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Is anyone married to someone with Aspergers?(996 Posts)
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Because I have just reached my limit.
Long marriage this sums it up perfectly and today I have had enough.
Not sure why I am posting really, my ducks are in a row (as of last autumn), he will leave our home to focus on his career which has become an obsession, he works every morning noon and night, seven days a week (academic). The only time he isn't working is devoted to cycling or swimming.
We are a permanent inconvenience, even watching a family film involves him working on his laptop. Dinner out involves him writing down things that come into his head and getting short if he is interrupted.
Any conversation involves him staring into space thinking about his work.
I will be able to manage financially, just about, unless he wants half of the deposit (which was a gift from my parents), then we will need to move house.
I have tried so hard, I have spent years making allowances but have reached the end of the line. Even though I know it is the right thing for me and DC I am sad.
I haven't told anyone yet, nothing has changed really apart from me recognising that he will never be who I want him to be.
I am independent financially and socially - have worked hard for that over the last three years after giving my career up when DC were small.
He can't be bothered to make any effort socially, no one is interesting enough apart from one of my friends. He develops an interest in everything I do, i.e. wants to piggy back onto it which is stifling.
DC won't be surprised, they prefer it when he isn't here and actually say things like 'we love it mum when dad is away, everything is so calm and happy'.
Definitely the right thing but still.
Sounds like you're doing the right thing (and I have ASD!)
Ah, it sounds as though you’ve thought of everything and it really is the right decision. Still sad, though, isn’t it?
You and your dc are worth more.
I find the article quite depressing though, not all NT/ASD relationships are like that, and I didn't pick my DH based on him making up for my deficiencies
Good luck OP
Yes - married 20 years and he’s in the process of being diagnosed- however I’m at the end of my tether with his behaviour which has got worse as the years have gone on. I feel like his carer, he makes no effort to implement even small changes and we have no communication. I’ve now realised that his behaviour is having a negative impact on our children and am making plans to end things. Part of this is trying to get him sorted though as I feel so much guilt for wanting to end things. I’m exhausted.
Thanks for the replies and for Taffydog.
It is really hard Taffy.
Same here, he has got much worse as the years have gone by and it is affecting DC who have started comparing him to the lovely dads of friends, or my dad or uncles and say ‘why can’t dad be like them mum (in tears),
He is emotionally unavailable and awkward with himself. DC have described friend’s families as families who fit together like a jigsaw, ‘only we don’t because of Dad’.
He is so very defensive about his behaviour which doesn’t help any of us.
I am an open book emotionally, he is the opposite. I have neglected my own emotional needs for years, increasingly as his behaviour has got worse.
I have stopped sharing life’s trivial things with him and stopped sharing a lot of what would be shared in a normal relationship because none of it matters to him and he finds it dull.
I had a cancer scare last year, his reaction after I was called into see my GP with an hours notice was ‘things will be very different if you can’t work’, of course he didn’t come with me to the surgery despite being at home, the thought simply wouldn’t occur to him.
This has a lot of truth in it for me/us.
Is your DH immensely intelligent Taffy? DH fits the profile like a glove. I am not stupid myself but have relaxed into life over the years and am comfortable with who I am and where my life is whereas he has not and is not.
Not me but a good friend was. I didn't know her before she was married to him so I always found her to be a bit uptight. When she decided to leave him she came and told me in person and her whole personality was different. She was happy, 'free' I guess. She admitted to me that she had lived the last 14 years of her life around him and his need to have things 'just so'. She felt her life was too structured and he made the whole family very stressed out. He took it very hard as he had to adjust to the big change but she and their two DC have absolutely blossomed.
(he is actually a really lovely guy, very smart, but can be difficult to be around socially. Eg on a typical evening with them in a neighbourhood social bbq - 6.30pm would hit and he would make my friend and DC leave as bed time was 7pm. She couldn't have a couple of drinks and relax as it would interfere with the routine.)
@theboxofdelights I had to reread parts of your post in places and also check the date in case it was something I'd posted with some details changed (his career, for example).
