Pretty Sure My Husband Has Aspergers, Feel So Angry And Disappointed

Together for about 25 years now, he always seemed different (shy, social anxiety, trouble with change, weird outbursts at times, never able to make bond with my son), but somehow it kind of worked. For many years I felt happy with him. Then we had a child of our own. He started to get stranger, the outbursts increased and became very intense at times. A few times I was scared, once a neighbor called the police. They seemed to be about almost nothing, but they scared our daughter. We went to therapy and they recommended he go for individual counseling. It didn't seem to help too much, but I was busy raising kids and working. I tried to do my own thing and not provoke him. Then really stressful times came. A bizarre and very disruptive death in my family. He was emotionally unsupportive and I felt abandoned. Then he lost his lifetime job and told me he would never be able to get another. I could not understand, but it seemed like if I didn't tell him exactly what to do, he would do nothing. I really didn't want to hold his hand through his crisis, after he had abandoned me in mine. I got really angry. Then our daughter developed a sudden life-threatening disease. We came together, but it didn't last. As her illness dragged on and she developed extra emotional needs, I saw that he could not parent her when I was at work. So I stayed home with our daughter. A year later now, neither of us is working. I became angry that he can't seem to parent, and now he can't seem to work either. Anyway, as I spent time home with him, and as I saw how he acted during these various events, it hit me. One day I noticed how he likes to repeat sounds over and over. I am a nurse and it reminded me of autistic children. I went online, searched on Aspergers, and there he was! Now the problem is this. I guess before I saw our problems as fixable. Now I think he has a cognitive deficit. He is trainable to some extent, if he gets to the right therapist. (The one he goes to now thinks he doesn't have Aspergers. This therapist should try living with him for 20 years or maybe even for a week!) But now I feel hopeless, and I see him differently. I felt lonely for years, but now I feel even lonelier. I feel I can no longer kid myself that he is hearing me when I tell him my troubles. I often feel like I am talking to the wall. I can't leave because of our daughter needing both of us, and don't really think I want to. I still love him, but I just feel so sad. I guess it has helped us get along, to at least understand the problem. But now I know I will always be lonely when we are together, and I will never be understood or emotionally supported by him. It just sucks really to face this.
LindaTGJ LindaTGJ
56-60, F
5 Responses Aug 1, 2011

Thanks for sharing. This is very similar to my life.

