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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 Mon 17-Jun-19 15:34:54

The link I added was because it put a name to what seems to be missing from our relationship. I can't remember ever having my hand squeezed.

On the poor health tack: I broke my leg quite badly one Christmas, DW went to bed leaving me with a 7YO and a 10YO to cook for and look after for five days until they went back to school.

I had spinal fusion surgery and she drove me home down the roughest potholed inside motorway lane for an hour insisting she daren't go over 60 mph and lane discipline is sacred.

TimeIhadaNameChange Mon 17-Jun-19 09:30:35

Hi @Geordiebabe85! All are welcome here, don't worry!

Your DP sounds very much like mine (not diagnosed, but he was the one to suggest he was on the spectrum)- great with practical stuff, nearly non-existant when it comes to emotions. Your hospital story reminds me of when I had Noro last year - it started when I was at a friend's house, so when I came back I told him I'd been sick. He went to bed (not quite as cold-hearted as it sounds, mind). I spent the night throwing up, gave up trying to make it to the loo and just threw towels down. Come morning, the kitchen and bathroom floors (lino) were covered in towels, and I told him why. He was then slightly taken aback when I said that no, I was not coming shopping with him and he'd have to get the food himself. He did so, but, despite having done the food shop by himself many times previously, and thus demonstrating he knew exactly what the various animals needed, as well as ourselves, he came back with the bare minimum declaring we could go together the next day! He did, however, thoughtfully buy some stuff that he thought would make me feel better.

He can be surprising, though. I mentioned something incredibly personal to a friend a few years ago. DP was in the room, but not in the conversation IYSWIM. Six months later he mentioned it out of the blue and decided we needed to do something about it. I was gobsmacked. He'd heard the hurt in my voice and come up with a practical solution to solve it. He can respond to emotion, but not immediately. It has to be processed.

In my opinion, then, your DH's behaviour last week could be down to being on the Spectrum. If he were my DP I'd explain it by the emotional componant of you being in hospital being too much for him, so he shuts that down and concentrates on something else.

Curer10 Sun 16-Jun-19 19:18:53

Really helpful blog @daftasabroom. Thankyou.
DH is still defending his argument and says that I hurt his feelings when I stop him doing what he wants to do.
I've tried explaining the difference between the two but with no luck at all... don't think he will ever get it. Because he's undiagnosed, he won't challenge his own thinking or work on changing anything. When I suggest he has aspergers, he finds it a ludicrous suggestion.

Daftasabroom Sun 16-Jun-19 17:52:43

oneretreat.co.uk/small-things-life/

Food for thought...

Daftasabroom Sun 16-Jun-19 10:56:09

@Curer10 I can totally relate, we've had those conversations so many times, culminating in "I shouldn't have to tell you I love you, I wouldn't be with you if I didn't live you". The concept that the way she behaves and the things she says have any effect on me is completely incomprehensible to her.

Curer10 Sat 15-Jun-19 23:41:18

Can anyone relate?

Tried having a talk to DH this evening about him choosing to pursue his hobbies when things are tough at home- kids poorly, I'm poorly or on my birthday etc. I've told him it hurts my feelings and affects my mental health and that it's not ok to do that.

He doesn't get the concept that it is not ok to do things that hurt me if he believes the behaviour "is reasonable."

I've ended up crying after feeling like I've been wacking my head against a brick wall all evening in an attempt to make him see.

I've said we can not continue our marriage if he thinks it's ok for him to behave in ways that I find hurtful.

He says that he is willing to accept the ending of the marriage then. All because he refuses not to play golf on my birthday or when me and the kids are ill.

I despair.

midcenturylegs Sat 15-Jun-19 18:33:29

Don't have the time to read and respond properly (sorry) but Ah @Geordiebabe85 I totally get where you are coming from. You're not over-reacting at all.
@Palat 💐

Palat Fri 14-Jun-19 22:10:51

vivarium funnily, I was thinking something similar just the other day. Just that - that my DS16 is not a "bad" person - most of the time he can't help his difficult behaviour. I also noticed that when I back off and make few or no demands he is more genial and relaxed and atmosphere better. By the same token, when he can sense me being critical or more demanding (even if I don't express it) he seems to tighten up and the atmosphere and interchanges get worse.

Still, I am worried and I don't know what to do. We can't live in a vacuum of 'zero' demands, and it doesn't take much for things to tip over into "stress", blaming and irritable territory.

Wizzywig well I suppose the 500% job thing means he is financially independent and successful, which (I hope that doesn't sound wrong to say) at least is something that his family and relatives don't have to worry about :-/.

Mine is not a partner, so I know its not the same thing. My son still needs a little guidance and support at least for the next couple of years. Even though he doesn't like to engage with me really. So its difficult to navigate.

Will have to see how it goes.

Geordiebabe85 Fri 14-Jun-19 10:15:33

Sorry, meant to say DH is adamant that he ISN'T autistic.

