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Married to someone with Asperger's? Support group here!(934 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.)
Hi. Same boat here. DH diagnosed last month. Not a shock to me, however he said he wasn't necessarily expecting it. It's helped in some ways and made other harder.
Is this still the active thread? Anyone else out there? DH has just been diagnosed with ASD and honestly I feel so relieved like it's not in my head! So much of my marriage now makes sense. He's left me in town before because it got too much being in public and he still has presents from last Christmas that are wrapped up because it's too much pressure to open them or knowing what is in it.
So this Christmas I'm Not taking him shopping with me and I won't be wrapping his presents, in fact, all the presents I've got him are out on show in the spare room so he can get used to the idea of them. I feel sad but at the same time I'm happy I know why he's had a hard time with seemingly tiny things!
Also it turns out he didn't unless it was to his twin brother until he 6! Pil apparently thought it was cute he's very successful in his job because he can remember pointless details of case law but he can't cope at home because I'm not a mind reader and expected him to make decisions at home.
@Marishimo hi there. You've been through a difficult - such a lot to deal with.
I thought you should know this is an old thread so you probably won't get many replies here. It sounds too like your best bet is to copy and paste this into a post on the relationships forum, or if you're sure he has Aspergers, to do a search for thread 4 (the most recent of these).
Oops, I pressed "post message" by accident. So anyway, back to #6.
He is constantly mentioning "everything he does for me." When I ask him point blank what that is, he says he's always available to listen when I need to talk, he works, he pays for my life, and he takes care of the kids. It's like he understand that women like to be taken on dates, smiled at, hugged and kissed, told they are special, given flowers, to do the little things together like shopping and yard work--even my birthday, last year was the first year he did anything for it. He said he didn't know I wanted to celebrate my birthday. Then last Valentine's Day, he didn't get me a gift. He said, "I didn't know we did gifts on Valentine's Day," even though he has given me a piece of jewelry sometime within two weeks after V-Day for the past 5 years. (He forgets and then orders it the day before or on V-Day.) So yeah, I really don't understand. But I guess it doesn't matter anymore.
Ok, now that I've posted my "why I left my husband" manifesto, I feel like I should add some of the positives. Because that is what has made this whole experience so confusing.
1. H is sometimes kind, gentle, and even subtly loving.
2. He is often patient and involved with the children, reading to them and playing with them.
3. He has put an incredible amount of effort into trying to change and be "enough for me," as he puts it. For him, doing the dishes a few nights a week, driving the kids to school, and the other concessions he has made seem incredibly draining. So it must feel like a big sacrifice. He even went with me to my mother's last weekend and talked to my brother and stepdad about basketball for two hours.
4. Even though he seems indifferent to me most of the time; he treats me more like a pet cat than a wife. Yet I can sense that he loves me and truly does not want to lose me. But he doesn't put effort into keeping the romance, or even the friendship alive. It's like he doesn't know that relationships atrophy without maintenance just like everything else in this world.
5. When we talked yesterday, he said he doesn't understand why I was so angry on Friday and Saturday. I reminded him of the blow-out fight we had on Thursday, which he literally didn't remember. He didn't make any attempt to make up with me, didn't even sleep with me that night. Then on Saturday, I came downstairs--he had gotten up with the kids and I slept in--and the house was utterly trashed, and I was angry and made everyone clean up. But to him, there's no cause-and-effect understanding. It's just me being unpredictable and unreasonable. I can not for the life of me wrap my head around it.
6. He is constantly mentioning "everything he does for me."
I am so happy to have found this thread. It answers so many questions. Six years ago, I fell madly, deeply in love with my husband. Here was this brilliant engineer who enjoyed psychoanalysis, feminist theory, progressive politics, french films, good food and wine, and so much more. I had been in many relationships throughout my teens and twenties, but had never felt like this. I was pregnant within seven months, and we were married shortly after.
It turned out that my H was badly damaged by the abuse and neglect he had suffered as a child. His mother once got arrested and left him and his little brother in their apartment for a week; she didn't tell the authorities they were there. They were 5 and 3. They ate raw meat out of the fridge and somehow got through it before being found. This is just one story to illustrate the abuse.