The good thing is, you know what you are dealing with, and that can be so helpful. I went through a LOT of pain, anger, anxiety and feeling depressed expecting to have a marriage, and feeling like I was trying to have a marriage by myself until I realized my husband has aspergers and what that meant. I did grieve realizing I would not have the marriage I hoped for, but there are elements to be thankful for. Reading about what is typical for Aspergers was validating for me, and helped me manage my expectations. Before I took things personal, and now I can see he is doing his best. Before when I lamented to a friend how I kept trying to get my husband to care for the relationship, she asked, "Why are you going to an empty cupboard? He doesn't have that to give. Look at what he does have." <br />
Reading people's stories, we do need to be strong, and get our emotional bucket filled elsewhere to keep our strength, such as seeking out support like this, caring for ourselves, enlisting girlfriends, prayer.....When you feel stressed out, do some self care. Can you get a massage? Make yourself a sugar scrub and give yourself one. A bath with some essential oils/aromatherapy? Go for an exercise class? Go out with a girlfriend? Get out in nature? Can you get involved in activities you enjoy, or volunteer work? Pray? Journal? I know its not easy, especially with the added stress of an ill daughter. Hopefully you can get extra support from a family or friend. Me, I am looking for extra support here, for i feel the need. i feel less lonely expressing myself here!<br />
Plan for success. Under what circumstances can you connect? I know if I need to explain what I need, for me to maximize success I need to be in emotionally calm and in a good place, and prepare him for that change in his routine, asking if I can have some time with him on a weekend morning to talk, so he's ready and the first part of the day is the best for him. Then make a clearly and fully explained request, not a lot of things at once. It may take extra work, but its worth it.<br />
Knowing that my husband doesn't like change, I help talk to him about the situation. Its like he doesn't have words for it, and it helps him adapt. --I recently saw some home movies that were put together of him as a baby, and I was stunned. He looked so worried, concerned in so many filmings, it wasn't normal! I thought poor guy! He was stressed out trying to figure out how to be in the world. Seeing that made me realize how much work it has been for him. He is well liked, and evokes sympathy from people easily because of his gentleness in public. Ahh the contrasts! He can sweet talk a bird trapped in a patio to hop on his hand and carry it outdoors, but he cannot figure out on his own how to be as sweet to his wife! Anyway, for example, we recently went on vacation to the ocean. He likes the ocean, and enjoys it, but going to the ocean was different and he was agitated. Even vacations are stress for him for he is out of his routine, and it was an ORDEAL until I figured that out too! I was determined not to react, but stay understanding. I vocalized the familiar, that we were in our car. We were parked. We were enjoying the weather. When he was ready, we were going to walk to the beach,...and talked about the sand texture, the sights, sounds, smells, what we would do, and that we could decide when we were ready to leave. After 20 minutes of preparing for this different experience, he was ready and he enjoyed himself, and even said to me that he doesn't understand why it was upsetting for him going to the ocean when that's what he wanted to do and was enjoying.<br />
What I wonder is, he has shared with me he feels he is getting worse as he gets older. He is more tired at the end of the day, so I imagine it must feel that way. It is work for him to converse at work all day. I do see him getting better. He used to be soooooo angry about doing the dishes when we first were married. Me, after working all day and making dinner, I was done so that was going to be his job. It took almost 2 years, and now he likes doing it, and has internalized that it is his job and he feels good about it. <br />
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As far as your hubby saying he wont' work again, even "normal" people are anxious about finding a new job. I don't know if he could ease into trying a new situation. Maybe talking about what that would be like, what he would like to do, or even trying a temporary job or part time job? Or starting his own business that he could do himself? Not working make for a lot of time to be unstructured, I think, to not work. Perhaps his recognition that he probably dreaded the job he had before he found it and started it, and look how it provided for so many years....<br />
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Hope I was helpful.

You were very helpful and thanks for the thoughtful response.

I particularly liked your self-nurturing tips, I have actually been trying a few of them and it does help. Things have been going a bit better since I posted this, we have made some progress.

I can also relate to what you said about posting here making you feel less lonely. That is why I come here too. I wish it was more, really. Really wish I could find a support group locally, but have not been able to. Online support is better than nothing, though, and it does help to some extent.

I have even had some success recently getting some support from my husband, I never thought it would work. I tried something I read right here, on someone else's post. Giving him a very unconventional to-do-list. It started with a regular Saturday honey-to-do list of chores. On the bottom of the list, I wrote two extra items. The first was, "Every so often during the day, check in with me. Ask me how I am doing, physically, emotionally, and otherwise." The second additional item was 'Every so often during the day, let me know how you are doing, physically, emotionally, and otherwise.' It actually worked pretty well. He really tried to do it, and we got a few laughs out of it. It turned out to be easier for him to check on me, than for him to let me know how he was. We have come to realize that he has a lot of trouble understanding his own feelings. He seems to feel nothing for long periods, to me it seems like he is a robot. Then he will suddenly burst out in anger or tears (when he is alone usually), and not really know where it came from.

This is interesting to learn about, and I am finding that as he is willing to try these things and showing that he cares enough about about me to work on it, it makes me feel more like I love him again.

I'm in shock right now. My marriage has been very turbulent for the past 20 years. About 12 years ago he said he thinks he has AS. I dismissed it not wanting him to feel bad about himself. Now I know he has it just as of today. But he left back in April and I'm so feeling quilty. Thinking back on all that went on and how he could not help himself makes me sick. If only I had known and followed through. He has ALL of the symptoms plus some. But, I wanted the traditional husband when in fact he was so good in so many ways. If I had only known.

