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Really? ...(27 Posts)
Sorry - this is a bit long...
So, I have been in a non live-in relationship with my partner for nearly 6 years. He has Aspergers so there can be communication challenges from time to time.
A couple of years ago he paid for a car for me. This was due to my own car being too pricey to run (post divorce financial changes) & having just purchased a house, I had no cash whatsoever. So, DP paid for my car on the basis that it remains his car& that I maintain it. last year it was due it's annual service & he had a preference for which main dealer I use. This was based on the fact that he didn't "trust" the main dealer nearer to my home. The lack of trust was based on one communication with the dealer when we were looking at getting my car. I have no idea what made DP reach this decision.
It wasn't the most ideal option, but I booked it into the dealer of his choice which was a pain getting to & from as it's in a different city to the one I live in (some additional 20 miles round trip).
This year, my car came up for service & I automatically booked it into the dealer nearest me. The service was great, it fitted in with my work commute & I didn't have to leave work mid afternoon to collect it.
I happened to mention to DP that I had had the car serviced & he asked which dealer I had used. I said x. Email then went very quiet until hours later when DP basically said that he was "disappointed in me" that I clearly didn't respect him or his opinions & that he wondered what the point was of trying to make Xmas special when I didn't respect him. I was gobsmacked & emailed him back (this all during work hours & he doesn't like to be called!!) saying it has nothing to do with respect or trust, it was about practicalities & let's not argue about this. I have heard nothing since (2 days now).
I think this is a pretty major overreaction but appreciate he gets like this every now & again if he feels I have slighted him in some way.
At the moment, I'm very glad we don't live together... btw - we are both middle aged adults!
Can anyone tell me I'm not being unreasonable here?
"slighted him in some way" ?
This is how you live ?
It's not an over-reaction from someone with Aspergers - believe me, I know. (My son is 30 and driving me crazy at the moment).
It is called 'collective memory'. I call my son '7 of 9' occasionally to pull him up on his 'collective memory'. He genuinely thinks I understand and think exactly the same as him - it is inconceivable for him to think otherwise.
Whilst YOU think you are being 'reasonable' someone with Aspergers will not necessarily.
In his mind you KNEW he didn't trust the local dealer and should not have gone to them, and by doing so you have broken the trust he has in you. Simple, really.
I admit I do make a lot of allowances - but I know Aspergers can be challenging. He's a good man & kind to me - just complex emotionally.
He has a fair amount of baggage which he won't discuss with me as it's all in the past, but it has very clearly defined who he is.
Ignore ignore. Don't rise to his childish over reactions. Keep busy, live your life and he will soon come back when he realises you won't 'play'
Happymum - you clearly don't understand Aspergers
YANBU it has nothing to do with respect and everything to do with his Aspergers making him feel uncomfortable about changes in routine. He needs to learn to recognise this and accept that this (just one example) is your area of responsibility as you are the one doing the leg work. He also needs to learn that these feelings that make him feel this way are nothing to do with trust or respect and checl himself before overreacting. He is middle aged. Having Aspergers does changes in routine it more difficult to deal with but it is not an excuse for being an arse, or at least keeping ones arsiness to oneself!
Ignoring someone with Aspergers is the worse advice you can give.
Please take Happymum1985's advice and ignore her, because her advice just doesn't work for someone with Aspergers.
To be honest I'm surprised after 6 years if this is the first time you've had a situation where he has had an "over the top" reaction to something trivial, it's pretty good going... Although I know that doesn't help.
Is he seeing anyone, not necessarily a counselor but someone who can support people with Aspergers in relationships as it can be hard for them and their partner.
There was a lady who posted on here a couple of weeks ago, her and her partner were seeing someone who specifically dealt with couples where a partner has Aspergers. Might be worth trying to source something similar. He can't "change" but there are many coping mechanisms for both of you when these kind of issues come up, and it definitely isn't just up to you to deal with his behavior xx
Hi all and thanks for replies so far. It's absolutely not the first time in 6 years I have had a reaction like this. They do usually blow over, but it takes some time whilst he processes everything. I am naturally a pretty tolerant person & lots of things I will just let go because I know he's not trying to be hurtful or difficult, it's just the way he is. I do draw the line sometimes though & will tell him if I feel very strongly.
