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#1 of 20 Old 02-05-2012, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not even sure where to begin. I'm at the end of my rope.

My DH is an undiagnosed Apsie. We have two young children, one of who is also on the spectrum. Right now the kids and I are sick, I've got no family support and I'm just totally over it.

 

I'm sick of having to be understanding of all of the rude remarks. The silence. DH being rude and inconsiderate of my feelings. I feel like I do all the emotional work in our relationship.

DH is involved as a parent, and partner. He watches the kids, makes food, cleans and helps out in general. But when it comes to having a proper conversation with me, spending real time with me, as a couple, being intimate, loving.....sigh..... it's like he doesn't even notice me.

We had a big argument yesterday and after so much talking (on my part), trying to say the exact right words, not raising my voice, allowing him silence and time to think, I eventually ask if he wouldn't mind just talking a little and he starts chatting about the weather?!? As if I'm not in tears, and talking of separation.

 

I know this post likely wont make much sense. I havent given much of a picture to understand the complexity of our relationship and life together. But I'm just so emotional. So unable to think straight. So over trying and trying, and recieving empty promises in return.

I asked him to try counselling, mens group, read some books, anything! And he tries a little, but then gives up and everything goes back to the way it was.

I feel like leaving. I'm constantly going over the pros and cons in my head. I'm so unhappy. We argue all the time. I hate how he constantly makes rude and hurtful remarks about our very sensitive (and spectrum) toddler. It goes completely against my beliefs as a parent. And I feel like I'm doing the wrong thing by my children having them around such sadness and negativity. My toddler is already severly anxious, he doesn't need to be put down.

 

But then I feel as though I'd be doing the wrong thing by my children by separating them from their father.

 

Sigh. I just miss feeling happy.

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#2 of 20 Old 02-05-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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Hi Eloisa,

 

I'm married to a self diagnosed AS partner as well. I get where you're coming from alot, and my wife and I have had many challenges to work at overcoming. 

 

As far as his behavior goes, can you be more specific in particular regarding the rude comments and behavior?

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#3 of 20 Old 02-05-2012, 09:57 AM
 
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Eloisa,

 

I have Asperger's Syndrome and my husband does not. He is currently typing up a response for you from his perspective. :) (Ipjunkie)

 

Can you be a little more specific about the issues? I'd like a clearer picture of what's going on.

 

You say you wanted to talk and he started chatting about the weather. This appeared to confuse you. From an AS perspective, what did you want to talk about? Be specific.

 

You also said he belittles your son. I don't care what your diagnosis is or isn't, you have no right to criticize and hurt a child. Your son deserves better treatment.

 

You said you're unhappy and there's negativity. None of you deserve that. Have you suggested counseling and a diagnosis? You have to work together at understanding each other. As difficult as it is for you to understand him, it's just as difficult for him to understand you.

 

My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years. There are things about me that he just can not comprehend and there are things about him that completely baffle me. But we work at it. We have talked about divorce, we have had problems, but we TRY and we both want to come to an amicable solution because, ultimately, we DON'T want to divorce. We just want communication and understanding. 

 

When you tell him you want to talk, maybe try writing or emailing him instead. Be very, very specific, no ambiguities. It's hard for us to understand what the real issue is if there is a lot of chatter. Keep it concise.

 

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#4 of 20 Old 02-05-2012, 10:29 AM
 
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My heart goes out to you. My son is 15, on the spectrum, and I can SO imagine hearing just your post from his future partner someday. Although he has learned how to act in many social situations, he totally misses the emotional needs of the people who are closest. I can imagine how painful that could be as a partner.

 

How long have you been together? Has something changed, or is your tolerance just used up? I know some of the desperation in your tone was from being sick - are you feeling better?

 

My suggestion (did you ask for motherly advice?redface.gif) is for you to try to build a strong circle of supportive friends. If you don't have it in your family of origin, you have to build it yourself. I hope I was not reading too much between the lines when I inferred that you feel isolated.

 

I heard a tone in your post that makes me think you want to save your marriage.He sounds like a pretty great guy in some ways. For it to work, you might have to get some of your social needs (venting, a certain brand of empathy) somewhere else. You are not going to change your husband, although he may learn over time to "get it". Until then, you need to take care of yourself. Whether you get out with or without the kids, when you feel better, you need friends who can understand both the special needs kids piece and the relationship issues. And to be frank, if the relationship ends, you will need support even more.

 

I might suggest a support group for families with special needs kids. Or maybe just a playgroup with accepting moms.

