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Does your DH/DP (male)..

(37 Posts)
ThatWasNotLove Sat 11-Nov-17 06:52:56

..listen to you? In particular how you feel? Like if you’re having a really bad time i.e. were in trauma therapy for a number of serious things, would he hold you and listen to you?

I ask because I’m in the drawn out process of separating from my otherwise very lovely DH who has Aspergers (diagnosed in the past few years). Not once in our relationship (10 yrs) has he done that. I’m not allowed to discuss emotions at all - not even allowed to get tooo excited or happy about things unless he is. It’s very painful (hence the separation) but “the norm”. My therapist has asked a few times if I can imagine a partner being there for me emotionally. I didn’t grow up with a father so I’ve never seen or experienced this. I absolutely can’t imagine it in RL, only some saccharine movie.

Do emotionally open and available men really exist? Do male partners exist who would hold you when you’re crying and listen to you talk about what’s hurting? AND be honest, caring, not manipulative or cheat on you? It sounds like I have a terrible view of men and while I don’t have great relationship experiences, I don’t hate them at all!

DoubleRamsey Sat 11-Nov-17 06:54:33

Yes he does

Sorry are having trouble with your dh flowers

MaisyPops Sat 11-Nov-17 06:57:00

Sorry you are having issues eith your DP.

But emotional support ks 2 way in a relationship. DH absolutely listens to me, wther it is something massive or just a bad day.

heyday Sat 11-Nov-17 07:02:45

Yes, my DP is very supportive. Will listen to me moan, will be happy when I am and will occasionally shed a little tear if things are very emotional....either in a good or sad way. Take your time to meet the right person....they are out there but few and far between perhaps.

Juststopit Sat 11-Nov-17 07:15:07

My husband also has aspergers and is unsupportive emotionally and will never show empathy or discuss deep issues. We ve seperated and I think it will be strange for me to be with a man eventually who is able to do this!

violetbunny Sat 11-Nov-17 07:21:22

Yes absolutely. In fact he is probably better at it than I am, since I tend to jump straight to offering practical solutions rather than emotional support.

ThatWasNotLove Sat 11-Nov-17 07:23:23

It’s strange reading your replies. I don’t doubt you, you’ve no reason to come on an anonymous forum, be kind and lie! It’s just so hard to imagine anybody having a relationship where feelings of both partners are allowed. I’m struggling to find a way to describe it.

Juststopit sorry you’re also going through this. And yes, no empathy.

TheWorldIsMyCakePop Sat 11-Nov-17 07:30:22

Yes they do exist and yes you absolutely deserve to have it too. Good luck with what sounds like a very painful process.

ZestyDragon Sat 11-Nov-17 07:30:57

DH also has Aspergers and struggles at times with empathy and understanding where I am coming from. It can be very frustrating when all I want is someone to listen to me as I do for him. The one thing is that he can be quite self aware and realises that he isn’t helping and is working on it but I am at the point that I don’t discuss things with him very much anymore.

PickAChew Sat 11-Nov-17 07:35:20

No, no diagnosed Asperger's but an awful lot of traits and while he's not directly dismissive, he just doesn't know what to do with the information. He'll knuckle down to anything practical that needs doing, but "soothing"is simply not in his repertoire.

It can be frustrating. I sometimes feel like jumping up and down and wailing "all I need is for someone to just give me a hug!"

IJoinedJustToPostThis Sat 11-Nov-17 07:45:11

My DH does not have Asperger's.

He deals with things that upset him by ignoring them/thinking about other things/focusing on the bright side. I think he would prefer it if I did the same, but I can't always. I usually have to explicitly say to him, "DH, I feel terrible about this, please just hold me and listen" - but then he does.

Lots of men are honest and caring and don't cheat, and the rest are not worthy of you.

I am struggling to see how a man who has not supported you at all and who doesn't 'allow' you to be happy or excited could be described as a "lovely DH". He isn't. I'm sorry. You've had a rough time flowers

HelpMeToUnderstandThis Sat 11-Nov-17 08:02:23

My boyfriend has autism (not Aspergers).

