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I think my husband is autistic

(35 Posts)
Panickypants Sun 05-Jul-15 20:51:04

But how do I get to the bottom of it? Can you go for testing of some description? I want to be able to help him and, I'll be honest, me. I am finding it increasingly difficult and embarrassing to be with him around other people and that we are loosing friends (I often get invited to places on my own and that upsets him) he isn't able to read people, he has totally one way conversations (him talking and rarely asking the other person questions), he bores on and on about really dull things, he makes faux pas and his jokes are cringe, but he laughs, he repeats other people's jokes. Oh god. I sound so mean - and perhaps this isn't autism and I have this wrong (and HUGE apologies if I offend any one). I'm just desperate as this is killing (has killed) our relationship. He offers me zippo emotionally. If I'm upset about something - say for example something at work - and want to talk it through he'll just start ranting in an angry way that I should tell that person to get list / quit work (unhelpful, I just wanted a chat). But then when his sister is being dreadful towards him he won't say a thing. He's such a kind and gentle person. I just want him to understand that his behaviour isn't normal and when I comment I'm actually trying to help. I think his father is quite similar. Sure he wasn't like this when we met. I don't want our children thinking it's ok to act the way he does. How heavy can / should I lay this on him? "I think you are autistic and you need to get tested / support because you are becoming a social fool / impossible to live with and I can't take it?". We have no emotional connection any more. Any help, opinion or advice all gratefully received. Thanks so much.

Athenaviolet Sun 05-Jul-15 21:02:49

Have you discussed it between you?

He can go to his gp and ask for a referral for an assessment. But he will have to agree with this which may be a struggle if he doesn't recognise his behaviour as autistic atm. You may have to 'sell' the idea of assessment to him.

Even if he does get the assessment, support is a postcode lottery.

Some adults don't go through the formal assessment process because they don't see the point.

I'd start with making a list of behaviours he has which are examples of autistic behaviours.

Ultimately though change is only possible with a lot of willingness and effort from him.

mrstweefromtweesville Sun 05-Jul-15 21:33:29

No, start by making a list of what's good about him.
Then leave him because being with someone who despises him as much as you do can't be helping him at all.
Autism can't be cured, you know. People talk about it as a mental health issue but that's misleading. He is who he is. He can (probably) learn new skills to help him fit in with your expectations - but would you do that for him? Have you told him what you expect from a man you have as your partner/husband?
If he's really on the spectrum, being in the social situations you describe could be a kind of hell for him. Or, he might not notice he's not 'getting it right'.
It sounds like your relationship is over. You don't respect him. I'm sorry for him.

Athenaviolet Sun 05-Jul-15 21:38:37

I don't think there was a need for that mrstwee.

Panickypants Sun 05-Jul-15 22:21:46

Thank you Athenaviolet, that is really helpful. I'm not looking for a cure as it were but rather to be able to support and in order to do that I feel him having a better understanding of how he is / better self awareness would be good. I might do some more reading up.

Mrstwee, talk about kick someone when they are feeling down! How do you get to the conclusion that I despise him. Such a strong and nasty word. I came here being open and honest and frank. I am his biggest supporter - I am trying to help him from becoming totally socially isolated and not knowing why. He loves social things. How is that so bad. He doesn't realise he's "not getting it right" he has absolutely no idea that people perceive him as being really rather odd and creating tumbleweed moments. I've told him lots of times how couples should be in a heathy relationship. I've been to couples therapy with him to try and get us to better connect and he nodded lots but never really got it. I'm really trying because I do see all the good in him (where others don't) and I would have left if I didn't so no need to be so harsh.

CocktailQueen Sun 05-Jul-15 22:24:27

But surely he must have always been like this? Autism isn't something that can be switched on and off.

I'd try talking to him, see what he says, and make a list of the worst things he does, to discuss.

