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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

SeaEagleFeather Tue 15-Oct-19 19:00:18

I think I still feel that he is kind, thoughtful and caring. He certainly feels he is. And yet his actions are totally the opposite.

yes this too is familiar. My god yes. He thinks he's logical, sensible and reasonable. I laugh at that now. Even his best friend said he's being extremely passive aggressive (and more heh)

Longlongsummer Tue 15-Oct-19 16:47:22

@seaeagle good that you got out. I’m hoping to be where you are in a couple of years. To have left. I wonder why so many of us are pretty trapped? I’ve never been trapped before, I always had my own independence, when I split from first Ex it was hard but nothing like this, where there feel like actual walls around me. Walls that I wondered into without the slightest idea they would trap me.

Yes also to the breaking agreements. DP has made several very serious agreements with me, all broken and not only that, he seems surprised that I even remember or take them seriously. We agreed to marry, to put me on the mortgage, to have kids, to be faithful, and then to go to counselling, then mediation. All of these totally ditched by him one by one. Except the kids which he later said was all me.

In fact when he first told me he didn’t love me and wanted out, it was like he was talking about taking the dog for a walk. He was shocked I was upset and berated me for not ‘realizing that feelings change’.

I’ve never been so shocked and unable to fathom another person. Each time I can’t believe he could do it. I think I still feel that he is kind, thoughtful and caring. He certainly feels he is. And yet his actions are totally the opposite.

SeaEagleFeather Tue 15-Oct-19 15:47:27

beyond ... how do you go on living? I don't know. the point came that I'd lost myself and a fair bit of what you said resonated

mine makes agreements with me, and breaks them all the time. It causes real trouble sometimes and when I challenge him he just shrugs it off and says he doesn't remember the conversation

Yes. It's a constant mindfuck.

I have felt as if I am losing my mind. Sometimes I feel such anger toward my H and then I cry because - and I don't know how else to say this - because those feelings are not mine. Not really. I feel like I've become someone else entirely and it frightens me.

Also, yes.

I was trapped for years, partly financially and partly because I believed it was better for the children. My own background didnt have much stability and I wanted so much for the kids to have that. Think it's why I was drawn to him. He seemed calm and stable and kind. He is all of those, but what wasn't clear was the mind-fuck games when challenged on anything at all, and the lack of competence - a poster up above said something about DIY in the house being done really badly, and I know he's had trouble at work too. 0, and I mean 0, emotional responsibility in the relationship.

In the end I managed to get out of the relationship. 3 months down the line now and I've still only got the shadow of a sense of who I am. Still so angry about some things too.

Is there no way at ALL that you can store money away to leave? Other than that the only way I coped was by leaving the house a lot and by avoiding him.

Longlongsummer Tue 15-Oct-19 00:45:24

@Beyondwits that sounds so tough. I’m stuck too, and can relate to some. I cannot move, and DP also dressed very smart to go out and to the office but here in the house he wears the same cardigan he’s had for the last 10 years.

You sound in quite a dark place. Some people here have got counselling and re connected with friends and family, then made a plan. It doesn’t sound good, the place you are at.

I thought I could stand living here for two more years but not sure sometimes. I get blocked by DP for doing stuff. The latest is he’s going to limit even further the money I’m allowed access too, which might mean traveling to friends is curtailed. I’ve given up on hobbies. My main trouble is I have to look after our son practically full time which gives me no time for independence.

Is there anyone you can connect with to help? A family person? Friend? I actually went to women’s aid who were incredibly helpful. I’m not I don’t think in danger however I am, like you, pretty trapped. There are ways out but it pays to do it carefully with proper support.

beyondwitsend Mon 14-Oct-19 23:50:04

Please forgive me just joining this thread without having read all the posts. I just wanted to ask, how do you continue to go on day after day, in the same situation, losing parts of yourself that you know you'll never get back? My H changed almost the moment we got married. He became someone different. I never understood why until I started to read these threads (haven't been able to read all the posts because sometimes I get only so far and the things I read are so very much my own story I just weep). I can't leave as I have nowhere to go, no money, and am carer to an elderly family member. Seen that here before too. I just don't know how to carry on anymore.

Can I ask, please, if any of you experience this with your partners or husbands...mine makes agreements with me, and breaks them all the time. It causes real trouble sometimes and when I challenge him he just shrugs it off and says he doesn't remember the conversation, and I find that really hard. Also, he will only bathe if I press him to and he will wear stained clothing for days on end, including going out in public with for shopping but for work he is clean with clean clothes and also when he goes to his hobby. I can't fathom why he dresses like a tramp with me, its like I don't matter. I don't have fancy clothes but am always clean and presentable.