Really from the beginning, H would lose his temper and be nasty and cruel over seemingly nothing, and I thought it was because of what he had been through, and also because of his alcohol dependency. The episodes were usually a result of him doing social things with family and friends. Other times, it was intense jealousy and suspicion--I had had a brief flirtation with another guy a few months into our relationship, and he thought it had been much more serious. I didn't see then how crazy his response was. For years he would get drunk and call me a whore, a slut, all kinds of things. He didn't do the cliche thing abusers do to try and win me back with flowers and apologies; instead, the fight would linger until I got over it. And he would be confused as to why I was upset in the days that followed, attributing it to me being a drama queen.
Why did I stay? I guess I was feeling a little helpless at the time. I had a health problem I didn't know about, only knew that I felt exhausted, sore, and weak a lot of the time. I thought it might be psychosomatic. It took me four years to receive a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which had wreaked havoc on my endocrine system since childhood. I had always been sickly, but it got bad when my children were born. By this time, I had an infant and could barely hold her or walk because of the muscle weakness and pain in my joints. H told me over and over again that I was lazy and selfish and just wanted someone else to "do my job for me." I know I should have left, but I knew I couldn't work and take care of her and my daughter from a previous marriage. (I know, I know. What was I thinking jumping right into a new one?) We had bought a house together and I got pregnant again. H became obsessed with two things: his career and alcohol. He wouldn't help keep up the house or the yard or the parenting, claiming they were MY house and MY yard and MY kids and he hadn't wanted all that stuff--I had--so what was I complaining about? But let me tell you, good God did I love this man. I still do. There would be stretches of weeks, sometimes a month, where he wouldn't rage, and I was so grateful for that that I didn't put up a fight. I thought if I could be kind enough, loving enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, and all of that, he would finally treat me like I was special.
He did buy me nice jewelry on holidays. That I will give him: just really good taste in jewelry. It wasn't the jewelry so much as what it represented--that he did love me, even though he didn't show it.
Going on vacations and doing family things like just going to the park together was painful. He was tense and on edge and would almost kind of punish me for "making" him "do all this stuff for me"--it's like he had no concept for us being a family together and all reaping the benefits of that. Sure, raising little kids is hard. The sacrifices, the loss of identity, the grunt work--it is hard! But they are so precious and the time goes so fast. As you're probably picking up on by now, I'm a sentimental person to a fault. Eventually, I stopped asking him to come with us, even to the pool down the street, because it just wasn't worth the tension. I could tell that it wore on the children because they could tell he seemed angry.
About a year ago, H started threatening to leave me anytime we fought. I didn't want to lose him, and I didn't want our kids to grow up without their dad. So I buried my resentments, and of course that would come out passive aggressively and in outbursts. Finally, I decided I needed to look carefully at how much of my heart I had given to him. I decided to take my heart back, piece by piece. And I told him this--I told him, "I am going to start putting my emotional energy elsewhere. I do not know if this is a process I can reverse once it's done."
His response? Something along the lines of: "Good. Get a hobby. Get a girlfriend. (I'm bisexual) I don't care--just leave me alone."
I began to ignore H the way he had ignored me over the years. I stopped asking about his day, smiling when he came into the room, being his cheerleader, telling him how wonderful he was, doing little things to make him feel special. It seemed clear he did not want these things from me. And at first, he seemed relieved.
But then, it started to wear on him. It turned out he didn't like being treated the way he had always treated me. Now, when he said, "You don't care about me. You don't do anything for me," it carried water. It wasn't just a projection.
I told my husband recently that if he threatened to leave me again, that would be the end. And this is what happened. He had gotten up before me, and the puppy ("my" puppy, along with "my" kids, "my" house, "my" yard, and all of the other stuff we apparently didn't share) had pooped in the bed. I asked what he was thinking when he got up and didn't take her out. He said, "What I'm thinking right now is that I can't wait until I don't have to be with you anymore."
And I told him I would pack his bag, which is what I did.
Of course he threw a tantrum, and of course none of it made sense. Apparently, I'm not a real Christian. I just go to church to impress people. Which is bizarre to me, because I lack material pride to a fault. Why would I want to impress a couple thousand people I don't even know at a mega-church? Just bizarre. And I'm spoiled. To which I responded, "Yes, I am just drowning in affection and love and support and all the wonderful things that come with being married to you."