Believe me, the good parts of our relationship far outweigh these occasional challenges. I can't remember the last time he stopped talking to me for something like this. As an NT person, I know I think very differently to him & when we're in communication blackout, like we are now, it does seem like we are oceans apart in how we think and deal with things. That feels sad for me - and no doubt for him too.
He isn't seeing anyone, no. I know he has in the past but I think this was more to do with childhood issues rather than Aspergers. I know he won't want to start having therapy now.
I know it's not just up to me to find coping mechanisms but given that generally he refuses to discuss difficult issues (or just can't see my point of view), I find it usually ends in stalemate.
* I know he won't want to start having therapy now.*
I know it's not just up to me to find coping mechanisms but given that generally he refuses to discuss difficult issues (or just can't see my point of view), I find it usually ends in stalemate
Despite his Aspergers, the two comments above mean he is being unreasonable in the relationship. He should be making an effort to overcome these boundaries for both of you, as you can't be expected to continue the way you are everytime something comes up he doesn't like. At the moment it's all about him and you have to push your feelings about it all to the side while he has his moment.
Thanks Hermit, You're right of course. It's funny what becomes normal in a relationship. I do love him dearly & he has so many positive points that I accept the less desirable traits which are part of the package. None of us are perfect that's for sure but it's at times like these I feel a bit sad and alone. Certainly at nearly 50, I don't want to be "sent to Coventry" over something which in the grand scheme of things (I feel) is so small.
Not living together has it's advantages but also it's disadvantages too. The fact that he can go off into his cave & blank me for a few days (after 6 years too) wouldn't happen if we lived together. I might find it helped him to face up to things a bit more readily.
It's challenging when, as a person who really does need to talk & get things out in the open, I am forced into a situation where I feel I cannot. Given we see each other mostly at weekends, if I try to bring this up on Friday when we are next due to see each other, he will say (I am pretty sure) that it's the weekend and he doesn't want to spend half of it arguing. I don't see raising issues in a sensible non-threatening fashion as "arguing" but perhaps he does.
If anyone has any tips in terms of how to start dealing with this more as a couple and getting him to be open to discussion, I would love to hear them.
He's open to discussion generally though - especially if it's something which is of great interest to him. He just cannot seem to deal with any sort of discussion which might have a whiff of confrontation about it.
It's a pickle. The shutting himself away, avoiding confrontation and not wanting to talk things through emotionally is obviously part of his Aspergers, and as you say, so difficult to approach because you are not living together.
BUT it's not your responsibility to accept being ignored, letting him say his piece and be nasty, then not letting you respond and have discussions to make agreements or fix the situation.
I really do think that you both need to see someone to help with coping methods with the fact he has aspergers and you are someone who likes to talk things out in the open, which obviously clashes a great deal. But it can be worked on... just don't know how you would get him to agree to it. He's got to want to improve on the relationship so you're not always having these cold moments over nothing.
Gotta have give and take, he (and you) just have a few more obstacles than the average couple!
Hope someone can come up with some useful suggestions for you xx
You knew how he felt about the servicing of his car and that his Aspergers plays an important role in that thought process and despite knowing this, you chose convenience over respecting his wishes. You might not think what you've done is a big deal in the grand scheme of things but he does and it has caused him obvious distress which you could have avoided.
This is who he is and as he won't entertain any discussion over the subject, this is how he is likely to always be. Do you have to accept it, absolutely not but it is the price of being with him.
I don't have aspergers and would be annoyed at you. Not stop speaking for two days but annoyed. You knew he had a thing about the car place, he obviously explained it to you last year and you agreed to it but then you completely ignored his wishes this year and took his car somew here else.
I would expect my partner to not go behind my back about something that had already specifically been mentioned.
It is a small thing but it is a lack of respect.
