Suspected AS-wife moved out. NT husband+2 kids stay at home.

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MarkP
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07 Jun 2019, 2:46 am

Hey guys. I'm very new here and I just wish I have found this forum long time ago. I'm a NT husband and father of two teenagers of 12 and 17. My wife and I are both 47, married for 19 years. We know each other 24 years. My youngest son has been diagnosed with Aspergers at age of 5. My dear wife moved out to live separately 5 weeks ago and counting. She rented an apartment for herself. We started therapy sessions with counselors. In the mean time, she is perfectly happy with how things are. I'm left to take care of the boys and all of the aspects of the family (which is what I was doing anyway for many years), while still making efforts to maintain some sort of connection to my wife as we speak (invites to walks, invite to dinner, taking her to a concert,....).

After spending over a month reading everything possible about Aspergers, comparing to what I know from 7 years worth of my journal notes, I came to realization that my wife is probably a never diagnosed Aspie herself.

There are simply too many signs which match. Also, my youngest son is a diagnosed Asperger and I also suspect my wife's deceased father who was having similar symptoms + alcoholism (never diagnosed) and my wife's grandmother.

She doesn't know that and I don't know how to tell that to her.I don't know how to tell her. For example, she was offended when two weeks ago I told her she might bi in a depression (which she definitely still is-all signs confirm that). Well, she thinks I want to turn blame on her. I'm not. I want a solution. I would gladly accept all the "blame" and correct it, because then it would be in my control.

Anyway, here's the thing and here's my question. I would appreciate your thoughts on that.

Yesterday, she finally had the guts to tell me in front of the therapist that she wants to come home and live back together, BUT - wait ...... "she wants to keep the apartment she staying at right now". She said she needs "space" where she can "breathe" and that I the kids are "suffocating" her. She said that I'm always around (I do have a home office). She also stated all sorts of other reasons, which made little sense to me (like she hates the tiles at home and she hates the kitchen,.....). Uhm?! Do one need to move out in order to get this?

Anyway, knowing what I know now, I understand that one of the symptoms of Aspie women , is to suffer from so called “social exhaustion” or a “social hangover”, when socializing too much. I know that all too well, trust me;) She is a star at her company, well regarded, popular, go-to-person for advice,.....When she comes home, it can be a vastly different picture. I never understood why. Now I do. The hangover can last hours to days and during that time she just wants to be alone. She was very bad at communicating that though which caused a lot of unnecessary misunderstandings in the past.

Well, recently I learned that she needs solitude to recharge her batteries. Being alone is how she regroups. The literature also says that it doesn’t mean that she’s disinterested, selfish, cold or insensitive (which is definitely how it looks like to me, the kids, closer family and practically to all of our friends who simply can't believe what's happening). I read that she needs more time for herself when she hits the limit for social interaction and needs to recharge. 


I understand that.

But she came to me with an impossible choice yesterday.

She said, that even when she comes home (which she said she would gradually and reluctantly do), she wants to maintain the apartment she is currently staying in. She had an idea that she would use the apartment 3 days in a week.

I can't let that happen. Not that I don't want to help her. But I'm don't want to have a 3/7 of a wife and our sons an partially absent mother. Furthemore, I believe such an "arrangement" would be damaging to our marriage and it would cause trauma to the kids months and years down the road. Namely, having a wife/mom who can "explode" at any minute for whatever the reason, pack her bags and leave to her "safe place", even if there was only a minor or just a perceived disagreement, is highly stressful. I can't leave with so much stress all the time. I will get sick. This can definitely wreck our relationship and cause immeasurable trauma to our youngest son with Aspergers (12 Y old). I don't want to go down that road. Furthermore, if agree to such arrangement, this will not be me anymore. I did not sign up for such marriage, nor for such broken family. If I say YES to such an arrangement I will not be authentic anymore. I will not be me, but she is going to see an empty shell. I will feel castrated. I am considered to be a gentle husband, good father, paying attention to her (friends tell me now, even too much), I run the household almost myself, in parallel to my successful business. I'm for the all-in relationship without a backup. I just can't live with a thought hat both of us can't trust each other any more and that everyone is maintaining some kind of a backup.

We leave in a multi-residential building in a condo so I was thinking to offer her to get her an additional room in the same building, a couple of stories up. That would be her place where my wife and our son's mother can retreat and get some quiet time. I could live with that. Now, I know and respect that she simply needs solitude. But, I suspect she wants a fully functional apartment. She says she loves her new place, "which is so bright", new ..... I told her yesterday that for the reasons outlined above, I can't do that and that we would have to divorce. I asked her to reconsider and come up with some other proposition because filing for divorce is easy. But we would destroy something very precious.