Which, I know what he means. He brings home a nice paycheck, and I get to stay home all day with my three kids and have fun changing diapers, changing the litter box, doing laundry, driving them around, doing 100% of the planning and maintenance, and making sure he has a bomb meal at the end of the day.
Also, he can't wait for when the neighbors find out "I'm too lazy to drive MY kids (not our kids) to school." Keeping in mind that I have narcolepsy, so it's unsafe for me to drive in the morning. But no, I'm actually just selfish.
Oh, and I don't "do anything for him."
I don't "care about him."
Which is to say, I'm not deeply invested in long conversations about his true passion--his career--and all the dysfunction and interpersonal problems that everyone else causes him at his job. Because you know...of course it's not him.
I did say something mean about his weight. I feel bad about that comment. It was a low blow. He had just finished telling me how lazy I am, what a POS I am, and how he can't wait to be with someone who actually deserves him. And I told him maybe he should lose some weight first--he's gone from being trim with nice muscles when we met to flabby and obese, and while this alone doesn't bother me, the implications of it do. I'm not interested in a life with someone who is going to drop dead at 55 from heart disease, who for the next 20 years won't get off his butt to do anything active with me or put physical effort into our yard or home--the "guy stuff" that he expects me to take care of, as well.
So when our girls came home from their sleepover, they saw his suitcase sitting there, and I said, "Daddy is going to go stay somewhere close to his work for awhile."
To which he replied, "Mommy is making me leave because I'm too fat and won't take care of her dog for her." (During our blowout, I made a comment about his weight after he called me a lazy, worthless POS. I know, very classy.) But to say this to our little girls, who are 8 and 4. It's just cruel.
Then said, "Do you want to leave and I will stay here?"
Which is bizarre, just bizarre, because he has never had all three children on his own for more than 12 hours. He did keep our son for a full weekend a few months ago, but that's the only overnight thing he's ever done. Which, when I brought that up the other night because I've arranged for my mom to watch the kids for me to visit a friend for a weekend, he said he could do it, and I said it might not be a good idea because he's never had them for more than 12 hours. Which he said, sure he has. He's watched them full weekends. Which has never once happened, even at the height of my sickness when I couldn't walk without holding onto something.
Some curious things to add:
1. He's never expressed concern for our health problems, which my disorder being genetic, I have passed it on to all three of the children. He hasn't invested at all in helping me get them care. He truly seems not to care.
2. He's always said I don't "do anything for him." Which, finally I figured out what he meant was, give him a lot of time alone to indulge in his obsessions, I think? I would ask, what would you like me to do? And he would say, "I want you to stop being a terrible person. You're a spoiled brat." Like, those words verbatim. He says I walk away when he is trying to talk to me--usually because dinner is cooking and our toddler just pooped and there is someone at the door and I've been pushing myself for 12 hours straight and my back is about to give out on me. He can't even see that though--all he sees is what a child sees. "Mommy's too busy for me, she doesn't care about me."
3. When I went into labor with our son, he took me to the hospital, then went to drop the girls off with the sitter. He didn't return for 4 hours. The night our son was delivered, he left the hospital to go home and work. Just bizarre.
4. I once had a seizure in front of him. He stepped around me to go into the other room.
5. He told me the other night that it's not that he wants to be alone all the time. He simply prefers it to "dealing with me." He said this flatly and calmly, with no anger whatsoever. He said, "It's not that I don't know what you want. Like when you are sick, to ask if you are OK. I just don't feel like it because I'm upset with you."
Ok, well this is long, but I'm glad I put it in words. It helps me see the insanity of the situation, that I would allow myself to be treated like this. I'll say one thing: it's really helped me to get rid of my victim mentality. I'm the one who put up with it, who blamed myself, who excused it, who let it go on. I can own that, and that will help me to move on. Do I still love him? Yes. Very much. But like the song goes, sometimes love just ain't enough.
Maybe growing up with a family that treated you like you were the problem lead you to marry someone who also treated you like that. Please trust yourself.
I can't link now but at the beginning of thread 3 I've linked to this and the first thread.
