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Married to someone with Aspergers: support thread 4 (replacement one)

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MNHQ have commented on this thread.

changerofnameaspiethread Tue 05-Mar-19 11:50:53

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. Otherwise the thread can be deleted, like Support Thread 4 The Original.

Previous threads:
1st thread: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/3281058-Is-anyone-married-to-someone-with-Aspergers
2nd thread: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/3325419-married-to-someone-with-asperger-s-support-group-here
3rd thread: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/a3463341-Married-to-someone-with-Aspergers-Support-group-here-Thread-3

Daftasabroom Wed 15-May-19 19:09:36

I get the "no such thing as mild" sentiment, but it is inescapable that some individuals have much less severe difficulties in some traits. Mild is the right term to use in these circumstances. I much prefer the radar diagram way of visualisation.

colouringinpro Wed 15-May-19 21:02:25

Ex H has just told me his ASD assessment has come back "Clear".

colouringinpro Thu 16-May-19 12:45:20

I was certain he's on the spectrum. Like his dd. It's really thrown me.

Bluebellforest1 Thu 16-May-19 15:22:09

Colouring flowers

I may be wrong, (and am very happy to be corrected by someone more knowledgeable), but I would have thought his assessment report should have been more detailed than “clear”. Did he tell you exactly what it said?

Bluebellforest1 Thu 16-May-19 15:32:14

Just read back, Moffa have a fantastic holiday with your dc. Enjoy.
The first holiday my dc and I had after splitting from H1 (possibly AS as well, 24years ago now) was a week in a caravan in Wales. Cheap, as I had little money, but a lovely week. I remember being able to do, eat, buy, anything we wanted, without worrying about walking on eggshells. They were aged 7, 10, 12.

Moffa Mon 20-May-19 10:23:38

Bluebell, it’s been amazing so far! Keep having to remind myself what’s going on at home! So glad I don’t have H sulking & skulking about doing nothing to help! DD said it’s her best holiday ever so I’m guessing she’s feeling more relaxed! I don’t even miss H at all. He is texting all the time requesting photos etc. He didn’t take a single photo of any of us on our last family holiday!

How’s everyone doing? X

Hollalula Mon 20-May-19 14:14:01

That sounds fantastic Moffa! Glad you're having a good time- it must be giving you more confidence to leave him. I'll bet your H is bothered he's missing out... I know mine would be x

Hollalula Mon 20-May-19 14:20:38

How is everyone elses ASD (or suspected ASD) partner with money? Mine tracks one joint account account (bills) and I track the other- savings, irregular outgoings, christmas, holidays etc. We have both children's birthdays next week so I decided to check the account to see how much is in there. H has been telling me that there is plenty going in to the account and that a safety cushion has accumulated. Well, I've just checked in and what utter bollocks. There is not enough money to pay for both children's birthdays, let alone a "cushion." He hasn't budgeted for their birthdays, I know he hasn't. Birthdays are supposed to come out of that pot as the other account is for "extras" as we call them. He said birthdays were budgeted for. They haven't been. He has been adamant that we throw one DC a birthday party... which has been booked. There is no money for it though, no money for presents even. The other account can be used but this will mean no summer holiday this year and no outings as we are already scraping by.
Can't believe it.

Hollalula Mon 20-May-19 14:26:27

Just to add that this isn't the first time either. When he was managing the savings account, he "forgot" to save for christmas. It's like if it isn't an everyday expense then he just doesn't account for it.
He is so frustrating. He will just argue that we need to get them a small present each and rely on his affluent parents to save the day with something exciting for them. 😓

turtlelizards Mon 20-May-19 17:04:57

@Hollalula

My DH is shocking with money. Can't plan and was constantly running up large debts in both our names. I'd clear one debt only to discover more debts and it was the biggest cause of arguments. Often it wasn't even that we didn't have the money it was that he hadn't checked, for example, when he got he paid or moved money between accounts. For somebody so intelligent it flummoxed me how daft and irresponsible somebody could be.

We've now been debt free for almost 2 years but I've had to accept that the responsibility for finances will always fall with me and can't be shared.

About 3 years ago we did attend a CAP money course which I went on too with him as a last attempt to get the finances sorted or else I was going to leave. CAP advocated for a cash based system which we still use and I think has made it much easier for his budgeting because he can physically see what money he has and hasn't got whereas when using cards it was all a bit abstract.

turtlelizards Mon 20-May-19 17:09:23

@Hollalula

Interestingly my in-laws are the affluent 'saviour' types who repeatedly would rescue him in his financial predicaments.

Also to my DH birthdays are no big deal. He doesn't care for his or for anybody else's. And whilst presents and gestures aren't important to him, it's taken a good many years to train and teach him that they are important to the children (and to me).

thanks to you. It's bloody hardwork. And lonely. Unless you're in it no-one realises.

Hollalula Mon 20-May-19 18:52:36

@turtlelizards everything you say resonates with me in regards to my H too, apart from the debts. Mine can't save at all.
-Money is abstract
- Cant plan or organise his money with regards to pay days/ bill dates etc.
-Inlaws have always been his saviour financially.
-Birthdays aren't important. He has been adamant about a party because all her class mates have had one. He likes to keep up appearances.

