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mn_aspie
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29 Aug 2017, 7:54 am

Hi.

I've been married for close to ten years. We have two children, whom I love very very much. I can honestly say that I didn't understand what the emotion of love meant until I had children. I thought I loved my wife, but I learned that I actually just really liked her. Now I can say I love her, as we've bonded over the years.

But being married is a challenge alone. I've spent our entire relationship pleading with my wife to stop leaving messes all over the place, to take care of her things--e.g. don't trash her car. I've begged and begged her to stop buying random and useless crap from the store: clothes, trinkets, toys, etc., which have no use or value, and end of being stuffed in a drawer or closet.

Having children magnifies these issues exponentially. I absolutely love my kids and have massive anxiety over being a good parent, teaching them what they "need to know," keeping them from harm, and all the other 1,001 things that are on a parent's mind.

But in the end, after I get home from work and there are 100 things to do around the house (clean up, mow grass, weed garden, feed kids, help with homework, coach soccer, listen to wife's recital of the day, mail, bill, et-f*ing-cetera) I have around one hour to focus on the projects/hobbies I want to do.

And it's incredibly draining. Our marriage counselor scolded me for spending too much time in my workshop when she learned I default to that location on nights and weekends, so I've made an effort to be around everyone more, and I'm exhausted. I try to mimic my wife's go-to-bed schedule, but to do so I have to drink alcohol to get tired enough to fall asleep when she does (before 10 pm) I tend to wake up early, so I thought I could use that time to get work done early to add hours to my personal time, but my wife scolded me for leaving for work too early and not being there in case the kids wake up and she's showering.

Anyway, trying to avoid a wall of text, ultimately I am really trying but everything I try results in people being upset that I'm not "doing the right thing" because I want to work on a project or hobby. I fantasize about just leaving and living somewhere alone--it would be great!--but ultimately I know that would be perceived negatively by the kids and I don't want to harm them. I'm getting burnt out and I predict this will cause a meltdown, thus I'll lose my job, thus I'll hurt my family.



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29 Aug 2017, 8:59 am

I don't think your counselor understands autism. Many people on the spectrum do need some alone time to recharge.
It is likely that she doesn't understand this need.

Perhaps if you did have a little bit of alone time you could get rid of the alcohol and function much more efficiently.



wiztrader
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29 Aug 2017, 9:20 am

I really understand where you are coming from. My own marriage is almost a mirror of what you are describing about yours. When I finally pursued a diagnosis our counselor (who was almost exasperated from her advice not working as well as it should have) told us "I am not trained to deal with spectrum people." So at least that allowed us to move towards someone who could actually help.

That being said - marriage for ANYONE is ultimately about compromise. Since we need a certain amount of hobby-time just to be able to cope with the day-to-day perhaps you could mention this to your wife. See what you can do to mutually work out a schedule that you can be in your workshop. In turn, you can agree to work on something that is important to her. As an example, agree to let her have 30 minutes of uninterrupted time so she can shower, do makeup, etc. I have learned (thru hard knocks) of the amazing effect of your wife having time to make herself look/feel pretty. Best wishes to you!



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30 Aug 2017, 12:59 am

Do you and your wife and kids share any common interests that you could bond over?


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mn_aspie
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30 Aug 2017, 6:50 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
Do you and your wife and kids share any common interests that you could bond over?


Not really. I enjoy coaching soccer, but I don't know if yelling at a bunch of eight year olds qualifies and quality time together. They all really enjoy watching TV, which I don't really care for. It's actually quite annoying to me, that they're always just sitting on the couch watching Netflix--it's to a point where the TV will have a show on and my wife will be watching a different show on her phone w/ headphones, or my oldest will be watching a different show on her iPad w/ headphones.

I'm a software programmer, so my interests align around most things tech. I spend my free time in my workshop designing stuff, 3D-printing it, and programming. The age-gap alone makes it difficult to get my kids interested in that stuff. My wife definitely has zero interest in it.



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30 Aug 2017, 8:37 am

Perhaps you could design stuff with input from your kids. A collaborative effort?



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30 Aug 2017, 9:30 am

Can you print toys for your kids, and then paint the toys together? There are so much things like that available out there.