My partner was very giving sexually. He focussed on me and my pleasure. It took a while until he accepted that his pleasure was as important to me. My sexual drive was higher than his but I was ok with this and never put pressure on him. I didn't find him mechanical and the last few times, we definitely made love, which I never thought would happen. Is this possible for others?
I also had a relationship with a man who had ASD. He was insatiable. His sex drive was through the roof. However, I would definitely say it was mechanical.
Are there other threads besides thread 3 please?
I'm finding this link so useful. My ex recently broke up with me, in the midst of one of his depressive bouts. This is not the first time. He is undiagnosed but his son is diagnosed.
It breaks my heart to read all your stories. I'm left feeling very confused. I can see just how challenging it is for everyone but I feel like I've lost my best friend. His excuse for pushing me away was that it's not fair. It's not for on him either.
This is getting full. I'll start another and link it over!
Well, since we've broken up, obviously nothing, but one of the main reasons for the breakup was that he was asexual. I read someone on here talking about masking a few months ago and realised that's exactly what happened with us/him. He knew that boyfriend/girlfriend should have sex, so we did. It was very mechanical, but I figured it would change as he became more comfortable, as he relaxed into things and knew that I wasn't going to dump him (he was afraid of that apparently and I had to pay for what his ex did to him - which he actually admitted at one point). After we got married, it disappeared. It was awful for me. Truly awful: I was newly married, so in love, so happy, and surrounded by older married couples making jokes about 'newlyweds'. He barely touched me. No sex for 8 months. Many discussions, all coming back to me not speaking to him in the correct way, not keeping the house tidy enough (we had a cleaner twice a week and no kids, it wasn't a mess or dirty!). Eventually I talked about children with him. He wanted children, so then we had sex once a month when I was ovulating. After the first child, no sex for 13 months. Then when we discussed another child sex happened again, but I got pregnant first time. Sex was over.
We got married and the mask came off. He felt he could relax into who he really is. I had no idea that a man wouldn't want sex, especially if he was fit and healthy and had just married me! It wasn't a forced or arranged marriage!!!
Physical intimacy like hugs, holding hands etc all disappeared alongside the sex. The whole lot vanished. If I asked for a hug I could get one, but I could also almost hear him counting the seconds until he was 'allowed' to let go.
No compliments either. Nothing about what a nice person I am (maybe I'm not, but then don't marry me, right?), nothing about how he found me attractive, nothing about how I looked nice wearing something. Occasionally something about I'd made a nice dessert or cake. That'd be it.
My intimate partners before him were much more physically loving. Obviously there were reasons why I didn't marry them though... But no, men are not all mechanical in physical intimacy.
Also how are your DH's with kissing and touch?
DH will only show physical affection if he wants to have sex. If i show him any physical affection he thinks that's a signal for sex too.
He's also rubbish with kissing and non sexual touching. I don't know if most men are like that but it feels like rushed/forced and not affectionate but dutiful?
My DH can't also read when I'm ill. I'll be in excruciating pain but he will still want to have sex. And get grumpy when I refuse. It's hard.
Hi everyone, so much of what you are all saying I can relate to. It's heart breaking and sad and it's only a few months ago that I realised there was nothing I could do to make him love me more, this is just how things are. And I feel like I am grieving. Grieving for spousal love and care I have never had and will never have.
Which is something that really, really upsets me: healwayslooks reasonable and because he doesn't get angry easily, he very literally looks reasonable. But what he's saying or doing may very well not be and in order for me to get my point across, when he's not listening to me, I'll have to shout. I absolutelyhateit, but there's no other way.
This a hundred times over. You've put it so much more eloquently than I could express.
My DH also shows affection and concern when people are around and it really really annoys me. Suddenly he is like hey do you want some tea? Have you had something to eat etc. If he looks after me, it feels like a huge burden for him to do that, whereas when I'm ill my 6 year old wants to look after me and brings me medicine etc and cuddles me. And believes me. I do feel bevause of the way my DH acts when I'm ill, he doesn't believe me. And it's hard because I have a long term condition.
We also a huge problem with DH not doing anything to up his income and spends half his week relaxing at home whilst I am exhausted from work and having to juggle everything else.
