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I think DH may have ASD - can anyone talk to me about it?

(12 Posts)
cantbelieveivejustnoticed Thu 18-May-17 03:14:01

Been doing some research about DD2 (7) who we've been having a few issues with of late (very able academically, has a few phobias, hair being touched etc), and I ended up reading some stuff about Asperger's and it hit me like a train that my husband of more than a decade has a lot of the traits associated with Asperger's. I don't want to fall into cliché but here are some of the things that have made me wonder:
- he has real difficulty forming relationships
- has v few friends i.e. it's just me and our mutual friends really
- very, very good at his job (particularly the technical side) but has a lot of difficulty forming relationships in the workplace, which makes his working life quite hard
- poor facial recognition - he really struggles to recognise people even when he's met them a few times. He told me recently that he relies a lot on hair to recognise people so if someone changes their hair he finds it really hard to recognise them.
- he is painfully blunt. We met at university where he pissed everybody off by just saying exactly what went through his head and not understanding why anyone would mind hearing anything negative about themselves. I remember, years ago, him saying to me when I was upset about something quite offensive that he said something along the lines of, "well, I don't know why people mind criticism, don't they want to know what their flaws are so they can work on them". He's got better over the years because I've spent so much time trying to help him understand what is and isn't offensive but he's still something of a liability in company!
- finds social situations really difficult (unless there is a 'theme' or topic) i.e. he's fine on football
- is phobic about certain kinds of textures in food - anything sticky basically. He gets really freaked out if the kids are eating stuff like that and get it on their fingers or on the table
- is a bit obsessed with planning and routine. He's quite stressed at work at the moment and his reaction is to want to schedule everything at home down to the last minute

He is, it is fair to say, not that easy to live with. But his view has always been that I'm oversensitive. I think over the years I've come to believe that and have just learnt to modify my behaviour so I'm less upset by the things he says. And to be fair I think he's made real efforts to be more understanding too. But reading some stuff about Asperger's made me think that actually a lot of his behaviour, and the difficulties we have had, would be explained by this. Or maybe I'm jumping the gun? I just really don't know. And also, I have no idea how I'd raise any of this with him. I mean we did have one drunken lighthearted conversation a few months back about how he might be on the spectrum but we've never discussed it again.

But, if it is a real thing, then I think it would really help our relationship. And help him - in his workplace, with the kids etc to understand a bit more about it.

If anyone out there has any experience or thoughts on this I'd love to hear them.

Have name changed so I'm not too recognisable because it all feels a bit personal.

cantbelieveivejustnoticed Thu 18-May-17 07:33:46

Posted this in the middle of the night (living abroad in a different time zone) so just bumping so it doesn't get missed. Also not sure if I am in the right section so might need to post elsewhere?

Polter Thu 18-May-17 08:23:00

I have been diagnosed as an adult and my dp is almost certainly autistic too. Our son was diagnosed first. It does help to know and helps us understand and explain ourselves better as well as helping other people understand us and support us better.

Sarah Hendrickx has written about AS/NT relationships.

Some people find that buying a book or 2 on the topic and leaving them lying around can prompt discussion! Tony Attwood is very good on Aspergers.

PaintingByNumbers Thu 18-May-17 08:31:46

if he doesnt want to change and isnt interested in personal development, it isnt going to be much help for your relationship. it might be interesting to self examine though, why you sought out that kind of relationship, if you are 'a rescuer', links to childhood role models etc. just for self awareness really.
do you think your dd is on the spectrum? at her age, thats a useful diagnosis. its useful for adults too, but maybe not if they are not bothered (seen it used as excuses not to change instead)

cantbelieveivejustnoticed Thu 18-May-17 10:14:05

tried to post before but phone crashed....

Thanks for posting, both. Polter I'll look up Tony Atwood

painting you make a fair point. I hadn't heard of rescuers before but I can imagine it might all sound rather familiar.

Re DD, I don't think she has ASD but actually I haven't got a clue I've really only started thinking about this recently. A friend mentioned sensory processing disorder to me and I didn't give it much thought but now i know a bit more it seems increasingly relevant to DD2. I know it can be (but isn't always) linked to ASD hence looking into all this in the first place.

I do think if DH were interested it might help him out a bit. In the workplace in particular. I suspect if one were to look into the rest of his family it would go along way towards explaining some complicated relationships there too. But it does all depend on him being willing to explore it.

I suppose I'm posting because I want to know if any of this ring any bells for anyone or whether I'm overanalysing his behaviour. I don't want to encourage him to go and see someone if actually I'm just being a bit neurotic and imposing stuff on him IYSWIM.