I do want to help her but at the same time I deserve to live a life too. And my kids deserve it too.

I'm sad now. I don't sleep well and I'm constantly searching online for new resources for Aspergers. In the mean time my wife is happily ignorant for her state. I see my life (a very GOOD life, in spite of all the troubles communicating with my lovely wife) crumbling in front of my very own eyes. And I can't do much.

The process with therapists is slow. They are good but there are none who actually know the AS-NT dyad troubles in our town. And time is ticking.... and I know I need to connect with her in spite of all this. And knowing all this, that is hard too.

Any thoughts? Aspies? What's going on inside my wife? Is she able to understand my concerns?

Thanks! Mark.



magz
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07 Jun 2019, 5:27 am

First: did you tell your wife everything? During a therapy session? Couple therapy is a lot about improving communication so it's great you're doing it!
Your wife would likely benefit from therapy herself because we often can't really express what we feel and a training can help a lot.

The things that "don't make sense" to you are most likely sensory issues. There are plenty of annoying irritants that NTs often don't even notice - noises and hum, ticking clocks, too bright / too dim / uneven light, attention-drawing colors, subtle smells, uncomfortable clothing... they are generally personal. Some can tolerate them for some time but then the effect of discomfort builds up. Maybe the place you live is not Aspie-friendly. It is possible that your wife can't even describe it, she just feels uncomfortable there.

I suppose she needs to process a lot of feelings now and she needs a lot of solitude for it.

One hard and very honest question: Do you want your wife or do you want a wife at home? You threaten with divorce. You mentioned "you wouldn't be yourself" if you agree.
But I'm not sure if your wife has been herself for the last 20 years. There is something called masking. Playing the role of a wife and mother (and several other social roles) unless one can't do it any more. Many of us get misdiagnosed with some mental condition at this point and end up in a mental hospital. Your wife just moved out. I find it a better option.

By the way, I think you can safely tell her of your suspicions. She knows there is something about her, maybe the keyword would help her make sense of all that is happening. You can invite her here if she wants to come.


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traven
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07 Jun 2019, 5:28 am

somewhat the same but also the opposite here,

long story short, the kids out already and then hubby who was trucker so i did all the homethings, got homebound and taking all of my time/space and destroying my structure of the day
(once when i visited my dying mother he had rearranged the home when i came back)
i felt like always on the move (from home), even dreaded to return home at times
more s**t happened and i moved away, what i think of as a (autistic) burnout

the work at home situation might be the problem or you picking up too much at home also
the presence of others have a blocking capacity for me, it's not clear if your wife can't do these things or you get around to do it before she does

-look at all possible options
-don't expect a fast solution
-you can have a official or unofficial separation, with joined custody, or anything between that
-at least she would or should be able/ allowed to have the kids for a day or half a day regularly
-make everything scheduled, if she comes over agree beforehand on the time and purpose



MarkP
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07 Jun 2019, 6:45 am

magz wrote:
First: did you tell your wife everything? During a therapy session? Couple therapy is a lot about improving communication so it's great you're doing it!
Your wife would likely benefit from therapy herself because we often can't really express what we feel and a training can help a lot.

The things that "don't make sense" to you are most likely sensory issues. There are plenty of annoying irritants that NTs often don't even notice - noises and hum, ticking clocks, too bright / too dim / uneven light, attention-drawing colors, subtle smells, uncomfortable clothing... they are generally personal. Some can tolerate them for some time but then the effect of discomfort builds up. Maybe the place you live is not Aspie-friendly. It is possible that your wife can't even describe it, she just feels uncomfortable there.

I suppose she needs to process a lot of feelings now and she needs a lot of solitude for it.

One hard and very honest question: Do you want your wife or do you want a wife at home? You threaten with divorce. You mentioned "you wouldn't be yourself" if you agree.
But I'm not sure if your wife has been herself for the last 20 years. There is something called masking. Playing the role of a wife and mother (and several other social roles) unless one can't do it any more. Many of us get misdiagnosed with some mental condition at this point and end up in a mental hospital. Your wife just moved out. I find it a better option.

By the way, I think you can safely tell her of your suspicions. She knows there is something about her, maybe the keyword would help her make sense of all that is happening. You can invite her here if she wants to come.


Thank you for your note. Yes, we are seeing not one, but two therapists. We're doing this in 1:1 sessions with the therapist and in joint 2:1 sessions, which are moderated by a trained professional. My wife is happy about the "progress", and I am too. I try to connect with her in the mean time as much as it's reasonable (given that she does not live with us anymore). But the process is painfully slow. And I think she's not pushing it. On one hand she feels "guilty" for abandoning her children and her husband (and I must say, at times I'm privately outright appalled at the level of coldness and selfishness, just related to our kids who are suffering). On the other hand she finds her newly found "freedom" so liberating and nice.

