Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Married to someone with Asperger's? Support group here!(932 Posts)
This thread is for partners seeking to understand the dynamics of their relationship with someone with ASD. It is a support thread, and a safe space to have a bit of a rant. Avoid sweeping generalisations if possible, try and keep it specific to you and your partner.
(ASD partners welcome to lurk or pop in, but please don't argue with other posters and tell them they are wrong.)
I have found our last thread very helpful actually.
I know this will not change the fact our relationship is dead.
But it has reminded me of the WHY and that there is a lot H can’t really help. It has helped me appreciate the efforts he is currently doing.
In some ways, it is also making it harder for me to leave! (Because I know he will find the same struggles that Ford describes and I don’t wish him any hardship and because I also know he will find it very hard)
So quite a bit of peace of mind going on there... which is nice (also probably helped by the fact he is away with the dcs for their common special interest!)
When the heat left our relationship, it became very peaceful! I think the 'ongoing' nature of the relationship is what DH struggled with. With hindsight, I realise he thought he'd 'achieved it' when we married, and didn't realise that it is actually a constant process of developing intimacy.
Tbf I think a lot of men think like this too!!
Thanks for starting the new thread- I'm still lurking in the background. I separated from my - not formally diagnosed but very obviously ASD - husband 3 months ago now and this thread has been amazingly supportive. I appreciate we definitely need to avoid sweeping generalisations, but I have had so many light bulb moments when reading about others experiences and this has given me huge comfort. I think I blamed myself for somehow not being special enough for him to connect with - and it is a massive relief for us both to understand why our relationship doesn't work. We get on better than ever now that he's moved out and I don't expect anything from him. I don't resent him anymore because I see he really can't help some of his behaviour. We still co parent a daughter so it is important for us to get on, and this can happen now that we are separated. This thread is a life saver for people trying to have an NT type of relationship with someone who can't
I'm so grateful for this discussion as it's making me feel much calmer and more patient. This is what's needed for my marriage to implode. I hope this thread continues to grow and help people.
I am female btw @HermioneGoesBackHome
Don’t worry people get it wrong all the time!
Posts to Feminism Chat about being misgendered
Anyway I promised myself I wouldn’t comment but thought I ought to clarify that!
All the best to everyone here.
I am very non-conforming if that is any consolation. Partly due to sensory issues around tight clothing. 🙂
Hi thanks for starting this thread.
I have what I suspect is an Aspie husband. I am really tired of trying and the absence of emotional intimacy. The last thread made me realise it wasn't my fault and he is just like that and not likely to change. Anyhow I am thinking of asking him for a separation and divorce. Do you have any advice on how best to tackle that with an Aspie?
I found that I needed to be very clear about what I wanted when I suggested separating as there is no way that he is able to have a mutual discussion about this type of emotional decision. I presented my plan with suggestions for how it could work out - the benefits for him and for me and my daughter. I'm lucky that he is very kind and doesn't want to upset me so he will usually agree if I can 'sell it' to him if you see what I mean
@horsecode yes I do. It has to be very logical and non-emotional reasons, narrated in a non-emotional fashion. I am going to have to think it through properly.
horse what sort of benefits did you give him if you dint mind me asking??
Yay! Thanks for the new thread @picklemepopcorn .
I imagine I'm going to be on here a lot in the next two weeks. I'm off to my in laws. This is like Aspergers central. No diagnosis. Now before I get jumped on, while my DH doesn't always want to admit he has it, when he understood what it can be like he immediately recognised it in his family before I said a word.
FIL - breaks my heart. Such a gentle guy but the control side for him is strong and he has OCD. Every night we go to bed hearing him check each windows is closed 12-16 times (moving the handle). I've spoken about getting help for this but as nobody discusses emotions or other people's mental states, nothing happens.
MIL - can't tell if she has it or is just severely affected/conditioned after living with FIL for 40 years.
DHs paternal aunt - very classic case. Even has an amazing photographic memory and memory in general (can work for and against you!). She lives down the road.
MIL's maternal cousin - also unmistakable
MILs paternal second cousin - happiest of all of them but very sad because he's living in his parent's house, he's now retired, nothing in the house has changed, including his mother's cleaning routine from when she was alive. He barely leaves the town and isn't comfortable with non extended family members.
DHs maternal aunt's husband
What is so incredibly sad is that there is no diagnosis. So, when FIL is repeating himself for the 100th time, people are very irritated with him. If they understood this was what he does when he's stressed, then they could maybe help relieve the stress. Worse is that he doesn't know he's stressed either, or not to the point where he can name it. He just keeps repeating himself. This man is an absolutely beautiful soul - they all are - and the lack of diagnosis means a) everybody just accepts each other's quirks in a relatively healthy way, without labelling them but b) there is no help available to help with the mental suffering that happens under the surface.
For me it means no emotions for the duration.
Oh and they don't speak English and my language skills are ok, but not excellent! I don't always know if I've misunderstood or someone is "joking"!
Thanks for the new thread!
I just wanted to write something positive about my AS husband. Today our song from our first dance (at our wedding) came on the radio and he smiled and held my hand. Was such a sweet gesture. He chose that song for me which is one of the nicest things he's ever done and reminds me why I'm still here.