Blimey CheeseBuster the op took her car to a garage to have her car serviced, nearest to her, so that she could work and not leave early. She is an independent woman and has the ability to make her own choices. It is not a lack of respect. Her partner should show respect that she is able to make and do these things. I understand Aspergers makes things difficult, but if he prevents her doing things or has to go far out of her way to do things his way then it is not fair. If his Aspergers way of thinking requires her to get the car serviced at x garage then He either organises the car servicing or allows her to use her own judgement.
OP you need to be a little more honest with yourself. You know your partner has aspergers and understand the challenges that presents. You've had the benefit of a free car so long as you maintain it, a very nice deal. You know he only trusts one dealer, it's a pain but it's the deal.
This year you got it serviced at another garage and told him after the event. That was a deliberate action and you knew there would be consequences. Your just going to have to see how this plays out. Might be time to buy your own car.
Ah, but that's the problem . The OP didn't take HER car to the nearest garage, the OP took HIS car to the nearest garage.
And therein lies the problem. If there is something within his sphere of 'ownership', he, in some ways quite rightfully, feels he has the right to decide on how it is treated.
OP, at the end of the day, it is HIS car, and with or without the Aspergers, he has a right to decide who will service it. If you don't like the rules surrounding it, then you need to get your own car, that will be within your sphere of control.
Have you talked more generally about appropriate responses to conflict for you? The issue (in itself) appears relatively minor to you, but is important to him. This does mean similar reactions may occur. Perhaps discussing that you appreciate he needs to 'withdraw' when he is angry but agree to some sort of 'holding pattern' response. I negotiated with an ASD ex (ex for other reasons) that when he felt this need to ... i can't use sulk, but retreat in that way, i needed to be clear that was what was going on, as I didn't want to invade that 'space' with my need for reassurance. So we came up with a daily 'hey' 'still mulling' communication update at a certain time of day. It sounds pretty forced, but the consistency of if worked for him and stopped me wading in making a drama out of it all.
It is his car indeed and he has chosen in the past who would service it and you have agreed to it, so it does sound odd that you have just gone and done it this year without consulting him, or going to his preferred dealer. You might not have got the cold treatment from another man, but you might have got more or less the same response.
Having said that, if your agreement was that you were responsible for servicing it, then you should choose the dealer, not just take it and pay for it.
If you decide to stick it out, next year, I would discuss it with him prior to the service (or whatever matter it is) and tell him that if he wants the other dealer he should take it there, even if you pay for it.
Or, buy the car from him if you can afford it now and save yourself a lot of hassle. Or, return it and buy a cheaper car.
The simple solution to avoid this particular problem in future is to give him back his car that you've had free use of for a couple of years and buy your own, then you can get it serviced wherever you like.
I can't say I'd be that thrilled about what you did either. Yes he's gone OTT with the whole "what's the point in making Xmas special" and the communication black out is an issue that needs dealing with, but I have to agree with him about the lack of respect for his wishes in this case. Sorry.
Yes he's gone OTT with the whole "what's the point in making Xmas special"
But this is the nature of some people with Aspergers............either the world is find and dandy and life is wonderful........or EVERYTHING that ever happened is wrong and the world is against them.
I know. I live with it every day.
The fact that he can go off into his cave & blank me for a few days (after 6 years too) wouldn't happen if we lived together.
My DH does silent treatment for days, up to a week, and the fact that I have to tolerate this dark cloud and THE atmosphere at home makes it harder, not easier. I really wish he had somewhere else to go during this time. It unbearable and humiliating.
Thanks all for your considered responses - all very helpful.
The deal was that he would buy the car but I am responsible for all servicing, maintenance & the like. Just to be clear, I have had it MOT'd at other places & had new tyres & parts fitted somewhere else too. This has never been a problem with DP - in fact he encouraged me to shop around for best deals. So, it's not like I could only ever use one dealer - I have used lots of different suppliers over the past year or so.
Still, we were seeing each other tomorrow and he wants to discuss the issue which I see as progress as I am very keen to set some boundaries around this type of thing.
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