He does find it difficult to see my perspective. It took a while for him to 'get' that I would have a different perspective on things (and therefore different emotions) to him. He tries, but I still come away with the feeling that he "didn't get it".

I have AS and I know that I also have difficulties in this area. I don't always respond in the 'expected' NT way, because I'm not NT. But it's not because I don't care.

So, for example, someone will tell me something and it might take me 3 or 4 days to realise that they were upset about it or what the 'correct' response 'should' have been. It will suddently just hit me whilst I'm washing up or something. I have some learnt responses ("I'm so sorry to hear that" when someone has bad news, for example) but I'm not able to 'find' anything beyond the learned response.

From what I see, my boyfriend is the same. But I know he cares about me and would never upset me or anyone else intentionally. And it worried him that he might unintentionally upset people when he realised it was happening.

I am going to challenge the 'no empathy' thing. Not for your husband specifically, because he might not empathise, but as an autistic trait generally. It is not. I can empathise and sometimes it is physically painful. I know that my boyfriend does too. But the delayed processing for both of us means it isn't always available immediately or presents in a way that is helpful and it can also be emotionally distressing for the autistic person. It might actually be that distress he feels at your emotional distress that he is rejecting, rather than your emotions per se.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever sought support, either IRL or online (e.g. different together website) to understand the impact of his ASD on your relationship and ways to manage it? I think it can be harder for people who are diagnosed as adults because their/our coping mechanisms haven't been developed through life within the context of autism and the ones we have aren't always helpful.

ASD is essentially a communication disorder, not a 'nasty bastard' disorder. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are communication difficulties. They can be overcome though, but it does take both partners to understand the difficulties, understand the impact of them on a relationship and then work together to put strategies in place to overcome them.

If either partner isn't interested in doing that, then that is more of a problem that the autism.

ThatWasNotLove Sat 11-Nov-17 08:05:32

I know it sounds like an oxymoron saying he’s lovely otherwise, but it’s the complexity of having this condition. He’s emotionally colour blind would be one way of putting it. It’s impact on me is devastating and has broken me, but that is because I need someone who can see the colours I’m looking at and not deny their existence because he personally doesn’t know they exist/can’t process them.

He will hug me - robotically - if I ask. He is very good with practical things. He actively wants to help other people and actively wants to support me, but at the same time cannot tell when I’m suffering, doesn’t understand - or believe me - when I tell him and because he’s cognitively not able to put himself in my shoes, can’t just try to imagine and go from there.

I didn’t really mean this to be a thread about Aspergers - it manifests slightly differently in everybody too so it’s quite personal. I mentioned it as a kind of shortcut to describe the situation.

fantasmasgoria1 Sat 11-Nov-17 08:08:13

Sorry for what you are going through flowers my fiancé is very attentive, cuddles a lot and is very supportive. Even takes time off to take me to important appointments etc in time though you will meet someone who is there for you and provides what you need. It just takes time!

Battyoldbat Sat 11-Nov-17 08:11:58

Yes my DH does. He does tend to want to find practical solutions to things though so I do tell him sometimes that I just want to whinge/vent/sob and all I want is for him to listen and sympathise, not try and fix it.
He is honest and caring and supportive, which has been immensely important over the last couple of years since I’ve been diagnosed with a chronic health problem. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him.

HelpMeToUnderstandThis Sat 11-Nov-17 08:13:26

ThatWasNotLove

'Emotional colour blindness' is a really good way of describing it.

It's not that he doesn't care or is selfish or anything negative, he just can't see it to be able to respond to it.

Have you looked at the different together website? It is specifically for NT/ASC couples.

MissWilmottsGhost Sat 11-Nov-17 08:25:17

DH is great at that sort of stuff. I am not.

I have two brothers on the spectrum and I'm on a waiting list for autism assessment myself.