@Aus84 I also wondered if you knew me in RL and changed some details (length of marriage) because you're also describing me.
I'm trying to get divorced. It's an absolute nightmare because I live in Europe and need to stay here and Brexit and more complications. When I told one mutual friend we were divorcing she actually said "Mr Soaring has absorbed so much from you, he's very steady and you are more up and down." I wasn't going to mention the Aspergers but that just hit every single button I have.
I had trauma therapy for (historical) rape: he didn't want to know if I was feeling down, I had to be neutral after every single session. He wouldn't give me so much as a hug. Not hold my hand.
I had a cancer scare that involved two months of different tests and doctors. Not once did he come to an appointment with me.
I cannot be right. Ever. About anything. If he doesn't think or see something, it simply doesn't exist, therefore I'm wrong.
I'm also not allowed to have emotions. Positive or negative. It disturbs him.
Extremely defensive. If I say it's a cloudy day, he can take that as a personal attack or a complaint relating to him. Not kidding btw. This is exhausting. He agrees that if he has the option of thinking what I say is either positive or neutral, he'll think its neutral, or if the choice is neutral or negative, he'll think it's negative. He agrees he thinks about me like this but can't see why that would be difficult for me to live with.
I am not allowed to mention the past if he doesn't like it. So if he's done something five times that have hurt me, I'm not allowed to say that it's happened five times now and I don't like it, I have to only talk about the one happening now. Usually he sees the individual issue as very small and can't understand what I'm upset about. Therefore I have no right to be upset. Therefore I'm unreasonable. Therefore I'm attacking him for the sake of it.
Work is above everything. And everyone. This is heightened because we've been expats so I had to give up mine to travel with his. I've not been sitting in the spa all day or living typical expat wife life, but don't have a career (working towards one).
YYYYY to piggybacking onto social things and friends. He wants me to make friends with women who have husbands and assumes he will automatically be friends with the husband. He's to totally socially awkward, but is a bit. He can't make friends though (which genuinely makes me sad for him).
Bloody sport: swimming, cycling, running, skiing. All sports that involve minimum interpersonal interaction. All more important than me.
He agrees he as Aspergers, but says he can't change anything so we all essentially have to adapt. This is a personal thing - I know other people get the diagnosis and then decide to learn how non-Aspergers brains work. He also thinks I should take responsibility for his emotions.
He has Aspergers. I have to live with Aspergers. I have to deal with it.
I've done everything I can over the years because I believed him when he said he wouldn't touch me because I didn't speak in the right tone etc. I've been to numerous therapists about other things where this has come up and they've said it's unsustainable. What broke me was him knowing he has Aspergers, agreeing he has it and saying he wasn't interested in learning how I think. I was always looking for the solution, always trying to make things better so he'd feel more comfortable, hoping he'd then relax and things would be easier. I thought he'd want to make things better too, when he realised. But he doesn't, because he's really very comfortable. I've facilitated him having a marriage. If I had been brought up to be less accommodating to men's (and other people in general) needs, this marriage would never have happened.
Everything I've listed is his manifestation of Aspergers. He's actually a really really nice and decent guy, which is why I loved him. Nobody else sees any of this. I didn't fully either until after we were married and certain things happened. It's totally broken me though. I'm in long term therapy to try and cope until we can actually divorce. I was so broken by it I actually needed therapy to have enough self esteem to tell him it was over.
And even that I had to do in front of someone else: previous attempts had failed because he didn't see the problem so refused to accept I wanted out!! He only accepted the separation because the other person was a therapist and reinforced - in a therapeutist sensitive way - what I was saying and jellied him process it, a little bit at least.
Swallow , we did the expat thing too and I gave up my career to facilitate his abroad but have rebuilt it over the last decade and am now secure again (well as secure as one can ever be).
I could have written everything you have posted, unreasonable, attacking for the sake of it. God it is bloody wearing.
He's actually a really really nice and decent guy, which is why I loved him, this too.