 

I have to run, but I would love to hear back how you are feeling. The other folks on this board and I probably have lots of suggestions where to meet people if that sounds like a good step.


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#5 of 20 Old 02-05-2012, 12:56 PM
 
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I really feel for you.  Not in your shoes, but I have an AS child who is 11 and my husband has ADHD and has a hard time managing the organizing end of things.  I think it sounds like you want things to work.  If that's the case, I think your DH needs to be willing to get a diagnoses and some help with his own disability.  I also think traditional counseling (marriage or men's counseling) might not work and I've read a lot of studies showing that's often the case for partners with Asperger's .  Traditional counseling uses a lot of putting yourself in you partners shoes and emotional exploration, and a lot of people on the spectrum just can't do that.  Maybe it would help if you found a therapist who is familiar with AS?

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#6 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 02:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, all, so much for your responses!

 

I'm not sure I can really be more specific about the 'comments' DH makes that I feel belittle DS. So much of it is in the body language and tone. When I come to pick DS up because he is screaming and crying, and DH will say "I don't know why he's crying. It's not like he was hurt. The little girl just looked at him And it's said with shrugs, raised eyebrows. As though saying DS is crying for 'no reason'. Or when describing DS's behaviour as 'acting like an idiot' or something.

 

I honestly don't think DH is mean, or intends to be hurtful. He is a loving father who seemingly cannot empathise with his child. Or partner. He does and says things that come across insenstive and hurtful. He's depressed and doesn't know what he wants in life.

 

My problem is, I can't help him if he doesn't want to help himself. And I've got nothing more to give right now. I cry every day. I'm angry. I'm sad. I'm lost. I don't feel alive anymore.

 

I called a therapist who specialises in helping people with Aspergers, and she's given me details of an Aspergers partners support group. I'm meeting her on Friday and DH has agreed to see her. I'm hoping to go to the support group sometime, but it's only on in the evening, and I cant be away from the kids in the evening atm. I'm also going to a spectrum kids playgroup on Wed.

 

I'm also looking for a unit to rent for the kids and I. I think DH and I need time apart. I'm so sad about the idea of leaving. But DH seems quite indifferent about it. Every time I bring it up, it seems that he couldn't care less, and man does that hurt :( It's not that I don't want to try. I feel like time apart is trying. I can't think of anything else. I feel as though we need time to clear our heads and decide what we really want. What we can comprimise on and what we can't.

 

Will I damage my kids by doing this?

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#7 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 04:18 AM
 
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YOu won't damage your kids.  You are doing the right thing.  I'm especially glad you found a therapist and support groups.  I hope that helps a lot - I expect it will. 

 

Your husband needs to learn that emotions matter, regardless of if a kid is 'hurt' physically.  From what you describe, he is acting exactly like my (on the spectrum) parents and it was extremely hurtful to me to never be recognized or appreciated.  My parents believed that crying was never appropriate unless you were seriously physically injured, and all other crying (and any sort of emotions, even good ones) should be punished and shamed.  That was way damaging to us kids. 

 

A life lesson everyone needs to learn:  emotions always matter, even if they don't make sense.  Emotions are real, even if the cause isn't real.  For example a kid scared of monsters at bedtime.  That fear is real, even if monsters aren't real.  The fear needs to be understood and soothed, because fear is real.  It even causes physical changes in the body - increased heart rate, sweating, butterflies in the stomach.  Furthermore, monsters are really just a 'placeholder' for a kid to express separation anxiety, which is what is really bothering them.  But little kids can't articulate the feeling of separation anxiety, so they come up with monsters, which are scary things, to say that they are scared of being alone. 

 

A parent on the spectrum will fail to read between the lines of the situation.  Their thoughts stay superficial "There is no such thing as monsters!  Go to bed!"  They will just get increasingly frustrated and angry because the child is not listening and obeying the very obvious fact that there are no monsters.  "The child is just being difficult on purpose to make me angry and frustrated,"  thinks the autistic parent, "They deserve a harsh punishment for making me this angry." 

 

Hopefully therapy treatment will give them better social skills. 


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#8 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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When someone is crying, we want to fix it. We feel their emotion very deeply. 

 

I just posted about empathy, which seems appropriate for this. http://parentingwithaspergers.blogspot.com/2012/02/empathy.html

 

I think you're doing a great thing by looking for therapists and support groups. That's fantastic. I truly hope things work out for you because it sounds like you want it to, you're just stuck and don't know where to go.