Geordiebabe85 Fri 14-Jun-19 10:14:06

Hi everyone,
Sorry to come on here uninvited but I could do with some advice. My DH has so many traits of ASD (he can't cope with social situations, can't do small talk, hates noise, can't cope with disruption to his routine.....). His dad had ASD and my MIL has told me she always thought DH did too but she didn't take him to the dr because she didn;t think there was any point. DH is adamant that he is autistic (I think because he doesn't want anything in common with his dad).
Anyway, I really really do love him and I can cope with most of his little quirks but this week has pushed me to my limit. I had an operation (minor, but I was TERRIFIED!). The day before the op, DH started a completely pointless arguement so we didn't speak and I slept on the sofa because I was just so stressed and upset. The morning of the op, he drops me off at the hospital with no words of comfort, no hug, nothing, even thogh I was crying!
He comes back later on (he wasn't allowed to stay with me) and just asks how it went. Then sits down playing on his phone while we waited for a nurse to come and discharge me. Just as we're getting ready to leave I suddenly feel sick. He thrust one of those paper bowls at me and then just sat back down on his phone. It was a nurse who came and comforted me.
All week he's been great with practical things - cooking, getting me drinks etc, but he has given me absolutely no comfort at all. Is this part of the ASD or is he just a d**k? It really has upset me but I don;t know if i'm being selfish in thinking that just for once it should be all about me and not him but I don't know if I'm overreacting.

Palat Thu 13-Jun-19 21:31:27

I suspect its one of those slow burner threads that make you think, and give you space to; thank you to all the recent posters.

I have quite a lot on my plate at the moment, I'm hoping will have more time and energy over the weekend to come back.

Daftasabroom Thu 13-Jun-19 16:55:31

@TheFawn your last post reminds me so much of every day here. It's the non-stop little jabs and disagreement I can't bear. I think I get super sensitised to it, I'll take days or hours what singularity would be insignificant and totally over react. The truth is I'm not just reacting to the one incident, I'm rolling them all up together. I regularly think I'm going totally mad.

Interestingly DS1 who is fully diagnosed can't see anything wrong with DWs' behaviour and will reinforce his mother every time.

vivariumvivariumsvivaria Thu 13-Jun-19 09:07:10

Palat, I have found a counsellor who specialises in working with people with AS.

I had thought "what is the point unless he comes too?" but once things were so hard for me (not for him) I thought I'd better go because if I do leave the marriage I want to be able to say to the kids that I tried everything. Conscience, and all that.

I have to say, it's been really helpful. Amazingly so. She got me to see that my constant demands were making him worse - that his behaviour was slowly booming more AS, because I was making him stressed. She suggested I just back off and let his stress reduce, and see what happens.

Within a week he touched me. Just a hand on my shoulder as I was showing him something on the computer - but, honestly, what a difference. I crave touch, he doesn't do it unless it's sexual, and so I don't want to have sex with someone who's effectively a stranger, and so we don't have sex.

It is calmer at home. He is slowly becoming less anxious.

It's hard work, and it feels unfair that I have to consider him first above everything AGAIN. But, it is what it is, and my voice is either learn to manage how he sees the world or divorce.

And, how can I divorce a man who's not intending to behave badly? It would be like divorcing him for getting ill or listing his job or whatever, it's just not what our vows said.

Also, it's an hour a week where I get to think about me. Just me and how I am. That is good for any of us - I have figured out what I need to do in order to fill the lacks which exist because he cannot step up.

wizzywig Thu 13-Jun-19 08:49:11

Hi palat, my husband is 500% focussed on his job because it gives him power and influence (he isnt boris johnson by the way!!). He is in a status job so would have no problems getting another woman.

Palat Wed 12-Jun-19 14:06:34

I'm gonna possibly try and get sound counselling for myself (local NHS as suggested by my GP - but when I rang counselling service once before I thought it was awful, maybe this time I'll be luckier confused); I may also have to go to my son's school. I'm just feeling utterly fed up, with an awful kind of hopelessness and defeat which I've not experienced this way before. I know I just have to hold on and be patient for now ...

Palat Wed 12-Jun-19 13:46:50

As I'm over 60, maybe I should tell ASC I'm a vulnerable adult whose being abused by DS?

Greengrower I occasionally lurk on this thread. Know some of what you're going through. Do not have aspergers partner, but a DS16 who has shown a lot of the signs over the last 4 years (undiagnosed and I doubt severe enough for me to get any help).

It makes life very difficult and I honestly don't know if I can stick it for another 2 years or however long. Everything is an "issue". The blaming, criticising, blow-ups - it does seem like abuse at times. If it were anyone else I'd tell them to leave. I sometimes feel like I'm going mad too.

It also makes me sooooo miserable. I have been feeling tearful and depressed the last few days, with the realisation that he has significant issues and I can't live with him and keep my sanity at the same time. Like others have said (the dishwasher scenario) I'm the one who ends up looking like a madwoman when I end up screaming back (when he is shouting over every word I say). But I also feel really sad for him - I think how will he get by in life, let alone thrive. I'm amazed here how many posters here have partners who have jobs - his lateness for everything makes me wonder if he could get past the first week. And I can't imagine a girl putting up with his general unpleasant behaviour. He can be reasonable and sweet as well, and of course then I see glimpses of another side of him then. But the rest of the time sad.

picklemepopcorn Wed 12-Jun-19 13:24:19

It really helps with those feelings of being trapped and powerless. Our world was boundaried by his needs/wants/preferences. He tended not to think of mine where we didn't agree because of course I was wrong. I however constantly thought ahead to avoid things that would bother him. Now it's much more equal.