We lived apart for a year for work reasons five years into out marriage and he came home a changed person. More than a decade of steady decline later we are here.
Must go as off to work but Swallow thank you for sharing your story, you won't be broken forever.
When I was feeling particularly low (I can't believe it was 2013 - according to my writing book) I bought a book on writing poetry and started writing. I found it really helpful book.
I shared some of it with him recently and it made him angry! He just didn't want to acknowledge what was written, saw it as an attack I guess.
I think my mother is on the ASD spectrum. She masks it really well but it's there. My father finds her impossible and their relationship has really deteriorated in retirement but he has issues of his own - a very deprived childhood has left him with an angry depression. I had a very stressful childhood - always walking on eggshells around both of them and I was never hugged by either of them. And I'm naturally talkative which, I can see now, caused sensory overload in my mother. I've asked my parents to get counselling but was rebuffed and we're now no longer in contact.
I'm so sorry you're going through all this OP.
My father has (undiagnosed) Asperger's. He sounds very similar to your partners: lives for his work which fills every waking moment. He's now 75 and still working. Mum and he remain married and "visit" regularly, retain email contact on an almost daily basis (dad not keen on the phone!) But live separately. He's otionally unavailable to us kids as adults, but is surprisingly sweet to our kids - picks up gifts for them, shows them magic tricks etc.- though he doesn't see the often. I know we're all his best people, and he's a good man. Tbh I don't get disappointed or upset as I have no expectations of him (eg a call on my birthday, or card, would never happen. But to my surprise when he made an important work breakthrough and had a press release, he mentioned specifically that it happened on my birthday, so he thought about me but didn't think to communicate it).
I would have liked an "ordinary" dad but my dad is not a "bad" dad. He doesn't shout at us, hurt us, he isn't inconsistent or hot and cold. When we were small he was working or affectionate for short periods. There's no side to him, he just is who he is. My DS is a carbon copy of him, though he has no plans to marry, and I love him as well. He also is a good person, but not an emotionally available person.
We also did the expat thing as a family btw! Theme...
I feel for you OP. I hope you and your DC can get through this OK.
As an aside, the wording of that article is a bit...ouch! Problematic and a bit ableist. Appreciate it is almost ten years old though.
I have aspergers and it does sting to hear a neurotypical person described as "normal". Also, we're not (generally) as calculating as portrayed in the article.
From my experience (and I appreciate this is anecdotal), people with ASD don't really have the energy to be excessively manipulative. It takes enough mental energy to present as "normal" enough to not attract exclusion or abuse and keep a job/relationship going.
Anyone seriously weighing up the pros and cons of being in a relationship with me *just because of my ASD and not because of any behavioural aspects can GTF.
Having said that, people with Aspergers are people and have as many variations between them as neurotypical people. Some genuinely want to understand how neurotypical people work and what they need and put the effort in when they find someone worthy. Some don't, that's because of their personality though and not illustrative of the ASD.
I hope things work out OK for you OP. You and the DC deserve to be happy and hopefully you can maintain a friendship with DH.
I've never found my ASD friends to be manipulative. I know that's anecdotal but that's been my experience. But I think my mother has ASD plus narcissism. She is manipulative and controlling but it comes alongside panic and not coping. I do feel for her and I wish that she didn't find life so stressful.
@notafeeling The aspect of not being manipulative is so important. I stress it to the people I've told. My STBXDH is not mean. He doesn't try to hurt me. He simply can't see it's happening. It's like he can't see the colour green and therefore it doesn't exist.
And while I find it a shame that Aspergers is no longer separate but part of the ASD, because there are quite large differences between how people can function, I love the idea of a spectrum because it stops everybody being viewed as exactly the same. Aspergers is not a "box", how it manifests is different depending on personalities, upbringing, gender, genetics probably, life experiences etc. ie like everybody else!
There is no normal brain either! I don't like "neuro-typical" either. We are all different and thank goodness for that!! There's nothing wrong with having Aspergers. There IS a problem when it's undiagnosed or unrecognised in an intimate relationship though. And the problems resulting from that for the non-Aspergers partner are hugely, hugely overlooked. If it's known from the start then it's entirely different.
