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to be struggling with Aspergers husband?

(105 Posts)
CareyHunt Tue 12-Jul-11 12:41:09

Mr Hunt I have 3 dc's. Ds2 was diagnosed with Aspergers years ago, at which point we all realised Dh has it too!

He is lovely. I am enormously lucky and grateful, and our relationship is, by and large, a good one. However, there are some aspects of the relationship which I am finding increasingly difficult.

Mr Hunt is NEVER enthusiastic about anything. The gushiest he gets is to describe something as 'fine'. This applies to....our children singing/playing music etc in public in a way which makes me cry with pride, our wedding day, our home, every meal we have, every holiday/ outing...basically all of our lives. He has very straightforward needs, and beyond those cannot see the point of anything walks, picnics, pets of any kind,more dc's grin , anything! He sees all these things as 'needless hassle'.

He also struggles enormously with conversations that aren't about concrete know the kind of thing...when you are on holiday and you say 'Oooh, imagine if we moved here, we could live in that cottage, I'd work in the restaurant', knowing it's not true, but he'll say 'Well, the council tax would be very high and there is no decent public transport' or something!

We also have no way to resolve conflict because he will not discuss anything. He does not believe in compromise, believing that it just leaves one party dissatisfied, and does not apologise because 'it doesn't change anything'.

I know I sound like a whinger, and I do know how lucky I am in other ways, so please don't flame me! I also know that this stuff isn't his fault.

I just feel really lonely, as if we have no shared experience. I love him so much, but I fear that his being with me is more a rational decision that a heart one. I need top tips on how to phrase things in a way that he will understand, and maybe a bit of a shoulder to cry on when it all gets a bit much. sad

Sorry for rambling.

Glitterknickaz Tue 12-Jul-11 12:42:21

Mine is exactly the same.
Three autistic kids too, wonder where that came from!

Just.... I do get you, I really do.

RiverJordan Tue 12-Jul-11 12:46:43

I know how you feel and there are a few aspie threads on the relationship board which may make you realise you're not alone.

I was married to a man with aspergers. He was completely emotionless, didn't see the point in kissing etc if it wasn't going to lead to sex. Didn't cuddle me because it "made him too hot". Was never enthusiastic about anything. The day DS1 made some buns and presented them to DH he said "but we had buns already in the cupboard". I said (through gritted teeth) "yes but DS wanted to make some of his own, arnt they lovely?" and he replied "They're tiny, how much did it cost to make them?"

He had no sense of embarrassment either. He would randomly shout out that he'd found my bra size across asda's shop floor (and would remind me of the size, for everyone to hear). He couldn't hold a conversation, didn't see the point in just chatting.

It got tiring and very lonely very, very quickly.

It ended in divorce. Sorry sad

itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 12:58:51

That sounds a lot like my mum. She has said a few times that she thinks she might have AS. We think she might too.

She says some incredibly hurtful/insensitive things. She is often a complete bitch, but sometimes I think I wouldn't find it quite so hard if I knew she couldn't help it.

She shows little emotion and is pragmatic to the point of being heartless.

I was overwhelmed the other day by how beautiful my DD looked and when I said "just look at her mum, she's so beautiful. How did I manage to make that?" her reply was simply "She's not as pretty as she used to be". We took my brother on a family camping trip with the Beavers, his first one. I told her about it so that she could share his excitement and her response was "but what if it rains".

She doesn't have conversations, she responds to whatever anyone says with an unrelated anecdote, she doesn't have any idea of what is appropriate or not and my brother and I have often found ourselves apologising to people because of things she has said/done to them and she is completely unaware.

We spend as little time with her as possible now, as does my brother.

And we don't invite her to things with the children because she upsets them.

I would so much like to know if there was a diagnosis to be had or whether she's just an unreasonable person!


itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 12:59:12

Sorry, just realised of offloaded a bit there. blush

Glitterknickaz Tue 12-Jul-11 13:05:38

It's a good place to offload wink

jeckadeck Tue 12-Jul-11 13:06:23

OP has your DH been formally diagnosed or are you just surmising? And if you have had a diagnosis does it make it easier? I suspect my dad is aspergers although we've never had a diagnosis and he won't get one now. But I really struggle with the way he makes me feel and his total lack of social/emotional radar and I often wonder if he would be more tolerable if we knew he couldn't help it. Also am I right in thinking that with aspergers its possible for the sufferer to take steps to correct if it they know they suffer?

EuphemiaMcGonagall Tue 12-Jul-11 13:06:32

Sounds just like my dad. Cannot hold a conversation at all: he launches into anecdotes from anywhere up to 60 years ago, all of which you've heard 500 times before.

