Parenting with a husband who has Asperger's - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 02:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone know of a place where I can talk to other moms whose husbands/partners have Aspergers? My husband (of ten years) has it and it makes parenting very difficult because it's kind of like having two kids. He isn't able to parent like most other dads and it can be very stressful when our 3 year old (who is not at all on the spectrum) is giving us a hard time and my husband starts having fits as well because of it. He can't understand that her behavior is developmentally correct for her age nor is he able to really deal with it, so I have had to not only be the primary caregiver but I have to deal with his behavior issues as well. It's difficult to deal with his "tantrums" (I'm not sure what to call an adult's loss of self-control) when she's having one, too. He isn't able to watch her by himself because he can't control himself when she is having a fit and he will have one, too. This means I have to be with her 100% of the time and often it's with him around as well. It is very exhausting and because I have to deal with both of them and also work from home, I sometimes feel like this must be a bit like what being a single parent feels like.

 

I love my husband dearly and giving up on him is SO not something I will even consider, so it breaks my heart when every single woman with a normal husband tells me that I should end our relationship or that I should just never have had a child with him in the first place. We did not know he had Asperger's until last year. He was never diagnosed and I didn't know what Asperger's was so his family and I always thought he was just really quirky. Now that we know what the issue is, I'd like to know how to help him get through the parenting years. He does have another daughter who is now 15 and also not at all on the spectrum, but he was never able to care for her by himself and always had either his parents or me around to take care of her when he had visitation when she was little.

 

Does anyone else have a husband with Asperger's? How do you cope? Also, what kinds of activities are good for your partner and kids to do together? I can get my husband to do some simple things with DD like watch a documentary with her or take a walk down the street. He even took her to the park a couple of times, but not for long. He's kind of scared to be around her for long because he sees her as a kind of ticking time bomb. She could fall down and get hurt or get scared or just angry and "go off" at any minute and he's not capable of dealing with those moments.


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#2 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 02:59 AM
 
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Hi,

 

I'm kind of in your situation, though DP isn't dx and might even be mild enough not to get a dx.  But my own father is Aspie.

 

He didn't cope wonderfully with little kids either, but he and i have been best friends since i was about 19.  So you're right not to "give up" on him.  I think a lot of times EVERYONE seems pretty irrational/unpredictable if you're Aspie, so it is really hard to delineate "normal 3 yo" behaviour from all the other baffling human behaviour in the world.

 

I hope you find a place to talk.  I don't suffer at all from being with someone on the spectrum, because of my Dad DP's "traits" seem incredibly normal and comforting to me.

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#3 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that. :) I get a lot of really horrible comments from other moms saying that I am depriving my child of having a father because he's not able to bond well or that it's "sad" that these girls have to grow up with a dad with Asperger's. It makes me so angry because it's not "sad." It's just another kind of person. Maybe it's even good for them to grow up with someone with a type of disability because it certainly helps ME learn to be more accepting. There are all kinds of ways to love.

 

I like that you and your dad are best friends. That makes me so happy and gives me so much hope! :)


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#4 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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I don't have a husband with Aspie, but wanted to offer my support.

 

Does your DD and DH have anything in common that you can focus on? Likes? Activities they enjoy? 


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#5 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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 My DH has ADHD severely. Tho he can parent well, he does tend to do things that I dont agree with.

 

 Example, my father was dying, we met with his social worker to atlk about his iimpending death. My DH took off his shoes, whihc stunk horribly, and then picked up a magazine.

 

 I knew he was listening to what we were saying. And I told the worker that he just can not sit still, but he was listening.

 

Then later we went to the ins people and he and our DD were poking at each other, calling each other names and filling their pockets with the free candy. After we left I had to have a big talk about how we act in public..to my husband.

 

Honestly, my DD is autistic and I really dont know how she woudl handle being a parent as she doesnt understand why people do what they do. So I have no real advice to offer you.

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#6 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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My dh is 'to the right' of an aspie ; ) he has anxieties and alot of difficulty putting dd's needs before his own - and expects her to be more of an adult than she is capable - she is now 7 yo - they have a good relationship and she is more like him than me, so they connect in a different way (although she and I co-sleep and are incredibly close) so I can understand to an extent what you are dealing with.

 

I also work with people (of all ages) on the spectrum, so I understand the issues he faces  quite well (although not his unique manifestation of them)

 

First of all - three is tough ON EVERYONE - i have a parenting/education back ground and it was HARD FOR ME - but that being said, I don't think never letting him be alone with your daughter is the best thing - this is an easy out for him and a lot of pressure on you - aspie's are concrete - teach him what to do in a variety of situations and also accept that he will not always handle things exactly like you would - your dd is resilient and I don't think he is going to damage her if you leave them alone for a short period of time - he will never learn if he doesn't practice?

