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DH with poss Asperger's want's to move out to 'rescue' relationship?

(16 Posts)
Flossie69 Mon 05-Sep-11 14:40:03

Hello wise ladies of MN - this is a re-post with a better title

I have lurked on relationshops for ages, and have occassionally posted, but haven't started my own thread before. Many a time I have read what has been written on others' threads, and have found it very helpful to me. Now I have come to a point where I need some specific help, advice and hand-holding.

The issue is complex, and I don't want to drip feed, but also don't have the emotional energy right now to type the whole lot out, so will keep to the immediate and essential.

DH and I have been having issues for quite a few years now, emerging after the birth of DS 12 years ago, and escalating significantly after the birth of DD 15 months ago. Basically, he has withdrawn from me emotianally and sexually - the last time we had sex was when DD was concieved. He has issues going back to childhood which he is now exploring, and has explored Aspergers, due to DS being diagnosed with it, and now realises he to has it to some extent.

He says he wants to sort out the realtionship, that there is no one else involved, but to sort it out he needs to move out. I can't get my head around how this will help to sort things out. He says he needs time and space, and that he will still help with taking DS to school, with house stuff, and that we will spend more quality time together. He also wants to get professional counselling for his issues, and wants us to go to Relate. But I am just not getting how it will help, practically, as well as with my emotional state, which is quite down, due to the length of time this has been going on.

Again, I stress, he says there is no one else invloved, and I want to am inclined to believe him, but I have struggled to trust him, and have snooped extensively, but have found no evidence.

This is already longer and more rambling than I intended - would appreciate some insight. Will this separation help, or is it the beginning of the end.


garlicnutter Mon 05-Sep-11 15:05:07

I didn't want to leave you unanswered, but fear I can't say what you want.

I would treat this as a separation with a view to permanence. I would also go along to Relate, as it sounds very much as though you need to be heard and to recognise your own feelings as differentiated from his. Have you invested a long time & much effort in trying to divine his thoughts and emotions? Separation will be good for your mental health.

Please do post more, as your OP looks like the tip of an iceberg.

AspergerFiction Mon 05-Sep-11 15:11:53

If he does has Asperger's then the issue is probably exactly what he says it is - the need for 'time and space'. Those with AS need their 'own' time and space simply to get through life. That may be more difficult with another young child in the house.

I wouldn't worry about there being 'someone else' - if he has AS, and he says there isn't - the chances are - that there isn't.

I have no brilliant suggestions - other than whether you could explore the possibility of giving him his own time/space without his actually moving out. Not easy I realise with a young family. Also that would result in more would fall on your shoulders.

Flossie69 Mon 05-Sep-11 17:44:47

He already spends alot of the time at the gym, or out, or in the spare room (which he has turned into his den), on Facebook. I have often thought that the only way he could get more space was if he moved out sad

The housework has never been an issue for me - we each do our stuff, I do the washing, cooking, cleaning, he does the majority of the shopping, sorts out the garden, the cars etc.

Garlic - yes, I have spent a great deal of energy on trying to get him to notice me again.

I had hoped we could resolve things by spending more time together, but can't see how this will work with him living elsewhere.

garlicnutter Mon 05-Sep-11 18:09:53

Somebody once hoped he could turn me into a skier by getting me to spend more time skiing. I went along with a willing spirit. I spent most of that winter sad, grumpy, cold and bruised. Your husband, I'm afraid, has made it clear that "more time together" is, to him, like skiing for me.

There are couples who live blissfully separate lives together. They never know where the other is or what they're doing, are uninterested in the minutiae of each other's day, never phone each other except for practical reasons and rarely meet each other's friends. How would that suit your H? How would it suit you?

AspergerFiction Mon 05-Sep-11 18:53:36

If this is AS - then the idea of 'spending more time together' may be a nightmare for him. It's not personal - even though it will inevitably feel like it is.

Read up about AS/NT relationships - you will quickly get the idea. They can work (I know) but it isn't always easy for either party.

Flossie69 Mon 05-Sep-11 18:55:11

That sounds a bit like we are now. We have completely separate social lives, and he had never friended me on fb. And it doesn't suit me at all.

garlicnutter Mon 05-Sep-11 19:14:31

Then you're each trying to get the other to fit into a relationship style that doesn't suit them. How sad. While it's really not what you want to hear, I feel it will be a whole lot better for you to let him go - on reasonable terms wrt household and family stuff - and throw yourself into rediscovering who you are. Can you afford both Relate and a counsellor for yourself?

While first saying, very loud, that in many ways the cause doesn't matter, it might be helpful to look for patterns to the problems in your marriage. Has he always kept very much to himself? In that case, did it bother you when you married, or did you start feeling uncomfortable as time went on?

Flossie69 Mon 05-Sep-11 20:15:23

At the moment he says he wants things to work out.
The distance started 12 years ago after DS was born, and got significantly worse after DD was born 15 months ago.
He says that he is struggling to come to terms with being a father again at "his age" - 46 hmm

lachesis Mon 05-Sep-11 20:20:31

His version of things working out and yours may be diametrically opposed. Neither one of you is wrong or at fault, but it sounds like you might be fundamentally incompatable.