Like helpme I usually realise several days later what I should have done or said, but at the time I just feel like a rabbit in the headlights. I usually freeze up and say nothing. Too many times I have said the first things that come into my head, which is often something I later realise was stupid and tactless and sometimes very hurtful blush

deckoff Sat 11-Nov-17 08:31:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsMozart Sat 11-Nov-17 08:41:01

DH didn't used to be. It's taken twenty years of 'training', ie being very direct, but he'd always hug me even if he didn't understand me. Now, on the whole, he's grand, though there are still odd times when he just can't read a situation. At times he's a bit OTT, but that's him not really knowing what to do but that he should and wants to do something when I'm upset or tired, so I accept it. It's better than the alternative of nothing.

I'm quite emotional (an artistic temperament as my Ma used to say). I've had to learn to tone it down a bit. I don't mind - I've expected him to change so it works for us, so no reason I shouldn't have to look at myself and change something. This is no dig at you OP, just an explanation of me and DH.

I hope you find someone who has your OH's good qualities and who can hold you tight.

GeorgeTheHamster Sat 11-Nov-17 08:44:02

If you can't imagine it in a partner, do you have or have you ever had another person in your life who would listen to you and understand? It would be like that with a partner, but with more physical closeness. 💐

HelpMeToUnderstandThis Sat 11-Nov-17 08:45:52

I also have to say that my boyfriend has some lovely traits and characteristics that I haven't ever found in an NT man.

No one is perfect.

Zaphodsotherhead Sat 11-Nov-17 09:04:02

XH - diagnosed ASD was lovely, very emotionally literate and empathic, until he switched allegiance and then didn't know why I wasn't happy for him. Current PH, emotionally distant, no empathy and cannot put himself in my shoes at all. Practical and calm though. And the calmness and one-note emotions are actually very settling and good for me after a relationship where we were both highly emotional. So I put up with s lack of cuddling and emotional talk.

It can be lonely though.

Branleuse Sat 11-Nov-17 09:16:40

yes they do, and even with aspergers they can. My partner is aspie and so am I, and he is really supportive to me most of the time and I can talk to him about anything If he is being unsupportive I can tell him ad he makes more effort

TimeIhadaNameChange Sat 11-Nov-17 09:19:51

No. I'm actually going to have words with him tonight about it as I find it incredibly hurtful. Or rather, I would but I suspect he'll be drinking with his best friend before he comes home so it'll be wasted on him, and I'll have to have the conversation, again, another day.

He's on the AS, but he's also been severely depressed this last year and the two conditions together have been horrendous. The really hurtful thing, on top of the purely not listening to a word I say, is the fact that I've heard his best friend's opinion on nearly every topic we have discussed over this year, so he is obviously able to listen, hear and retain information, just not when it comes from me. I don't really give a flying fuck what his friend thinks, but I get told it regardless. Yet he can't retain information I tell him even when it's something he's specifically asked me to look up for him.

We had a long chat last night about stuff, and he promised me he'd remember, but I'll be very surprised if he has.

HelpMeToUnderstandThis Sat 11-Nov-17 09:27:27

Yet he can't retain information I tell him even when it's something he's specifically asked me to look up for him.

We had a long chat last night about stuff, and he promised me he'd remember, but I'll be very surprised if he has.

What strategy have you both agreed upon to help him remember?

He's not forgetting stuff on purpose. My best friend also has AS. Conversations are ridiculous. We are constantly going off on tangets or forget what we are talking about mid sentence sometimes! It's not intentional.

For things that need to be done - reminders/alarms can be set on phones. That's the best thing. Or a notebook of lists and reminders.

But just getting cross and frustrating (it is frustrating) won't help. It's not wilfull.

As for remembering what his friend says, it might be context dependent. It can be easier to remember something that is said in a conversation in the pub, where that is the only focus, than it is to remember what is said in a conversation at home when you might also be cooking dinner, watching TV or getting dressed, for example.

It depends on the degree to which was is being said is also being attended to.

My boyfriend and I both also find that our minds go blank. Just nothing there. I know that the answer is in my head, but it is unavailable. It's like that feeling of something being in the back of your mind and slowly working its way forward, but for pretty much everything.

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