I worry that your marriage counselor is not quite understanding the autistic need for time recharging. On the other hand, ignoring your wife's need for companionship is not a good idea either, although I don't really see sitting together and watching different shows is really spending time together. Why don't you make a deal that when you decide to spend time toghether, you actually do something together, I don't know, like going for an evening walk as a family, or cooking a nice dessert together. I don't think tv watching together creates much intimacy.

My private time is in the morning. I get up before everyone else, make myself a cup of coffee, and then I watch my favorite gardening shows and make plans for next year's garden in my garden diary. Then when the others wake up I am mentally prepared for the day and in a good mood, and nobody complains I wasn't keeping them company.


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structrix
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01 Sep 2017, 10:46 am

mn_aspie wrote:
Hi.

I've been married for close to ten years. We have two children, whom I love very very much. I can honestly say that I didn't understand what the emotion of love meant until I had children. I thought I loved my wife, but I learned that I actually just really liked her. Now I can say I love her, as we've bonded over the years.

But being married is a challenge alone. I've spent our entire relationship pleading with my wife to stop leaving messes all over the place, to take care of her things--e.g. don't trash her car. I've begged and begged her to stop buying random and useless crap from the store: clothes, trinkets, toys, etc., which have no use or value, and end of being stuffed in a drawer or closet.

Having children magnifies these issues exponentially. I absolutely love my kids and have massive anxiety over being a good parent, teaching them what they "need to know," keeping them from harm, and all the other 1,001 things that are on a parent's mind.

But in the end, after I get home from work and there are 100 things to do around the house (clean up, mow grass, weed garden, feed kids, help with homework, coach soccer, listen to wife's recital of the day, mail, bill, et-f*ing-cetera) I have around one hour to focus on the projects/hobbies I want to do.

And it's incredibly draining. Our marriage counselor scolded me for spending too much time in my workshop when she learned I default to that location on nights and weekends, so I've made an effort to be around everyone more, and I'm exhausted. I try to mimic my wife's go-to-bed schedule, but to do so I have to drink alcohol to get tired enough to fall asleep when she does (before 10 pm) I tend to wake up early, so I thought I could use that time to get work done early to add hours to my personal time, but my wife scolded me for leaving for work too early and not being there in case the kids wake up and she's showering.

Anyway, trying to avoid a wall of text, ultimately I am really trying but everything I try results in people being upset that I'm not "doing the right thing" because I want to work on a project or hobby. I fantasize about just leaving and living somewhere alone--it would be great!--but ultimately I know that would be perceived negatively by the kids and I don't want to harm them. I'm getting burnt out and I predict this will cause a meltdown, thus I'll lose my job, thus I'll hurt my family.


I totally understand how you are feeling. That counselor doesn't sound like she understands aspies and to some extent neither does your wife. I think you should explain calmly to both of them that the world sometimes is too "noisy" for you and you need alone time to recharge. Right now, I guess I have sort of "checked out" of the family life to focus on my interests. I am trying to figure out how to check back IN without making myself have a meltdown. On top of that, my husband now requests my company downstairs after work to hang out with the family when previously I used to be able to go upstairs into our room, re-group and THEN when I was ready come downstairs. I do it because I love him and of COURSE i have to interact with my family. It's just so gosh darn hard. I TOO fantasize about having a small apartment somewhere and living all by myself. But, of course, I don't want to hurt my family or mess up my kid. But, yes, I feel like I will have a meltdown as well. I have no advice.


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12 Sep 2017, 2:20 pm

IMO the consuelor takes it all wrong. Damned American culture, no room not only for aspies, but also for simple introverts! I'm sorry if I sound too brutal but it seems the consuelor does understand your wife's need for company but not your equally valid need to recharge in solitude.
Anyway, I totally agree with the topic. Being a spouse and a parent is exhausting as hell. At least to me, too.


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mn_aspie
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20 Sep 2017, 8:00 am

A couple of people have mentioned the possible shortcomings of the counselor. I'm beginning to agree, though I don't want to allow personal bias to overly influence that decision.

I've grown incredibly tired of trying to follow all the rules too. What the counselor has gotten my wife to reveal is that although I think I'm following the rules and being a good husband, but I'm being told that I am actually saying things that hurt her feelings. It's driving me crazy because I can't simply state an observation. Whenever I do make an observation she gets emotional and responds with a complete non-sequitor like "you're accusing me of being a bad mom." What?