So what worked for me was telling him that the atmosphere in our house was just unbearable for me. I told him that having an emotional connection with my partner is now a non-negotiable, I have tried to live without it for nearly 2 decades and it was making me ill. Now that I know we will never have that connection I cannot live with him. I have had so many emotional outbursts from the pain of feeling so lonely in my marriage I think he was keen to get away from that too. I told him that it was a toxic environment for our daughter, that I respected that he was doing his best but that he needed to move out to be fair to us all. He is a great dad and I reassured him that I would never stop him seeing our dd.
What has really shocked me most about my situation is the hostility and lack of support I've had from my family. They only see the facade and the masking behaviour - and they don't recognise any of the behaviours I talk about as he is good at performing socially (with lots of alcohol) for short periods. It is a very lonely experience but I feel more myself now that we have separated - it is a big relief
Sorry - I didn't say about the benefits - I told him that:
Living on his own means he can indulge in his very niche hobby whenever he likes
He can get drunk when he likes as no nagging from me
He need never have another emotional discussion
He will never have to see a relationship counsellor again
He will never have to act social when he doesn't want to for my family and friends
He can still see our daughter whenever he want
He seems very happy on his own so far!
Thank you for starting this new thread. Realising DH being Aspie has actually helped me with overcoming a bit of resentment I had had over the years ( seemingly struggling to cope with what I thought were normal every day things, OCD behaviours, social difficulties, being physically exhausted and needing lots of sleep, lots of anxieties over what I thought were non-issues, the list goes on. ) He gets so stressed out if we fall out, disproportionately so, and says angry unkind things that he later regrets. He does actually have good empathy but mostly if he is fully focussed on the situation, it takes him a while to work things out.
I found the most important thing for me was to distinguish between the condition and bad behaviour, AS or ArSe. Once I could do that, I could stand back more.
I also found ways round things, helped by others.
And I found generalisations don’t work in general! Yes, there are common underlying themes but the spectrum is non linear, more like a radar graph. That helped hugely.
As did working on reclaiming. I’m much saner now about the future.
Horsecode what you say about "selling" is similar to what I have tried/try
to do. I find it may or may not work but I won't know for sure for about 9 months. He sees us separating as a failure of epic proportions. I've tried various ways of framing it, but he's got his frame and won't change it.
I get so exhausted because ultimately I can't just say, "It'll be ok." I have to show him too. Hence why I have this holiday at his parents. I have to show him and them that they don't need to panic. I'm saying it'll be ok (as long as we put the kids first and treat each other respectfully - and I've been pointing out to him for a few years when people we knew were going through divorces and weren't doing either of those things, and suggested to him other ways they could have chosen to act).
The atmosphere in our house isn't as bad as it's been because I'm not feeling like I'm going crazy all the time. So I'm taking that as a sign that some of my words and actions are having some effect.
I'm completely exhausted and worn out.
I never ever want to be in a marriage again. Because of Brexit it'll be another two years before we can actually divorce anyway (long story), but after that no more long term relationships! A few passionate love affairs now and again might be very welcome though!
Changer, I’m with you on no more marriage/ long term partnership, ever. If that means I collapse and die by myself, fine. Seriously. This one has done for me.
No more relationships or marriage for me ever again too. I think when you have been physically abused you believe there are men who don't physically abused. But this is much more subtle, and goes on for far too long, so it's damage in some ways is more long term.
@horsecode thanks for sharing that. I know my family are not going to support me. They love him. He is very charming when he is with them, which is for very short periods. I'm very good at hiding my pain.
biobopbee I agree, I’ve found it perplexing for years - DH hates any interaction with the dcs’ school and flatly refuses to go to events and on the very rare times I make social plans he often tries to refuse before and on the night and if not behaved badly.
I feel in fact whereas I thought he was just being belligerent and not caring about my opinion, perhaps he was only seeking to avoid himself pain and I’ve expected too much, not understanding. I’m not great socially, so I wanted the support of him being there. I’ve come to realise it makes situations worse and not better though.
It’s been hard as he masks well and is charming and lovely at work - I believe his colleagues think I’m crazy for suggesting he has aspergers but, they don’t see the post work fall out or all the rigidity that happens at home - he’s more like females with aspergers are reported to be in his presentation. My family wouldn’t get it either if we split. People often tell me how lovely my DH is - because he goes out of his way to say what he’s decided people want to hear.
That said he did once have to do a band show where he played with his back to the audience...
ps I hope that’s not a negative generalisation to say that the female presentation of AS is that they act out at home - we’ve been told this wrt our dd and her traits etc.
Changer et al... me too! Never again. I want to be free to think about myself.
DH's family is undiagnosed aspie central, too. Lovely people, haven't had a conversation about anything for years.
Bil1has never had a relationship, lived at home until he was 35, stayed in his first job for 25 years, until he was made redundant.
BiL 2 lives at home at 35. Has a degree but has worked as a garden labourer for years, no guaranteed hours etc. Can only have a conversation 1-1, but don't ask any difficult questions like what his favourite food is. Didn't know his NI number, or have a passport, when we tried to check his tax code.
I could go on, but I won't.
So clever, all of them. But not engaged, really.
wish piecing everything together between us was when the penny dropped. I actually feel guilty now for being irritated, I just used to put a lot down to being shy and socially awkward, a bit “anal” etc before the dots all joined up. He has also opened up about lots of things that I had no idea about ( high pitched noises like sirens or bright lights actually causing him physical pain, and not liking being touched by anyone other than close family etc. But loves being hugged tightly by me.)
A lot of how he is is contradictory which is also not easy for me to fathom. Which is not easy as he can’t explain it himself! He prefers very small groups ( 1, 2 people ) as he says he struggles to track more than one conversation at a time and can’t tell if he’s saying the right thing or is being boring, so clams up with more people. He says he feels like an alien most of the time, which makes me sad for him .