But, she was never forced or caged into anything. At least not by me:) She's a great professional, smart, determined, independent, very open minded, sexy, witted. I like her for that! She has a male best friend (now I understand why) which I never objected to, has a caring husband (me), a super great sex life (according to her own words, a week ago), I take care of regular nice surprises, we go places, travel around the world....I take care about the children, the school, the food, I mean, common. She has EVERYTHING and yet she is about to ruin and dismember our family. I am coping to understand that.

I heard her saying "I'm a bad mom", "I'm not made for family".... It didn't make sense before, but now I kind of get it. But it's still a kind of a bad self-hypnosis. I don't see how repeating such evil voices in her head can make things any better. And she attaches weird meanings to what she said. When I say, okay tell me more about things you don't like, sahe goes Like "the boys don't listen to me"... Well, of course they don't. They are teenagers! One of them is an Aspie for Christ's sake! But they are golden boys. They are healthy. They are beautiful. There are PLENTY of things to be grateful for. Nope. My dear wife focuses on the negative and spins those thoughts in her head like crazy. It's difficult to talk to her like that.

I hear what you're saying about the possibility that our (otherwise super nice and great apartment with a lot of light, a patio ....) is not aspie-friendly. She did mention a few times about remodelling, just yesterday she scooffed over the colors of the floors and the kitchen..... I didn't take her so seriously before (mind you, remodelling just for the sake of remodelling is not cheap). But okay, I can have the floors changed, I can let her get a new damn kitchen. If that will make things better. But does one has to move out for 5 weeks and abandon her family to achieve that?!?!? Seems a bit extreme to me. And she's pretty cold blooded about that. I don't even know my wife anymore.

I think my wife has NOT been herself for the latest 30 years or so. She often referred to that as she was hiding her emotions, she's done "faking", ..... Now, she says, she again can sleep like a baby while at home she couldn't. Well, that's a problem.

YOUR QUESTION: "Do you want your wife or do you want a wife at home?" I want MY WIFE. And I want her at home. Both. I can't connect with her if we are not close, physically close. Make no mistake, when I stumbled upon an idea that she might have been Aspergers from het youth it wasn't easy for me.

But, I have already accepted in my mind that our relationship is never going to be 100% symmetrical. I have accepted that I will always have to invest more emotional energy and possibly receive less back. That there will probably never going to be an emotional reciprocity as I have expected. I have already prepared my mind that I will probably going to see more of her tantrums and blac&white view of me, the kids and her life as time goes by. But now it will make sense (event hough she can be quite hurtful). I can think of myself of thinking that even as cute. Yes, cute. I can see myself there.

Now, I'm in the process of understanding all that was going on in the past, now things at least have a possible logical explanation and I feel some sense of relief. And, I love my wife. We had thousands of magical moments together, we've always been a power couple, and I know very well what I loved her from the first moment I met her: because I instantly felt I could trust her my deepest secrets. And she was funny and sexy and witted. She still is. And she smells good. And, even now she says that I smell her so good. We still hug and give long kisses to each other, but to me they are kind of sad. Am I seeing my own wife slowly fading away? We still love each other. But I'm also afraid that our deep love will slowly die off if we continue like that. It can't go on like that for much longer, can it?

So, I'm prepared to go a giant step forward with full conscience. But I have certain conditions which I intend to tell her when we meet with the therapist again. I think it's going to be difficult, but life sucks now too.

1. I can't have a part time wife and I don't think a part time mother is good for our kids (let alone an Asperger one). I don't agree with you living 3 days a week somewhere else and than get back "home" for the rest of the week.
2. That being said, I understand you need your private space, your very own safe spot where you can recoup and recharge for times when you are overwhelmed. Fine. But please understand if I agree with you having some fully functioning apartment as a back up, this will not be all-in relationship. I will be castrated in a way and our kids with be traumatised as there will always be a possibility that in the midst of the next tantrum, you will pack you bags and leave. That is devastating. I don't want to live like that.
3. So, come back home next week, and we can have a transition period.
4. During the transition period I agree that you keep the leased apartment for yourself.
5. "Your place" will not be a place where children will sleep over. This shall be treated as your own personal retreat. Similarly to when your own father had a little apartment close by where he went occasionally to play violin and write.
6. We will find a solution so you get your own dedicated room in our apartment which will be ONLY yours.
7. We will continue to go to therapy sessions (1:1 and 1:2), to clean up the leftovers of years of our miscommunication. That will take months.
8. I want you to get tested for Aspergers.