So the rules keep tightening down to a point where I literally only have the option of saying yes to everything, or risk hurting her. A good example is last night, I was working on a software app I've been developing, but she wanted to play a game. So I dropped everything and tried to play this game with her. I had zero interest in it, and she got mad that I was "acting like I didn't want to play." What the hell am I suppose to do there?

Similarly I haven't had any interest in sex, because I am constantly confused about what to say, when to say it, when am I hurting her. I just don't have the energy to try and get in the mood and hope she is too, while trying to balance out all the other new rules. She's generally a low sex drive, so I thought that it wouldn't be a problem, but yesterday she asked me if we were ever going to have sex again, then started crying saying that it makes her feel like she's not desirable. But, she changed all the rules and routine on how we have sex like six months ago too. The time of day she prefers, the room in the house she prefers.

Sorry for the rant. The exhaustion/frustration comes from the fact that all these things are changing, and I'm trying to play nice, but I can't honestly answer her questions anymore because the "new rules" make certain statements off limits. It's why I've shut down and now she's asking me why I've shut down, but I can't answer...ad infinitum



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20 Sep 2017, 9:27 am

Well, a marriage has to work for both people.

Out of curiosity, how much has your wife read up on ASD? If you guys want to stay married, she has to learn to communicate in a way you understand, and you in a way she understands.

Have you read 'The Journal of Best Practices'? Or has your wife read '22 Things a Woman Must Know If She Loves a Man with Asperger's Syndrome'?

All the best intentions in the world will still wear you out if you don't attack the problem in the right way. I'm working on getting my husband to understand that pressuring me will not achieve anything. I've had people pushing me to do things all my life. If I'd listened to them all I'd be in a mental hospital by now. Husband tells me he envies me my calm, my ability to not care. I haven't the faintest clue to where he gets that idea that I don't care. I just don't think descending into panic will help anybody, because I don't have a 'slightly worried' mode, it's either calm or panic attacks.


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20 Sep 2017, 4:04 pm

It sounds to me like you & your wife's needs within a relationship are incompatible. You have to ask yourself if you can handle this relationship as it is for the rest of your lives or not? Is it really the best thing for you & your wife to try & force a a relationship to work when she's constantly getting upset with you & your just getting burnt out? I know you have kids but it's better for kids to have divorced & happy parents than unhappily married 1s.


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21 Sep 2017, 1:58 am

nick007 wrote:
It sounds to me like you & your wife's needs within a relationship are incompatible. You have to ask yourself if you can handle this relationship as it is for the rest of your lives or not? Is it really the best thing for you & your wife to try & force a a relationship to work when she's constantly getting upset with you & your just getting burnt out? I know you have kids but it's better for kids to have divorced & happy parents than unhappily married 1s.


I see the OP distancing himself emotionally from his wife, and you might be right. However, I think we are sometimes too quick to give up on relationships because we don't know how to handle them. Cynthia Kim has a chapter on 'burning bridges' in her autism autobiography, i.e. the tendency to just run for it when things get too complicated.

You know, when you have kids with someone, it's for life, no matter whether you're married or not. They're going to have to learn how to communicate anyway, or they'll be stuck fighting about how to raise the kids for the next 15 years or so, even if they live on different addresses.


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21 Sep 2017, 2:11 am

Sorry if I'm being boring, it just seems to me like this is a situation that might be improved a lot with the right tools.

Here's a series of blog posts at Musings of an Aspie called 'Lessons from an Aspergers-NT Marriage"

https://musingsofanaspie.com/2012/10/22 ... ge-part-1/

It's much nicer learning from other people's mistakes than from your own.


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magz
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21 Sep 2017, 7:26 am

mn_aspie, do your wife and the consuelor know that you are an aspie? Do they know what it means? You seem confused because an aspie mind does not get the "obvious" social rules. Your wife seems feeling bad because she can't imagine your confusion, she interprets you throught those "obvious" ideas you don't get.
Maybe exploring together some texts like dr Tony Attwood talks or some books on the topic would help a bit? Just a wild guess.
Or is there someone you can both communicate with effectively? If so, you may try to ask for "translation" sometimes.


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