You might find his moving out a source of new release and even relief for you.

No matter what, there's only so much he can change because of his Asperger's.

I would find new parenthood at 46 something I could not do (so DH got sterilised and I still use another form of contraception).

ameliagrey Mon 05-Sep-11 20:22:45

Is it possible that he is using the possible Aspergers label as an excuse?

I know quite a bit out Aspy people and they do not usually seek solitude. They often have hobbies that are time consuming and dislike change, but they do like company.

There is a book written by a counsellor on living with and loving men with Aspergers- I can't remember the title but will look and link if I find it.

ameliagrey Mon 05-Sep-11 20:25:05

here you are- it's quite a practical book and may help you identify the condition and also live with it.

garlicnutter Mon 05-Sep-11 21:02:52

12 years of distancing must have been extremely hard to live with.

HappyHubbie Tue 06-Sep-11 12:02:09

My DS has Aspergers, and it's only recently that I've come to accept that I have it too (I wrote a long post about this a month or so back). It is a hard thing to come to terms with, and it has brought back a whole load of childhood memories which i had forgotten (repressed). It wasn't a particularly unhappy childhood, just not a happy one. Accepting the Asp has made it easier to be around other people, but it wasn't always like that.

I have a lot of personal space in my job which is quite solitary, so I don't mind having people around at home; it wasn't always like that though and when I had a job which meant spending the day interacting with people I found dealing with my family much harder as I really needed the space. I've always had a 'den', or tinkered with things in the garage etc - probably just to get some space.

Your DH is clearly unhappy with his life, but not with you, and he's struggling to reconcile his desire to be with you against his need for solitude - I remember that feeling very well. He's making efforts to deal with it, and doing so openly, which is great. However there are the children to consider, especially your DS who is Asp himself and would probably find separation very hard to deal with.

It sounds like he's struggling to find his own equilibrium. Without wishing to sound all airy-fairy (or just nuts!) I visualise myself as existing in some kind of bubble, most people are outside the bubble and only the ones I choose are allowed in. I also have the ability to regain control of the bubble if I wish, for example sometimes I will work late at the office just to get some peace. I'm happy in my bubble, but it's taken me many years to work it out. You can't cure Asp, you can only develop ways of coping with it - that's what my bubble is.

It's not that I don't love my wife - I do, I adore her, she's my best friend and my soul mate - but without a lot of space I would go mad. She, like most women, craves company so it's a hard thing to balance in a relationship.

My advice would be that your DH needs to try counseling first - the psychologist who dealt with my DS was also incredibly helpful to me. The objective should be to find a way to live as a family, and him moving out will not help that. My wife and I lived apart (due to my work) for about 5 years, and when I finally came home it was extremely difficult to come to terms with the situation. Now we're fine though, better than ever, but it was accepting and understanding the Asp that made the difference, not the fact that I had been away for a few years. Moving out may help him in the short term, but in the longer term it could be negative, I'd keep that as a last-resort option once everything else has been properly explored.

Flossie69 Tue 06-Sep-11 12:36:10

Hi HappyHubbie thank-you for your insight. DH has already made up his mind - he is adamant he needs to do this, and I can't dissuade him. We talked again last night, and went through all the reasons, and at the end of the day, he needs somewhere safe to run to while he deals with issues from the past.

I am trying to understand him, but still cannot accept that moving out is the right thing to do. But I am taking heart from the fact that he feels it won't be for long, though I do wonder whether he is being realistic in how long the counselling, both Relate, and his own personal, will take.

We have booked a family holiday for half term, so that is good.

Garlic - yes it has been difficult. I feel my whole life has revolved around getting him to notice me and open up to me again. Now I feel I need to regain who/what is me, but have no idea how. I can see I am mother, wife, employee, but not sure what else there is in me. sad

garlicnutter Tue 06-Sep-11 12:50:53

My feeling, sweetheart, is that it's crucial for you to shift your focus back on you. When we devote ourselves to someone else's thoughts & feelings, we lose our own identity (I say "we" because I've done too much of that!)

That kind of devotion is ultimately pointless, because we can't really live in someone else's head, let alone alter what happens in there. Meanwhile, we forget who we are and dilute our contributions to the world in general. It's utterly exhausting and, sadly, destructive.

The above pretty well sums up why I feel this separation will be a life-saver for you. I fully understand HappyHubbie's post, and have read his thread. But we don't really know what the cause of your H's condition may be ... and you've already expended too much of yourself on trying to find out.

One of the hardest things to do is allow someone we love to "do their own process". But they have to. No-one else can do it for them, and it's their own choice whether to even engage with a process. We have our OWN processes to do and, likewise, they're our sole responsibility.

Yours, now, is to find your self. Counselling will help with that - friends are a big help, too, especially people who've known and loved you frm before DC1 was born smile

Please do find yourself a decent, kind and strong counsellor. They can guide your 'self-reconstruction' project. From what you've posted, you should be able to arrange things with H so that your financial and family needs are still met - whilst each of you gets on with your processes. I'm so very sorry it's come to this ... but optimistic for you, that changes forced by H will set you free to be yourself again.

Hope you've got plenty of old friends to talk to. x

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