* I suspect my dear wife will try to object and deny her state. That being said, #8 is a deal breaker for me. I can't pretend anymore. Now that I know what I know, the only way our family can heal is if EVERYONE knows and we all participate and help each other healing.

I hope I was not too long. I hope I'm not making a catastrophic mistake.
Thanks again for your support. Your insight is SOOOO invaluable to me.

Cheers, Mark



Last edited by MarkP on 07 Jun 2019, 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

magz
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07 Jun 2019, 7:26 am

I'm glad you are willing to make sense of all af this. I think making all clear and open is likely to help.

MarkP wrote:
But does one has to move out for 5 weeks and abandon her family to achieve that?!?!? Seems a bit extreme to me.
If she's anything like me, she needed 5 weeks of living alone to realise it, not to achieve it. I can't hear my own thougths when there is someone else nearby. I can't understand what's bothering me unless I get away and spend a lot of time on my own.

Living with the family was probably in some sense very painful for your wife. She ran away from the pain and now, being away, she can slowly realize what was actually causing the pain.

Hopefully, you can discuss it and make things acceptable for everyone.

The process of therapy is usually slow. One can't repair in three weeks what has been swept under the carpet for decades before it exploded and took dramatic form. Apart from alexithymia (inability to name one's own feelings) typical for Asperger's Syndrome, your wife is likely dealing with her childhood (you mentioned her father abused alcohol - it can leave scars that become very painful when she does parenting herself) and other strong emotions that need time and her effort to be processed. Possibly, she also employs a variety of psychological defenses that obscure her true feelings even more. It's unconcious, everyone does it. A good therapy helps with peeling the defenses out so one can adress their true issues.

I wish all of you the best!


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MarkP
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07 Jun 2019, 7:33 am

traven wrote:
somewhat the same but also the opposite here,

long story short, the kids out already and then hubby who was trucker so i did all the homethings, got homebound and taking all of my time/space and destroying my structure of the day
(once when i visited my dying mother he had rearranged the home when i came back)
i felt like always on the move (from home), even dreaded to return home at times
more s**t happened and i moved away, what i think of as a (autistic) burnout

the work at home situation might be the problem or you picking up too much at home also
the presence of others have a blocking capacity for me, it's not clear if your wife can't do these things or you get around to do it before she does

-look at all possible options
-don't expect a fast solution
-you can have a official or unofficial separation, with joined custody, or anything between that
-at least she would or should be able/ allowed to have the kids for a day or half a day regularly
-make everything scheduled, if she comes over agree beforehand on the time and purpose


Thank you so much for your comment. Hmmm, to stop working from my home office is really peanuts. I can easily rent an office somewhere. I just don't see why would that be a solution? After all, she comes home at 5.30 PM at the earliest. I stop working long before that anyway. Where would be the difference? Kids are popping in and out of our home constantly. School, tennis, guitar lessons,.....that's called FAMILY. If she doesn't like that, well she should have said so before we had kids. What should I tell now to my sons? Me picking up at home too much is even easier to solve;) That's simplest thing. I can simply stop and offer her to start going to school for meetings with teachers and so so. Usually this is in the morning, so I'm not sure if she'll gladly accept this as she works for a corporation. All these things are pretty easily solvable.

What I don't understand is why does my wife feel that it's better to abandon her children and her husband who love her and expose herself, and others around her to this emotional trauma? What good could that bring? She could have simply asked. I know , it would take some persuasion but I consider myself a reasonable guy. Also, I can understand that she needed a "compelling event" for things to start changing. Good, I buy that. Then again, compelling event is an event, not a period. Okay, she made her point. But this seems not to be the whole story because now she seems to like her being in her own apartment and wants to have it at her disposal whenever she wants. At the same time living separately will only inevitably make us grow apart, not closer. But she says she wants us to connect and get closer. I just think she is confused and I honestly don't know how to un-confuse her. I just know this cannot last for very long. It's also exhausting for me. Honestly.



MarkP
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07 Jun 2019, 7:43 am

magz wrote:
I'm glad you are willing to make sense of all af this. I think making all clear and open is likely to help.

MarkP wrote:
But does one has to move out for 5 weeks and abandon her family to achieve that?!?!? Seems a bit extreme to me.
If she's anything like me, she needed 5 weeks of living alone to realise it, not to achieve it. I can't hear my own thougths when there is someone else nearby. I can't understand what's bothering me unless I get away and spend a lot of time on my own.

Living with the family was probably in some sense very painful for your wife. She ran away from the pain and now, being away, she can slowly realize what was actually causing the pain.

Hopefully, you can discuss it and make things acceptable for everyone.

