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Married to someone with Asperger's? Support group here!

(932 Posts)
picklemepopcorn Fri 03-Aug-18 10:04:30

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.)

sparklyhorse Fri 28-Dec-18 20:08:30

Changerofnameaspiethread I totally hear you and can relate to all you said. Can i ask what made you decide to divorce and how did you weigh up the not being there to neutralise? I'm afraid i cant help with the older children part but can truly relate to your experience. At one low point DP was deliberately saying cruel and childish things to DD who was 2 at the time as she had annoyed him. He would tease her like another child would until she cried. it was absolutely horrid to watch.

My DP (undiagnosed as keeps 'forgetting' to make initial diagnosis appointment) is exactly the same about feedback. When I bring up some issues in his parenting he will say I should draw it to his attention each time and show him what to do differently. Then I do that and he gets in a defensive mood due to criticism. There's no winning.

I gave up taking responsibility for him (aside from intervening with parenting) about 6 months ago. He forgets stuff daily, messes things up and basically repeats the same mistakes over and over. They can be screaming in front of him and he carries on as if nothing is happening. I have to come in and pick them up. He then gets moody that I've intervened.

He takes DC out in mornings for a dog walk at park round the corner as off work for Xmas. DS (2) came back first day screaming with cold hands and feet (we're in scotland) and I said he needs warmer layers tomorrow and some tights and gloves. Next 4 days in a row same thing. I deliberately don't interfere and mother him any more. 5th day I lost the plot. DP says the issue isn't clothes it's that DS doesn't walk fast enough to keep warm. FFS.

I decided a year ago I want to split. But fear of him being alone with them with no neutralizing buffer has kept me here. I don't think I can carry on though and am planning to split in 2019. It affects my mental and physical health daily. My friends tell me I'm not the person I once was. I hope that without the relationship stress and with more sleep he will be better with them once he moves out.

I want to see if we can get a diagnosis first. I have some concerns about my DD (4) also being on the spectrum. I hope that if he gets a diagnosis we can get specialist help for his parenting and also for the kids in their relating to him and also if they are on the spectrum for themselves.

I feel incredible guilt over the whole thing. I'm being honest here and saying I wish I'd never met him as my kids are now stuck with him even if I minimise contact. I also feel guilty that my DD (and DS for all I know) may also have struggles. I occasionally have fantasies about running away and us never having to see him or his dysfunctional family ever again. It's Aspergers Central at their house. I can't actually believe I ignored so many red flags getting into this. I was desperate to have kids and pushing 40. I was so selfish I'll never forgive myself.

I'm hoping I won't be flamed for the above. I know and appreciate that it's so hard to be the person with Aspergers, I just don't have a lot of people to talk to who understand this and how difficult it can be doubting yourself daily and questioning your sanity.

WhatOnEarthDoIDoNow Fri 28-Dec-18 19:47:07

Autistic people like to be right far more than the average person, were pedantic and stubborn and if I or my friend aren’t ‘right’ we’ll argue semantics and hypothetical situations so we can be right. For us to feel secure and like we’re in control we must be right all the time. And it’s a massive pain for everyone else and drives everyone around us up the wall. When A (or anyone else) has to be right n they’re clearly wrong I just say ‘yes dear’ and leave it. It’s not worth the argument most of the time. Can’t do anything about the mechanical language though. We’re often described as sounding like robots or that it’s as if we’ve swallowed a thesaurus when we speak.

Jalapenohot Fri 28-Dec-18 19:28:57

Anyone else's asd husband obsessed wirh being "right?"
I suspect mine has asd, but a real bug bear is this right/wrong business. He can not just accept that different people juat feel differently and there is no right and wrong. The language he uses:
"I disagree"
"You're right on this one"
"I think you're wrong"
"I think I'm right"
"I agree with X but Y is wrong"
"It is not reasonable to think..."
"It is reasonable to expect..."
"I don't think this is unreasonable..."
Such mechanical language... it drives me nuts!

WhatOnEarthDoIDoNow Fri 28-Dec-18 19:03:57

@ChangerOfNameAspieThread

The guy I'm interested in a relationship with has a very difficult relationship with his father. His dad is very much routine driven OCD and Autistic with hoarding habits. What he says goes, no ifs or buts and no discussion. He loves and hates his dad in equal measure, he is also autistic but he and his dad are somehow very similar and very different at the same time. So they clash. It's damaged his relationship with his mum and I know his mum often feels like they have to choose between her son and her husband. And due to generational and religious factors, she shielded him as best she could and acted as a buffer of sorts but does expect him to go with it and accept that this is how things are and if you want an easy life then do as your told because there's less she is willing/able to do to protect him for it now he is an adult and able to take responsibility for his own actions.

