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friend having marriage problems don't know if I should tell her I suspect her dh may be on autistic spectrum

(19 Posts)
difficultsituation Tue 28-Oct-08 21:00:14

Basically, a very good friend of mine had a semi-arranged marriage six years ago. She and her dh have always had issues, with her feeling that he is always letting her down. I think he is basically a nice person who is possibly on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum - he is socially quite awkward, never really takes the initiative, very predictable in terms of when he calls her and what he says when she is away (she stays away two nights a week for work). I just don't know if I should mention my suspicions to her, it may help her to understand him better, would appreciate advice. btw am a regular, name-changer.

castlesintheair Tue 28-Oct-08 21:02:51

I don't really see what difference it will make. It's not going to change who he is.

DoubleToilandTroubleBluff Tue 28-Oct-08 21:04:38

dont think it will really help her

honestopinionsplease Tue 28-Oct-08 21:04:44

I think you should talk to her actually If she struggles to comprehend his behaviour she might really appreciate access to information like this.

honestopinionsplease Tue 28-Oct-08 21:05:50

My partner's behaviour has been very odd at times and a good friend wrote to me about it. I appreciated it hugely, and it helped us address some of his probs. hth.

TotalChaos Tue 28-Oct-08 21:07:38

depends if she finds how he is behaving unacceptable, or whether if there is an explanation she will cut him more slack/be prepared to spell out more what she requires of him.

difficultsituation Tue 28-Oct-08 21:08:21

thanks for your replies, honestopinionsplease that is very interesting and I'm glad that your friend's intervention helped.

honestopinionsplease Tue 28-Oct-08 21:12:14

no worries. i appreciated her concern and kindness actually, it's not always best to stay out of these situations, esp if your friend feels unhappy with things.

difficultsituation Tue 28-Oct-08 21:15:54

totalchaos I really don't really know what the outcome would be. But knowing things might make her realise that he is unlikely and unable to change so there is no point expecting him to, at least she would be able to make a more informed decision - they are talking about separating.

robinpud Tue 28-Oct-08 21:17:59

I once read that 1 in 3 adult men are somewhere on the a spectrum. Not sure if that is helpful or not though!
If they need help, the perhaps counselling would be better.

wannaBe Tue 28-Oct-08 21:18:44

I think you should tread carefully.

If he has never been diagnosed as autistic then he is not going to appreciate being "diagnosed" by some friend of his wife based on her knowledge/experience.

Telling someone you think they're autistic isn't like telling them that you think they might be depressed for instance, it will raise huge issues for him and may potentially cause things to become worse between them.

difficultsituation Tue 28-Oct-08 21:25:38

wannabe that is true it would probably be a huge shock and as you rightly say I am not qualified to diagnose anything. That is why I have not said anything up till now, but now that she has basically given him an ultimatum (asked him to do something for her within the next month) it feels like now or never.

difficultsituation Tue 28-Oct-08 21:25:38

wannabe that is true it would probably be a huge shock and as you rightly say I am not qualified to diagnose anything. That is why I have not said anything up till now, but now that she has basically given him an ultimatum (asked him to do something for her within the next month) it feels like now or never.

honestopinionsplease Tue 28-Oct-08 21:30:12

I would ask her if she has considered this and suggest that she may want to investigate the possibility via her gp or an advice service. If they're hitting a brick wall anyway it can't do any harm imo. It may even help them to identify if there is anything that's undiagnosed, rather than just working on the assumption that he's odd/weird/irritating/socially inept. It's a pity for him if that were to be the case and he lost his marriage because of it.

Heated Tue 28-Oct-08 21:37:55

I have a cousin who was diagnosed in his 30s. Of course it makes no difference to the people who love him, nor does it change him in any way - there's no 'treatment'. But it explains why he is as he is, which makes others more accepting, especially in terms of accessing support, in his case a disability allowance (now that he is no longer employed by immediate family), which means no more being forced to go to job interviews where his lack of proper speech & acute shyness caused him much anguish. It's also given some peace of mind to his parents that he'll be looked after when they die.

wannaBe Tue 28-Oct-08 21:53:37

rather than suggest what you think might be wrong, I would suggest that they explore the possibilities by highlighting the issues. so for instance:

"x has always found it hard to communicate thought hasn't he" (just an example) and then say "it's obviously part of his personality, but there are conditions where people find this hard, maybe you could go to the gp and see if they can help x to deal with this, maybe it's not the fact that he's weird that makes him like this, maybe there's an underlying reason for it."

That way you have laid the groundwork without actually voicing your suspicions and have left it in their hands to seak help if they feel they want to do that.

difficultsituation Tue 28-Oct-08 21:55:45

yes I may do that honest... am meeting her next week and will see what the situation is.

Heated that is good for your cousin. I'm one of those people who think that it is always better to know. There are adult family members amongst my ILs who are on the spectrum and everyone is in complete denial, for cultural and generational reasons I think but I do think it would help those people if it was discussed more openly.

difficultsituation Tue 28-Oct-08 21:57:49

wannabe thanks for that, a good way of bringing it up gently.

Yurtgirl Tue 28-Oct-08 22:02:40

The Autistic Society does sell a few books to try to help couples in this situation - might be worth a look?

My son aged 6 was diagnosed as having Aspergers this year. My mum and I talked about things a lot and realised that my dad also has Aspergers.

My mum has always found it difficult to get on with him. I find it really difficult. Finding out hasnt really helped my mum or my dad tbh. (she still finds him really annoying!) It has however really helped me - I am much more tolerant and patient with him now because I understand why he behaves the way he does

HTH

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