The process of therapy is usually slow. One can't repair in three weeks what has been swept under the carpet for decades before it exploded and took dramatic form. Apart from alexithymia (inability to name one's own feelings) typical for Asperger's Syndrome, your wife is likely dealing with her childhood (you mentioned her father abused alcohol - it can leave scars that become very painful when she does parenting herself) and other strong emotions that need time and her effort to be processed. Possibly, she also employs a variety of psychological defenses that obscure her true feelings even more. It's unconcious, everyone does it. A good therapy helps with peeling the defenses out so one can adress their true issues.

I wish all of you the best!


Wow. I think you nailed it. What do you think of my conditions? Do they sound like something the person who you wo well described would be inclined to accept? I'm going extra mile to meet her half-way (or even more). But I'm not a robot.



magz
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07 Jun 2019, 7:56 am

What do I think of your conditions?
Well, I'm not your wife, I don't know everything. I'm just a fellow burned out autistic wife&mother so I can interpret your wife's acts by relating them to my own feelings.
Probably she will need her apartament for several other weeks. To clear her mind enough to understand what she needs and what she can give up. To meet you halfway, she needs to realize where she actually is.
It is a slow process, I'm sorry.


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MarkP
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07 Jun 2019, 8:53 am

magz wrote:
What do I think of your conditions?
Well, I'm not your wife, I don't know everything. I'm just a fellow burned out autistic wife&mother so I can interpret your wife's acts by relating them to my own feelings.
Probably she will need her apartament for several other weeks. To clear her mind enough to understand what she needs and what she can give up. To meet you halfway, she needs to realize where she actually is.
It is a slow process, I'm sorry.


Thank you. You already helped me more than any other human being on this planet. Seriously.



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07 Jun 2019, 9:08 am

Not sure I can help you. Your wife is currently under a lot of stress. Stress is cumulative in nature. It builds and over time can explode. At the moment she needs a little alone time to normalize her stress levels. Around half the people in the world are introverts and the other half extroverts. Introverts by nature need time to be alone to decompress. So the problem is larger than just in the Aspie community. So from my perspective it would be helpful for your wife to learn techniques to offload stress. If she can learn the tools to reduce her stress levels, her actions will return back to the wife you once knew, the one you fell in love with.

My recommendations would be for you to read a book by Peter Levine called "In an Unspoken Voice". This is larger than just your wife, it also would be beneficial for your 12 year old Aspie son. Bullying is a major problem for children as they transition into adolescence. For boys the level of bullying will peak generally during Junior High School level (grades 6-8) and diminish afterwards. Many children do not inform their parents about the bullying they go through. They keep it bottled deep inside them and carry these scars for the rest of their lives.



MarkP
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07 Jun 2019, 9:36 am

jimmy m wrote:
Not sure I can help you. Your wife is currently under a lot of stress. Stress is cumulative in nature. It builds and over time can explode. At the moment she needs a little alone time to normalize her stress levels. Around half the people in the world are introverts and the other half extroverts. Introverts by nature need time to be alone to decompress. So the problem is larger than just in the Aspie community. So from my perspective it would be helpful for your wife to learn techniques to offload stress. If she can learn the tools to reduce her stress levels, her actions will return back to the wife you once knew, the one you fell in love with.

My recommendations would be for you to read a book by Peter Levine called "In an Unspoken Voice". This is larger than just your wife, it also would be beneficial for your 12 year old Aspie son. Bullying is a major problem for children as they transition into adolescence. For boys the level of bullying will peak generally during Junior High School level (grades 6-8) and diminish afterwards. Many children do not inform their parents about the bullying they go through. They keep it bottled deep inside them and carry these scars for the rest of their lives.


Thank you. I will have a look into this book. My wife actually practices yoga for over 10 years. She does so almost every day and is very good at it. She also meditates every day. Also, my wife and I had a habit to go on a walk together almost every day. This way we would exercise, talk and connect. Well, yesterday she told me she felt "trapped" by the "joint-walks-routine". That she felt guilty and felt I expected her to go out with me. It's hard to be a mind reader.

Thanks again. I appreciate it.



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07 Jun 2019, 1:56 pm

MarkP wrote:
What I don't understand is why does my wife feel that it's better to abandon her children and her husband who love her and expose herself, and others around her to this emotional trauma? What good could that bring?


Maybe she thinks it'll protect both her and the rest of you from a trauma even bigger than that? As in, maybe she's afraid that if she keeps pushing herself too hard and stays under too much stress she might cause physical harm to someone, perhaps even herself? Or maybe she simply doesn't realize how much this situation hurts you (and your sons? Have you two talked about these things with them or are you simply quessing that they might become/already be traumatized?) You seem to have made it clear that you don't like the situation, but how deeply have you told her about your worries, about how much it hurts? If not, then it's possible that she simply thinks you only dislike the situation and, since everyone has to face something they dislike eventually, doesn't think of it as a big deal.