 

Start by setting up a rather structured array of activities for when you will be gone and keep your outing short - go to the store alone or go for a walk or a workout -

write down what he can do if she if she is uncooperative in a variety of situations - I would teach him how to avoid/get out of power struggles

 

Parenting is a social skill and these don't come naturally or easily to aspies but they can learn them - you will short change BOTH of them if you don't give them the opportunities to develop their own way of dealing with each other -

 

three is tough, so go slow - it will get easier for both of them as she gets older - but the longer you wait the harder it will be and he will avoid this for as long as you let him...

 

 

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#7 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 01:34 PM
 
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I know there are a couple of parents on MDC who have Asperger's and I'm hoping they'll pop in to give you some advice. (You might want to cross-post in Parents as Partners.)

 

Does your husband have the sensory issues that often go with Aspergers? I'm wondering if your children's meltdown's trigger those for him. One of the things that comes up with Asperger's is self-regulation -- kids have occupational therapists who can work with them. You might see if there are some occupational therapy-like things that he can do that might help him self-regulate a little better.

 

How does he best learn? While he will parent differently and have some distinct challenges because of his Asperger's, he also doesn't get a 'free pass' on parenting. He will have to put in some effort to learn about child development and to develop conscious strategies for interacting with and helping his children, even when they're melting down. A parenting class probably isn't the place to start -- but what about DVDs? Reading? Writing some 'scripts' together for him to use?

 

Can you find an activity that he likes that the kids can do with your dh? Something consistent that's "theirs" might help them bond.

 

Finally, you need to find a way to get a break. Humans were not designed to 100% on all the time. If you're not comfortable leaving the children with your dh, what can YOU do to take care of your needs? Not only will this recharge you, it will be modeling good self-care for your children.

 

OK, and because I'm avoiding grading, I was intrigued and did a quick Amazon search. I came up with some interesting books:

Something Different about Dad: How to Live with Your Asperger's Parent -- it appears to be aimed at kids, but the reviews suggest it's helpful for many people.

 

There are also a ton of books on being in a relationship with someone with Asperger's/effects on Family. Disclaimer: I haven't read any of these.

Asperger's From the Inside Out: A Supportive and Practical Guide for Anyone with Asperger's Syndrome Michael John Carley (he's got AS himself)

Living and Loving With Asperger Syndrome: Family Viewpoints by Patrick McCabe

Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships by Ashley Stanford     
The Other Half of Asperger Syndrome: A guide to an Intimate Relationship with a Partner who has Asperger Syndrome by Maxine C. Aston
22 Things a Woman Must Know: If She Loves a Man With Asperger's Syndrome by Rudy Simone     
Aspergers in Love: Couple Relationships and Family Affairs by Maxine C. Aston
Connecting With Your Asperger Partner: Negotiating the Maze of Intimacy by Louise Weston
Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work by Katrin Bentley
Life With a Partner or Spouse With Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge? Practical Steps to Savings You and Your Relationship by Kathy J. Marshack
 


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#8 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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Good Luck


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#9 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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My dh and my ds have Asperger's and it has been pretty difficult.  Fortunately he also has a great personality and is very caring (even if he can't picture what caring others would like to receive.)  I think by nature he would be a more timid parent (and he is more so with our oldest who is his stepdaughter), except for the fact that we had twins together and he was immediately immersed in being constantly involved in all necessary hands-on-baby tasks any time he was home.  He is excellent with anything that requires a routine, always on top of the baths, teeth brushing, bedtime stories, homework and anything else like that.  He doesn't improvise well, but he is consistent and reliable.  (I love those things about him, and count my blessings, especially since I am always improvising and tend to be quite inconsistent.)   

 

I haven't found any good support groups--I visited a spouse's forum online once but the conversations were excessively negative and hopeless and I didn't need that at all. 

 

My dh is overly passive and bad at planning, reading social cues, using emotional language or even asking for what he wants.  He's very rigid about anything ethical, which is usually admirable but stinks if he suddenly decides I am being "mean" or "unfair" when I'm trying to be understood, because he passes judgment and then immediately stops listening.  And I suppose the #1 huge difficulty for both him and ds is processing verbal communication--they so often can't sort through the information in a simple conversation and pretend to listen as a coping skill that can be infuriating.

 

I've had to grow a lot, he's had to work hard to understand me and his own emotions, and there is a limit to what we can resolve so some things I try to learn to accept while he tries to hear me out when I talk about being frustrated with things neither of us can change.  He is a great dad overall, though he doesn't always judge how to resolve conflicts well when it is just him and the kids, nor does he think of everyday things such as cooking cooperatively by including the kids as helpers instead of leaving them to entertain themselves (and bicker with each other) while cooking by himself.

