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DH with suspected Aspergers

(77 Posts)
nnnnnamechange Sun 29-May-11 11:27:40

DH and I have been having some problems. It really all comes down to communication. So we decided to go to relate. We love each other very much ad want our marriage to work.
After 3 sessions our counsellor mentioned Aspergers with regard to DH. She clearly said she is not qualified to diagnose but some of DH characteristics suggest he has "low end, high functioning aspergers".
Must admit, when she described exactly what Aspergers is DH & I cried in relief - it sounds accurate, neither of us is going mad, nor acting maliciously/unthinking which is how it felt.
So my question is, do you or your partner have aspergers? How do you cope? How do you make your relationship work?
Any advice greatly recieved.

strawberryjelly Sun 29-May-11 12:03:54

You will get loads of support here I am sure. I have no personal/relationship experience of Asg but have worked with children and teenagers with it.

I would however caution you against a label. Even with 20+ years experience working with the above, I would hesitate to put a label on an adult.

Many men have not learned how to talk or empathise- all of which can be signs of Asp but can also be just men, or a personality trait- so be careful.

She is slightly wrong on one thing- Aspergers is high level functioning autism- so she is slightly out on her definition.

There is a very good online aspergers test which you can access- it's devised by cambridge uni or experts.

Basically people with aspergers don't read signs of non verbal communication- body language, facial gestures and nuances of language. They can also take language very literally.

eg if you said to an aspie child "He put his foot in it" ( meaning made a tactless comment) he might think you meant that literally.

re. your DH, I'd suggest he gets help from one of the organisations that help adults with the condition- he has to learn how to "read" people, pick up non-verbal clues, and learn how to empathise. whereas we would pick up signals people with aspie have to be trained to recognise signs, and respond.

I would though really caution you against putting the label on him after 3 counselling sessions. He could simply be a man who finds it hard to empathise or express emotion verbally.

totallylost Sun 29-May-11 12:13:34

I had a relate counsellor say this to me and my DH too. Other issues have come up since which make me think that she was incorrect.

Can understand your relief, I so wanted a reason for all his confusing behaviours.

nnnnnamechange Sun 29-May-11 12:48:44

strawberryjelly I agree with you re labels. Its just what the counsellor said made so much sense. DH does struggle with non verbal communication. he is very literal. TBH a couple of friends who work in this area have suggested that he might have aspergers.
He is the sweetest man, will help out anyone who asks,but in his words he feels like he doesn't see things how everyone else does
In all honesty, combined with his upbringing and any tendencies towards aspergers (not wanting to label him) I'm not surprised he struggles to express himself emotionally.

Mrsasp Sat 18-Jun-11 11:12:50

Hi, I had a thread on here for ages about my DH who has Aspergers, I can't find the thread today, and have contacted Mumsnet to ask why it's disappeared, but I'm here to chat about DH's with AS if you still want to! Realise your thread was last month, so hope you're still around.
My DH did the three online tests for AS. One is the empathy quotient, another is systemising quotient and the other just an AS test. They are not definitive tests, but might help.
We saw a counsellor who specialises in AS/non AS couples which really helped, though DH won't go anymore. It really helps me to talk to other women in the same boat otherwise I would go thoroughly insane. It's a weird boat we're in...

Lorenz Sat 18-Jun-11 11:16:48

My ex had terrible, terrible social skills. So bad that I thought he could have aspergers. I now think actually, he was just really ignorant.

I couldn't live with a person with such ignorance again, nor could I live with an aspie. In my experience it's like living with a robot and life is too short to live in such a cold and unemotional relationship.

sheepgomeep Sun 19-Jun-11 11:36:19

Its very hard to get a diagnosis for an adult anyway especially in my area.

I know what you are going through, I have suspected for years that my dp has aspergers, and his doctor does too but we can't get the hospial to take us seriously he just gets referred to mind who are useless for him.

He has very poor social skills, no empathy at times, and admits he sees things differently to others. He also has bizzarre speech at times, very staccatto and mumbly and joins different words together when flustered..

Mrsasp Sun 19-Jun-11 13:47:54

Hi Lorenx yes I'm thinking life is too short to live with an unfeeling robot too, but I'm a bit too tangled up with him to figure out a way out; doesn't help that he's completely screwed with my head, so I can't even think straight!
Sheep it's a nightmare getting a diagnosis, especially if they are high functioning adults which I think both our DH's must be otherwise we wouldn't have married them, i.e. their symptoms are subtle and not obviously apparent. Contact National Autistic Society for advice on getting him referred to the right place, and they make take up your case for you.

Lorenz Sun 19-Jun-11 14:07:43

That is the awful thing Mrsasp, you end up feeling almost guilty in a way because it's taboo to not be supporting of someone with a mental illness. But the alternative is that you're persistently unhappy however you feel you can't just walk away because "he doesn't do it on purpose".

Alot of people say they are relieved when they find out their partner has aspergers, whilst I felt completely beaten when we suspected it because you know things will never change and you're pushed into that horrible decision = stay and put up with it or leave and find happiness.

Awful situation.

Mrsasp Sun 19-Jun-11 15:20:55

Yes Lorenz I feel totally beaten; it's really hitting home this past week that he's not gonna change all that much and that this is all I'm gonna get...bleah!
I started another AS thread ages ago, but it disappeared this weekend. It's popped back up now (it was a MUMsnet HQ mistake apparently), so follow me over there if you fancy it!

amberlight Sun 19-Jun-11 17:00:11

As some of the posters here know, I am on the autism spectrum. So is dh. He is absolutely marvellous as a partner and we have been happily together for 25 years now. I know of many other people married or in relationships with people on the autism spectrum who enjoy our love, respect, friendship and loyalty. Many certainly can learn and change, and we can love, and we can be wonderful partners. It's simply not true to generalise about autism and say that "you know things will never change". Like anyone else on this earth, there's good and bad people with autism, but all I can ask is that people don't put us all into one category and make us all out to be monsters please.