 

I would suggest typing up an email to your husband and telling him what you're feeling and why you feel that way. For me, it helps to see it written down because I can process it better.

 

 

EarthRootsStarSoul, I'm sorry your parents were so crappy. Please realize we're not all like that. It sounds like your parents were just jerks. (So were mine, so I get where you're coming from.)


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#9 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 02:12 PM
 
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Yeah, HarperRose, I can't blame everything on the spectrum, they were really jerks. 


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#10 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 03:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post

Yeah, HarperRose, I can't blame everything on the spectrum, they were really jerks. 



:( Mine, too. hug2.gif


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#11 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 08:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eloisa View Post
I'm also looking for a unit to rent for the kids and I. I think DH and I need time apart. I'm so sad about the idea of leaving. But DH seems quite indifferent about it. Every time I bring it up, it seems that he couldn't care less, and man does that hurt :( It's not that I don't want to try. I feel like time apart is trying. I can't think of anything else. I feel as though we need time to clear our heads and decide what we really want. What we can comprimise on and what we can't.

 

Will I damage my kids by doing this?


no, I don't think you will damage your kids by temporarily removing yourself from a situation that causes you to cry everyday.

 

I can relate to a lot of your post. I have a child on the spectrum and I suspect that if my DH were evaluated, he would be labeled with something. It's been a tough haul, but at this point we have a good marriage.

 

I did two things when I was were you are right now:

 

1. Made appointments for marriage counseling when DH could come, and told him I was going with him or without him. I didn't ask him if he wanted to go, I just let him know that I was at the end of my rope and didn't know what else to do.  (he came)

 

2. Started making my exit plan. DH never took my unhappiness seriously until he realized that I didn't have to stay. He realized that he wanted us to be together enough to try and change. It was hard for him, but he really has learned and grown and changed.

 

It sounds like you are doing very similar things right now. I commend you, because I know how scary it was for me to look at the reality of my marriage and be honest with myself enough to make real changes.

 

For us, it eventually all worked out. We did great work in counseling together. He's come a long way.

 

I agree that having solid friendships with women is very important, but when your marriage sucks, it isn't enough. Getting together with other women and crying isn't going to get you to a happier place. It isn't reasonable to expect one person to meet all our emotional needs, esp when that person is on the spectrum, but a PARTNER needs to be willing to meet at least a few of them, or what are they? Just a pay check? Just someone to have sex with? Our spouse needs to be truly be our PARTNER.

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#12 of 20 Old 02-07-2012, 08:30 AM
 
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Long story short, I'm your husband. I'm not, of course, but I'm a really, really bad wife.

 

I have mild AS, and after 3 years of marriage to a very nice, understanding NT man, I've come to the realization that there's no hope of a successful, healthy relationship between us. All of my emotional energy goes to my girls, who are 26-months and 5-months, and there's nothing left over for their dad. Knowing that eventually he'd grow to feel like you do- alienated, alone, and resentful, I decided to nip it in the bud. One of my autistic special interests is child development, so I'm extremely aware of how the adult relationships kids are exposed to impact their long-term growth and their own adult relationships. I can't give them a good mom who is also a good wife, but I can give them one hell of a great mother who doesn't have romantic relationships. Their dad can give them a great dad *and* model a healthy romantic relationship with another NT.

 

We're filing divorce papers in the beginning of March, and have both been working hard to establish a good, respectful, healthy co-parenting relationship. I feel great about it, because we're both coming from a place of respect and are both putting the kids first, *and* I get a tremendous sense of freedom. He has learned what it's like to be in a romantic relationship again, with his NT girlfriend, and the difference in him is pretty amazing. Neither one of us really realized how severe my deficits, emotionally, and somewhat less, physically, are until he, for lack of a less sappy phrase, felt the love of another woman. 

 

I care about him, but I don't *love* him. I love my girls, though, and that's enough for all 4 of us.

 

I don't have any advice, but the others have said some great things. There may well be hope, but, from where I sit, there's not a lot of hope for the NT in a marriage to an aspie if the NT desires a "real" relationship. There are a number of books about making a romantic relationship with an aspie work, but there isn't a magic switch that will make the relationship what most NTs really want and need. The inability to connect on a neurotypical level is one of the key hallmarks of autism- you can learn to adjust your own feelings and needs, but the autistic cannot learn to connect to you in the way you might want. Enough to get through the day without wanting to bash your head against the wall? Probably, yeah. Enough to make you feel truly bonded, loved, and connected? Nope. It's just not in the cards.