 

I empathize with your situation.  We have gradually worked some things out, but it is often hard and I don't always know what to do about the daily frustrations.  It is hard to be kind about the things he can't fix, or show him what he can't see.  I hope that you know, or can discover, your dh's strengths--maybe if he is also good at keeping predictable routines he can do something daily that your child will thrive on being able to count on him for...   I don't have any direction to point you for discussions but wanted to at least send you a bit of support.

 

 


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#10 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Routine is one of the things that he is, fortunately, good at. Every day when he gets home from work, he goes for a walk with her and they both know that every day there is this special time. After that, he sits in his office chair with his legs up on the desk and she cuddles on his lap and they watch The Colbert Report together (not really appropriate for a three year old, I know, but they love it and he allows her to touch him so I don't say anything. His rule is usually NO touching, so any physical contact she can have with him I usually support.)

 

I have tried to help him learn to deal with her blowouts, but he really can't. It's not a matter of getting therapy or him trying to back out of parenting. It's the area where his Asperger's is worst. He cannot deal with anyone being emotional at all. He totally explodes. It's not something he can control or head off at the pass so while I do let him have alone time with her, I don't leave for long or I stay somewhere nearby, either in the yard or another part of the house or just down the road where he can call me on the phone right away. It's not something he can learn. It's something he can't control at all, so we have just had to work around it. I suspect he will be a lot better once she is older and does not cry every thirty minutes over one thing or another.

 

He is great with his 15 year old and she seems to have suffered no ill effects at all over having a dad with Asperger's. She has learned like I have that he needs some extra care and she loves him a lot. They may not be best friends, but they have a good relationship and she enjoys being with him on the rare occasions that we are able to visit with her. I'm raising our daughter to understand that her dad is a bit different as well. I model proper behavior and when her dad does something that confuses or irritates her, we talk (as much as you can talk about it with a three year old) about how Daddy is different and how other people don't normally act like that, etc. She seems to get it and she is learning about how we have to help Daddy with his routine just like we have to help her with hers. Sometimes I feel more like I am raising two toddlers, but she does seem to totally "get" what is going on, so that is good. Plus she loves her dad and he is super proud of her which is good.

 

And yes, some Mommy time would be nice. :) I don't really like when people say I "need" it, though, or that I "have to have it." That's not true. It's not always right to make judgment calls on someone based on your own experience. SOME people are not able to do it without a certain amount of personal time. Some are. There are all different types of people. Some need more alone time to themselves than others. Some women can be an all-the-time stay-at-home mom while some moms would go totally crazy doing it. I happen to really enjoy it and it's not very difficult, so I've been okay, even with a very high-needs child, so I guess we got lucky there! :)


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#11 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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My dh also deals very poorly with emotional situations but he has actually changed this somewhat.  However, he doesn't freak out yelling or scary, he just says things that make no sense at all and can't think clearly.  Now the fact that he doesn't think clearly doesn't change but how he acts and especially how quickly he realizes he's in that state has shifted.  He is typically extremely calm all of the time.  He gets upset with me but almost never with the kids.  Still, he has very little sympathy for anyone else if they are being emotional and he thinks the reaction doesn't make sense.  But then, sometimes he has way more sympathy than I do.  (I have some definite sensory issues, and get overwhelmed and angry with the kids and he then is the voice of compassion.)  He also does not comprehend or observe his own emotions which creates a while set of other problems.

 

Your situation does sound scarier.  To feel my child was not safe in her father's care would create a dynamic I might not be able to live with.  My dh has made poor decisions or forgotten simple things while caring for the kids but I never hesitate to leave them with him for fear he can't control himself.  That said, I can try to imagine making it work... 

 

You know, if your husband had a disability of a physical nature that made it impossible for him to ever pick up your child, he wouldn't be able to care for her on his own either.  You would probably arrange your life around that.   More people would expect you to stay with him and accommodate that and consider you noble, but they would think you shouldn't live with the Asperger's problems even though your dh likely has no more power to change his difficulties than the physically disabled do.  You only have one child, and you seem willing to adapt.  You know it's a struggle already and you have probably already faced some dark days between you, and I applaud you for having such a solid commitment.  You've made it this far.  If you are up for this, I hope everyone around you can give you good support for your choices.


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#12 of 45 Old 03-14-2011, 09:19 PM
 
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My dh is self DX as aspie, he hasn't gone in and gotten evaluated and I'm not sure if he will. Our dd is now 21, and I just thought he was quirky too. I was a single mom with a baby when I met him so I already was used to parenting on my own which probably helped a lot. He could be totally awesome with her, getting down on her level and playing with her. But he has some rigid routines and rules which to me are very arbitrary and I fought many a battle defending what I felt was right for her. I understand what you mean about not trusting him completely with the kids. My dh is pretty darn trustworthy and I never worried about him being abusive, but he lacks a full understanding of what is and isn't safe for a child. When she was little I knew something was causing my anxiety about him supervising in certain situations but I didn't know why because I didn't know about the AS. I just couldn't totally rely on him. Other people thought was helicopter mom I'm sure, but do feel better now knowing that I wasn't crazy and that my concern wasn't all in my head.