The last few years have been extraordinarily stressful and I have felt as if I am losing my mind. Sometimes I feel such anger toward my H and then I cry because - and I don't know how else to say this - because those feelings are not mine. Not really. I feel like I've become someone else entirely and it frightens me. My own interests have fallen by the wayside because I rarely if ever get any time to pursue them - everything must always revolve around him but he gets short tempered if I say things are one-sided. I've told him repeatedly that I'm exhausted running the household, keeping up with everything is become too much as I get older (we have a large house) but he ignores me. He only ever offers to 'hoover' as if that's the only thing I ever do. He refuses to entertain the idea of moving.

I feel so empty and alone and as if I am slowly but surely dying and no one knows or cares.

Sorry this is a miserable first post. Didn't know where else to turn.

Longlongsummer Fri 11-Oct-19 22:19:18

Hi @moffa I had a different username before, but it’s so good to see your update. Am so glad that you had the courage to leave. Even though it must still be tough you now have the option of finding someone who can be a more loving partner. I get that bit about it being hard to see him not get the kids, they are so young too. I guess you are their rock and the parent who will give them stability and get their natures. flowers and hugs

@Bluebellforest1 hope you are doing okay.

Hope the other posters are able to find their way through. It’s very tough.

Bluebellforest1 Thu 10-Oct-19 19:02:54

@Moffa I’m so so glad you’re happy. Onwards and upwards.
Love to you and your dc xx

Moffa Sun 06-Oct-19 20:39:23

Hi everyone, just thought I’d pop back and say hi!

@Earlgrey19 and @imtheglue your posts made me shudder with bad memories. Sending you & everyone else huge strength whatever you decide to do.

It’s been over 6 months since I left my H. I’m still living with my two DC at my parents house while we hammer out a divorce. Naturally that process is not easy. The DC spend one night a week with H and I worry for them so much. He cannot understand or anticipate the emotional needs of a 4yo and a 2yo. He claimed our 4yo was ‘play acting’ at bedtime. I suspect she was feeling anxious and what she really needed was loving hugs. He makes them the same meal and takes them to the same place every week!

That aside, I am millions and millions of times happier now. I have never had any regrets about leaving. It is so nice to feel happy, relaxed and free.

Best of luck to everyone, whatever you decide x

Soopermum1 Fri 04-Oct-19 15:52:53

Watching with interest as I'm trying to divorce someone who I suspect is autistic.

SeaEagleFeather Fri 04-Oct-19 15:34:21

^ He takes so much from our relationship and I receive so little. This isn't teamwork, this isn't a partnership - it's not fair.

I'm a cunt aren't I?^

Nope, you're not

I'll get into bed and be ignored, again so familiar.

and if I am ill no support. I believe if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness tomorrow nothing would change

It's no way to live.

I got out and it's hard even so because we have children and now he's playing some real mindfuck games with me, using them. 0 emotional responsibility. 0.

The relief of not being permanently on guard in my own home and own bedroom is amazing tho. Funny how being ignored is a quiet killer.

imtheglue Fri 04-Oct-19 12:50:59

Practically, my children have a nice home and comfortable life. For me - nothing, nobody to talk to except superficially skimming the surface. No emotional connection and if I am ill no support. I believe if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness tomorrow nothing would change.

Contraceptionismyfriend Fri 04-Oct-19 12:45:12

@imtheglue relationships shouldn't be like that sad
It's not always sunshine and roses but you sound so defeated.

What is this relationship bringing to your life?

imtheglue Fri 04-Oct-19 12:42:44

I've packed a bag, it's in the back of my car and I was going to check into a hotel just for the night. I won't go though because I'll be exhausted after work and I know the children will need me so I'll go home. I'll get into bed and be ignored, again.

Contraceptionismyfriend Fri 04-Oct-19 12:24:08

@imtheglue no you're absolutely not.
You sound exhausted and your story sounds desperately sad
You deserve better.

imtheglue Fri 04-Oct-19 12:19:40

Our relationship has had its ups and downs, I always felt like it was me. Maybe if I do this or behave this way then he will love me how I expect to be loved. Having to be told to give someone a hug when they are crying, this isn't the way to live. He said that he will do anything I ask but I don't want to ask for a hug when I'm crying. Or tell him to cuddle the children if they have hurt themselves. I give so much to him, is it wrong to expect a little back?

