work with it/through it. I never imagined it would impact us as it did, neither of us did, but by the time we had a better understanding of just how different he thinks/feels/processes, we already had our two lovely children. And no, he hasn't suddenly stopped meeting my needs, it's more a matter of I am tired of them not being met. The unequalness of understanding.

KansasCityOctopus Sun 14-Apr-13 17:03:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Apr-13 17:24:51

"The unequalness of understanding."

Or 'incompatibility'. Sorry but I think you're placing far too much emphasis on the diagnosis and it's becoming this big 'thing' that excuses a lot of bad behaviour. If he had no diagnosis and behaved this way you'd be acting differently but, as it stands, you're falling foul of the 'he can't help it, it's just the way he is' bear-trap that keeps so many people in unhappy relationships.

When you say other people can't understand, of course they can. He doesn't have to have a syndrome in order to have a personality that makes you miserable.

This is your life gradually disappearing, not a case-study.

Bran - it can seem impossible to people not in this situation but huge numbers of people on the autistic spectrum are married or are in relationships with people before they were diagnosed. I often wonder how I got myself into the situation I'm in but the fact is that (IMO) in the early days a lot of behaviours are put down to other things. Also the person in the ASD often makes huge efforts to impress this person (as anyone interested in someone will show their best side) but operating at a level which they can't sustain. It can seem hard to understand but many people only discover after many years that their partner is on the spectrum (often when a child is diagnosed).

AspieWifie Sun 14-Apr-13 17:42:22

Thank you Snap, that does explain it very well.

Also, Cognito- his personality doesn't bother me, in fact it was part of what attracted me to him. Communication and understanding of what the other person needs is the issue. I am bending over backwards to help/support/understand him. The simple fact is that AS men in particular find it exceptionally, if not impossible to empathise or project or anticipate their wifes needs. My DH has admitted this.

I appreciate every marriage has these same issues of communication, understanding, etc. but in this case, my case, it is these very specific issues that have surfaced with every single interaction or expectation involved and yes, it is directly attributed to AS.

As well Cognito-I am surprised you could even say that 'if you take AS out of the equation'....? It's like saying, well if you ignore the fact he's male, or caucasion, or has brown hair or even if he was once a drug addict or abused as a kid. His being male will affect every nuance of his life, much like AS does. If he was abused, it affects him for the rest of his life. If he was an addict if will affect him the rest of his life in one way or another.

This is in his genetic code. His brain works differently on a molecular level. This is not a matter of his annoying habits or incompatablilty.

AspieWifie Sun 14-Apr-13 17:49:22

Summer- 'Similar in thought'. Well. That sums it up really. AS and NT don't think the same, no matter their personalities.

KansasCityOctopus Sun 14-Apr-13 17:54:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

willyoulistentome Sun 14-Apr-13 18:15:36

I also very strongly suspect that my DH has AS. Our eldest son was recently diagnosed with AS , so I have been reading and researching everything I can. DH has caused me so much pain over the years. Emotional pain I mean. We have completely stoppef socialising as it is just not worth the stress. He comes out with such outrageouly rude thing sometimes and has been so horrible to my friends and family. I mean just incredibly unfriendly to the point that people make excuses to leave.

Reading all the literature on AS, the penny has dropped with me and I am damn sure DH is affected. If hes not.. well then he is a shit basically.

I'm finding my situation very tough at the moment. I am reading all about CAD. I cant believe some people are denying. It is me to a T. It is totally real.

Also reading a book at the moment about AS /NT marriags and I am finding it very upsetting.

Basically it is looking like, unless I leave DH my life is destined to be lonely with no emotional support. We no longer have sex. There is no intimacy of any kind.

What upsets me most is knowing that ds is likely to make other women feel like this when he grows up.

My life is shit.

Willyoulistentome - I know how hard this is. What age is your ds? Maybe he could benefit from some of the programmes of support for people on the as so that his life will have a different sort of set of possibilities? I often feel angry that mu DHs parents didn't do anything to help him or even admit there could be a problem. I suppose we're living in a strange point in history where our generation grew up knowing little about autistic spectrum disorders and our children are hopefully experiencing a better age where they get the help and support they need. I know it's hard though when you feel like you're husband is more like an extra child than a supportive partner.

willyoulistentome Sun 14-Apr-13 22:09:06

snap my Aspie son is 9. It's all very new to us and its early days in figuring out the extent of his problems. Yes I hope to god I can help him learn to behave less selfishly.
Late FIL was certainly AS too, but violent with it. Reading the Tony Attwood book it was like reading something written about the three of them. Spooky.

thewhistler Sun 14-Apr-13 22:34:07

Willyou, am pming you.

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