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Please help me express this to DH without causing offended

(28 Posts)
babyalexa Wed 24-Jun-15 02:37:01

DH is not very social. If we have anyone round to our home he will look visibly bored/yawn/not have eye contact/not respond if anyone tries to have a conversation with him. He also takes things very literally and is not great at understanding irony if used for humorous purposes and quite often gets offended until you explain to him that the meaning was actually the opposite of what was said, and by the joke is lost.

I personally think he might have aspergers qualities, he certainly fits the description, but he has never been tested and it doesn't affect day to day life too much apart from...

I have a book club who I mainly communicate with remotely (online) and we do creative writing too. I have invited all members of the club (about 8 of us) round to my house for dinner this weekend to have a "live" meeting discussing a book we've read and some of the creative writing we've sent to each other.

DH, not being sociable and not really understanding why I even have this book club, will probably want to hang around and eat with us, as he won't want to leave the house. I am fine with all of this, if I knew that's exactly what he'd do, but his anti-social attitude just creates such an atmosphere that I am nervous of him hanging around because i really want it to go well and I want everyone to feel heard.

DH does things like:

In the middle of the conversation at dinner goes to the family computer in the same room and starts playing computer games.

Sits on his phone in the middle of the dinner table and texts furiously with people while conversation is going on around him.

Gets very upset if the food is not served very quickly and eaten in a timely manner. Or if the food needs to be eaten a certain way he becomes very insistent that people eat it that way - ie pour the sauce first, then the meat. Or salad as a starter and THEN pasta. He is very preoccupied with the functional side of eating and not the sociable side and likes to clear the plates away quickly, enlisting everyone with jobs - you stack, you bring knifes and forks, you clear the glasses, you wipe the table.

I just want this to be a relaxed dinner, where people will feel comfortable to talk about what they're writing in front of others they have only met once before - but I know it will not and things will not flow when DH is there. I have tried telling him this but it either causes great offence or he starts saying that I don't want him there.

Can anybody help me with a way to communicate with him without making it into a big thing?

PotteringAlong Wed 24-Jun-15 02:43:05

Honestly? From what you've said about his social understanding he won't get it. However you phrase it he just won't get it. So if you don't want him there you're going up have to tell him outright and expect him to be offended because he won't understand why you don't want him and he won't pick up on hints if you try and steer him that way.

ShitHotAwesome Wed 24-Jun-15 02:44:10

Could you suggest he take himself to the cinema that night?
Any siblings/friends who you could ask to take him out?

babyalexa Wed 24-Jun-15 02:49:49

potteringalong that's what I fear. There is literally nothing. And that I might have a lifetime of not being able to enjoy social situations because he is so awkward and creates such an atmosphere

shithotawesomeI was thinking maybe I could ask someone to take him out. It's just a case of who and whether I'd be impinging on them.

Canyouforgiveher Wed 24-Jun-15 03:04:19

Can anybody help me with a way to communicate with him without making it into a big thing?

but it is a big thing. you are feeling you cannot have friends in your house to socialise without risking your husband behaving in a way that will make them feel unwelcome/uneasy. That is actually a fairly big thing. Why do you have to hide what is a big thing for you?

It is ok for you to sit down with him and tell him you are fine with the way he behaves (presumably you are or you wouldn't have married him) day to day but other guests would feel unwelcome/awkward etc so could he please adapt accordingly. (as in not turn up or if he does, be welcoming and then head off)

If he can - great. If he says no, well then you need to think about how your life will be from now on.

Honestly your last post - especially the last reply to shitohitawsome sounds like your husband isn't a fully competent, functioning adult.

BoxOfKittens Wed 24-Jun-15 03:14:28

It sounds like he really struggles with social situations. Can understand why you'd feel nervous. Could you maybe tell him that he will be bored with your book talk so probably best if he plays some computer games while you have your meeting in another room? Explain that it really is about the books and writing rather than the people so having him present might take the focus off of the subject at hand? Maybe make some dinner for him earlier if the dinner table scenario is making you especially nervous.

In order to not make it into a big thing with him, I think you need to word it in a way that makes it sound like you don't want him to get bored, like you are thinking of him rather than worrying about his behaviour .

I think I'd be tempted to hold such an event in the local pub tbh, to save you worrying so you can just enjoy yourself. Good luck!

kickassangel Wed 24-Jun-15 03:15:08

Is there anywhere in the house he can go to and text, read, watch TV etc, and you just take a plate of food to him? Explain that the meal is purely social and that there will be a lot of chat and sitting around, people picking at food etc.

How aware is he. Of his traits? Can you say that as he likes to eat in a certain way, and that isn't how he will feel happy, he can say hi to people as they arrive, disappear to the 'study' (even if you don't have one) and bring his plate down when he's finished eating. Suggest to him that this will stop him from being stressed and also explain that the conversation will leave him feeling very left out as it's about a specific thing he isn't involved in.