He is a great father but can only manage it in 2 hour slots and then needs a break. But he wants to have lots more children but complains if he has to look after more DS for more than 7 hours in a row. I tell him how then how he will he manage with more children but he can't put the two together. In his head they are two totally seperate things.
I was reading the description of kids trying to get attention and that’s my ex.
His language is - he talks to me like I’m an employee and always did
Jalapeñohot I sadly understand that. Nobody can be ill unless he deems the symptoms (which have to be visible to him) significant. If not, it's like your maladie is in your head, it simply doesn't exist, you're exaggerating or just making it up. Your pain ceases to exist because he can't see it. Which, when you're in pain he can't see, mean you cease to exist in certain respects. And that's it.
QueenieIsLost That is really sad. I can see the possibility here of what you say about being excluded - it's on the edge of my radar. I get stressed trying to make everything work and then at the end having him have a better relationship with them because I've killed myself facilitating it.
There is so little understanding of our (collective, spousal/partnered) experiences. It's so isolating. These threads are the best things I've come across. It's hard sometimes to read them but I find comfort in not being over sensitive, or completely unfair in my feelings. And this is after making the divorce decision. I wish it had been here before!
changeofname yes yes to the trying everything. All the way through our 8 years together every time I've brought issues up its been him telling me that the reason they happen isn't him but either me or circumstances he can't do anything about. I used to believe this and when he would tell me that he couldn't communicate because of the way I phrased things or my tone or my timing or the location or the day of the week or any other number of things I believed it and turned myself inside out. Or he would tell me that when x or y thing happened then it would be different e.g. once the baby is born of COURSE I'll communicate differently. Once the baby is a toddler of COURSE I'll communicate better as they'll be like a real person. believed this stuff for about 5 years before I was able to see that nothing I ever did or any circumstance or happening ever actually changed any of it. I do think he a really believes these things when he says them and genuinely thinks very little of this is to do with him.
We tried couples counselling too. The counsellor was focussing on helping us to communicate better (and on helping DP learn better ways to listen and things to say). We went weekly. She would say tell me about a situation in the last week and then I'd say what happened and he'd say how he responded. And then she'd sort of coach him on what might have worked better. And he's practice and do it with her there and it would feel amazing and I'd think wow you can really do this and my heart would melt. Then we'd go home and it was back to same old. And rinse and repeat weekly. Eventually the counsellor had her head in her hands. Even when he wrote down what to do he didn't do it. We stopped going as he said we were ganging up on him and that was what was preventing him making progress. I can see how it felt like that too although until the last session where counsellor kind of have up we'd really been encouraging him.
Jalapenohot yes I worry about this a lot too. Last year when we were all away on holiday I became ill with stomach pains. He left me to it and eventually I called NHS 24. I could barely speak to them for pain and he didn't even take the phone to give them my details or anything just carried on making dinner. They sent an ambulance and when paramedics came he disappeared upstairs leaving me with kids. They decided to take me to hospital and when we were leaving the paramedics couldn't find him. He was upstairs putting laundry away.. I got a text in the hospital saying him and kids had had a good dinner and relaxing evening
I think on balance I have to separate and try to minimise him having long periods with the kids if I can. Little and often is definitely better for all concerned. I've gone through a breakdown, anti depressants and in last year so much comfort eating have put on 3 stone. I need to take control for myself. My family are NC with him and that also makes life difficult. Xmas day I took the kids to my family and he was at home alone and totally unperturbed. I'd have been so upset to be excluded.
Haha the ‘we’....
I’ve always found that PA and patronising at the same time.
And the ‘delegating’ too (aka making me sort the stuff he doesn’t want to do or hasn’t thought about sorting out before it became an issue)
It has, of course, become one of his special interests. And as dc1 is really really keen on it, the effect gets compounded.
Basically nothing else happens at weekend bar the hobby. Since September, they’ve all been away every weekend (bar one or two weekends at home) and I’m left alone because I don’t or rather cannot do that hobby due to ME (brought by dealing with H - aka a mixture if very high stress and running myself down trying to do everything for everyone).
So it’s very bitter sweet. Great that he has some relationship with the dcs. But very sad I’m loosing the one I have with them because I hardly see them
Even worse when I end up been the one who ‘gets in the way’ because I dare say they should also think about me, what I want to do and spend time with me too. When I have been the one to engineer said hobby so they have some relationship.