It just makes me sad really. My dad was autistic like me and he did/said things that hurt in the heat of the moment but he was constantly working to do better and be better because he was the adult and should have known better, I was just a child and needed to learn.

I think right now your in the best place possible to protect your children. Perhaps couples counselling or parenting classes would benefit your husband. And if he refuses to engage in them or consider your children, once your visa is in place and secure, you and your children are better off leaving. Autism is not an excuse to be a crappy parent or partner and refusing to engage or listen because you cannot conceive of a world where you are in the wrong or take responsibility for your own overreactions and poor parenting is downright disgusting. Whenever I am overwhelmed with my nieces or nephews I make sure they're safe alert another family member then I go take a breather till I'm calm enough to manage them without accidentally hurting them. I often misjudge how much force is necessary when using my body and have taught myself never to touch anyone in anger as the risk of hurting someone is just to high. It doesn't matter that I wont mean to hurt them the chance is still there and that's not ok.

ChangerOfNameAspieThread Fri 28-Dec-18 16:23:31

But a question. I've written this a few times then deleted. I'm scared of the answers. I should say first I'm actively trying to find a child psychologist but it's hard where I live.

Aspie father, non-Aspie kids...
1. He can block them out completely: DC sitting 1m from him, repeating "Daddy" getting increasingly louder and DH has no response. He literally has blocked the world out. DC get very very angry eventually.

2. DH angry with DC. Pulls them by the arm. DC cry and say "You're hurting me!". His response: "No I'm not." (he truly believes he's not hurt them, because he didn't intend to, therefore he can't have..).

3. Denial of their reality in ANY conflict with them. Like point 2. If he doesn't have a problem with it, there's literally no problem. So DC asks him to get out of their room, he refuses. DC repeats it. He ignores (deliberately - not blocking out). It continues. DC gets increasingly upset but as DH doesn't believe he should be out of the room, he sees no reason why DC is upset, therefore they're wrong. There is no existence of the possibility that they have a right to something he doesn't think.

These things happen more when he's stressed at work and have me running around "neutralising". I agree with the DCs' reality (but if they've done something wrong I also say they were wrong to have done X), I agree when they say "It's like Daddy doesn't hear me when I'm standing right next to them" etc and I categorically say he was wrong to have pulled them.

And my heart breaks into a thousand pieces.

And I cannot up and leave because I won't have a visa yet to live here and this is all delayed more due to Brexit. I also think that it's good I'm still parenting next to him so that I can be there to try and undo what he's doing, albeit unintentionally. I've spoken to him about it and he'll say I need to get him parenting books blah blah which I've told him to google himself (years of me taking responsibility for his behaviour has now stopped). Of course, he doesn't. Or he tells me to tell him exactly what to say, and if I try, he takes it as a criticism. Which everything I say is anyway, so no more of that either.

Ive told him that there's a burden from his condition and if he doesn't take any of it on board it leaves it to us to take it all. He seems sad but does nothing.

I always knew there'd be problems when the kids were teenagers, but I never thought it would start at age 6. He gets into an argument with DS who is now 7 and is unable to get out of it. It's a Yes - No argument between two kids.

Over time he's made some changes, this situation is better than before, but how on earth have you done this if your kids are now older? How have you offset the inability to see emotions when he's dealing with people who are ruled by theirs - and should be at that age?

Somebody mentioned upthread about being newly into a relationship. I would never, ever have brought children into this situation if I'd had any idea of the pain they would go through and the pain it would cause me being unable to stop it (once the divorce happens, it'll just mean I'm fairly free of this, but they won't be and they won't have me right there either...).

ChangerOfNameAspieThread Fri 28-Dec-18 15:57:29

Hello everyone. I pop in and off the thread, partly because sometimes it reminds me of aspects of my life that I'm trying to ignore.

I also saw the AIBU thread and it rang a lot if bells for me.

I had an amazing thing happen a couple of months ago. I knew that everybody around us (as a couple, not my friends who I keep separate) sees him as being this reliable, kind, steady, fair, hard working person and me as sometimes volatile, often unfair and unkind to him. Things like it looking like I'm snapping at him, but it's not that, it's me trying to get his attention because he's in a phase of not hearing me etc.

So, I told a mutual friend that he has Aspergers. I'd vowed not to but it sort of cake tumbling out. Later he (friend) came back to me and said he now understood some things because he'd noticed that sometimes when you talk to DH it's like he hasn't understood which is odd as he's intelligent, or has spaced out. I almost cried! Somebody saw!!! And this was the friend that actually said, when I told him we were going to divorce, "Yeah well, if you'd spoken to me the way you spoke to him sometimes, I'd leave you too."