Living with a partner we cannot get on with might apply to any partner whether disabled or not (or suspected of being disabled). Choosing whether to stay, to go, to seek change etc is part of any relationship and very much up to the individual couple. But goodness me so many people on the autism spectrum are gentle and lovely people.

Lorenz Sun 19-Jun-11 17:36:09

Amberlight, it wasn't my intention to make out that anyone with autism is cold and awful. I have a close family member with aspergers and she has a heart of gold, wouldn't hurt a fly and can be very funny. But I couldn't live with her because the aspergers traits in her would drive me insane. The way she goes on and on and on about the same mudane topics, the way she doesn't "get" any jokes and the way she becomes genuinely confused when people get hurt by her rather harsh comments. I remember her once telling me my kids were obviously out of control because I'm a single parent on benefits. She was trying to be helpful and thought that by reciting something she'd heard on TV earlier that day, she would be helping me understand why I was having trouble with my son. She's also "helpfully" pointed out that I'll probably never get a decent bloke as who'd want to have to bring up someone elses kids. She's told me my house is a mess and my car is awful and obviously very cheap. She doesn't see that she's doing anything wrong and I'm sorry, but I just couldn't live with that.

LoweredBrows Sun 19-Jun-11 17:41:49

An ex of mine had aspergers and he was the sweetest person in some respects but an absolute nightmare in others. You couldn't have a normal conversation with him as he'd actually roll his eyes when he got bored and start interupted trying to talk about something that interested him (usually something really childish like Mario or Nintendo, we were late 20s at the time). He never got jokes but found it hilarious whenever anyone hurt themselves. If he hurt himself and anyone laughed, he'd be absolutely disgusted and end up raging about how horrible people were. It was constant double standards. He didn't seem to care about ANYONE or ANYTHING but himself. Half the time he didn't even seem to notice that anyone else existed.
I wouldn't do it again.

amberlight Sun 19-Jun-11 17:49:42

The thing is, of course, that generally only the ones who are a problem in relationships get the headlines and get to be exs and feature on these threads, normally. The rest of the majority of us are in good relationships or living a quiet life alone not bothering anyone, and it does hurt when we get painted with the same 'brush' as the few who have caused real hurt to others. It's like a theoretical person saying "I could never live with a black person because I had a black boyfriend and he was appalling and they never change and I hate their culture and their way of being" etc. It's a worry.

We aren't mean to people deliberately any more than anyone else is mean to anyone else - we may genuinely make mistakes and have to rely on others to help us, but we really can and do learn from those in the vast majority of situations. Our honesty and truthfulness can be, for a good number of y people, a relief from the constant guessing that they have to do with less honest people.
I'm on chemotherapy for cancer and even today dh has brought me drinks, got me flowers, gone to get a takeaway, hugged me, told me he loves me, really listened to me and what I want. And I in turn have been there for him. As long as people truly don't think we're all awful cold robots - we're truly not all like that at all.

LoweredBrows Sun 19-Jun-11 17:53:54

Sorry to hear about the cancer Amberlight, I truely wish you a speedy recovery.
I guess it is a little like tarring everyone with the same brush. Its just sometimes aspergers traits can be hard to live with, it was for me anyway.

Could it be said that you and your DH get on so well because you both understand each others traits?

lisad123 Sun 19-Jun-11 17:54:28

marking my place to come back later smile

Mrsasp Sun 19-Jun-11 18:11:25

We're not tarring everyone with the same brush Amber.
Hi Loweredbrows hey aren't you the one with the potential Malteser Addict Boyfriend? A Malteser addict boyfriend support thread is needed methinks wink

NorfolkNChance Sun 19-Jun-11 20:46:33

My Dad is an undiagnosed high functioning Aspie, he has learnt skills over the years that get him through social situations with strangers but with his family he is very loving and has opened up a lot more to his feelings as he gets older.

I hope you get some more useful help from some MNetters more in the know!

LorettaMasonPotts Sun 19-Jun-11 21:42:47

This helped me.

LorettaMasonPotts Sun 19-Jun-11 21:52:37

Amberlight, you say 'our' honesty, but my ex-h who has been diagnosed with AS was never honest, he couldn't be because he thought I couldn't cope with his honesty confused so he made up and told me stories he considered to be more acceptable.

It almost drove me insane living with someone incapable of honesty.

I am sorry to hear of your illness - I hope you are well soon, and I am glad to hear you have a lovely considerate DH.

Mrsasp Sun 19-Jun-11 22:16:00

Norfolk yes my Dad is an undiagnosed Aspie, and he too seems to have mellowed with age and does try to be caring. He is loving to his family (doesn't want to see anyone other than his family and is rubbish at social situations). You can ask him for his attention and he'll give it, but ill not ever intuitively know that you need it.
Loretta that link is spot on; I wish the support group was here and not Australia. I have come across it before and it's one of the best descriptions I've read really.

LorettaMasonPotts Fri 24-Jun-11 18:55:32

Have not had internet access since last weekend sad.

Found this link. Hope it's helpful to anyone interested.

Mrsasp Wed 29-Jun-11 10:09:36

Hi Loretta I've heard mixed things about Maxine Aston. Some good, some bad.

Mrsasp Sun 03-Jul-11 16:24:24
Anyone read this?

Mrsasp Sat 09-Jul-11 22:11:13


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