He's been referred for assessment for ASD, so now I have to accept that this is my life, it wont change, he wont change. I'm so sad and lonely, I have children but no parents or siblings. I have work friends but that is all. He takes so much from our relationship and I receive so little. This isn't teamwork, this isn't a partnership - it's not fair.

I'm a cunt aren't I?

Zaphodsotherhead Tue 01-Oct-19 11:15:16

I'm a few months out of my relationship now, and just trying to reason through what pulled me in in the first place. It literally never occurred to him, or his family, that he might be ASD, but his behaviour was so..well, odd, that I just wonder now what the hell they thought was going on?

Eccentric is one thing, his behaviour was quite another!

But it meant that he couldn't be upfront with me when we first met, because he thought he was the normal one. But he seemed to be 'stuck' somehow at the age of nine. All the things he'd been told not to do as a child, he still wouldn't do as an adult, he couldn't rationalise that NOW (as a single man, living alone) might be a good time to learn to cook, for example!

Bluebellforest1 Fri 27-Sep-19 21:29:01

Earlgrey19 glad you’ve found us. Lots of support here, lots of us in different stages, also check out www.different-together.co.uk
Lots of info there

stardustandroses Wed 25-Sep-19 07:29:47

earlgrey19. Welcome!
It certainly sounds as though he could have ASD traits but what’s in a name really? Especially if he won’t accept the possibility. I guess you could get a book and invite him to read it in the hope he might click, but he might refuse. you ask for tips to cope but I’m afraid the only thing I would say is that you have to be the one to compromise if he doesn’t think there’s a problem. Keep thinking of the plus points you mention and maybe talk to him about the stuff that you find most difficult. Eg, you could ask why he gets so stressy about the kids eating. What would be the worst that could happen if they didn’t eat loads; got up from the table early; etc. It probably goes back to his own experience, but if he sees that it’s about him and not them, he might lighten up a bit. Although those routines he has to stick to are a way to ward off anxiety in an uncertain world so hard for him to modify. The maintenance of the house and garden the same the other way round! He obviously doesn’t get that everything could crumble if ongoing maintenance isn’t carried out - again is that down to his family? My dad was in the army so it was all done for him and he found it very difficult to organise it himself when he left. My mum did most of it. So I haven’t much concrete to offer I’m afraid. We all have to deal in our own way and I suppose it all depends on how much we are prepared to sacrifice for the good things that go along with it, few though they may be and hard though it is! Read as much as you can so you don’t feel so alone and you don’t feel it must be something you did. There are lots of links here to some good stuff which I found very helpful. You are not alone although it feels like it a lot of the time.

Earlgrey19 Mon 23-Sep-19 22:14:08

My DH doesn’t have a diagnosis and might not meet the criteria for one as he’s got reasonable social skills and is chatty with everyone. He totally refuses ASD as a label and will debate the intellectual redundancy of labels (in his opinion). But he has a number of traits which I think probably do tend to go with autism. His understanding of language is strictly literal; he is very routine oriented and very rigid about routines, and gets tense if routines can’t be followed. We have two young children and he is particularly rigid around their routines. He gets into a panic if their dinner is slightly late, or if he thinks ours will be too late. He also gets a bit obsessive and anxious about the children eating - he insists they watch an iPad during mealtimes so they don’t get up, and he wants a parent to sit with them the whole time without getting up to get something. He can’t bear it to be disorderly and he wants them to eat lots. I find him being around for mealtimes difficult as it’s so tense. He finds holidays as a family extremely hard because of the changes to routine and setting, and is incredibly tense and impatient with me the whole time. He gets very anxious about sleep and has to go to bed the second he feels tired and I have to go at that second too or he worries I’ll disturb him when I come to bed. As a result I’m currently sleeping in a separate room for a break. In arguments he cannot compromise because he feels he is correct and will pursue his point to the bitter end (not just with me - with anyone who disagrees with him), never giving an inch or acknowledging a different perspective. I really don’t think he can see another perspective. If I get a bit cross or frustrated with him, he gets extremely defensive and it’s as if I have attacked him terribly and displayed totally unacceptable anger, when it fact I haven’t raised my voice or said anything mean, I’ve just maybe pointed out that I find it exhausting doing 100% of the life admin or that I am fed up of how messy everywhere is this weekend. He doesn’t see mess and is incredibly messy, not putting away anything that he or the kids use. He cannot plan or manage admin at home. He says all his energy goes on doing his work admin. I find the rigidity, the mental load of having to do all the admin etc so tiring, and the impossibility of holidays really hard. Also feeling very worn down by the arguments, which are like beating my head against a brick wall. On the plus side he is caring, he texts me every day to see how my day is going and to say he loves me, he’s super committed to the kids, and has a great relationship with them. He does a lot with them. He values time with me and we do sometimes go on dates. He will also do chores if they’re built into his routine. However he will leave the house and garden to go to rack and ruin as he never agrees there is any need for any maintenance... Would love some tips on how to cope. I’ve been fantasising about divorce quite a lot lately, though I really hope it doesn’t come to that and want to try to make it work.