What a charmingly disablist thread.
Wonder what ones I can start.
I have reported yuriz comment, asking MN to let us continue.
@yuriz we have had this conversation elsewhere. This is a thread where partners of people with ASD can come for support if they need it. We are attempting not to generalise, and only to reflect on our own experiences.
Where do you see disablism? Please be specific and we may be able to explain or ask for it to be edited.
I do not see any disablism,
I do see lots of specific instances we have found hard, and requests for advice on how to address them.
I do see lots of positives being mentioned.
I also swore that I wouldn't have another relationship after divorcing ex two years ago. Now, I can almost see myself changing on that! Which is a big surprise. It has taken a long time to heal, but heal I have; once we separated, colour, happiness and joy came back into my life. What has really changed is that now I spend much more of my time being happy, surrounded by happy people, and that includes men that I could see might bring that happiness into a relationship. Would keep them out of my little home sanctuary for a long time though...lovers on the side might work !
I just took that comment from yuriz as being goady.
Speaking personally I love my DH more than anything and actually take my hat off to him for having to cope feeling different. I also respect the effort and emotional cost he goes to to do things for us that make him feel uncomfortable.
I know this has not been everyone else’s experience with OH’s.
I think every AS and NT relationship is unique.
Bip I agree that every ASC/NT relationhsip is different.
And I agree about how hard it can be to try an fit in and feeling different (also because this is exactly how I feel myself but not because I’m not NT. But due to cultural issues)
I think that what killed my relationhsip is that, at some point, H decided that I was totally wrong on absolutely everything. (But never said a word, just acted in a PA way instead)
So I was wrong not to do more around the house (I had ME but apparently was just lazy. He said that much to me)
I was wrong to find it hard to look after two under two on my own (he was away most of the time for work and hobbies. Only recognised it was hard when he had to do it himself) etc etc
It created an atmosphere where he was for ever angry. And Obvioulsy where he would NOT make any effort towards me, because I was wrong to ask for whatever I was asking for.
A good example was when he clearly refused to do more around the house, which I needed him to do (due to ME but also because I didn’t want to be the skivvy in the house AND try to build a business but only if that fitted around him!).
So he told me that, growing up, he only saw mums who were SAHM so that was his norm. Except ..... his own mother was a farmer, has worked all her life, 7 days a week!, both in house in their own farm but also outside the house to help other farmers, and he saw that day in and day out!
But that was a good enough excuse for him to say he felt it was normal and therefore it was not normal for me to ask him to step up and do some hw, parent the dcs etc...
And every clearly he was extremely ressentful about it. Hence the constant (PA) aggression...
Same with asking to try and do things that I could physically do when we were together etc....
So for me, the effort wasn’t there.
Maybe as Orlando was saying it was more ArSe than AS. Or maybe he got so overwhelmed by the situation and so entrenched in his ideas that he just couldn’t see (or hear) any other possibility than the fact I had to be wrong. White board and all that.
horsecode thanks for that list. Very helpful.
Not sure I will find a similar list because, atm, he probably has the perfect life for him. He does his hobbies when he wants, (still doesn’t no or little emotional outbursts from me anymore, I’m still ‘here’ for him, at a level that feels right to him. I’ll have to think there....
hermione that sounds very hard on you. I am so sorry.
I think you are right when you say it is an entrenched view though. Not that I am making excuses for anyone and I dont agree with how you have been treated.
DH is similar in that he talks of having an entrenched view “ pre-aspie” enlightenment... when I was the unreasonable one ( he would base this on a minor incident ) or “controlling” him etc etc. He is more able to see another POV if I make him go through the scenario through his own perspective. Then it’s a different story .... and I’m not apparently unreasonable after all!
I found being very direct with DH helps somewhat.
I’m not sure what advice to give though about your situation
Haha Reminds me when he told me I was controlling because I wanted a menu for the week (easier for me and reduced the cost of shopping).
Also for wanting to do budget (never managed to do that one...)
Bip tbh things are much better now.
In part because having an official diagnosis (and spending nearly two years reminding him) means he has finally accepted the ME.
In part because I’ve refused to back down so he had to get in with it.
And also because we’ve had NUMEROUS talk in the house about sexism, the role of women in society etc... all of course directed towards the teen dcs but he has learnt (very very slowly)
And finally because I dint give a fuck anymore, have disengaged completely AND have managed to build my health up enough so I can work more and be nearly financially independent so actually he situation is better than it has been in YEARS.
Another thing that I realised in the last few days.
I dint know if any of you have done a bit of personal relation study but there is a thing called the Drama Triangle.
In this system you consider that people can communicate in different states and those three states are the Rescuer, the Victim and the Persecutor. If one person is putting themselves as a Rescuer, it often leads the other person to reason as a victim or a persecutor.
Made me think because I think this triangle has been at play very often in my relationship. I’ve tried to help (rescue) H a lot (with the dcs, organisation wise etc...) and he answered as the persecutor having a go at me.....
Maybe that’s also why stepping back (and letting him make mistakes but HIS mistakes) helped too.
Yes, Hermione, I recognise that triangle in my relationship also. I would say we started off with me rescuer, him persecutor. Then, when I became unwell after the birth of our child, I could no longer play rescuer and he changed to victim. It was only after divorce - ie when I stepped out and he had to sort his own life - that he had to take responsibility because I wasn't in his triangle anymore. His life at that point became more difficult, whereas mine just kept getting easier.