Well ladies, I have been married to an Aspie for nearly 30 years and brought up two children with him. We are still very much in love! It is hard, I wouldn't understate how hard it is for the world, however, I was more than a bit worried reading your posts as all the information you will find about Aspergers explains that HE can and probably does love you as much as you love him. His problem is in expressing that love and communicating the emotional support in a way that you understand. Yes you will/ can need support from elsewhere or else be an incredibly strong person yourself but you will definitely have to remember that just because he can't express it doesn't mean he's not feeling it! I think this point is critical to remaining happily married. I have two girls, now young adults in their twenties and in effect they were single parented as my husband didn't really know how to connect with them on any but his own interests. However, with education and understanding both of my girls still love their dad dearly and feel that they are still better off than those kids whose parents divorced for whatever reason. They realise that their father is emotionally handicapped but they also realise that he cares deeply for them. Don't despair..adjust! Seriously, change your expectations within the marriage and find other ways to fulfil what is missing. Over time and with a lot of patience many Aspergians can be taught different ways of behaving and their Asperger's seems to lessen. The human brain is plastic and flexible and it can learn new behaviours. Yes its time consuming but its possible and when your Aspergian partner says he loves you he DOES!! Dont' underestimate what is going on inside him. Start to learn his language, to read the signs he does give. It's not the easy route of a neotypical marriage but that doesn't mean that its a disaster or that you should feel sorry for yourselves for any length of time. They can be frustrating as all hell so make sure you get time out with your girlfriends or extended family but don't give up on them or on your relationship. They hurt like we do, it just doesn't show the same way. There have been many occasions when I could cheerfully have walked out on my marriage but what I learned was not that I didn't love him but that when I wanted to leave it was that I was suffering overload and fatigue from giving so much of myself. I started to take time out, to take time to relax or to have fun, and then I could return to my marriage with my ' hard work' man and continue to give him the love he deserves. Aspergers are loyal and devoted partners. There are many men out there who cannot give that much to a marriage and who lie and cheat. You will always know where you stand with your man and lying and cheating on the relationship will simply never occur. Take time to way up the good and the bad, postiive and negative, allow yourself to grieve what you will never have but then way up what you do have. You might be suprised at how you feel once you do.<br />
Yes its always going to be hard work in some ways..but if you truly love him you will find a way to speak his language, to forgive his gaffs, and a way to fulfil what you miss out on while still keeping the man you fell in love with right there with you. You can be happy. Remember what it was that made you fall in love in the first place. He's still THAT man..he always will be.

Thanks for this thoughtful response. You make many great points. First of all I do know that he loves me a lot. I know it, but I don't feel it, if that makes any sense. Second of all, you are right, he is totally loyal. And that is priceless. And the third thing you say that really strikes a chord with me, is about the times you wanted to leave being the times you were overloaded and fatigued. This is my problem right now! I cannot begin to describe how overwhelmed I have become since my daughter has developed her illness. I really don't have the energy that I had before to deal with him. I am totally exhausted just trying to take care of her needs. And when I look at him, he is so childlike. Suddenly I need him to be different than he has ever been, stronger and more resourceful. And he really can't. I have been trying to give him very specific lists and directions every day. He will follow these instructions. He wants to please me. It is heartbreaking in a way. I have never needed emotional support so much in my life. I used to get it at work, I had a very fulfilling job with lots of interpersonal contact. Had to quit my job because of my daughter. Turning to him now at times feels like turning to no one. Some days are better than others. Coming here to talk really helps. Most people I know have no idea really.

I need to respond to one more thing, what you said about your daughters. My son is 27, and he totally gets it now. He and his stepdad get along fine (they didn't always). The change came when my son got old enough to 'carry' the relationship along. My son has great social skills, he knows how to put my husband at ease. Now, about my daughter. She is 12. At 10, she suffered sudden life-threatening illness that was very traumatic. She now has chronic illness, and is also left with medical PTSD, some frequent anxiety and occasional panic attacks. Last year, before I really realized my husband's diagnosis, I tried to go back to work and leave her with him. He was very overwhelmed with her medications, etc. He could follow a script, but when anything varied, he could not adjust the routine. Worse, when something would trigger her anxiety, he was in a foreign land. Not understanding emotional language and not being able to read or respond to body language. He would respond to her anxiiety with a meltdown, which would send her into a serious panic attack. My phone was ringing constantly at work. I felt that it was unfair to leave her with him, so I stopped working. Now I have tried to explain to her about Aspergers. I have tried to help her learn ways to cope. It has gotten quite a bit better. We are considering a trial of me going back to work. Maybe for shorter shifts and a less demanding job, so that the inevitable phone calls and endless text messages will be a little more tolerable. I would not even consider this, but he has been out of work for two years. I feel kind of weird that I told her he has Aspergers (not behind his back). Yet it seems to have helped her.