 

Anyway, they do have a great relationship and I only recently talked to her about AS. She had some a ha moments regarding his behavior in the past that make more sense now to her. IME it did get better as she got older. I'm not sure if it was because he was able to fit her needs into his routine over time or just that as she got older and more mature she was easier for him to deal with.

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#13 of 45 Old 03-15-2011, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by littlest birds View Post

 

Your situation does sound scarier.  To feel my child was not safe in her father's care would create a dynamic I might not be able to live with.  My dh has made poor decisions or forgotten simple things while caring for the kids but I never hesitate to leave them with him for fear he can't control himself.  That said, I can try to imagine making it work... 

 

You know, if your husband had a disability of a physical nature that made it impossible for him to ever pick up your child, he wouldn't be able to care for her on his own either.  You would probably arrange your life around that.   More people would expect you to stay with him and accommodate that and consider you noble, but they would think you shouldn't live with the Asperger's problems even though your dh likely has no more power to change his difficulties than the physically disabled do.  You only have one child, and you seem willing to adapt.  You know it's a struggle already and you have probably already faced some dark days between you, and I applaud you for having such a solid commitment.  You've made it this far.  If you are up for this, I hope everyone around you can give you good support for your choices.



It's not that he's dangerous himself. He won't fly off the handle and harm her. Now, he would be unable to handle the situation, that's true. If she starts crying, he will get scared and shout "stop that!" Then if she doesn't, he will just walk away. It's not physically harmful, but it is emotionally harmful for a small child, I think.

 

Also, part of the reason I don't often leave him alone with her 100% is because one of the aspects of his Asperger's is that he is not able to form logical consequences. He can only think in the now. He doesn't comprehend that if he leaves his pocket knife open on the table, she might walk up and grab it. He has no ability to think about putting the pots on the back burner while he is cooking or to not leave the food cooking on the front burner and then go to his office to check his email, leaving the baby alone in the kitchen. He has no concept of danger to children and what might happen. He would, for example, put her out in the yard all by herself because he thinks she might love it and have lots of fun and our yard is totally safe, but he has no concept of the fact that she could ever just pass the sidewalk and walk out into the street where cars are flying by at 40 mph. It's hard to teach him foresight. He just can't do it.

 

He does get a lot of alone time with her, but yeah, I feel like a helicopter mom sometimes peeking in regularly or not going far. Sometimes I have to lay a ground rule. For example, I wanted to go to a midwives symposium one day for a couple of hours, so I took the two of them to a kids' play place and told him not to leave without her and to watch her the whole time. I had to show him how to take her to the bathroom if she had to go and where the bathroom was. It felt kind of weird because a normal dad could handle all of that. My husband can do it, but he needs help.


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#14 of 45 Old 03-15-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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Also, part of the reason I don't often leave him alone with her 100% is because one of the aspects of his Asperger's is that he is not able to form logical consequences. He can only think in the now. He doesn't comprehend that if he leaves his pocket knife open on the table, she might walk up and grab it.

I know exactly what you mean. I'm always having to point out obvious safety hazards where he leaves stuff laying about. He was using his hunting knife recently for something by the fireplace and apparently left it just sitting there unsheathed on the ground, I don't even know how long it was there. Now, I don't have any young children in the house, but I do have 3 inside dogs one of which is a puppy. I can't believe he just left that knife with an 8 inch blade sitting on the ground. 

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#15 of 45 Old 03-15-2011, 03:25 PM
 
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It sounds to me like you've got a routine that works for you -- so while you may mourn not having a 'typical' husband, it sounds like your family dynamic is working pretty well. When you get down, it may help you to focus on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amberskyfire View Post
It's not that he's dangerous himself. He won't fly off the handle and harm her. Now, he would be unable to handle the situation, that's true. If she starts crying, he will get scared and shout "stop that!" Then if she doesn't, he will just walk away. It's not physically harmful, but it is emotionally harmful for a small child, I think.


This is where creating social stories and scripts really might help him. If he has a 'script' to follow, it might help him feel more in control. If your dd deviates from the script, he'll still be out of his depth, but he might get further.

 

Quote:

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Also, part of the reason I don't often leave him alone with her 100% is because one of the aspects of his Asperger's is that he is not able to form logical consequences. He can only think in the now. He doesn't comprehend that if he leaves his pocket knife open on the table, she might walk up and grab it. He has no ability to think about putting the pots on the back burner while he is cooking or to not leave the food cooking on the front burner and then go to his office to check his email, leaving the baby alone in the kitchen. He has no concept of danger to children and what might happen. He would, for example, put her out in the yard all by herself because he thinks she might love it and have lots of fun and our yard is totally safe, but he has no concept of the fact that she could ever just pass the sidewalk and walk out into the street where cars are flying by at 40 mph. It's hard to teach him foresight. He just can't do it.