As for your conditions, while they are reasonable (in my opinion, that is) the way you wrote it comes off as a bit accusing. Not an all-in relationship if the couple lives separately from time to time? No no, that's not how relationships work. There are many couples (including ones with kids) who live that way due to work conditions. And some who live like that for other reasons. That doesn't make them any less of a functional relationship. However, since it doesn't work for you, you need to tell her that. Don't say that it's not how relationships work, say that it's not a way for your relationship to work. Tell her that while it would make things easier for her, it would make things harder, too hard, for you, so you two need to find a compromise about it.
Also, I think it might be better to avoid the word "tantrum." I don't know about others, but to me the word gives an impression of someone immature who is making a racket over a completely meaningless thing. I assure you, an emotional burn out (which sounds like something your wife could have) is not a little thing, in fact it can be very painful. Your wife might think nothing of it of course, but to me the word "tantrum" sounds like you're belittleing her worries.

Letting her have her own room is a very good idea and really might help her, as long as you make sure the "no one else gets to go in without permission" -rule actually sticks. I know from experience that having one's own space means nothing (to some) if other people do come over without permission from time to time anyway.

Also, you mentioned her not liking the kitchen. It is of course possible that she's just a little picky and wants a new style, but the possibility of sensory issues should be taken to an account. She could have trouble with how the materials feel, too bright colors etc. Also, the reason she hasn't pointed out that she doesn't like the kitchen before might very well be that she hadn't realized how much it affects her until she was rid of it for the time being. That too makes it highly likely that the problem is sensory issues.

You seem to be very afraid of this all damaging the mental health of your sons negatively. You both go to therapy, which is good, but have you considered family therapy? Since you're so worried about your sons, I really think it'd be for the best. And if you don't do that, at least speak with your sons (preferably with your wife also there) so that you can all effectively aim to be on the same page.

All that said, I'd say it's clear that you really do love your wife. I hope you two (or well, four since you have two kids still living at home, so saying that this is just about you two wouldn't be quite right) will work things out. Just be patient and try to understand her, but also remember your own limits and don't let her (or anyone else for that matter) push them too hard. It isn't selfish to think about your own well being too... think it this way: if both you and your wife crash down mentally, who'll take care of the kids? If you two can find a compromise where you can both be happy even if neither of you gets their ideal solution, then I'm sure things will work out.



MarkP
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Joined: 6 Jun 2019
Gender: Male
Posts: 20
Location: Slovenia

07 Jun 2019, 5:26 pm

Fireblossom wrote:
MarkP wrote:
What I don't understand is why does my wife feel that it's better to abandon her children and her husband who love her and expose herself, and others around her to this emotional trauma? What good could that bring?


Maybe she thinks it'll protect both her and the rest of you from a trauma even bigger than that? As in, maybe she's afraid that if she keeps pushing herself too hard and stays under too much stress she might cause physical harm to someone, perhaps even herself? Or maybe she simply doesn't realize how much this situation hurts you (and your sons? Have you two talked about these things with them or are you simply quessing that they might become/already be traumatized?) You seem to have made it clear that you don't like the situation, but how deeply have you told her about your worries, about how much it hurts? If not, then it's possible that she simply thinks you only dislike the situation and, since everyone has to face something they dislike eventually, doesn't think of it as a big deal.

As for your conditions, while they are reasonable (in my opinion, that is) the way you wrote it comes off as a bit accusing. Not an all-in relationship if the couple lives separately from time to time? No no, that's not how relationships work. There are many couples (including ones with kids) who live that way due to work conditions. And some who live like that for other reasons. That doesn't make them any less of a functional relationship. However, since it doesn't work for you, you need to tell her that. Don't say that it's not how relationships work, say that it's not a way for your relationship to work. Tell her that while it would make things easier for her, it would make things harder, too hard, for you, so you two need to find a compromise about it.
Also, I think it might be better to avoid the word "tantrum." I don't know about others, but to me the word gives an impression of someone immature who is making a racket over a completely meaningless thing. I assure you, an emotional burn out (which sounds like something your wife could have) is not a little thing, in fact it can be very painful. Your wife might think nothing of it of course, but to me the word "tantrum" sounds like you're belittleing her worries.

Letting her have her own room is a very good idea and really might help her, as long as you make sure the "no one else gets to go in without permission" -rule actually sticks. I know from experience that having one's own space means nothing (to some) if other people do come over without permission from time to time anyway.

