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Feeling stuck - little emotional connection with DH

(6 Posts)
AwaydayPlease Mon 16-Jan-17 21:34:49

I would really appreciate some advice. I am mid-forties with 2 young DC. I have been with DH for 18 years, married for 10. I could really do with some advice on how to improve our relationship and marriage, or whether I need to take some drastic action and consider separating. I feel guilty writing this as so many people here have experienced difficult or abusive or unsupportive relationships, whereas my DH is basically a good man, who does more than his fair share in terms of raising children and household tasks……

I am fairly sure my DH has Aspbergers. He finds social contact stressful, never asks questions and never shows interest in others. He is emotionally unexpressive (though says he feels emotion and can be empathic but rarely expresses emotion), rarely makes eye contact, and cant get the rhythm of a conversation (so he generally interrupts people, speaks louder if he has anything to say and comes across as rude). He tends to look scornful, rarely smiles and generally appears irritated. He doesn’t have any friends (its hard being around him as the other person has to initiate all the conversation) and before we married my own family tried to persuade me that he was not right for me. I am not an extrovert, but friendships are very important to me, and even after all these years I still feel awkward in group situations when he is there (people judging him and judging me by proxy)… In a group situation his presence often makes things much more stressful – he doesn’t find other peoples jokes funny, and is generally looks bored... even with his own family.. though if you asked him he would say he was not bored.. its just how he looked… I don’t think I have every heard him laugh aloud..ever.

In his favour, he excels at practical tasks, organises family activities, does as much cooking and shopping as I do, and is very hands on with DC, always thinking of what’s in their best interests and lining up interesting adventurous things for them to do. He is very committed to family life, and even though he has his own one-person hobbies he is happier spending time together. I suppose I was attracted to him at first because he is calm, intelligent, informed and has a dry humour (though as he speaks so little it is easy to forget this. He is unmaterialistic and prioritises actions over words (For instance he is a strict vegetarian as a consequence to his beliefs but would rarely mention this or discuss it and would never make an issue of it– (im a carnivore!)). He is calm and quiet – I guess I am attracted to that type of person, but on the other hand the total lack of conversation has left me feeling very lonely (living with distant flat mate). Physically, he is a very considerate and sensitive partner, though these last few months I have not been that interested in physical contact – less attracted to him, feel less attractive myself etc.. He is pretty scruffy, has always been – but I find that less attractive in middle age than I did in my twenties!

Anyway, Im sorry to ramble. I feel stuck in a rut but guilty to say that as I have so much to be grateful for – 2 beautiful DCs, no monetary concerns and a job I find satisfying. I have suggested that we try counselling, but he refuses ( thinks its just a ploy to blame my discontent on him). He thinks everything is fine with us. I know the other option is to change my own perspective and focus on his strong points, but every time I see a couple chatting or laughing I feel sad that I don’t have that intimacy with DH (unless we are talking about the shopping list or I try to coerce him into a question-answer session).

I don’t think I can change him, so I need to accept him, change my own view of what married life should be or walk away and destroy the family unit we have built for our beautiful DC who I think would be heartbroken…

Apologies for rambling.. any advice is greatly appreciated. Feeling very stuck and quiet sad at the thought that this is it now for the rest of my life… but if I focus on other more fulfilling areas of my life things will balance out I suppose…

TanteJeanne Mon 16-Jan-17 21:47:40

You describe an unusual relationship but one that has worked for you for many years. DH hasn't changed but you are now yearning for something he probably can't give ( would he be interested in exploring an Aspergers diagnosis?)
Can you accept that this is how it will be and seek your emotional fulfilment elsewhere? I don't mean an affair- I mean do you have proper good friends with whom you can connect ( many men aren't great at emotions and many women depend a lot on their friends) and whom you can make a determined effort to prioritise in your life?
Sorry this doesn't help much or answer many of your questions, just a perspective.

TaytoCrisp Mon 16-Jan-17 22:04:47

Thank you tante. You are probably right that is an unusual relationship - and I feel angry with myself now for not realising for it earlier.. but you are also right that it has been 'worked' over many years - probably because we have had very independent hobbies and projects until we started our family. Now I am no longer in my home town, and I dearly miss my old friends. I used to have a lot of friends but I can be shy and anxious at times and am struggling to develop strong new friendships with other parents, partly because I work and am hardly ever at the school gates, but also it just takes time.. So I have felt very lonely this last year. But thank you for responding, I will think about what you said.

outabout Mon 16-Jan-17 22:04:52

Sounds at least a bit like Aspergers. Try one or more of the online 'diagnoses', although it will not be accurate it will suggest things to look out for.
You need some proper assistance and guidance, there seems to be more awareness of this but you may have difficulty persuading him to talk.
Try the Autism society website for suggestions about ways to approach this. If he is not 'controlling' maybe find some activities that you can get up to without him, but in a non threatening way. I wish my DW would have managed to think through my milder (by your descriptions) AS.
You are young and have recognised a problem so hopefully you can work something out.

AwaydayPlease Mon 16-Jan-17 22:17:46

Thank you out. I have looked at the autism society website a few times and looked for counsellors focused on Aspergers but have never pursued it- hard to identify an appropriate counsellor, difficult to get him to agree to come with me, embarrassment about visiting gp for diagnosis if they then said he didn't d not have aspergers and I was just trying to label and stigmatise him.. (though he would not be surprised with the diagnosis either in reality..). But I think I'm reaching crisis point now so I am going to revisit it and make a plan. I don't think I can go I. With this elephant in the room scenario that is being ignored.. thank you for your thoughts.

noego Thu 19-Jan-17 00:28:46

I don't find this behaviour unreasonable. Does he have spiritual beliefs. I,e, Buddhism, Taoism or similar?

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