I find it hard to stop from screaming: DH can't bear to be around him at all.

Utterly selfish and self-centred.

jeckadeck Tue 12-Jul-11 13:11:24

Euphemia are you my long-lost sister?
I also wonder sometimes why aspergers is so much more common among men than women and I can't help wondering if its in part because men are so much more indulged than women when they are being rude/maundering on about boring things/failing to take other peoples needs into account. Women tend to get that knocked out of them fairly young.

lashingsofbingeinghere Tue 12-Jul-11 13:13:06

I have no experience of AS, but it must be hard to be married to somebody who cannot reciprocate emotionally. Having said that, many people are just not that good at empathy/passion/warmth call it what you will.

The taciturn father/husband is a cliche who turns up in many works of fiction, but is no less true for being fictional (husband of the writer of Diary of a Provincial Lady comes to mind. Robert is silent, rude and undemonstrative, but somehow this is expected and forgiven. I think less was expected of men, emotionally, up until the 1970s or so.)

Bit of a ramble, but, OP, you have my sympathy.

itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 13:14:46

Thanks Glitterknickaz. Although having reread my post, it was my son we took on Beavers camp, not my brother!!!

My brother and I spend a lot of time trying to understand things she has said to us throughout our lives and more recently.

If she had a diagnosis, rather than us just thinking it, it would make it so much easier. Easier for us to not take her comments so personally, easier for us to explain them to other people.

We've seen the raised eyebrows and hmm looks.

SortingHardHat Tue 12-Jul-11 13:14:50

He sounds just like me grin I am a right royal PITA to live with but do not have Aspergers. My sympathies are with you!

EuphemiaMcGonagall Tue 12-Jul-11 13:15:50

I think it must be something in their brains! I think too many men are on the spectrum for it to be purely from socialisation.

It explains why so many men choose hobbies and careers that require the ability to remember extraordinary tedious details about things though!

My dad can remember every detail of an engine he worked on as an apprentice mechanic in 1959; it's not an age thing (like how old people can remember what it cost to go to the cinema in 1955, but not what they had for dinner yesterday) - he's always been like that.

My dad has no idea that people aren't interested in what he's saying. He doesn't pick up on cues (like someone's eyes glazing over!), and it never occurs to him that you might not want to hear that story for the 501st time.

He's also a cunt to my mum, but I think that's down to different personality traits ...

itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 13:16:00

jeckadeck I'm not sure AS can be "knocked out of" someone though.

SortingHardHat Tue 12-Jul-11 13:17:46

Thing is though where do personality quirks end and AS begin? All of these people you describe could be me but I have, despite seeing numerous psychologists and psychiatrists over the year for depression, never had AS suggested. Speculation is a dangerous thing unless you are going to get a dx and then act on that dx.

itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 13:24:29

HardHat I would love my mum to go for assessment/a diagnosis.

That way we can either support and understand her or cut her out of our lives completely.

She either has a SN or she is a nasty piece of work.

Not sure she'll go for one though!

jeckadeck Tue 12-Jul-11 13:25:01

itisnearlysummer I'm sure that if you have full blown AS it can't be "knocked out" through socialisation. But as SortingHardHat notes, its not always clear where the line is drawn between AS and people who are just selfish/antisocial. Like many of these relatively newly discovered personality disorders I suspect that there are people who genuinely suffer and then there are people to whom AS becomes a convenient excuse for self-centred behaviour. I also think, based on my own family history (having had a mother who failed to stand up to her husband when he was being an arse for 40 years) that a lot of men behave in "aspergic" ways, for want of a better word, because they are just over-indulged and spoilted and have been indulged, first by their mothers and then by their wives. Not to say that there aren't women who suffer from AS and selfish behaviour but they are so much fewer than the men and I'm sure that's not an accident.

jeckadeck Tue 12-Jul-11 13:26:14

or spoiled, even....

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 12-Jul-11 13:27:03

YANBU OP to find it tiresome and isolating. But can I ask what drew you to this man in the first place? Presumably he's always had the same traits? Did you think he was just shy and reserved and that he would warm up over time?

itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 13:30:49

jeck I see what you mean. And I completely agree with what you are saying about some men being indulged and this leading to self centred and selfish behaviour.