 

I'm very sorry that you're going through this. If anything, I think it's important for us all to keep in mind that, no matter how "cool" or "trendy" an ASD dx is, it is a *real* disability that has a deep impact on both the autistic and the people around them. You need to do what's best for your kids and yourself, and I think it sounds like you're coping really well with a very, very difficult situation. 

 


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#13 of 20 Old 02-07-2012, 09:44 AM
 
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Hugs.  My husband is on the spectrum and we didn't really accept it until a few years ago.  I would describe him as robotic towards me in the past.  He was very self focused and not emotionally emitting.  My love language is words of affirmation and when I didn't receive this from him, I felt unloved...but I wasn't unloved, I just wasn't being shown love in the way I wanted.  My husband's way of showing love is time spent together.  I had to shift my focus of how I felt love.  He was giving me love, I just had to see how.  

 

I agree with writing how you are feeling down.  I had to do that with my husband.  He just wasn't getting it verbally.  Being open but not confrontational has been something that has helped.  We have been married for 11 years and the past 2 have been the best, ever since I sent him a very intense, descriptive e-mail.  And once we accepted him being on the spectrum, my focus has shifted and my expectations have shifted.  My oldest son is also on the spectrum and learning to co-live with him has helped me in how I live with my husband too.  I would never dream of leaving my son because our interpersonal relationship is hard and there is miscommunication daily and it is hard to see how each other thinks and feels.  He is my son.  Same with my husband.  I'm in this for the long haul.  It is worth it for me and for my kids.  My son is a gift to us all that has molded us into a richer, deeper love.  I had to shift my focus and view my husband as a gift as well.  He is worthy of the same focus, the same die hard commitment as my son.  So is your husband.  He is a gift to you, and valuable and worth the tears.  

 

There is no magic fix it for your hurt feelings or for the way your husband does or does not show emotion.  But I think shifting your focus on how you can change your expectations instead of changing your husband's reactions and how he shows love, will make the most differences for you all.  Accept him for who he is, as he is, with the hope that you can adapt and find the ways he shows love...that is doable.

 

And I think that having a separating time away from your husband will damage the relationship with him and will stress the children.  This is their father, whom they love and feel stability with.  I think rocking their center, their feeling of safety, their feeling of unity is not a good thing.  Work on you, while staying in your home.  


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#14 of 20 Old 02-07-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *~Danielle~* View Post

 My oldest son is also on the spectrum and learning to co-live with him has helped me in how I live with my husband too.  I would never dream of leaving my son because our interpersonal relationship is hard and there is miscommunication daily and it is hard to see how each other thinks and feels.  He is my son.  Same with my husband.  I'm in this for the long haul.  It is worth it for me and for my kids.  My son is a gift to us all that has molded us into a richer, deeper love.  I had to shift my focus and view my husband as a gift as well.  He is worthy of the same focus, the same die hard commitment as my son.  So is your husband.  He is a gift to you, and valuable and worth the tears.  

 

 

(bolding mine)  I don't think that's a fair comparison to make to the OP.  One of the differences between our love for children and partners is choice.  You can't change who your kids are but you have choices with your partner.  Also, partners are in an egalitarian relationship where people need to share responsibility.  It's not fair to expect a partner to endure as much one sides giving as we would give a child.

 

 

There is no magic fix it for your hurt feelings or for the way your husband does or does not show emotion.  But I think shifting your focus on how you can change your expectations instead of changing your husband's reactions and how he shows love, will make the most differences for you all.  Accept him for who he is, as he is, with the hope that you can adapt and find the ways he shows love...that is doable.

 

I do agree with this.  My DH and I both have different special needs.  A certain level of acceptance is necessary in both partners.  People can only change so much.  But everyone has limits as to how much acceptance they are capable of.

 

And I think that having a separating time away from your husband will damage the relationship with him and will stress the children.  This is their father, whom they love and feel stability with.  I think rocking their center, their feeling of safety, their feeling of unity is not a good thing.  Work on you, while staying in your home.  

 

Being exposed to parental stress is hard on kids, too.

 

 

Where I come from, I strongly believe in preserving marriage when possible, and I do think some people on the spectrum can manage functional marriage.  But that doesn't change that all the burden should not be on one person.  It also doesn't make things such an easy, black and white choice.  I might handle things differently than the OP, but I'm not her.  Only she knows at what point she needs temporary separation to handle herself.  And on the spectrum or not, her husband has choices to make and responsibilities to the relationship, too.