 

You may not be able to teach him foresight very easily, but many individuals with AS respond very well to routines and 'rules'. "Pots always go on the back burner". "Children stay out of the kitchen when I'm cooking." With practice his mind may be able to work through these things. The other thing is to instill these kinds of rules in your children. You might be able to teach him alongside the kids. "OK, we're leaving the room, what should we do with the stove?" This sort of question asking is a very powerful way to teach kids to think things through. Once kids learn a rule, they're more than happy to point it out to their parents when a violation occurs. winky.gif

 


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#16 of 45 Old 03-15-2011, 11:14 PM
 
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My dh is EXTREMELY ADHD and his current therapist & former marriage counselors feel strongly that he is an Aspie--although he can form logical consequences for basic safety stuff.  I don't have to worry about leaving him alone to care for the kids for a few days (it's happened).  But it has been profoundly hard to be married to him.  He also suffers from some very serious self-esteem issues and the cocktail is more than I can bear sometimes.  Add an ADHD, Aspie, gifted ds7 and a totally NT, vivacious (read: exhausting) dd2 and I'm really about at my wit's end.

 

There is a series of Yahoo groups called GRASP (I forget what it stands for) but I don't recall how active they are because honestly, I just try to deal day-to-day and then escape to MDC or something else that makes me feel useful instead of dealing with my issues even more (and I'm now in therapy for that, too  :/  ).

 

Otherwise, I have connected with a friend of a friend who is dealing with the same thing--but they are the Aspie in the relationship; and the main complaint is the lack of support overall.

 

:(


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#17 of 45 Old 03-21-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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I also believe I have a husband with aspergers and we have two sons (11 and 9).  The larger issue for me in the past few years has been more of our communication and person relationship than parenting.  For the past year, I've really had such a hard time with him that I kept thinking in my mind "all husband's must have aspergers".  It wasn't until a couple months ago when I had a couple extra days off to use up (without kids vacation or anything--just me time).  I looked up aspergers and couples then found, "wow, he really seems to fit these signs and our marriage issues sure match the list of asperger and non-asperger marriage".  It's all adding up. It made me happy for one minute to think "aha!"  Then I realized knowing what it is, is not the same as solving it."

 

As a parent, my husband is very short tempered, doesn't see safety issues in the kitchen, does not see emotional needs, cannot connect emotionally with kids.  His face is typically in a neutral but more likely a frowning face.  He's safe with the kids but if he joins us for something he's "a negative space".  He is always the one that will always say "no" to the kids.  I typically am the emotional parent while he is disiplinary; although I can crack the whip as well.  He increasingly either keeps himself out of our activities or we prefer to do things when he works his Sunday part-time job.  It's a no win plan to separate him off but he also doesn't enjoy anything we want to do.

 

This past Fall, my 11 year old son was bullied at his new school mostly because he was new and a nerdy kid.  It crushed my son and he started acting so much like his Dad (dark, isolating himself, negative) that I was at the worst part of my horrible year.  It took me lots of talking with my son to finally find out what was happening.  We talked and talked and talked until he could say he didn't care if he died then shared what was happening then got to a point where he could face the class again.  My husband was completely out of it.  He didn't understand or seem to care or something.  I had to handle the entire thing for months with the school, their counselors, the administration, teachers, etc. 

 

As a spouse, he has no ability to make emotional connections with me which becomes worse each passing year.  Last year, I was in extreme emotional distress because of my work (I'm a politically appointed director that interacts with high profile officials and the public on issues for human rights, women, LGBT, disabilities, and immigrant) while also in personal distress after failing to be accepted in a PhD program.  Our personal relationship's issues crashed against my own stress to make me really lost.  I just can't rely on him for emotional support in any way.

 

I've looked for online support groups but haven't found any.  There seems to be books but I feel that the worst part of being a spouse of someone with aspergers is the isolation.  I'm very glad to participate on three other forums that are awesome and wish there was one just for spouses/loved ones.  I personally would love to create one if I can't find one.  I need connections, shared experiences, ideas, coping strategies, resources, and more.

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#18 of 45 Old 03-21-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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Does your husband have difficulty with phone conversations? I've noticed that mine will call me and just jumps directly into why he called without any of the usual introductory conversation like asking how I am, if I'm busy or what I'm doing. And if I call him, he does the same thing. And the fact that I model it by always asking him means nothing. He is clueless about reciprocity in communication. I've taken to telling him that I will let him know when I'm done talking because otherwise he just interupts me 2 seconds into it and then says something that has nothing to do with what I was talking about and then I'm left confused trying to figure out the connection and/or trying to steer him back on topic. He is a master at non sequiturs.