I explained certain things that had happened when he was around over the years and I could see he started looking at me differently. Like I wasn't being horrible by moving away from DH ostentatiously tubbing my very pregnant belly at dinner with them, I was actually in shock because he'd not touched me once, the entire pregnancy!

To have someone* see* independently was utterly incredible! I am not crazy! Someone else noticed something, even if they didn't associate it with anything particular.

And it felt bittersweet because I felt sorry for DH too that aspects of his behaviour had been noticed. But that was tempered by the confirmation that he'd seen me as horrible at times I was literally dragging myself along the floor out of exhaustion and a self-esteem that had dissipated after years of not existing outside of being a carcass to DH.

WhatOnEarthDoIDoNow Fri 28-Dec-18 14:24:38

Can I post here for some advice? I'm almost 24 and have aspergers and I'm interested in a guy whos just turned 21 and also has aspergers. As far as I'm aware neither of us have ever dated and from what I can tell he's interested in a relationship. Yet neither of us can quite make the next move. I suspect in part it's down to the fact we're both not great at reading people and also because we're such good friends.

Any ideas of what I should do or how to proceed? This is all very new to me and I've never been interested in anyone before either.

ThisWayDown Fri 28-Dec-18 10:44:41

@middleage3 I’m the poster from AIBU smile and your comment has reminded me that when I got together when DH 19 years ago, he would repeatedly say “I don’t like holidays”, although he went on them.

I love travelling and got him into it, and he doesn’t say that any more. He still gets stressed about packing and travel arrangements and airports and will get v overwhelmed if things go badly wrong, like when snow caused our flight to be cancelled years ago, but that hasn’t happened for a while. On a related note, this is the first year in 19 that he hasn’t said “I hate Christmas” more then once. Progress wink

I feel for you that your DH won’t go away and you can’t share that with him. flowers

middleage3 Thu 27-Dec-18 21:51:06

Hi everyone
I find this time of year to reinforce the loneliness and feeling of isolation.
DH is trying hard and doing lots of practical things like cooking - but honestly we can’t have a conversation above the mundane.
Ah well.....it was a relief in someways to go back to work and interact with NT peeps
I have noted that DH struggles to communicate with his family and that vice versa they seem very disinterested on our lives in general (DH family lives far away) I haven’t had a conversation with MIL for 8 years now - in the past I found this really hurtful but now I don’t want to think about it too hard - but they are a strange lot with no social niceties. You would think MIL would ask to speak to me or the kids .....

To the poster from AIBU - I was impressed that your DH will go on holiday - including long haul and with kids - and by the sounds of thing actually do activities.
My DH and I haven’t been on holiday for 15years. He admits himself he gets ‘travel stress’ . In the past he would shut down for most of the week. It’s not enjoyable and now I go away on my own.
DH is very reluctant to stray far from home

midcenturylegs Thu 27-Dec-18 18:17:58

@ThisWayDown completely resonate with the being dramatic bit. The amount of times I completely over/exaggerated illness symptoms or family issues just to get some bloody attention! I became a person I did not like.

ThisWayDown Thu 27-Dec-18 14:50:43

Thank you @Moffa and @SalitaeDiscesa smile

Absolutely I am/have been dramatic at times to get a reaction from him.

And yes, he exhibits other Asperger traits. Although he doesn’t have a couple of ‘classic’ ones like having strict routines.

I am going to read this thread fully tomorrow to get to know everyone’s situation.

bifflediffle Thu 27-Dec-18 13:09:51

I wouldn't have married him if I had realised how much it was going to affect me and I definitely wouldn't have had kids with him. It was just awful. So much of what you all describe was my life and it nearly broke me.

Kikidelight Thu 27-Dec-18 11:54:31

@bifflediffle If you had spotted the signs before, would do you think you'd have done things differently?

I ask this because my recent ex had undiagnosed ASD but chose not to mention this for months. I was furious firstly because of the deception and because he knew I'd previously been in a relationship with someone with AS, that ended very badly - due to him.

SalitaeDiscesa Thu 27-Dec-18 11:50:14

Welcome @ThisWayDown. I've read your thread, hope your knee is feeling easier.

My husband has recently been diagnosed with autism. It's making me look back on many occasions over the years when he let me down or abandoned me in a crisis.

Now that I can understand better what lay behind the behaviour, it doesn't hurt as much.

I still had to manage without any help, support or understanding from him and I have to expect more of the same in future. That's not always easy to contemplate.

Maybe if you have been a bit over-dramatic at times (not saying you have, just a thought about your thread) it was a kind of desperation to get a response from him? It's not hard to imagine that partners faced with a chronic lack of support, which they don't understand, can respond in dysfunctional ways. I know I have.