Thanks for sharing. Have been thinking about sharing with my adult children. They love their father but have often felt the lack of his emotional presence and odd idiosentricities.

Hmmm sadly for you your life sounds very much like mine was ten years ago. My daughter was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of ten. This was altered a few days later to Stage 4 of a different type of cancer and she was given a 'chance' of living. She lived and we spent the best part of a year fighting cancer and holding her together. My husband did the practical stuff and followed the lists to a T but couldn't handle anything outside of that. She then went on to suffer severe anxiety and PTSD for several years and ten years later still has chronic health conditions to deal with as a result of the chemo. I found myself completely unable to deal with my husband during this time as I unfortunately also had a then undiagnosed serious medical condition. I thought I was going to disintegrate and everything he did made me angry even though I could see his desperate need to please and to help. The worst of the crisis passed and two years later we were close to divorce. That was when I realised that it couldn't be any worse but that there must be some way to make it better. I insisted that he needed to get help and then I looked for practical ways to 'cure' my daughter of her conditions. I learned Hypnotherapy and NLP after discovering that it lists high on one of the fastest and simplest ways to deal with PTSD and anxiety disorders. You don't have to go to that trouble, I learned it because I was fascinated by it and I love to study but I could just have easily have found a registered therapist and had them work with my daughter. It took two sessions of Hypnotherapy combined with NLP to remove the PTSD and lower my daughter's anxiety to minimal. Since then when something triggers a bad memory and she finds she can't shake it she simply has another session. She's not had more than five sessions in the last seven years. It works so if you can read more about it and take her to a registered therapist. I had the added advantage in that Aspergers persons can respond very well to Hypnotherapy, they take all the logical suggestionsj completely to heart that they are told under hypnosis and when they are brought out of hypnosis they are totally relaxed and able to function better.
It worked for me, it worked for my daughter and it works for my husband on the occasions he's willing to participate in a session. The hardest thing for an Aspie partner is to accept fully that you are dealing with an emotionally underdeveloped problem in their mind and 'change' causes them massive confusion. They don't want to be like that any more than you want them to! To maintain an Aspie marriage you have to weigh up what you get from them, learn to read what they can't actually say (generally there's profound love in there), and find your support from other Aspie partners. There are Asperger Spouse Groups that you can join and you will definitely find the emotional support there. You need to find a way to find acceptance of his limitations as if you keep on expecting him to be like other males you are only hurting yourself. I don't mean to sound mean when I say that but we are brought up to have expectations of a partner and no-one can necessarily fulfil those expectations. In the cancer ward there were normal dads who came in and then went to play golf while their bubs were dying, there were dads we didn't see in a whole year because they couldn't face their child's illness, there were dads who left the marriage because Mum felt the need to focus entirely on the child. These dads didn't have Aspergers, they were normally developed males. Yours may not fulfil all your wishes but if he was there he's still better than many many out there. Grieve for what you will never have, join a group that understands as no-one who is not in an Aspie partnership will ever understand, and then find acceptance if you can. If you can get him to go to a therapist that specialises in adult aspergers please do that as he can learn to be more competent in the areas you need him to be.We're not supposed to say that they are handicapped but emotionally they are in my eyes as anyone who cannot communicate effectively has handicap in this world. I wish you all the luck in the world as the frustrations are enormous and without acceptance you will find yourself continuing to hurt. ; (

I was with my partner for over 3 years I discovered too late that he had Asperger;s. He took off on a holiday we had booked last June when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I told him that him to go away and never contact me again I was so angry with him for being so selfish. My anger was justified at the time.He couldn't see that. He has taken me literally and stayed away. im so hurt that he won't talk to me now and hasn't once inquired how Im doing with my treatment. he has just blanked me out of his life.