Barkette Tue 21-May-19 00:30:02

I’ve been lurking here a while. My DH doesn’t have a diagnosis. This doesn’t bother me but I do feel he does have AS.

When we are together everything is great we have two cats and a dog and he is amazing with them. I’m sure he is like a Dr Doo little and feels more in sync with them than humans! We have our best talks whilst walking the dog and not being connected with other techy stuff.

We have been married 5 years, don’t have and DC yet (although we would love some) and we have our pets. I have come to understand him as he has me.

I love this man with every inch of me. So why have I posted. I am finding being with my DH and “being in company” increasingly difficult.

We have just had a few days away on holiday. We had a lovely time with each other and we also made some friends. This was totally out of my DHs comfort zone and a bit mine to be honest.

I’m not sure what I am asking. When you are in a different comfort zone with different people do you over compensate for the things you know your DH finds difficult or do you just let them make their own way and let the audience make their own assumptions from it?

I have felt sometimes over the last day or so my DH has been misunderstood and I’ve been trying to explain “what he means” yet I’m not sure if he is actually bothered that I’ve tried to explain or his audience care either! Maybe I should just brush off what anyone thinks and just be calm and secure with what I know he means. He isn’t intentionally nasty or horrible but I worry he could be perceived this way as he never feels the need to explain yet I do. It is becoming exhausting.

SalitaeDiscesa Tue 21-May-19 17:47:49

We're struggling again. Today I chased up the Lorna Wing Centre, who were supposed to send us recommendations for specialist couples counselling. Turns out they did send them, three months ago - to DH. He neither read the email nor forwarded it to me.

His brother has died suddenly, leaving his house and affairs in an indescribable mess. It is, of course, falling mainly to me to sort it all out, from cleaning up the shit to organising the wake. DH can't cope with writing so much as a letter to the bank or an email to a solicitor. Much less making a phone call.

I have no doubt that his brother also had autism. The squalor and ghastliness is a horrible illustration of where DH would be without me (if he were still alive, which is doubtful). Images of the state of the house are still giving me sleepless nights. He had plenty of money but three lots of bailiffs were after him for unpaid utility bills.

I've now told a couple of people about DH's diagnosis, which helps me a little. And I'm making some headway with rebooting my social life. There's a long, long way to go though 🙁

Hollalula Tue 21-May-19 22:00:42

@salitae do you want to stay with him?

SalitaeDiscesa Wed 22-May-19 07:24:18

Yes, definitely. I want a marriage, though, not a parent-child relationship.

One problem is that, on top of severely impaired executive function, DH has an intractable aversion to routine. He changed some of his behaviour after our crisis last year but, without constant maintenance and prompting from me, it's slipping back.

Daftasabroom Wed 22-May-19 11:44:37

Re finances: DW is almost the opposite, she obsesses over micromanaging our finances. I don't actually know how many bank or savings accounts we have but it is usually at least ten. Every so often she'll proudly tell me shes spent all week shutting down three or four and opened a couple more and we'll get an extra 0.0001%. she can easily spend three days saving £25 off car insurance. I think it's all part of the demand avoidance; she can't bring herself to get a decent job, but at least this way she can show how busy she is.

MySqueeHasBeenSeverelyHarshed Wed 22-May-19 16:43:09

I've been lurking on this thread and the previous threads for a long time, I'd like to just vent my spleen a bit if you don't mind.

I was diagnosed with Asperger's when I was nineteen. It turned out to be a misdiagnosis, I have a physical disability that affects my cognitive function and the lingering effects of an attachment disorder which combined did mimic a lot of the symptoms of Asperger's. Personally I believe that if the therapist who diagnosed me had spent more than two sessions with me and took into account my home life I would never have been diagnosed and avoided a lot of unpleasantness.

Shortly after being diagnosed, I was recommended a support group that was, up until that point, all men. Mentally I was a lot younger than my actual age, so nineteen but looked and felt about fourteen. The man who ran the support group was thirty years old and told me he had feelings for me (I found out later he did this to pretty much every girl who had ever been a part of the group; girls did not last long there) so we started dating. I was at a very low ebb and he seemed like a decent guy at the start and probably the best I could do.

The relationship was a disaster. He pushed me to keep attending the support group meetings even when the other members made me uncomfortable (they could be very sexually inappropriate). He was needy, clingy and convinced that having Asperger's gave him a superior outlook than most people. He was unsympathetic to my worsening physical illness and never listened to anything I said about my interests. My mother was convinced I should marry him, and she pushed me to stay in the relationship until I couldn't handle it any more and cut all ties.

That was twelve years ago. My ex has continued to keep tabs on me through people we both knew, and has tried to engage with me multiple times on forums and social media to the point that I have several sock puppet emails. He knew about a promotion I got five years ago that I had only told a handful of people about. His current girlfriend apparently saw me in a shop once and wanted to fight me because of how I 'treated' him when we were going out; I have never met her, had no idea who she was but she knew exactly what I looked like and where I tended to shop.