 

 

 

 

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#19 of 45 Old 03-21-2011, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Unge, it does sound like Asperger's. When we found out, it didn't fix the problem (because there isn't a fix, you just have to learn to live with it) but it did help me a LOT. I stopped getting so angry at the way he was and now I'm able to realize it's not him, it's his Asperger's. He can't help it and it's not his fault. It's not that he doesn't care, it's that he doesn't know how to show it. Sometimes it's still frustrating, but it helps me to be able to stop and take a deep breath and realize it's beyond him and not his fault. He's not doing it on purpose.

 

I used to be very lonely, but I've been very close with my daughter and that helps a lot. I also got some mom friends and that also helps. Now I have other people to talk to and bond with. It took years, but I have finally found our rhythm and now we do okay, even if he does still make me crazy. ;)

 

 


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#20 of 45 Old 03-21-2011, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Definitely a difficulty with phone conversations. He doesn't know how to start or end a conversation. It's kind of funny how when he wants to end the conversation he might just say "okay" or even hang up. I usually have to jump in there with an "okay, I love you, bye!" Even then I don't always get a response. Sometimes when I say I love him he just says "okay." Maybe it's not funny to women with neuro-typical husbands, but mine definitely cracks me up. :)

 

Probably his only really annoying trait is his aloofness. He's a computer wiz and of course, very smart as most Aspies are, so he tends to look down on the general population and makes rude remarks about people in general. I have to actually tell him what not to say in public. He will often remark on the stupidity of others to his coworkers or people we know and then laugh about it like it's funny while everyone just sort of looks around nervously. Poor guy. :) We're working on it.


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#21 of 45 Old 08-12-2012, 04:10 AM
 
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Hi,

 

I saw your post from last year and like your approach as you seem to have a situation similar to mine. My husband has Aspergers but fairly mild (I suppose) similar to your husbands. Because of this, I can't identify with those who have a much worse situation and would rather remain positive and try to work on our relationship difficulties cause by his Aspergers.

 

I have a 3 year old and 5 year old (both very happy-go-lucky, playful, social, and loving so I am not sure if they have Aspergers at this stage although my daughter is very energetic and often overbearing (sometimes relentless).

 

Our main arguments at this stage are often about me feeling that my husband lacks common sense safety skills with our children. He doesn't like to have calm discussion to agree on safety methods so often the most mundane issues become big screaming matches where I am trying to explain every small detail (which I feel should be obvious but isn't to him) and he just wants to walk away.

 

I feel if we can have better conversations and I could feel heard, then our relationship would be more "normal."

 

Can you offer any advice?

 

Thanks in advance!

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#22 of 45 Old 08-16-2012, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have the same issue with my husband. I don't know what to do about it other than just keep a close eye on him when he is with the kids. One day I came out to see him putting our four-year-old daughter in the car in the front seat - no car seat - saying that he was only going to go right down the road. I about freaked out.

 

I found that if I'm nonconfrontational about it it goes over better. That's the only advice I can give. I even asked my husband now what he thought and what advice he could give and he said "none." :-)
 


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#23 of 45 Old 08-28-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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Hello:  I am new here and older than most of you, but wanted to share my experience with being married for 40 years to a man I never could understand.  To make it quick, our youngest son (30) has diagnosed Asperger's.  He was born too young to benefit from any special training, as Aspergers wasn't even known about when he was in school -- he just had such a difficult time.  Anyway, over all these years, I have never been able to understand my husband's inability to emotionally connect with me (or with anybody).  It sounds like I am dense not to think about him having Aspergers, too, but like I said, this diagnosis wasn't even around until recent years.  So...I have literally spent 40 years trying to understand why my extremely sweet and kind husband was so cold emotionally.  He is different from most of these posts I have read, as I am honest in saying that in 40 years, he really has never even shown extreme anger (despite my trying to get him to react in desperate ways) :-)  I was always busy working as a nurse and just found emotional connections with my friends, etc.  However, I retired recently and have had so much time to think about what is wrong with our lack of an emotional (and intimate) connection and it is only recently that I realize that he is definitely Aspergers, too (as was his father, I think).  I don't have any advice for all of you, but to say that if you really feel shut out emotionally, you should seek some help with your marriage.  I am sad that we never did this (however, recently while at a counselor's office with our son, the counselor responded to me when I said "I think my husband has it, too" -- she said, "yes...I agree with you."  However, at this stage in our life, it is just not feasible that we could seek or afford the amount of therapy which would help our connection.  And, even though I do not really mean to be negative...if you are young and feeling emotionally shut out...it will probably not get better if your spouse really does have Asperger's.  Despite all the good traits my spouse has (and he really does have so many), his lacking the ability to share his feelings in any way has left a longing in me which will never be filled.  Just wishing all of you a more fulfilling life -- do anything you can to fixl the void the connection with your spouse now. 