That sounds difficult @Hermione.
I too have M.E. and my husband has definitely stepped up on a practical level. He cooks, gets the shopping, takes DS to nursery on his way to work, is responsible for our pets, helps / does bedtime routine... It's taken lots of work but putting in boundaries has helped "I am tired / going for a bath. You need to do x, y, z". Sometimes things get done, sometimes they don't. But at least I get time to myself this way.
I've just been told "how should I know what I want? It's up to you to sell it to me..."
I know whatever I come up with won't be what she wants, because if if she doesn't have a pretty formed idea, by default she doesn't want it.
Try offering possibles, Daft. So wondering out loud whether x would be better or y, or maybe doing nothing at all. Go through the options several times, on different occasions. See if she joins in, or can give a better answer after a bit of time to assimilate it.
Daft that sounds like H presented with ideas of where to go on hols.
In the end, I’m presenting him with ideas and why I think x is best (and why y and z aren’t). And I tell him to have a look himself and give me alternatives. After a while (often quite a few weeks with me saying nothing about said hols), We normally end up doing x.
My MIL once explained me that thebest way to deal with her DH (also on the spectrum) is to present him with the idea. Let him reject the idea outright. Leave think. And that he then normally comes back proposing to do <insert her initial idea>
The only she can’t do is to then point out it was her idea in the first place!!
That's it exactly! DH tends to say no as a knee jerk reaction, and also struggles to come up with suggestions. It's like severe inertia. Naming the children was hilarious!
This thread has made me dreadfully sad as a mum to a DS ASD high functioning who I am really hoping will fall in love and have a longlasting relationship.
What I dont understand and this is not a dig just a point that I am curious about.
When the person with ASD ect is your son or daughter or family member there is no leaving, no walking away no matter how heartbreaking as a parent it is not to have a deep emotional connection from someone you love you never really consider walking away or giving up on them.
Is that just the difference of it being unconditional to conditional. For those who have got into relationships knowing someone has ASD or is an Aspie and chosen to have children with them how can it then end due to something that is part of their condition. I dont feel I can understand that really.
A few things there. (I also have a dc who is very probably on the spectrum so I totally get why you are getting sad.)
For one, I didn’t know that H is on the spectrum when I met him so there wasn’t any knowledge of what I was getting into.
And then, the difference for me isn’t that much about conditional/unconditional.
The relationship I have with dc is a parent-child relationhsip. It can be fiery at times, we don’t understand each other all the time but in the end, as a child/teenager, I have the upper hand. He is still supposed to (and is) be looking towards me for guidance and support. H, well, this is quite the opposite. He wants things his way and expects them to his way (unlike dc who expects me to make the final decision in a lot of cases)
Then, with a child, I am independent from him. I dint rely in him for anything. That’s not my role. His role is to rely in me and then learn to be a independent as possible. Dc isn’t there to fill any needs (emotional or physical). In contrast, with H, I am entering a partnership which means I want to be able to rely in him for physical and emotional purposes. Not all the time. But when things are hard (eg in time of illness) for example. Or just because it will make me feel good and will maintain the loving relationhsip (eg by been attentive to my needs, acts of kindness etc...).
And finally re the deep connexion, I dint think I ahve a deep connexion with H. I never have tbh because he has never ever talked about him, how he feels, what is important for him etc.... I thought it would come with time. After all, not everyone wears their heart in their sleeve and not everyone is confortable been vulnerable. But it never happened even though I have made myself vulnerable to him (and it has, at times, been used against me)
So yes, a parent - child relationhsip is pretty different than one with a partner and it hasn’t nothing to do with conditional/unconditional.
Thanks for answering. For your son then and mine is there anything we can do, try to teach them or help them understand that they have to do to make future relationships work. One if the things I do now is to tell me son to observe social norms like hello goodbye how are you ect and even if to him its weird just fake it.
Is this going to work in a partnership and if its not truly who he is is there any point. I wont ask anything else after this dont want to derail the thread. Clicked on hoping to read a few tough but keeping it together stories but so far everyones leaving ☹
Tootired, Hermione explains very well.
I also have a son with ASD, and I fear for his future relationships. I rehearse what I will say to any girl who gets serious with him. However, as he hasn't spoken to any girls as far as I know it won't be a problem for a while!!!
We only realised about DH in the last five years or so. So the first 20 years of our marriage I assumed he was cross with me, bored with me, didn't care about me for a lot of the time.
I'm sure you can imagine how hard that is to sustain a relationship feeling like that? Intimacy was very difficult. I thought it would get better one day. Then I realised that actually, this is it.
I've learned how to read him better, and not get upset. I have to accept that he loves me, while not feeling loved, IYSWIM.
Does that help you understand at all? If we had known 25 years ago, things would have been very different.
@tootiredtospeak I think there are things you can do. DH was bought up by parents who were very very big on coming across confident, talking to strangers and guests, serving etiquette etc. DH has learnt all of that so well that people believe he has the best manners in town. In fact people often compliment me on how great it. Come home and he makes no effort at all, not even to chat. In fact the most i hear about him and his life is when guests come over.
There must be a way to make aspie people understand NT way of thinking.
@picklemepopcorn I'm admiring your strength. I've been married only for 10 years with one young child, and just realised this year that he is aspie. Would you advise me to stay or leave?
I'm here 25 years on!
Teach him to listen to his loved ones.