We've been told it's possible that my husband can learn to change some of his behaviour (and he's willing to try) but he's not going to learn to understand how I feel. That's quite a bleak thought (especially today as I'm not feeling well). I'm afraid this isn't a particularly cheerful thread & I don't know what we can do about that.

At a recent autism conference the line about it being a difference not a disorder was dutifully trotted out. In my DH's case, the difference is he needs someone to run his life for him. I'm a housekeeper, PA, secretary, nurse, sex worker and I'm on hand to deal with any and all emergencies because he won't. The cost, and the health burden, is all on my side and it's hidden.

I'm still coming to terms with all this and I don't know what I will do. For now we're trying to focus on achievable changes and it feels as though there's a mountain to climb ☹️

bifflediffle Thu 27-Dec-18 10:53:35

Just popping in will read whole thread later - was married to someone I am sure had undiagnosed AS and one son has high functioning. I'm long separated and divorced, but due to kids still have to have a level of contact.

I find Christmas very hard because it triggers all the memories of how hard it was when we were married (were married/together for 25+ years) and I'm angry with myself for not seeing it before we got married.

midcenturylegs Thu 27-Dec-18 10:47:28

Hi all.. checking in to say Happy Christmas and for those who it isn't so happy for a bunch of flowers 💐

I'm not sure what I'm going to say is going to be helpful but I think the reason I'm posting on here - still - after having left my AS-ex - is that I'm still feeling the impact and after-effects of how he made me feel.
I have just started seeing someone else - I'm amazed that someone actually likes me! But this man is using words such as "mindful" and "invalidating" and "confidence" and "you're sexy", "gorgeous', "I love talking to you".

I'd not heard those words from a man in such a long time.

My thought on reading your messages is you don't need to stay unhappy.

Moffa Thu 27-Dec-18 08:03:53

Welcome @thiswaydown. I read your thread. My H would behave in the same way, he doesn’t like any ‘unplanned’ outings (or planned ones either unless they involve his work) so an emergency trip to A&E would cause a row here too, even if I was dying (it happened....I unknowingly had Sepsis, he dropped me at A&E but “had to go home to let the dogs out”). Does your DH show any other traits of Aspergers? flowers

ThisWayDown Thu 27-Dec-18 05:34:34

Link would help ...

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/3460491-To-be-angry-upset-that-DH-didn-t-want-me-to-go-to-hospital

ThisWayDown Thu 27-Dec-18 05:34:16

Hello all 👋🏻 I started a thread in AIBU and some nice posters suggested I join this thread. If you feel like having a read of my posts on there, do feel free to tell my your thoughts here.

Moffa Wed 26-Dec-18 21:34:30

Frustrating one here. Been ups & downs but kids loved it. Just not sure how much more I can take. Hope you’re all getting through.

@bluebellforest can I ask why you’re still there? I don’t want someone to ask me that in 10 years or more. My H has been a twat too. I built the kids toy by myself on Christmas Eve wishing I had a H who would get drunk & laugh with me. He woke up as I got in to bed so I told him he could have a lie in instead of an early start to build said toy and he just swore at me repeatedly and walked out of our room. He ruined my Christmas on Christmas Eve because then I couldn’t sleep wondering what I did to get this relationship. I’m struggling. I thought after our last big blow out row things were improving but I think it’s his natural ways that are my biggest problem. sad

SalitaeDiscesa Wed 26-Dec-18 20:24:08

I'm not new btw. Name change because I was spotted

SalitaeDiscesa Wed 26-Dec-18 19:40:30

We've had a lovely low-demand Christmas. My family arriving tomorrow, so hoping things will continue to be peaceful. I'm prepared to cut DH a bit of extra slack now I understand why he has to retreat from time to time. He usually tries hard when we have guests.

How are other people getting along?

Bluebellforest1 Tue 25-Dec-18 23:11:29

Doesn’t make anyone apart from my “D” H a twat.

Thewitcher Tue 25-Dec-18 21:58:31

I need specific instructions to do things. Apparently that makes me a twat. Good to know.

Bluebellforest1 Tue 25-Dec-18 15:19:47

@ChristmasBleatings said “. It's like having a dreamy 5-year-old who needs to be instructed in minute detail on how to do every single tiny thing...”

Oh yes yes. “Where shall I put this?....shall i put the dishwasher on?......shall I put the washing in the tumble drier?.......the phones ringing I wonder who it is?.......I wonder who that is at the door?”
(Answer the fucking thing you twat!).

@Peachsnowpop yes to the joysucking. I call mine a dementor under my breath.

Christmas Day has been managed with prosecco and wine.

flowers

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