I know for a fact that he was planning to propose to me at one point, and I suppose I read these threads as a sort of 'there but for the grace of god go I' type of thing.

colouringinpro Wed 22-May-19 20:15:20

MYSquee flowers. That sounds really tough. But I'm very very glad he's your ex your instinct was right and well done sticking to it despite your mum. Best wishes.

turtlelizards Sun 26-May-19 18:33:58

Those of you who have left, how did did you do it? Do you have any kids with ASD and how did they cope?

I've finally booked a counselling appointment for myself for a weeks time. It cannot come soon enough.

Despite not wanting to, I am beginning to feel like leaving would be the best option for my sanity. The upheaval this would generate is huge. I'd need to move closer to my work (an hour away). The DC would need to go to a different school. We have fought endlessly for 1:1 support for DS with ASD and all the support he needs in school and the thought of doing all that again and on my own feels me with dread.

I have no one in real life who could support with this. I just keep crying. I have never felt so lonely. And I feel like I have nothing more to give. I feel like my emotional pot is dry. I feel almost dead inside.

I just can't let this be my life forever. There are so many restrictions on what I can do and so many compromises and sacrifices I've made.

I just want to have a husband not a 3rd child to parent. 😢

Moffa Sun 26-May-19 20:33:30

Oh Turtle, we are here for you. I totally related to what you wrote as that was me in January.

I think the therapy is a great starting point (ideally someone with experience & knowledge of ASD within relationships) as it’s incredible to have a safe space to talk about everything. Have you read up on Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome? I felt dead too. The therapy has helped me.

In terms of leaving; it is hard. I’m afraid I wimped and did it after an argument (instigated by him). I have been living with my parents (and DC) for 9 weeks. I know I’m lucky to have their help & support and it would have been so much harder doing it without it because it is so daunting. I have 2 young DC. No signs of ASD yet, but not sure at what age it would show.

I felt sheer relief when I left. My emotions have run the gauntlet since. I feel sad for myself, my marriage, my kids. But over all I feel so much happier! I feel guilty admitting it but it’s true. Life is more relaxed & fun.

H is undergoing diagnosis at the moment then seeking counselling. He had an awful upbringing so needs some help with understanding love and what it means. I don’t think it can help us but hopefully it can help him.

How’s everyone doing? X

Choodechoo Fri 31-May-19 07:53:36

I intend on staying until my youngest is sleeping better. Practically, DH is helpful during the night and I wouldn't cope with it on my own. I just hate sharing a bed with him, as there is nowhere else to sleep at the moment.

I've been seeing a counsellor under the NHS for around 6 months. Our sessions are now coming to an end, but I've been advised that I'll need ongoing support whilst I'm with him to keep my mental health on track so I intend on seeing a private counsellor fortnightly for the duration that we are together.

I recently discovered that DH has been concealing some money from me after his pay increased a year ago by £100 per month. We had been struggling with finances at the time due to me being on maternity leave and we can't afford a holiday this year. This money would have made all the difference. I've never felt he is on my team, feel like he always has his own agenda and my feelings have now proven me correct. I told him he had killed my love for him. He was unphased. Yet if I left tomorrow, he would be mortified. Unless the topic is abstract, it just doesn't seem to exist to him at all. I intend on taking as much time and space for myself as possible, which is a foreign concept to me, relationships have always been about caring for each other. But if I don't put me first, nobody will.

picklemepopcorn Fri 31-May-19 08:08:06

There's an argument going on elsewhere about whether people can be informally or self diagnosed. It's the usual- your husband is not autistic, he's an abusive arsehole- perspective.

Has anyone's partner gone through the diagnosis process in later life? It's not possible in this area- you just get passed from pillar to post unless you are in a crisis. I feel my role is to keep us out of a crisis!

turtlelizards Fri 31-May-19 09:45:31

@picklemepopcorn My DH was diagnosed at age 40. His GP was not at all supportive of referring him because he said 'what difference would it make now?'. DH has to really push hard and emphasise that it could explain and help him access more appropriate anxiety treatments.

The waiting list was 2 years for assessment. We only suspected it after DS was diagnosed and to be honest DH had such a traumatic childhood, we didn't know if some of his 'quirks' could be explained by that. When he went through the diagnosis process they acknowledged his childhood trauma but did not feel it explained his presentation and the way he is.

In our area they recently set up a new service with the specific aim of identifying and diagnosing ASD in those adults who had been missed (predominantly those that would be described as having Aspergers or HFA). I think they knew there was a demand for this but didn't really anticipate how huge the demand would be.

For me, the most useful thing was the support the service can offer me as spouse. Although that said I am seeking out private therapy and still don't know what the long term future holds for our relationship. As much as I love him, it's so draining and exhausting to be propping him up all that time. I feel empty and lonely a lot.

picklemepopcorn Fri 31-May-19 15:18:39

Thanks turtle! That echoes my experience- we tried for assessment, but it involved various steps that DH was never going to manage (make a phone call referring himself for counselling-not gonna happen). It was such a big deal for him to even go to the GP, I felt so let down on his behalf. He has spoken to his management at work though, which he has found very helpful.

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