In other words, it's like you are going out to book club and leaving him some food.

Next time, can you discuss this with him in advance? Be open and matter of fact about how some of his behaviour is idiosyncratic, and that you will both need to plan around it so that everyone, including him, feels comfortable for the evening.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Wed 24-Jun-15 03:26:42

Yes you really need to get him out of the way, tbh. He's not a member of the book club and can't see the point of it so it's going to be REALLY BORING for him anyway (emphasise this point) so he really should go and do something that interests him more instead.

Film would be a good idea - does he have any friends of his own? And to be honest, I wouldn't at this stage worry about imposing on other people - you can always apologise afterwards if you have to, but he might actually have a reasonable time.

mommyof23kids Wed 24-Jun-15 04:19:20

Why doesn't your book club read a book about someone with aspergers? Not only will they find it incredibly fascinating to have a rl study of the condition but it will make future meets at your place so much more comfortable as they will be understanding of his needs.

mommyof23kids Wed 24-Jun-15 04:22:10

In fact they probably already are understanding. Just tell them he's a lot like Darcy was at the first dance where he met Elizabeth.

TheCowThatLaughs Wed 24-Jun-15 06:33:40

Who is he texting if he's not very social? Can't be go out somewhere with whoever it is?

MythicalKings Wed 24-Jun-15 06:35:20

Stop worrying about offending him and tell him straight. He's rude.

Gdydgkyk Wed 24-Jun-15 06:42:06

I would ask someone to take him out. Or buy him and his mate tickets to see a film.

My DH isn't on the spectrum and is very social but I wouldn't want him at a girls book night either. It would cramp my style.

I would refer to the night as a 'girls night' too.

Gdydgkyk Wed 24-Jun-15 06:45:09

I also agree that its acceptable to challenge him about playing computer games during a meal. I'm not sure this is an ASD trait as non of the people I know with ASD do this.

27inmyhead Wed 24-Jun-15 06:51:38

Just tell him straight that you are having people around and he needs to escape for the night. Even if he goes off to another room. Why would he even want to join you? And yes his behaviour is rude and he should be told that.

YesThisIsMe Wed 24-Jun-15 06:55:57

I'd be reasonably upfront:

Look DH. You know how it really winds you up when people do XYZ over dinner but I don't mind it? Well I think that there's a very good chance that people this group will do XYZ but they're my guests so you can't tell them off. I don't want either you or them to feel uncomfortable so I think it's best if you go out to the cinema / play computer games in another room and don't eat with us.

Charley50 Wed 24-Jun-15 07:01:30

Sounds a little like he is deliberately trying to sabotage things when you have friends round, so as to put you off having people round next time. What sort of job does he have?

Charley50 Wed 24-Jun-15 07:07:08

Actually I take that back.. My DP is quite unsocial too but it isn't to deliberately sabotage my social life, it's just how he is.

Charley50 Wed 24-Jun-15 07:14:15

And yes I agree just tell him straight. No pussy footing around him.

rumred Wed 24-Jun-15 07:33:01

How is he anti social and yet wants to intrude on your group? Whenever I feel anti social or struggle with company, I avoid it. Your h sounds awkward and unpleasant, regardless of possible asd.
He needs to butt out, it's your group. Incidentally, not nice for your friends if he behaves the way you describe.

SoldierBear Wed 24-Jun-15 07:47:20

Phones at table is an absolute no, at any meal, whether family or guests
Likewise getting up and leaving the table to go and play computer games before the meal is over.
Telling anybody how to eat their meal is out of order.
You wouldn't let teens sit and text their friends (oh the joys if enforcing that rule! ) stroll off and play the XBox or demand you all poured custard over your salad, so why do you let you DH dominate and dicttate?
In your shoes I would start to dread each meal?
Was he always like this? Is it acceptable behaviour in his family or is it something that has developed?
I would be more concerned about his behaviour to you than what guests might think. You know it is an issue and it is so disrespectful to you.
Does seeing him through the eyes of a stranger but a new view in it?

ltk Wed 24-Jun-15 07:50:38

One difficulty of living with someone with ASD is knowing when behaviour is down to a different way of being, and when someone is being a garden-variety arse. I think you may have the second thing going on here. ASD or not, he does not get to ruin your social life or rule your home. You sound very understanding but no marriage survives unless that care and respect are mutual.

Charley50 Wed 24-Jun-15 08:36:08

I've just read your OP again. The thing is he's right; you don't want him there. And why would you as he is rude to you and to guests? Tell him it's not appropriate for him to be at your book club as he's not in it. He can eat beforehand, and go out. Why should you feel embarrassed in your own home? It's summer I'm sure he can find something to do.

thelonggame Wed 24-Jun-15 08:59:18

OP have sent you a pm.

crje Wed 24-Jun-15 09:11:28

I would tell him it would be better for you to have only the group in the room.
Will there be other spouses ?
My dh has a poker group, I go to bed with my book & mumsnet while they are here.

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