MoseShrute Sun 05-Jul-15 22:27:25


You say that he wasn't like this when you met. Are you sure? People don't develop autism as adults. What was he like when you first met him

Panickypants Sun 05-Jul-15 22:31:31

Perhaps I just didn't notice it? He has more confidence now than he's ever had for various reasons and is therefore more confident, loud, talkative so may be that's why it's more noticeable? As I said he may not be autistic but I was running through a questionnaire a couple of days ago and lots of boxes seemed to be ticked.

Bucketandshpade Sun 05-Jul-15 22:34:32

OP I feel for you. Maybe have a read of Maxine Aston for a start. My SIL thinks exactly the same about my brother and I think she's right. Living with him must be utterly exhausting. And curiously he wasn't always this pronounced - when he was single and they were dating and he had his own flat and routine they got on fine. Then two kids in quick succession plus a couple of job and house changes, all of which hea resisted, has made his maladaptivisms far worse. And mrstwee DFOD.biscuit

Fuckup Sun 05-Jul-15 22:38:24

I'm with mrstwee, sorry this sounds harsh but if it is autism then its incurable, if u don't love and accept him as he is then give both of yourselves the chance to find someone more suited.

Also, as others have said, u can't develop autism. It sounds more like falling out of love and noticing someone's bad habits once the honeymoon period has worn off. If you keep fixating on them to the extent that u feel he needs psychiatric evaluation then you can't be happy in the relationship. Why not separate?

Bucketandshpade Sun 05-Jul-15 22:44:20

Autism can't be cured. But it can be acknowledged, managed and eventually embraced. Just because the OP is describing this doesn't mean she doesn't love him. One of my children has autism. I love and respect every cell, but that doesn't stop me really struggling with it some days.

blankblink Sun 05-Jul-15 22:51:15

You could ask him to complete this quiz, it's one of the best online and gives a good indication that someone MAY wish to pursue, so he could refer to it if his score is relevant and if he wanted to pursue a diagnosis.

This may be useful.

How is he at work? Is he treated well or are there difficulties? Some adults on the spectrum find that post diagnosis, employment is much better because once informed, their employers' attitudes towards them changes and the employers can make reasonable adjustments to enable them to fulfil their potential, rather than them being considered awkward etc.

MrsTwee, autism is NOT a mental health condition, it's a neurological condition, massive difference.

Panickypants Sun 05-Jul-15 23:09:50

Bucket, that is pretty much the same situation!

I don't want to separate because I want to try and work things though and, if it comes to that, fine.

I love him deeply but I can't handle this as it is. I've probably had 6/7 friends comment on his behaviours so it's not just me and therefore don't think it's an end of honeymoon thing.

Blankblink, thank you so much.

He's successful at work. Argumentative and quite difficult though.

mrstweefromtweesville Mon 06-Jul-15 00:36:31

I don't think there was a need for that mrstwee
I think there was. I'm on the spectrum, too. Looks different from that perspective, and the OP needs to know that.

It isn't wrong or failing to be autistic - its one of many ways of being. We don't need to be assessed and changed.

Now the OP says 'I love him deeply' but in the opening post it was 'this is killing (has killed) our relationship'. Quick change there. Sudden changes are not good for ASD people.

OP, why not learn a lot about ASD, learn to love the man he is as he is? Stop worrying about what your friends and other people think about him. If you can't love him, it would be kinder to leave.

mrstweefromtweesville Mon 06-Jul-15 01:36:57

MrsTwee, autism is NOT a mental health condition, it's a neurological condition, massive difference
I know that. But, where does the 'support' for asd come from? Why are we lumped in with mh all the time?

SickInBedOnTwoChairs Mon 06-Jul-15 07:29:18

There's a fair chance that either he is 'coming out of his shell' and the result ain't pretty (ie this is actually how he is) or....could he be having a mid life crisis? A sort of 'Fuck it, this is how I am, take me or leave me', sort of thinking?
My ex had a midlife crisis deluxe, with bells, whistles and ribbons hanging off in all directions. It 's comical now I look back but at the time it was hellish as I was being swept along on a tide of shit unleashed from..where? Who knows? Why? Who knows but I baled. I could not stand the 'new him'. He did some breathtakingly bastard things and showed no remorse whatsoever. If your DH is being a bit cavalier with all this, I suspect a midlife crisis.