Teach him that people have to give and take.
Teach him to ask how people feel, and believe them what they say.
My DS has learned about expressing affection through babying our dog. I live in hope that he can carry this on into other relationships.
It's ok to ask- I'm happy to share what I have worked on with my DS. I point out to them occasionally what is normal, and what is unusual in my relationship with DH. 'When you get a girlfriend, don't walk out of the room while she is talking to you, she won't like it.'
They notice things themselves now, which teaches them what not to do!
Hermioni that is so true. I have to drip feed ideas.
We're coming to the end of a self-build project, which should be really good fun choosing finishes etc. But we can't seem to confer.
It depends what you want, coatcomfy. Try some different ways of doing things, see if it makes a difference. I have enough, now. I don't need more. I've got used to this level. And DH is better than he used to be, now we've taken the pressure off each other.
After two weeks of living hell, tonight she is so lovely my heart is melting.
It does help thanks. I hope I can help him I want him to experience love intimacy and having a family. I dont expect it will be easy and fully intend to be life coach and relationship coach every step of the way. Maybe if potential partners have an understanding MIL that can step in and listen to the rants knowing only too well just how hard loving him can be that will help.
All the best for your future relationships.
I suspect my DP is an Aspie. We have 2 children and I want to leave him. People in the outside world love him; he comes across as the kindest, most helpful man, I fear people will see me as the devil woman for leaving him.
But, this emotional and physical neglect is making me ill and no matter how much I excuse neglect for the suspected aspergers, it doesn't mean I have to sentence myself to a lifetime of this does it? I genuinely think I have physical illnesses as a product of emotional neglect.
- DP could not understand after DC1 was born, why I deserved the same amount of disposable income as him when I reduced my hours to part-time. There was already very little to go around.
- he believes that cakes and biscuits need to be shared equally and will eat one just to even things out between us.
-he doesn't get his hair cut
-he never buys clothes and accepts hand-me-downs from FIL... he will wear clothes until they have holes in them.
-he never sees the bigger picture. When we took out our mortgage he wanted us to pay astronomical amounts each month so to pay less interest over the years (sensible) bit he hadnt even thought about how we were going to pay for necessities like clothes, general day to day purchases etc!
-he is miserable in his job after 15 years but refuses to leave
-he thinks its ok to pursue his hobbies on my birthday
-took off on an abroad holiday 1 week after my father passed away and couldn't see why I was upset that he'd chosen to do this
- can not understand why he can't keep up his usual social commitments when we have a newborn "just because you can't go out without the baby, doesnt mean I cant." He says.
-Interrupts my funny stories when talking to friends to correct minor insignificant details.
-Regularly drives the wrong way when we're going somewhere and can not talk and drive at the same time easily and will slow down to talk.
-becomes obsessed with random things even when the timing is massively inconvenient.
-has no time management and thinks its perfectly ok to stop me as I'm leaving the house for an appointment to show me a random youtube clip.
- is unable to manage the volume of his voice even when the children are asleep or will decide to strart drilling something at 10pm!
Aside from all this.. he adores me. My head is pickled and he conceals all of these quirks from friends and family.
The cruelty is hard to live with and hes no idea that hes being cruel so I cant even get him to see my point of view. Its like hitting my head against a brick wall every single day... its soul destroying.
Leaving him will be a nightmare as he will just see everything in black and white. I don't know where to start.
And he's stubborn with it. He sees everything as a personal criticism. If I pull him up on something, he sulks sometimes for days. He wss bottle feeding the baby expressed milk last week and allowed her to suck pure air from.the bottle when all the milk had gone (she has colic). I mentioned this to him pleasantly and calmly and he ignored me for 3 hours afterwards. Although I did get an apology on this occasion.
Oh god, the drama triangle. My life, I never knew. I am the rescuer, he is the victim, until I step back and don’t rescue, when he becomes the persecutor.
If he accepted that he may have ASD, and did some reading/counselling, would you give it time?
I think I was the persecutor sometimes, with my demands for understanding and sensitivity he couldn't imagine, let alone show.
Choc I think you married my DWs twin brother...
Sorry, I should have posted that a couple of hours ago!
I'm on a different time zone as I live in Australia so
I wake up and read all the posts every morning.
@tootiredtospeak and others with ASD loved ones- I hear what you say about worrying for your children with a diagnosis and wanted to say I do still love my husband even thought we are now separated. I just can't pretend we have a relationship when we don't. But if I were less emotional, if I didn't want affection or a sexual relationship, if I were happy to mainly talk about politics, i would be happy with him as he also has some great attributes.
The diagnosis of ASD for him is very new and he came from a childhood where he was sent to boarding school aged 8 and his family were/are very uptight- no emotional conversations in that house - ever. I thought his issues were from his childhood (and this is probably a factor too) which is why I tolerated such a long time of obvious issues in our marriage.
By separating I don't feel I am rejecting him as a person, it feels more like me recognising that I cannot be married without a connection as that is essential for me. Maybe one of the key ingredients is not about rejecting him, but just stating clearly what I need - and if he can't give that then it's no-ones fault.
When I began counselling myself, the counsellor immediately suspected ASD in DP and gave me a book to borrow on the topic. It was written for partners of ASD sufferers. DP saw the book in my bag and found it comical that the counsellor and I suspected this, actually howling with laughter. I them read some sections and although he could see aspects of himself, refuses to believe it. We went to relationship counselling with a different counsellor and she kept on implying DP was ASD, I pointed it out to DP, but again he refused to see it.