U2HasTheEdge Sat 17-Aug-19 19:45:55

Thank you so much for your post Peat

DH is feeling quite overwhelmed about it still and understandably so. He is also feeling angry. Angry that he has spent all these years wondering why he is the way he is and having everything put down to being mentally ill. He can be making a coffee and if someone asks him a question at the same time he gets really frustrated and says 'it hurts his head'. That has always been put down to stress because of his mental illness.

He has been thinking about his childhood. He told me of the time when he was about 8 years old that he had to write a story in one lesson and he hadn't finished it before the end of class ,so worked right through his lunch and could not move until it was done. He said his teacher tried to encourage him to leave it but he couldn't.

There are so many examples that are all coming out. How has this not been picked up before?

Thanks again for your support and I will look into getting that book.

PeatAndDiesel Fri 16-Aug-19 17:52:47

This diagnosis has been an enormous relief for him. He has always felt different, struggled with mental health and never quite fitted in. The diagnosis has given him a belief he is not broken or defective, just different. He has stopped hating himself so much - very difficult when he sinks into these phases.

He did huge amounts of research before even seeking diagnosis and when his appointment came through he had written over 50 pages of categorised notes (I think it was a special interest). The Tony Attwood book on Asperger’s Syndrome is a very good starting point.

From a practical perspective, one of the most positive things has been with work. He has been open about his diagnosis and adjustments have been made which have really helped - his co-workers don’t see him as being difficult, they understand why he sometimes acts the way he does. He no longer dreads being sacked or forced out which has always caused an inordinate amount of anxiety.

From my perspective it has also helped. Things like I now understand why he takes himself off - even on holidays - and just needs an hour or two by himself just to “decompress”. I know that there is little point in debating certain issues as he is extremely black and white (that said, facts and logic applied correctly can cause him to instantly acknowledge his error - I love this!!). I social situations, he now knows that he can get carried away with making a point and I now am able to defuse situations before they arise and he acknowledges and respects my input. He doesn’t want to cause trouble - he is just a bit passionate (Brexit is a big issue for him - I have to try to steer him clear of Brexiteers!). So whilst we still have our moments, there is a lot more understanding on both sides. We argue less but we weren’t actually that argumentative anyway.

The negative thing is that he sees how society perceives autistic people via the stereotype: aggressive, cold, manipulative, lying, uncaring etc etc and this really gets to him as whilst NT people are recognised as having a wide range of personality traits (from the most warm and wonderful to narcissistic and evil) it seems that autistic people are not afforded the same understanding.

So diagnosis has definitely been beneficial, but it was on his instigation and I think that’s crucial.

Sorry I’ve got a bit carried away writing all that........

Daftasabroom Fri 16-Aug-19 17:41:49

DS1 said today "mum, why do you turn everything into a conflict". DS is AS.

U2HasTheEdge Fri 16-Aug-19 17:01:50

That was an interesting read, thank you.

It has been difficult at times but our marriage just works. He is amazing.

Has having an official diagnosis been beneficial for your husband and you?

theorchidwhisperer Fri 16-Aug-19 16:49:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeatAndDiesel Fri 16-Aug-19 15:36:41

U2HasTheEdge (great name!)

I just wanted to say that autistic people DO have empathy. It is a damaging myth that is commonly perpetuated that they don’t.

You can read more here www.bbc.com/future/story/20151006-its-time-we-dispelled-these-myths-about-autism

It is critical to understand the difference between cognitive empathy (Theory of Mind - which some autistic people can struggle with) and affective empathy (eg understanding why somebody dying is a very upsetting thing - which most autistic people DO have). It is such a shame that so many people do not understand the distinction.

I’m glad your DH is working with you and you sound so supportive. My DH also in the spectrum and I wouldn’t change him for the world.

Good luck x

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