Actually scrap the bitter sweet. I’m angry.
Jalapenohot mine is much more succinct. He just says No. To pretty much everything.
But he does use mechanical language. I think it works in an office setting (judging by his career progression), but in an intimate relationship (I don't mean sexual, just intimate - his sister doesn't feel able to open up to him due to this) it shuts the other person down.
And the bloody royal 'we' for things he expects me to do. In an office setting it could be ok. But "I'm not your secretary" is a well-worn phrase...
QueenieIsLost I half-smiled there. Last year I had a raging argument with DH on the top of a hill that I knew very well from childhood because he wanted to take them (aged 4&6) down a very dangerous side of it. There are frequent accidents from -idiots- tourists doing that and there was no way I could let it happen. But he insisted. I won, but not without making myself look like a raging loony to the other people on the hill.
Which is something that really, really upsets me: he always looks reasonable and because he doesn't get angry easily, he very literally looks reasonable. But what he's saying or doing may very well not be and in order for me to get my point across, when he's not listening to me, I'll have to shout. I absolutely hate it, but there's no other way.
Sparkly I didn't answer about the not neutralising part. Firstly it was two years ago when I decided so I hadn't realised there'd be a problem! I thought it would arise only in teenage years! While I hate what Brexit has done to my life, I also try to hang onto the teeny silver lining which is that I've got the chance to reaffirm my children's sense of reality and to neutralise other aspects. Not that I'm perfect, but I will admit mistakes and I can sense when people are upset, so the damage I can do is less in that way at least.
Discussing this with a friend she told me about her close friend. This woman had a really horrible ex. She was running herself ragged trying to undo the damage he'd do to the kids when they were with him. In the end she realised that she couldn't undo it as such, she had to use it as a learning opportunity for her kids. They needed to learn how to deal with their father and that yes, he would let them down badly, but they would also know that she would always be there for them. So in a way she had to strengthen herself, rather than sweep up his mess. Her kids are older and I can see that in the future that's what I'm going to have to do. I'm starting to pave the way very slowly. When the kids say, "Daddy couldn't hear me and I was right next to him" I'll say I know, that that can happen sometimes with Daddy. I ask them how they're feeling and then see if they can think of a way to 'pierce' his bubble if he can't hear them. It doesn't matter so much what the answer is, but I'm trying to get them to think of other ways to interact. And it really pisses me off that my kids need to do that and that it has to be, yet again, me doing it, but I'm not sure what else I can do. They need to learn different ways of interacting with him that get the results they need as they grow.
Both children (5&7) have already essentially said that it's me they come to for emotional stuff, Daddy doesn't get it... I wish that at their age they didn't realise that just yet.
Queenie The common hobby thing is something I'm working on. DH is very sporty so I encourage them to spend sporting time together. I'm glad to hear that a few years on that shared interest can be something meaningful.
Sparkly I wanted to add that I know exactly what you mean. I feel like my life entered a pit that I would never, ever have chosen after I got married to DH. And I feel guilty for being able to get mostly out of it and the children not. I truly had no idea until I was pregnant with our second child that it was actually like this, although I still retained some hope it could change. Also, back to divorce. One of the things that was really the clear signal to end our relationship was that once he found out - and agreed - he very, very likely has Aspergers, it was put to him that he could now learn about how my brain worked too. I'd spent years trying to figure out how to get things to work, how his brain worked, so the only thing left was for him make some effort. He straight out said no! The therapist did a double take! He'd spent a good year in therapy saying he wanted things to be better, he was trying 110% (I knew he wasn't, but I couldn't prove it to the therapist) and then he straight out said it. Didn't I feel a fool for investing so much of myself after that... It still took me some months of falling further into self-hatred before I made the decision that I knew I'd never turn back from.
I believe that although My DH is a good father on so many levels, he is dangerous when looking after the children for extended periods of time. He does not notice important cues such as illness. Once DD was seriously ill and collapsed, he refused to call an ambulance and said I was over-reacting. A good job I called them as she could have fallen into a deep coma or worse due to extremely low blood sugar levels.
For this reason, I believe I am trapped into staying with him until the children are old enough to contact me themselves when in his care.
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