If he would accept the possibility of ASD and work at being more empathetic, we would have a chance. But he thinks Im barking mad and that he's perfect just the way he is.
How frustrating. I've found myself wondering in the past if it is me who is controlling and inflexible. There's a weird sort of transference that happens. I believe I do all the feeling for the family, so they don't have to!
@Choccheese - I had a similar experience as it was our relationship counsellor who suggested books on ASD and I outright rejected the idea. It was only when I did more research that I realised and accepted the possibility. This website is really helpful and supportive:
My H did some online assessments and that started him thinking.... you could try that maybe.
It is not the same as a formal diagnosis of course.
On he’s always right, we had the following illuminating conversation:
Me. So you think that if I disagree I’m either stupid, ignorant, you haven’t explained well enough ( because otherwise I’d agree with you) or deliberately winding you up. You know I’m not stupid, though there are cases where I am ignorant. But can you not see that, for example, I might be attributing different weights to the different events of your view, hence holding a different position?
Him, No, because if I had explained it adequately you wouldn’t hold a different view. Which is why I have to explain it again. And again, perhaps using different words. Or else you’re just deliberately refusing to se my point of view.
It’s logical. But am I glad he’s not a diplomat. And the result is I no longer talk to him because if we are in accord there’s no more to be said and if we are not we never will be without me changing my view to accord with his, after argument when he goes on and on in order to persuade me.
That sounds oh so familiar orlanda
Him "why do you keep persisting in asking me the same thing about X when I've already explained it?"
Me "because I don't understand / you're not explaining it how I can understand, and I just don't understand why you'd do X in the first place"
Him "Its perfectly logical. You're just having a go at me about my choices"
Rinse and repeat.
little love rinse and repeat...made me chuckle
Dh. Undiagnosed HFA. Unless you know him and know him well you wouldn't suspect much
DH's brother. Diagnosed AS
DH's mother. Not sure if she is neurodivergent or just thoroughly nasty. Yes, there's a backstory.
His childhood isn't one for a public forum but he didn't get much in the way of mothering when he was growing up. It might explain a lot though
No, this thread isn't disablist but what it is though is a revelation that it isn't just my husband who acts in a certain way or does things in a certain manner. And yes, it can be out and out exhausting sometimes.
To coin a favourite phrase of my 8 year old (who def. Isn't allowed to be rude about people to their face)
Daddy doesn't think
I was on the original thread a bit, I'm still here, just watching quietly as currently things are good here but I take comfort in recognising us in your descriptions
I was going to name change before posting here but so exhausted i cant be bothered. I lurked and have read this and previous thread but after a draining "discussion" with dp, needed to join in.
I am tired, so tired of it all. I am the parent / rescuer, organising and planning our lives. Dp finds it too hard to even do the basics any more so all 'grown up' things fall to me. I have to take all the resonsibility for everything above his obsession with the laundry and dishes. Finances, childcare, holidays, days out, insurances, clothes buying, kids schools fall to me. If i dont do it, nothing gets down. We have had a couple of quite serious incidents where dp basically lied that he had sorted things out like contents insurance and council tax. He hadnt for 6 monthd but was so angry with me when i found out and did it myself. We were due to go away for a weekend recently with kids. I scoped out all travel options and all he hsd to do was book it. He said i could trust him him to do it and i wasnt to nag. Found out the morning of travel that he hadnt done it and then i was to blame as i hadnt repeatedly checked that he had.
The list goes on.
He was undiagnosed when i met him at Uni and his quirky ways were not so significant as he / we didnt have as many responsibilties and more time.
I love him but am no longer in love with him. Hes a great man but i believe he and i would be much happier if we seperated. He has said as much. He would have all the solitary time he wants without having to think about others and being bothered by my now boring ways of wanting a decluttered home with food in the cupboards.
I / we have tried new systems and ideas to work as partners but he always reverts back to his old ways. He suggested tonight that everything would be fine if i could give him a room of his own with his books. Hard to do in a small 3 bedroom flat with us and 2 dc. He honestly thought it was reasonable to ask me to get rid of most of my possessions and move into our eldest girls bedroom to give him a reflection room. Apparently I am a selfish bitch for not doing so.
Wee onion for me that last comment is an ArSe comment, not an Aspergers one - although it may originate are in an Aspergers place. Still shit for you.
I've been reading the housework and childcare comments with interest. My DH does a lot of housework and a good 50% of childcare. I think in this aspect he is maybe better for the kids than me because of his love for routine. He always wants to go shopping (food) on Saturday mornings, for the things he couldn't get at the supermarket (he comes from a country where you don't buy everything at the supermarket). So he goes with the kids, they stop and get a muffin at the bakery on the way, they go to the park after etc. Now, I hate doing food shopping at the weekend and I would order it all online if it were me. I also don't like routine at the weekend (unless it involves chilling) - it's good for the kids though I think as they're still young.
So people see this guy doing the food shopping, cooking at the weekend, taking care of his kids. And think I've got it made. And I absolutely agree that I'm lucky on one hand, from a practical level. What nobody realises is that he's not doing it to help me out. He's not doing it as part of our "team" (ha!). It's all part of his need for control.
- So he shops because I don't do it properly, I am not good at choosing fruit and veg.
- He cooks because apparently I don't feed the kids properly during the week.
- He cleans the bathroom to make sure it's done properly.
- He takes the kids because I need a break..even when I don't and I'd like to do something fun at the weekend with them.