I feel for you so much. Such is the 'lack' in their emotional areas. You rejected him. That's the end of it all in his mind. Heartbreaking Stuff! Sadly a part of me says that you are lucky. You have done the three years and will, health permitting go on to live a long and happy life during which time you may fall in love with an NT instead of an Aspie and find all the emotional support that you long for. I wish you the best of health and luck and hope that you never have suffer such an awful situation again.

Spirit sense , you are by far the best and most thoughtful and grounded 'poster' on this forum. Thank you so much. You give me such hope

Thank You Sparkladygirl : ) I hope your world improves no matter how good or bad it may seem at times.

Thank you for this post I was about to give up or feel its hopeless!!! I have a partner who I believe has aspergers!
We met in our mid twenties lived together for a short while and I became pregnant. The pregnancy was a difficult one and i felt so alone and unloved I left him. The pregnancy ended and so did our relationship. I always blamed myself and twenty five years later we found each other again. The first year was great then his behaviour made me feel once again unloved, isolated and often very hurt. My love for this guy is tremendous and we are now two and a half years together and sometimes I have thought of giving up but I love him so much. I am hoping to get some counselling together what do you think?

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Gosh I feel for you. I started noticing things that just weren't right in my marriage about 8 years ago, especially the repetitive behaviour, lack of empathy, monotone voice and complete inablity to relate when it came to emotional situations. I've had some quite difficult times that I have dealt with by myself as I know there is no point expecting any kind of support. I've built up such resentment over the years but always thought that maybe with time, things will improve. Once we got a diagnosis of aspergers I felt my world crumble. I realised that the emotional support won't ever be there. He can be taught to say the right words apparently but I'm told I will always know that he is just saying the words, that he can't actually feel the empathy. For years I've also been talking to a blank wall. The loneliness has been terrible. I've been told by our psychologist that I have to gain any emotional support outside of the relationship as he will not be able to provide it. Looking forward and knowing that this is now my future has been really really hard. I haven't been able to talk to anyone apart from a counsellor as I respect my husbands privacy but I've shed a mountain of tears. Didn't really help though. I've done a lot of research and realise that we have to learn a whole new way of communicating as for years we have been talking a different language. So much to learn and so many decisions to make. We have 2 little girls so I feel I need to give it every chance. Good luck to you, it was good to know there are others feeling the same way.

Thanks for responding. It seems like we are feeling a lot of the same things. My friends don't really understand, they keep saying things like 'all men are like that'. I thought that for years, but this is something more.

I have a sibling with a child with aspergers, and my husband has a sibling with a child with aspergers too--yet when I shared that i thought my husband had AS, they said NO, and the rationale given was as you say, "all men are like that." BUT what they see when he is in public trying to please, is different when he is at home and shut down!

I feel as though I wrote this. I have the exact same story complete with 2 little girls and a son from a previous marriage. It is devastating and I am trying to mourn the loss of what I thought our marriage would be. He will not get counseling as he does not see it as a problem he has and believes it is all me just not being the sweet happy girl I once was. I saw a response saying how loyal he is supposed to be, He appears sneaky, lies and refuses to talk pretty much ever. I have lost myself. It does affect my motherhood at times as I try so hard not to cry, there is resentment as he hurts me over and over and does nothing to improve or change or memorize what I need to hear or feel. Why do I have to be the one to adapt to him as another commentor stated and why can't we meet in a middle or have give and take? I should be angry as I feel he knew enough to get me, marry me and change to the cold, distant, unlovey person he is? Maybe he is faithful, maybe he loves me-but I cannot seem to accept it is the same as the love I once felt. I will say the majority of him is patient and he can fake normal to people at a party. There is no intimacy and never really was, just thought it was becaus
e of his Catholic morals. Never had a GF until he was 30 and it was for just a few months. He is a genius and amazing at his career and appears loyal there, but will not tell me when he wakes up where he goes etc. So it appears he cheats. What is the point of loving someone if they cannot feel it? I am so open and honest about every feeling I have, so his mind does not make sense to me. Why can't he be passionate about me like he is with sports and his career?

Hi! I feel for you! I don't know whether you still check this website, but if you do, how are you doing? I hope you are doing better, I really do. All the best to you!

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