I suppose I'm just thinking about my mum.

jeckadeck Tue 12-Jul-11 13:39:30

Itisnearlysummer I would imagine its almost worse to have this from a mother, as opposed to a father, because one tends to think of mothers as sensitive and nurturing. Sexist, maybe, but there it is. I sympathise.
I also spend a huge amount of time thinking -- after my dad has said or done something so staggeringly insensitive that I feel winded by it -- "would this be as painful if he had a recognized diagnosis?" I think it does at least give you tools to deal with the situation -- you can flag certain behaviours up after they happen as having been caused by the disease. But it probably doesn't make people like this any easier to be around, sadly. And god help me if I was married to someone like this so I do sympathise with the OP.

LadyThumb Tue 12-Jul-11 13:41:49

My son is 27, and has Aspergers. I really worry about how he will form relationships in the future. However, my son runs really good 'emulators' so he is able to say things that mean nothing to him, but something to someone else i.e. "you look nice today", "that dinner was really good", etc. etc.

It sounds as though OP your husband is not able, or has never learned, to do this.
It is extremely difficult for an Aspie person to come across as we expect (it is NOT selfish and self-centred Euphemia !!!). It is just the way they are.

To not put too fine a point on it, my Ex was Aspie and is obsessed with sex - I always said that if a computer had a vagina he would be in seventh heaven!

There is not a lot you can do to change him, OP, I am sorry. You could try telling him how you feel, but do not be surprised if he is unable to empathise.

CareyHunt Tue 12-Jul-11 13:46:10

Thanks everyone.

from what I understand, Women with AS present differently to men (DD currently being assessed). There is some interesting literature ( There is a great book by Jonathon Baron-Cohen...can't remember the title) suggesting that As can be seen as an example of 'extreme maleness'.

Dh has not had a formal diagnosis, because TBH it seems a bit pointless. Ds has a dx though, and his consultant agrees that Dh probably has AS.

It IS something to do with their brains... our consultant also told us that AS cannot be blamed on parenting/ socialisation because it is a physical difference that would show on a brain scan.

It does feel easier to understand WHY DH is so odd sometimes, and that it is a case of can't, not won't. Dh, for all his oddness, is not ' a nasty piece of work'. I really believe that he can't help how is to a large degree, and that he would not knowingly or deliberately hurt me, he just doesn't know what to do or say.

That's what is so frustrating and difficult. I love him SO much, and when I try to explain how he has hurt me with something he has said his confused/bewildered/sad face breaks my heart.

Imagine just accidently hurting people and not understanding how it had happened. It must be awful. AS also means he can't really apply what we learn from one situation to a similar situation, so it never gets resolved. Every situation is like a brand new one to him.

I can cope with tedious, because it sort of feels like the flip-side to reliable, which is one of the positive traits of AS. It's just the lack of emotional connection that is so difficult.

Everytime we deal with a new issue I come to realise that the only solution is for me to let another expectation go. I feel like I'm being chipped away at, I have no social life really, because Dh does not like to go out and becomes anxious if we have people at home. We don't take pleasure in sharing a nice meal or anything that people would normally do together at home.

Dh thinks everything is fine, he can't see that I am going under from loneliness, but I DO love him and I so want this to work. I feel so guilty that, in frustration, I said to him yesterday that I just want him to be NORMAL. This isn't his fault, but sometimes I can't help thinking that he could try harder. He just can't see the point, and if it became to difficult I think he could easily just walk away without regret because he has no emotional attachment to any of us.

sad sorry...years of repressed crap is spewing out blush

Ephiny Tue 12-Jul-11 13:46:11

I don't think ASD can be 'knocked out' of someone - but there may well be something in the idea that girls/women are forced to develop coping strategies to cover up their difficulties in relationship and social areas, whereas with men there's more of an attitude of 'that's just what men are like' i.e. seemingly selfish and uncommunicative.

Also what jeckadeck says, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the gender disparity is down to a combination of those two things.

I find this especially interesting because I've wondered for a while if I have undiagnosed ASD. I manage to put on an act of being 'normal' most of the time, but worry that I don't seem to have normal human feelings like everyone else, and don't see the point of most things that people do. My older brother has autism, and both my parents (especially my mum) have 'traits' I'd associate with Aspergers. A lot of the descriptions sound a lot like me...when it comes to interactions with other people anyway. I have unlimited empathy and love and enthusiasm when it comes to dogs smile

itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 13:47:40

I can sympathise too. I just think of all the times my brother an I have tried to understand why she would say/do the things she did/does. I know what you mean about feeling winded by it.

I think a diagnosis would help us to rationalise it, but it wouldn't make her any easier to be around!

It's hard because she's so insensitive to the children. I suppose not having a dx makes it hard to know how I should feel about it. If she can help it and there is no excuse, then she is just an appalling person!


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