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#24 of 45 Old 08-30-2012, 09:23 AM
 
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I have been married for 34 years to my husband who I suspect has Aspergers. I have just recently came to this conclusion. I have known for years that something is just not normal about him. He as many men with Aspergers has been very successful in his career, very accomplished in his hobby/obsession golf. An outside person looking in would never suspect that anything is wrong with him. He has been successful in his job and sports because he can do very direct communication. What he can't do is carry on just a normal conversation. He is horrible in social situations, intimacy, empathy, constantly correcting me and others, I could go on and on. Why am I still here? In the beginning I was more than willing to take on the blame for his lack of intimacy, lack of communication, anger at me etc. If I could only do it, whatever that might be, better he wouldn't act the way he does. It took me 20 years to figure out with the help of counseling that it wasn't me who was the problem but him. That nothing I would ever do was enough to fix things because I wasn't the problem to begin with. That was the most freeing revelation I have ever had. It released me from so much pain. I was 20 years into my marriage by the time I figured that out. I did not want to leave my marriage at that point. For me the financial security was more important than the intimacy. I have chosen to be happy with my life and accept the way it is and to look for the good things in my life and dwell on those things not on his many flaws. I know that he is simply incapable of being any different than he is. I actually feel sorry for him, it must be hard going through life always struggling to connect with people. Ironically he is just crazy about dogs. At times I think he loves the dog more than me. He NEVER expresses any emotion about me , but if I go to my Mother's for a week and take the dog with me he will state he misses the dog??? Lol. I know that my husband loves me but is completely incapable of showing it. There were anger issues early on and I finally drew the line in the sand and told him it was unacceptable to treat me that way. He still angers easily but it is no longer directed at me. I am retired now and I fill my life with a beautiful, successful daughter (she has ADD), my mother who I adore. They both provide the emotional intimacy I need. I am very lucky to have a wonderful group of girlfriends (I do not share with them that my husband has Aspergers). my friends and family just all think that my husband is odd and quiet, not very social (that's an understatement). In conclusion, the sad parts are many, I will never have the marriage I so envy of others, it is many times very frustrating and lonely, I basically live figuratively "by myself", I have a roomate. I have chosen to stay, therefore I have chosen to make the best of my situation and be happy with the many blessings that I do have. Not always easy but I do. If as it sounds many of you want to stay in your marriage, you will have to accept that you will never have the marriage you dreamed of, he won't change, your life will be devoid of intimacy. You will have to choose to be happy and accept all that comes with living with someone who has Aspergers and not mourn all that you don't have. I would like to say that had I realized the problem 5 years into my marriage as opposed to 20 years I would have left him, but would I have really? Best advice is to dwell on all the good things in your life not on what you don't have. Easier said than done but it CAN be done.
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#25 of 45 Old 08-31-2012, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It depends a lot on your personality, too. Some partners just really need intimacy and closeness. Others are okay or more comfortable without it. My husband has AS and this has been the most wonderful 12 years with him. It's like you describe: more like having a roommate than a lover, but it works great for us. I could never have a man who was super intimate. My ex was like that and he ended up cheating on me a lot. A LOT. All. The. Time. Of course, not all men who are intimate are like that, but it just turned me off of guys with that kind of personality. I left him after 5 years together off and on and after that, I was just done with guys like him. My husband fits in my new comfort level. We're really happy. Having kids made a lot of it better for me because I get my touch and closeness from them. Also, having the diagnosis was wonderful. I used to think that my husband was just sort of a jerk. Now we know what's going on with him.

 

It would be wonderful if all partners could know beforehand that their lover had AS. It could potentially prevent a lot of marriage problems and possible divorce.
 


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#26 of 45 Old 08-31-2012, 06:05 AM
 
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My own father didn't get his aspergers dx until he was in his 40's and my mom was in her 50's.  He had CBT and has made ENORMOUS strides in his ability to read and connect with people.  Unfortunately my mother died in 2005 and at that time i don't think she felt "enough" headway had been made, but his progress has continued and i really wish/hope he will find someone to be with now because he has made so many discoveries about himself in the last decade which would help in personal relationships.

 

It is never "too late" to begin therapies to help with aspergers, if that is what the individual wants.  My own partner has no formal dx and i feel is borderline, with many aspie traits which affect his everyday life, but not EVERY "typical" sign.  Physically he seems very standoffish and "numb" to touch, but i know, because i touch him anyway, that it his external reactions which vary from the norm, not his internal feelings about it.  He doesn't communicate, with his body language, how he is feeling, but he IS feeling and i can find out how he is feeling if i try.  There are a million ways to communicate, i would urge anyone who wants to seek greater intimacy in their relationship to get help with it and keep trying.  You may need to take the road less travelled to get somewhere, it might take longer and feel harder, but anything is possible, if you both want it.