Also, you mentioned her not liking the kitchen. It is of course possible that she's just a little picky and wants a new style, but the possibility of sensory issues should be taken to an account. She could have trouble with how the materials feel, too bright colors etc. Also, the reason she hasn't pointed out that she doesn't like the kitchen before might very well be that she hadn't realized how much it affects her until she was rid of it for the time being. That too makes it highly likely that the problem is sensory issues.

You seem to be very afraid of this all damaging the mental health of your sons negatively. You both go to therapy, which is good, but have you considered family therapy? Since you're so worried about your sons, I really think it'd be for the best. And if you don't do that, at least speak with your sons (preferably with your wife also there) so that you can all effectively aim to be on the same page.

All that said, I'd say it's clear that you really do love your wife. I hope you two (or well, four since you have two kids still living at home, so saying that this is just about you two wouldn't be quite right) will work things out. Just be patient and try to understand her, but also remember your own limits and don't let her (or anyone else for that matter) push them too hard. It isn't selfish to think about your own well being too... think it this way: if both you and your wife crash down mentally, who'll take care of the kids? If you two can find a compromise where you can both be happy even if neither of you gets their ideal solution, then I'm sure things will work out.


Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really appreciate it. I'm so grateful for all the comments here. They made me understand easier what's going on, get a glimpse into my wife's mind. I feel I learned more about her in this week and in previous 19 years. Is that weird?

Today, I spent studying all I could get about adult female Aspergers. Right now I'm reading "22 Things a Woman with Asperger's Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know". I'm also awaiting 3-4 other books to arrive too, so there will be tons of reading during the vacation in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday at the therapist's my wife and I agreed that we will build on connection and leave the "bad" stuff to the sessions with the therapist. We were doing that already (I invited her over to the seaside to a nice hotel and a great dinner last Friday). So today I suggested her for me to come over and see her. She said yes and invited me for a gin tonic and a snack. When I arrived she opened the door. It still feels good to look at her. She is so sexy even at her 47 years. She has always been. We hugged and had a long kiss. She started preparing drinks but soon after we had sex. Wasn't the first time since she left (again, I don't know what to think about that). Anyway, then we had a small dinner and then we watched a newly released Handsmaid Tale Vol 3 together. It was nice. Peaceful. She kept looking at me occasionally with tenderness in her eyes. When the movie was over, we kissed again and hugged and then I took off and got back to our home.

I can understand why she likes the place so much. It IS quiet. Sure, there are no kids around. No husband. No strange voices, no loud voices. Just a soothing music from her favorite Youtube channel coming out of the speakers. Candles here and there. I can understand why it's appealing. But that's not real life. I mean, she should have known that after she gave birth to two golden boys, she can't expect absolute silence and peace. She knows that. But I think she simply thinks her moving out in not such a big deal. I think she underestimates the impact on me and the kids. It IS A BIG DEAL. Still, I think now that she tasted it, she will want to have it. To an outsider that would look like a very selfish thing to do.

My comment about all-in relationship was meant about something else. I could live with occasional personal retreat of my wife when she needed. That's fine. After all, if she needs it so badly, why object to something that contributes to well being of my wife (and subsequently to our family)? Also, I could probably live with 1 full day per week her being absent from our home, living over there in her apartment. Get some some "me-time" to recoup. I think that would be doable. But, what I really don't like is the whole idea that would be luring in the background which is that whenever we would have a disagreement, or she would have a sensory overload (due to factors I didn't even contribute to), or the kids would be loud or she would fall into a depression again or .....whatever (and reasons can be plentiful and randomized), I and the kids would live in constant "fear", that my wife and their mom would simply pack her bags and flee (to her safe refuge) AGAIN. This has the potential to ruin our relationship, the authenticity of mine as well as of our two boys. We would have to walk on tip toes constantly, not to upset our "sensitive" wife and mother. Because she could pack her bags and leave us again any minute. Because she knows she has a backup apartment somewhere. Well, call me crazy but that's not a option for me. I can't and won't live like that. I value myself much higher. I have my standards too. Am I weird?

So, what I'll propose is pretty much summarised in the eight points above. I'm going to present her with that the next time we see the therapist together. I will report how it went if that's of any interest.

Well, tantrum was taken from the literature. I wouldn't use that word live;) But to me, as a NT husband, it sure looks like that many times.

As to the kitchen and so on, well, I was always joking that if she wanted change, a new haircut would be much cheaper. Our kitchen is fine. It looks new and sleek even after 19 years. It really does. We picked such evergreen style. But okay, we can change the damn kitchen, if that's so utterly important. Sometimes I think, ..... where am I in all this? What if I suddenly abandon my family and start making demands that I want a new Porsche or a Ferarri. That would certainly fit the archetype of a mid age male midlife crisis very well, right? But I don't do that. I don't need material THINGS to feel better. I think my wife wants change, so I will talk about that with her. Hope she stays reasonable though.