PollyPerky Thu 18-May-17 19:03:29

There is a book for couples called Aspergers in Love. It looks at the difficulties of being a partner and has stuff about signs/ diagnosis.

Unless he is willing to 'own' the possibility of having ASD there is not a lot you can do. If he is getting through life professionally/ work, is it just at home he is difficult?

Butteredparsnip1ps Thu 18-May-17 19:11:07

This might be an interesting link OP

www.channel4.com/programmes/how-autistic-are-you

Do you have local services to ask / arrange a referral to?

WhyNotDuckie Thu 18-May-17 19:15:57

There's a book called Loving Mr Spock which is about a woman with a husband with Aspergers....really interesting.

mermaidsandunicorns Thu 18-May-17 21:18:42

The best way to approach I found was to just roll with it
It's a tidal wave of stuff and you don't know where to start. Read as much as you can but don't swamp yourself with stuff. Autism U.K is a good starting point and they have super friendly people who get what it's like and can give you lists of local support networks for you as well as your DH

Best of luck xx

babybels Thu 18-May-17 22:19:22

My ex husband was diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. The ASD diagnosis was after our son was diagnosed and we'd already split by then.
I found my ex hard to live with and he blamed me and I also blamed myself for being difficult and over emotional. I found his refusal to acknowledge that his ADHD had any impact on our marriage very difficult to live with. We didn't know about the ASD then but I suspected it.
It was a very difficult marriage for me and damaged my self esteem and confidence in many ways as everything was always my fault.

There is often a strong genetic link. Looking at my ex's family there is a clear pattern.
As people have said acknowledging it is a massive first step in working towards managing it together.

AuldHeathen Thu 18-May-17 23:48:22

My husband has several traits. But we used to not discuss it and I suppose I got into the habit of dealing with those traits in ways that caused fewer misunderstandings and other friction points. Then our youngest son was diagnosed aged almost 7, so about 12/13 years into our relationship. I read a lot of stuff to see how to best support our son, and came across some work on husbands on the spectrum. It was very illuminating! I persuaded DH to read some of it and he did agree he was likely to be on the spectrum. We've never sought a diagnosis - for one, it seemed pointless as he was on the point of retiring. I'll dig out the books later - off to bed now as it's late. I'l think a bit more about the specific points you raise too. In many ways we've just absorbed it all into our life, so it's hard without thinking hard what exactly we, or more precisely I (yes, definitely I!) do that's different.

cantbelieveivejustnoticed Fri 19-May-17 04:53:48

Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time to answer. It's much appreciated. In answer to your specific questions:
@pollyperky I'd say actually his biggest issues are at work. He really finds it hard to build relationship in the workplace. He's often convinced that he is not being treated fairly and, in some instances, I think he's right but I suspect it might because he has rubbed his employers/colleagues up the wrong way to such a degree that they are not inclined to be supportive. It has happened in all three jobs he's had since he qualified well over a decade ago. He seems to inspire loyalty in some of the people he line manages (while others don't get on with him at all). He has incredibly high standards and is very impatient.

Buttered we moved overseas in January and don't have a doctor here yet. (Should have got that sorted really blush but no health issues have come up thus far). I think anything not obviously physical would not be very well supported here. Mental health services for example are renowned for being very poor so if we were to reach the point of looking into it formally, it'd probably have to wait until we got back to the UK.

I will start by getting in contact with Autism UK and also look at the books some of you have recommended.

It all feels a bit unreal at the moment. And I don't quite trust myself on any of it. I can't tell if I'm imagining the whole thing/looking for problems where there are none. For example, some things commonly associated with ASD e.g. not understanding inference/subtle comments don't, I think, apply to DH i.e. he knows me well enough to know when I'm implying something and can often understand the dynamic in the room e.g. if someone doesn't want to do something but is not saying that directly. But, in other ways, he's absolutely terrible at reading certain sorts of cues.

One of the things I've noticed (that is common to two other members of his family) is a kind of emotional shutdown. If something riles/bothers/upsets them they just stop communicating and the almosphere is creates is so tangible it affects everyone around them. DD2 is starting to do the same. If something affects her emotionally (like having showers or having her hair brushed) she'll just clam up, go very quiet and just put her head down or lean headfirst against a wall. Sometimes she will get very frustrated and just want to hit or squeeze something very tightly. I feel as if DH and his relative's reaction to certain situations is just an adult version of the same thing.

I just feel so bloody ignorant about the whole thing so apologies if I'm getting it all totally wrong and offending people who are on the spectrum with my assumptions. I really don't know.

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