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#27 of 45 Old 09-13-2012, 05:00 PM
 
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I know this thread is old but I am at my wits end and I need help I am currently pregnant about to give birth soon the baby's father has aspergers and I just need someone to help me understand what is going on and when should I say enough is enough he an I aren't together and getting any info from his family the only answer I get is be paticent my friends think I should just walk away and so do some times i am just really confused and to people who think I should have had a kid with him I didn't know until after we broke up that he had this condition
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#28 of 45 Old 09-13-2012, 11:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabby8812 View Post

I know this thread is old but I am at my wits end and I need help I am currently pregnant about to give birth soon the baby's father has aspergers and I just need someone to help me understand what is going on and when should I say enough is enough he an I aren't together and getting any info from his family the only answer I get is be paticent my friends think I should just walk away and so do some times i am just really confused and to people who think I should have had a kid with him I didn't know until after we broke up that he had this condition

 

 

Welcome.gifhi and welcome to mothering. I have a teenage daughter with Asperger's, and I'm pretty sure my husband would be diagnosed as well if he had an evaluation.

 

I'm having trouble reading your post because of the lack of punctuation. I know some people can read things like this, but I can't. Mothering is a really supportive community and there are a lot of mommas here with experience with all sorts of things, but I think you might get more helpful responses if your posts are easier to read and include things like periods, commas, and capitals.

 

The general thing I can say about being in a relationship with someone with Asperger's is that they sometimes need to be taught things that come naturally to other people. My DH is very dedicated to our relationship, but learning to communicate with me about emotional things took real work for him. We did that work through marriage counseling. I don't think that having Asperger's or ADD or anything else is an excuse in a relationship to not be a real partner. Part of whether or not a relationship can work depends on whether the other person is willing to do the work necessary, and part of it is being patient with them while they do that work. I don't think being patient means giving the other person a license to not deal with their own issues and grow into what the relationship requires.

 

Good luck.


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#29 of 45 Old 09-14-2012, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Being with someone with Asperger's is different from being with someone neurotypical, so it really depends on you and whether this is a type of relationship you want to pursue. If you don't want to live this way, that's okay, but if you want to give it a try and work hard at it, then it can be a wonderful experience.

 

All aspies (people with Asperger) are different, but there are some things that are fairly typical:

-general inability to feel empathy or exhibit emotion

-general desire to not be touched or offer loving touch in return

-general inability to handle stressful or even just out-of-the-ordinary situations

-general inability to deal with others' emotional needs

 

Keep in mind that it's possible that a relationship may mean (depending on his type) that he will never be romantic or loving towards you or that he may never seem interested in you or his child/children.

 

Aspies can be super sweet in their own way. If you choose to pursue a relationship with an aspie, it's important to be very, very patient and realize that the issues he is dealing with are not something that he can just fix. It is an actual difference in his brain from normal people. Couples' therapy sessions may not help at all and he's never going to change. Not completely. There are some things that he can try to work at, but he will never be able to offer you everything you may need emotionally.

 

It doesn't mean he's a bad person or a bad father, just that he's a different kind of lover or a different kind of father. Just because he doesn't show interest or gets frustrated does not necessarily mean that he is not interested in being a part of your lives.

 

First, talk to him and give him space and ask him what he wants. Does he want to be with you? Does he want to be involved as a father? It is difficult for aspies to be emotionally attached to people. In general, they don't understand social cues or social situations the same way others do. It isn't their fault. You can't get mad about it. It's just how they are. If you are a very emotional person, it may make it incredibly difficult to talk to him. Aspies usually do not understand emotion. For example, he may see that you are upset, but may not understand why or what to do about it or how to react. He may see that you are sad, but not understand that you need to be comforted. The same is true with children. He may see his child cry, but not be able to go to the child and hold and comfort them.

 

It's totally okay that he is this way. He can't help it. If he doesn't want to be part of your lives, you can explain to your child when they are older how he is and why and it can be a totally okay thing. It can be really hard on an aspie if their partner isn't understanding of their inability to empathize. My husband gets SO much negativity from his ex (the mother of his first child) because she feels that he doesn't care about his daughter because he can't express emotion. It's horrible for him how she accuses him of being a terrible person and not caring. It's not true. He does care, he just has no ability to show it the way a normal person would.

 

It's hard being married to an aspie, but after 12 years, I'm used to it. I used to do a lot of crying, but we have a wonderful relationship now that I know why he is the way he is. It's difficult in some ways and so wonderful in others. Have you tried looking on YouTube for videos about Asperger Syndrome? There is a lot of wonderful info out there.
 


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#30 of 45 Old 09-14-2012, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, what problems are you having specifically?


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