 


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#15 of 20 Old 03-11-2012, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry for not coming back here to reply earlier. It's been a busy month.

I ended up leaving. It's been 3 weeks since the kids and I moved out. I left for a breather. A bit of space to sort myself out, and for both of us to figure out where we're at and what we really want.

 

During out time apart, I've been through quite a rollercoaster of emotions, but on the whole, I actually want our marriage to work. I want to commit to it. Work through the problems we have. Be in it together. But I feel like I'm just back where I started. I always wanted those things. And I always wanted to put in the work, but DH seems less than keen. He's spent the time apart doing his own thing. He sees has the kids for a few hours three days a week. We chat in brief via sms, but when I talk about working on our marriage, he says he doesn't want to. He wants a break from our marriage. Doesn't want to have to think about it.

When the kids are with just him, they're fine. But when we're all together, they are more whiney. They cling to me, and don't want comfort from him. He gets so frustrated and angry about this, and says when this happens, he feels totally disinterested in working on our marriage. But he does nothing to learnt to deal with them better .To cope better.
I feel as though he's basically saying he wants to stay together as long as they're always happy, or if I just continue parenting them both alone 95% of the time. It's like he doesn't want to do anything different. Grow. Learn. Discover better ways to parent. To cope. To connect and communcate with me. He just wants to do what he likes, and have us fit around that.

It's not that he's a bad person. He is loving. He does want to help. But he can't handle when things get difficult with me or the kids, and doesn't want to put in any work to change that.,

Must run, baby is waking. I'll be back again to write more.

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#16 of 20 Old 03-11-2012, 10:18 AM
 
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It totally sucks, but you can't fix a partnership when one partner doesn't want to. Do you feel you are committed to your marriage, or to him? What I'm hearing from you sounds like you are committed to your idea of marriage, you are committed to doing the work to get back on track, but he's kind of in the way of how that's going to work as he is a non participant.  I'm going to guess that you have been carrying most or all of the emotional and social load for your relationship, and that has been fine until you ran out of steam and had to manage kids emotional/social needs as well.  Being committed to an idea of marriage that he can't and never has been able to provide won't get you anywhere.  You might have some energy back now to deal with it for a while but that won't last if something doesn't change, whether it's with you or him or both of you.  I feel for you mama, it's a hard place to be (((((hugs))))). 

 

BTW, have you been to any of the support groups or anything you mentioned?

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#17 of 20 Old 03-11-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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This. I'm so sorry, mama. I sincerely hope you can find peace for your family.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

It totally sucks, but you can't fix a partnership when one partner doesn't want to. Do you feel you are committed to your marriage, or to him? What I'm hearing from you sounds like you are committed to your idea of marriage, you are committed to doing the work to get back on track, but he's kind of in the way of how that's going to work as he is a non participant.  I'm going to guess that you have been carrying most or all of the emotional and social load for your relationship, and that has been fine until you ran out of steam and had to manage kids emotional/social needs as well.  Being committed to an idea of marriage that he can't and never has been able to provide won't get you anywhere.  You might have some energy back now to deal with it for a while but that won't last if something doesn't change, whether it's with you or him or both of you.  I feel for you mama, it's a hard place to be (((((hugs))))). 

 

BTW, have you been to any of the support groups or anything you mentioned?



 


 upsidedown.gif  Please see my Community Profile! energy.gif blogging.jpg about Asperger's Syndrome!

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#18 of 20 Old 03-19-2012, 06:50 PM
 
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There is a new MDC group "Parenting with an Aspergers Partner": http://www.mothering.com/community/groups/show/28/parenting-with-an-aspergers-partner.  It has just started so it is small, but would be a great place to talk about the challenges of being in an AS partnership and find support and ideas.

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#19 of 20 Old 03-23-2012, 05:06 PM
 
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my heart goes out to all of you. my ex-husband has Aspergers and neither of us knew it until we were divorced. The divorce was the right thing anyway, in our case. But it sure would have explained a lot of crazy-making stuff. I think if he is diagnosed and you work together to learn how to understand each other, you can do it. And should, if you want to be together. Best of luck.

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#20 of 20 Old 10-19-2012, 11:59 AM
 
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Thank you so much for this post. It is the only one I have read which realistically and truthfully points out that some things are just not possible. My husband of 18 years (now divorced) just could not supply what I needed. We tried. It is no good. Wanting something to be true doesn't make it so.

Thank you for your honesty and for stating reality so clearly.
 

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