Yes, I am always very honest about myself when I get into a relationship. My DP of two years seems to like my quirks for the most part but there is a lot of effort on my part to understand how he works and make sure he is cared for and feels loved. It's worth it because he is very lovely.
It is a spectrum and we're all different. For example, I may struggle to read situations but I am hyperempathetic to the point where I find some genres of film hard to watch.
Defensiveness comes from being told your whole life that you are wrong. Heartless Aspergers paints us as monsters and I worry that the whole world sees us that way!
My ex was like this. It wasn't until years later I realised he is on the spectrum. His personality was basically made of up of obsessions that would wax and wane and have new ones added. He would clean the house obsessively and be crazy about the dog coming out of her basket and shedding hairs. Life was...well, it was no life. I left after four years of on and off relationship. He is very intelligent and an aesthete but has no connections to other humans or animals at all. No empathy of any sort. I heard recently that he had moved to a really isolated spot in a coastal region. Something he talked about when I knew him two decades ago. I hope he is happy but I doubt it. It's tragic really.
Yes to Swallow's post. I can't identify with so much.
boxofdelights I am so very sorry.
Whatever decision you reach, be kind to yourself.
Learn to love yourself and treat yourself like one of your children. Build yourself up. You are worth it.
This life erodes your sense of self.
It dulls right and wrong, it makes you question your sanity and It's the hardest path to tread.
I trod it for decades. I loved him but couldn't sustain the relationship any longer.
I am wracked with guilt, but I'm now living and slowly slowly mending.
Ultimately, you deserve to be happy and it's so sad to read some of the posts here. Take care of yourselves. You matter.
I am so sorry box of delights
I am married to an Aspie DH. He was DX just over a year ago and since then we have worked together to understand each other. It was a revelation for both of us and so many things fell into place.
DH recognises that he operates differently but we have both talked so much and have a much better understanding of each other.
To me DH is DH with Aspergers added on... I am lucky that he is open to talking and listens to me more than he used to. He was not happy to be different to begin with, but I have told him that I love him as he is and do not want him to change the person he is. Saying that he is not a difficult person, his traits manifest as stress over sensory overload, ( not aggressive just becomes exhausted ) and obsessions over various things. Hyper empathetic, very clever but struggles to “join the dots” with thinking, can be quite naive and not understand people’s intentions and misreads some situations. Socially he enjoys talking to people but has difficulties when there is a group of people more than three as he struggles to track conversations.
I think I would have found it impossible if he was not prepared to work at our relationship, or shut off from me emotionally.
Thank you everyone, I am fine, resolved to my new normal but fine.
DH is being really nice (clearly he realises I have had enough), not sure how long he will be able to maintain it but we have discussed making enough cash available for him to set up a comfortable home. He wants to put DC first, not to cause disruption and upheaval any more than this whole situation does already.
I wonder if he is slightly relieved tbh, sad but relieved that he will be able to devote 24 hours a day to science without any expectations from anyone/anything else if he wants to.
Oldbirdy, your post is particularly comforting as I am strong enough to deal with whatever it is turns up but I worry very much about DC. I would love to think that they thought of him with the fondness you do your dad.
He doesn't have any particular OCD type hang ups, not about cleanliness, tidiness, timeliness etc.. It is the just the never ending emotional unavailability that has killed it for me and a lack of shared priorities.
Tomorrow is another day thankfully.
Best wishes to all of you. .
Oh boxofdelights I too am married to a scientist. I completely understand, the parallels are uncanny (there just has to be a stint or two abroad) I, apparently, do not understand and cannot be the partner he now needs because I cannot understand that at his “very core” he is a scientist. It is exhausting. for you and good luck. Not sure how things will turn out for us, our DCs are almost grown, I feel I am at the end of my usefulness for him. He has a stellar career, I gave mine up to support him. He has always been emotionally unavailable.
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