Bucketandshpade Mon 06-Jul-15 07:38:36

mrstwee you've spectacularly missed the point there. If you're NT, living with and loving someone with autism is really really really hard.

My brother, for example, doesn't tolerate change well and so refuses to amend his routines to accommodate changes with the children such as the start and end of terms - he just carries on regardless and SIL manages the flexibility needed. He will ONLY eat certain foods and refuses to try anything else, even if they're in the company of the person who cooked it. He has very narrow hobbies which impact on the family yet because they're important to him, and because they're part of his routine, they take precedence over the family. He thinks he's reasonable in all this because he lacks Theory of Mind. SIL is close to leaving him.

It's not a judgement call about whether it's "wrong" to be autistic, and that implies a choice. Autism is a description.
You're being outstandingly unfair - her husband's behaviour is impacting negatively on her life and marriage. Just because it's possibly as a result of his being autistic doesn't mean his behaviour is acceptable to her.

I mean this with the greatest kindness and respect - you're being unfair and missing her point quite possibly because you're on the spectrum too. You're lacking an awful lot of empathy for the OP who is clearly struggling to accommodate a difficult husband whom she loves. Please try and find some kind thoughts for her.

Bucketandshpade Mon 06-Jul-15 07:41:44

misstwee "Stop worrying about what your friends and other people think about him."

Why should she? Why should she become socially alienated as a result of him? You say that ASD people "don't need to be assessed or changed" but I put it to you that in order for them to maintain a relationship with a NT, they might.

mrstweefromtweesville Mon 06-Jul-15 09:00:25

And I put it to you that the OP took up with this man and has grown tired of him.

I'm not missing the point, (thank you for your kindness and respect). The point is glaringly clear. She was satisfied with him once, now she isn't. Stop blaming his (possible) autism!

IsItMeOr Mon 06-Jul-15 09:09:53

There's a middle ground somewhere between bucket and misstwee: something is going to have to change for this relationship to succeed.

OP, if it is autism - and tbh, I suspect that it's almost irrelevant, because the tools available don't change just because somebody gets a diagnosis - then while neither of you can change how your minds operate, you can both work on how you behave. With practice, that can make it easier for your minds to operate in new ways.

This is actually the premise underpinning neuro-linguistic programming (this is what Derren Brown is a master at applying, if you're interested).

So, if you want to try to make this work, you are definitely going to have to accept that your friends may not all be able to see why your relationship works for you. Again, this is true of every relationship, regardless of neurological make-up of the partners, as nobody really understands what goes on between two people.

And your DP is going to have to be willing to apply his apparent intellect to developing work-arounds that make family life possible for you all.

I am sure it can be done with effort.

Bucketandshpade Mon 06-Jul-15 13:06:21

Isitmeor the trouble with at least some facets of autism is the lack of Theory of Mind - so the OP's husband (and my brother) are unable to predict an alternative point of view or experience of something beyond their own. The OP uses the example of her husband banging on about a particular subject, unable to consider that his audience might not be at all interested.
It's the lack of Theory of Mind which causes the most problems in a relationship because the autistic partner simply cannot conceive of an alternative view unless it's pointed out and even then may not accept it. So fir them to have the insight that a) their behaviour is intolerable to someone else and b) they need to acknowledge that and change it, is impossible.

And Mrstwee it doesn't appear that the OP has got bored of her husband and it's interesting that you take that view. It sounds very much as though the behaviours that she was able to cope with in the past, are now intolerable. That's u be because the behaviours have changed, or the outside world has changed, with the result that the OP isn't able to cope.

zzzzz Mon 06-Jul-15 13:18:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Bucketandshpade Mon 06-Jul-15 13:21:39

zzzzzz that's completely out of order. angry

Janette123 Mon 06-Jul-15 13:30:22

I am not sure if this is behaviour he has just started or if he has always been like this? Can you clarify?

GinUpGirl Mon 06-Jul-15 13:38:48

mrstwee you are so far off it is laughable.

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