- other things he does "or they won't get done".
So what am i? Some dirty person who can't bring home the right food, feed her family or manage her kids? All round incompetence there then.
For years I felt utterly worthless. I don't feel worth much now, but at least I know it's him not me.
It happened with care of the children too in general and I'm only now (school age kids) believing that I'm able to do things alone with them and brave enough to try. I always thought I'd make a mistake and go somewhere I shouldn't with them, or I'd have a problem and wouldn't be able to solve it.
And the confusing part about all these things is that he isn't malicious. He wasn't being (or trying to be) mean. He wasn't trying to undermine me. His need to control an uncontrollable life and wife expresses itself in this. A colleague of his mentioned once that he's a micro manager.
I'd read threads in MN about emotionally abusive husbands. I recognised what many women described feeling, but not the traits of their husbands. I wondered if I was in denial, but ultimately I realised, before understanding Aspergers, that he wasn't being controlling to be manipulative. He's a genuinely nice guy, very well intentioned with a good heart.
The whole situation is and has been so sad.
change that resonates - the feeling of never having done anything ‘properly’, it’s funny because if we do something like fill in a form together, DH has to take it over, but then there are huge chunks of life he leaves completely up to me (the only thing he reliably does is cook dinner a few times a week).
who wouldn’t want to be left alone in a room with their books? weeonion hard to be in love with that level of lack of self awareness. Is he Virginia Woolf?
I deleted a paragraph there. All these things are his stabilisers. To take control in an uncontrollable life with an otherwise uncontrollable wife (when we met I was adventurous and living a life that he couldn't believe/understand - I don't recognise myself now). He doesn't feel in control of much (he is actually, but doesn't feel or see it) so he grabs on to these things and holds them for dear life.
However, he doesn't understand fully that that's what he's doing. So his criticisms of me are primarily an inappropriate expression of his stress. If I were actually incompetent, he wouldn't say them. I threaten his strength of hold over these things that he needs so any way possible he kind of subconsciously needs to push me away from them.
When I challenge him and say, "So you think I'm incompetent?" He genuinely has no idea what I'm talking about. Even indirect context.
If he were actually abusive the subconscious motivation would, I believe, be needing to feel bigger than me, needing me to be smaller needing control of me, the shopping, cooking etc would be the road to undermining me. For my DH undermining me is the road to be able to get control of his stabilisers/security blanket.
Btw I don't argue with him about any of this now, I get their importance to him, I don't let him do it all either (although it's tempting sometimes!). He hasn't changed to try and undermine me in another way - there are other ways it goes on, but they were there before these things, so not replacements. If he was abusive, he'd have found a new way to undermine me, because the undermining would be his need.
*Even un direct context (not "indirect" which changes the meaning!)
Oh bloody phone: IN DIRECT!
In some ways I can relate to your husband. I have a need to control things (with OCD) because of childhood trauma / stress.
This is one reason DH is good for me. I know he isn't going to do anything too spontaneous. I also like routine for this reason and in some ways I am worse than DH (overthinking / worrying / over packing etc).
He does childcare / shopping / things around the house because I am chronically ill and I need him to. I.e. he needs to cook because I'm not able to / he won't eat otherwise. Especially when I was bedbound, he was required to step up.
It's an advantage that your husband wants to do these things even if what he says / his method isn't the greatest expression in your eyes. I can see the difficulty both ways.
Changer, that resonates with me.
I took all the housework and rushing around as a criticism of me. However, I reframed it and decided that if he wants it tidier, done earlier, than I do then it's fine for him to go for it. I regularly point out that I'll do it later/next week/when it's convenient to me, but he wants it done now. We both feel much better. He has done some soothing vacuuming, , I've woken up slowly and had a couple of cups of coffee.
He also has to walk the dog first thing on the weekend. I prefer to go later and perhaps go somewhere different. But it's always done before I get downstairs. He complains that the dog nags him to go out, but that's only because he has set up the expectation!
I don't try and win his approval, worry about his moods, think that I have upset him. I feel much better for it, and he hasn't noticed the difference . His mood isn't about me, and his emotions are his responsibility to manage.
@pickle I think that's good advice and something I'm trying to remind myself of. And also, sometimes when I think DH is grumpy, he'll say he's an 8 out of 10 on the contentedness scale (10 being ecstatic :D). Have to not give meaning to his facial expressions.
Pickle - we have that mismatch of rhythm that plays into it too. He wants everything done by the time he wants it, or it simply doesn't count as being done (because it causes him stress). But unless I literally march to the beat of his drum, which I did for years, to avoid arguments that drained me and left me feeling absolutely empty, he will do it before me. Then he thinks I leave X to him to do. If I tell him I will do it, but in my own time (I managed to live before I met him after all!) he scoffs..then walks away.
I had to stop doing everything in his timeframe because it was like a constant micro stress that accumulated over the years making me feel ill. There's a great relief in telling him to leave it to me if he wants, mean it and then do it in my own time, if he's left it. And if not, not to stress. There are other things of bigger concern to focus the little energy I have on.
Actually I've been in therapy for a long time to help me deal with this and another issue in my life. I always thought I was lucky because at least I didn't suffer from anxiety. Then I discovered I did, I just hadn't understood what it actually felt like. Or that I was feeling that way all the time, so nothing to compare it to. Now I have times where I don't feel it. The constant stress about doing things in his timeframe or face his arguments was a big, daily, contributor
change I agree with the feeling abusive but not being abusive. This is something that puzzled me a lot to start with. And confused me.