Yes, you are right. We need to tell to our sons what's happening soon. This is not healthy for them.
But what to tell them? We have not divorced and we don't want to. And yet, their mom left them, abandoned them. I think my wife really things this is no such big deal and she simply enjoys her newly found peace so immensely that she doesn't realize she is doing harm to the rest of the family. In that sense, she sure appears very selfish, egoistic. I don't like that aspect of her to be honest. Makes you question if that is still the same person...? Where is that "mommy instinct?"

Anyway, the goals for the next session at the therapist with my wife are:

- Let her know about my limitations and seek a compromise.
- Find a reasonable solution for her to get back home while making sure she will get het quiet space (that would be just hers and we could also change the locks).
- Get her on the same page with my suspicions about her being AS. I hope she won't flatly deny it. As I hear that is very common, especially with female AS. Because my "evidence" is strong. But I am not a professional which kind of lowers my credibility.

I really keep fingers crossed. As I see things now, this is going to be a very lengthy process, and a costly one. Not that money is an issue, but still. Renting a whole apartment in the middle of the town, paying all the costs and all the therapist fees is no peanuts. Luckily we can afford that. For now.

P.S. Our common (female) friend told me today over the phone this: "You guys don't look like a couple who broke up. You still smell good to each other, that's clearly visible. You still love each other." Well, I agree. Oddly enough, even after such an act of abandonment of her family, strangely enough I still do love mu wife deeply and I want to find a way how we can start living a more harmonious life together, this time with two Aspergers at home; one teenager AS boy and another one, AS wife. That's going to be interesting.



Noca
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08 Jun 2019, 9:05 pm

MarkP wrote:
We leave in a multi-residential building in a condo so I was thinking to offer her to get her an additional room in the same building, a couple of stories up. That would be her place where my wife and our son's mother can retreat and get some quiet time. I could live with that.

Sounds like an excellent compromise, now all counseling has to do is to get her to recognize that relationships demand compromises. I have autism myself and constant social obligations wear me down to the point where they depress me if I do not have enough alone time to recharge regardless how much I like the person I am avoiding. I have never lived with anyone in my relationships because I never found a situation where it worked but I guess with your suggestion that would be a good possibility.


_________________
The top gets higher the more that I climb...

Your neurodiverse score: 150 of 200
Your neurotypical score: 51 of 200

officially diagnosed with Asperger's as of 09/11/15

Reassessed 04/11/16
DSM-V: ASD level 2 with Social Communication Severity: level 2, Restrictive Repetitve Behaviour: level 2

ADOS-2 classification: Autism


MarkP
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Joined: 6 Jun 2019
Gender: Male
Posts: 20
Location: Slovenia

09 Jun 2019, 9:34 am

Noca wrote:
MarkP wrote:
We leave in a multi-residential building in a condo so I was thinking to offer her to get her an additional room in the same building, a couple of stories up. That would be her place where my wife and our son's mother can retreat and get some quiet time. I could live with that.

Sounds like an excellent compromise, now all counseling has to do is to get her to recognize that relationships demand compromises. I have autism myself and constant social obligations wear me down to the point where they depress me if I do not have enough alone time to recharge regardless how much I like the person I am avoiding. I have never lived with anyone in my relationships because I never found a situation where it worked but I guess with your suggestion that would be a good possibility.


Thank you so much for your comment. It really helps to know that this phenomenon of being worn down to the point of depression really IS a thing. That was exactly what was happening in regular cycles to my wife. I thought this was because I did something wrong. (which is exactly what was happening years and years). As a matter of fact, I did envy other people at her work. They got all her attention, she was always a star at work, gregarious.....When she came home she was visibly low energy. I was envious to other people (mostly colleagues at work) who got the best of her. I really was. And I was sad, that I (her husband) and the kids don't deserve the same. Also, thank you for your insight with the statement "where they depress me if I do not have enough alone time to recharge regardless how much I like the person I am avoiding". That was a big mystery to me and now it's not anymore. Together with her having trouble saying NO (now I know this is called Alexythimia), we had constant communication misunderstandings and a LOT of ongoing emotional stress completely unnecessary (from my point of view).

Had I known that she was AS, I would have reacted differently gazzilion times. It would have saved us quite some emotional stress on both sides. Interestingly, I think my wife is still not aware that she might be an AS (even though all the signs are there). I'm puzzled how come it never crossed her mind, knowing that our youngest son is a confirmed AS, issues with her dad (who was taking enormous amount of different medication pills every day, plus was an alcoholic for some time) and with her grandmother (who seemed to be addicted to different medications and was also eating up to 15 different medications per day).