Curer10 Wed 12-Jun-19 12:34:17

Great advice @picklemepopcorn.
To be fair, I would have preferred to avoid getting the dishwasher fixed for a while until we have saved a little more money so the answer I thought wss not to use it.

DH then created a problem by again, using it. I guess that becomes my problem again through worry of us getting ill? So it brings us back to getting it fixed straight away?

I like that way of looking at things. I would prefer to spend the money than risk us getting ill.

picklemepopcorn Wed 12-Jun-19 12:17:20

Have any of you tried think about boundaries? They are very different in our type of marriages.

You look at an issue and decide whose problem it is. Then you address the problem if it is yours.

So take the dishwasher. The problem is that dishes are being put in the malfunctioning dishwasher, and may make the family ill. Whose problem is that? Yours because you don't want the family to be ill. How can it be fixed? Pay for it.

Then he has a problem- you spent money fixing the dishwasher. But it's his problem. He has to decide what to do.

If what he does is sulk and grumble about it- you get to decide if that is a problem for you or not.

My life got much easier when I started solving my problems unilaterally, and ignoring anything that wasn't my problem.

Does that make any sense?

Nipperless Wed 12-Jun-19 11:23:56

I would suggest making/crafting something.. it can be free/cheap. A painted rock sticks in my mind.. painted bright blue, with seagulls and balloons... "You Rock..".. but it's not in my possession anymore..

vivariumvivariumsvivaria Wed 12-Jun-19 10:40:00

No, it's not you, it's not us.

It's also not them - in that it's not deliberate.

Doesn't make the hurt and exasperation any less difficult to live with. I listed all the things DH did/does which the law would say is citable as unreasonable behaviour in a divorce. There were more than a dozen.

In a NT man it could be seen as being abusive, certainly the way finances operated here would be. But, he's not MEANING to be controlling about money, he just wants to do it alone incase I mess up. Annoyingly, he is better at it than me.

Still, it's not acceptable in a marriage. And, it's not going to change. And that is very, very difficult to tolerate. If I tell other people about it they'd say "that's abuse, you have to leave" - but, it's nuanced, it's not abuse, it's just him managing stuff the way he thinks is best.

Father's Day looms. What does one get a man who wants nothing because it is a waste of money - but, you absolutely don't want your kids to learn that you don't need to be able to choose gifts and be thoughtful and grateful in life?

wizzywig Wed 12-Jun-19 08:53:59

Its a tough page for me to read. Im not alone! That combination of utter focusedness (is that even a word?) even when its to the detriment of others, stinginess and then spending loads of money on their things, lack of connection and then being pawed, no knowledge of what other people would like even though you'll have lived with them for years. And years of utter loneliness. Im giving you all a hug. I know we dont do that on mumsnet but i dont care

greengrower Tue 11-Jun-19 23:59:10

As I'm over 60, maybe I should tell ASC I'm a vulnerable adult whose being abused by DS? Tried in the past to get a Carers Assessment when DS was first diagnosed aged 17,they said we didn't meet the threshold ( probably because I held it all together, oh so well)

greengrower Tue 11-Jun-19 23:46:58

Today I've had DH ( no diagnosis but I very strongly suspect he is ASD as did CAMHS) agreeing with DS (adult, diagnosed ASD plus other stuff) about things DH and I had discussed today (!) that DS did that was was not acceptable.

DH agreed with DS and sidelined and rebutted me. . Reason? "he didn't do it just now"

But we'd discussed this and agreed DS general behaviour every day wasn't OK. Including what he did, again, tomight

But he's done it every other time, had done it less tha. 10 mins earlier and we'd discussed this today and we agreed to say x if he did it again!

But when DS did do it again, DH said that !

I'm fuming, so fucking angry, but so resigned as its 40 years of this shit with DH and 20 years with DS.
And no one outside listens, because I cope so well and help them both and ASC won't do anything unless we evict DS so only then will they step in as he's then he's a vulnerable adult.

I don't know what to do, as DH has now gone back on everything he's said previously.

DS is a bully, abusive particularly to. Me but to both of us.
I can't live like this any more
"

TheFawn Tue 11-Jun-19 21:49:24

The emotional connection died a while ago. I've just been trying to keep things civil and pleasant when we are with the children. We have a great time as a family when we are having fun. But that is just one small element of our week and not quite "real life" as such. We can't work together as a team to run our household at all. The problem is that he rebels and can't seem to help it so I am better to say nothing.

It is all so complex.

He is not the same person in public as he is at home either as he seems to go from Mr dependable and helpful to Man-child at home.

I guess he has left me no choice but to pay for someone to fix it if he is going to continue using it anyway. I guess that is one way showing him the consequences of going against what we have agreed and risking the health of everyone in our home.

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