I'm also finding it hard to separate what is AS and what is ArSe.
So when he acts as if he shouldn't be doing more hw, is it ArSe and sexist or is it AS (white board syndrome)? I think sometimes the two conflate when it is to his advantage.
Hermione, if you have asked him, nicely, provided the rationale and helped explain what, when, how, where, why, esp if he has agreed, reminded, nicely, possibly by text and email, and he doesn’t do it, in my view it is ArSe with passive aggression. Unless he gets back to you and explain that it reduces him to a gibbering wreck.. because..
I’ve thought long and hard about this, especially when it comes to washing up.
Found new thread. I have had to remind DH that he is leaving and he has acknowledged it, once the new school term starts (I think it would be better if he went sooner but there you are). He has turned into flipping Disney dad.
Do you know what though, I have been working on a big project at work, working really closely with lots of people, for weeks on end. I came away from a long spell with one guy and thought what a lovely guy, how his wife and children's life must be so very different to mine and DD's life. Not from a romantic viewpoint, just an observation. Thoroughly nice man with no sharp bits and the ability to engage well with people. I laugh far more at work than I do at home.
Just reinforced that although very difficult right now, I am doing the right thing. DH doesn't want to help himself, doesn't acknowledge his diagnosis or the issues it creates at home. No hope at all.
Well i will say that if he is having a go at the dcs for not doing something (eg putting the dishes in the dishwasher rather than in the top, not washing the dishes properly - leaving bits of food on them) and then HE is doing that himself, then I will say it’s ArSe.
And I am refusing to send him an email, tell him nicely etc... because he clearly know that’s what he should do.
Strangely, when he does it, it’s ok (he is in a rush, he is trying to help etc...) but when it’s others doing that (me or the dcs) then we are all lazy
Thebox do you think he's actually going to leave the house? Mine said he'd get another place, hasn't, is stalling, but I can see that a move I to a new place is such a huge change for him, if we're living apart then one of his constants in life, one of his routines (me) will not be there. I can see it would be easier if I moved out. But that's not happening, nor is it able to (it's not me being obstinate).
I wonder now when I see other families looking happy if they truly are. If I see a husband being affectionate towards his wife I wonder if that's just what happens on the outside, if he ignores her at home. I'm starting to understand that there truly are men who want to touch their wives and that it's not only something from chick flicks. But I don't really believe it's a normal thing.
And when a friend mentions cuddling with their husband in bed or something similar, in passing, because it's not a big deal to her, nice as it is, I want to say "You've no idea how lucky you are, I'd give anything for that just happening once."
Not sure Changer.
I am feeling a bit broken today, I have been strong forever but DH has gone away for a bit (holiday) and then I am going away when he gets back. I do love the man I married and still see glimpses of that but I don’t like who he is most of the time. He sees my reactions as attacks not as someone who is reacting to his behaviour.
We are actually quite affectionate, or used to be, at lot of the time but I feel so emotionally distant after all these years that I am now not terribly interested. He used to be very different. “Good morning beautiful” and a cafetière, China cup and milk jug in bed was how I woke up for years and years. Now I find a prepped cafetière, empty cup and milk jug next to the kettle!
I blame his success at work which has allowed him to become quirkier and quirkier and means that he spends 9/10 of his working life alone.
It is a complete obsession and his downfall.
New to the thread but have ploughed through last one and wanted to join.
Married 20 plus years to someone who thinks he has adhd because of attentional issues and dyslexia. He has really marked processing issues and finds it hard to listen. He gets really anxious about loads of things which can make him really angry and explosive. He finds peopling incredibly difficult and if there are people in the house he has to lie down saying he can’t stand the noise.
I have some sensory issues myself but like being with people and spending time with my friends.
I’m not sure if we are both getting less accommodating as we get older or what. I am struggling with perimenopause and young adult/teen kids need support as they have a combination of dyslexia/ADD/ASC.
He thinks I’m being nasty to him but I feel burnt out. When he asks if these are his reading glasses (he’s had them two years), I said “Eh?” instead of “Yes darling.”
I’m not sure if some of his behaviour is abusive or driven by anxiety but I experience them as controlling.
Young adult kids have started to say “do not tell dad this.... he’ll just obsess and do my head in” or “I don’t know how you put up with him.”
Today has been such a struggle.
First thing DW complains about a lack of family time. But she makes it all so difficult.
I suggest we go out for the day, which is followed by a heated debate over the weather, where to go etc etc. But she wants something to look forward to and can't cope with spontaneity.
After so much grumbling and moaning we make it out the door. She won't let me drive doesn't know the way, and can't believe my navigating. Four wrong turns we get to a country resevoiur for a walk and picnic.
Ensuring drama because the sun is shining and we only have factor 30. Next drama as a cloud appears so what's the point. Then the cloud disappears and we need to move to shade.
Finish picnic and off on out to walk. It's too hot. Too windy. Then cold. Then we've bought the wrong water bottles (She can't drink from plastic bottles). Then the hill is too steep.
After a lovely walk we get back to the car but can't go home because we haven't had a full day out. We stop for a cream tea which turns into another minor drama because she can't have anything normal and thoroughly confused the waiter (just choose something off the menu FFS).
Home and now another strop because we can't afford a second holiday in September.
And I haven't even mentioned the towel OCD.
Daft that sounds thoroughly exhausting.
Heather if he thinks he has ADHD does he not want to get tested to be sure?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.