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Black-Knight
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27 Apr 2009, 8:03 am

Only one week ago I heard the term "Asperger" for the first time. After obssesively reading as much info as I can scrape up, I have no doubt that I have known quite well for the past 30 years what Asperger's Syndrome is all about because I live it every day.
My wife of 9 years doesn't understand at all and makes me feel stupid all the time. We have been separated for the last 8 months because she can't see why I tend to be boring and don't cope well in social environments.
I imagine I am going a bit overboard trying to explain to her how this works and why I do some weird stuff.
She claims that I am trying to use this as an excuse and trying to hide behind a condition.
I try my best to act normal ( what the hell is normal anyway?) and end up falling apart in a bundle of nerves, and the more self concious I get about whatever it is that I am doing that is "not normal", the worse the stress becomes.
I have been learning about copeing skills for depression and anxiety for the last few years and sometimes they do help, but overall, I've been a bit of a mess psychologically.
I do tend to get into very negative mood patterns and I try hard not to let that happen.
I can't blame my wife for thinking that I don't care because she never knew the reality of this and all she could see was my resistance to change.
Truth is, I am completely dedicated to her and our 6 yr old daughter and I love them both more than anything else I could possibly imagine.
This has been going on for such a long time now, that even though she is now aware that I am an Aspie, she is fairly unsympathetic.

Has anyone else had similar experiences in their relationships?

Any advice that might help me keep my sanity and possibly save my marriage?

I'm running out of ideas.



arielhawksquill
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27 Apr 2009, 8:21 am

My first marriage was not benefitted by my partner being diagnosed. It only made me realize that the things he was supposedly working to change for the benefit of our relationship (mostly executive dysfunction problems) were never going to change, because they were neurologically hardwired into him. Knowing he loved me didn't make it any easier, because it just made it more tragic that he wasn't a tolerable living partner in our day to day lives.



Irvy
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27 Apr 2009, 9:00 am

Any good relationship requires understanding, and acceptance that every single one of us, AS or NT or anything else, all have our own little quirks and annoying habits that can be hard to live with sometimes.

I doubt that your wife would allow PMT to be written off as using being a woman as an excuse to behave like a b***h for a week out of every month. The physical effects of menopause cannot be dismissed as a silly notion that a woman should snap herself out of. Your aspergers means that what is normal for her is not normal for you. If the 2 of you can sit down and accept those differences between you, then you can move forward and work on your relationship.

However, be aware that it's hard work, and requires understanding and commitment from the word go. My NT partner and I just started living together a year ago, and it's still very hard, working out the rules and acceptance.



Apatura
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27 Apr 2009, 10:00 am

All I can think of is finding an AS-sympathetic counselor who would see the both of you.



CanyonWind
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27 Apr 2009, 10:59 am

^^^Like maybe somebody who goes along with FAAAS because they're impressed with Tony Attwood.

Too bad you had a daughter.


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mechanima
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27 Apr 2009, 11:04 am

I have a pathological compulsion to "explain" my AS too...and it isn't always the answer, because the problem isn't all about you, let alone about AS...

(Which, BTW, certainly does not negate, or invalidate the problem)

Let's make it about your wife, as far as I can tell:

*She feels bored
*She feels socially isolated
*She feels unloved

Now we could get you an NT transplant scheduled first thing and it wouldn't change any of that, beyond giving you the right to rub her nose in the fact that you got an NT transplant for her every time she feels unloved. (<and what's more you can give GOOD emotional blackmail as a result :roll:)

You DO need a good counsellor to help you, but I reckon that will involve acknowledging that most of her problems are things she can only really solve herself...as long as she has 100% of your support to do that...except the last one...and surely, with all pressure to become someone you are not off you, you can think of a 1001 way to show her how much she means to you every single day?

Good luck...

I know it won't be easy...

M.



Black-Knight
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27 Apr 2009, 7:13 pm

Thanks to all of you for your kind words of support. This has been a bumpy ride and I know it's not going to get any smoother any time soon.

These are the things that are the most difficult for me right now - maybe some of you can relate and tell me about your experiences.

- Accepting that I have a condition that is incurable
- Wondering if I would even want a cure if one was available, considering that Asperger's makes up a large part of who "I" am
- Frustration from the fact that my wife cannot see that I just plain can't think the way she does
- Feeling completely alone in a world that doesn't understand me
- Wanting nothing more than for my wife to love me for who I am right now

Is it more difficult for NT's to see that Aspies are different just because we look normal?



gbollard
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27 Apr 2009, 7:24 pm

My marriage went to pieces after about 7 years and we'd been going out 10 years prior to that. At the time, we had a 2 year old son.

We tried seeing a counsellor but it was stop-gapping, not helping.

Eventually we were sent on a marriage encounters weekend together by my wife's parents.

The weekend taught us (again) how to communicate with each other. It's something we'd forgotten how to do over time. It was a difficult weekend but we both learned a lot about each other, about our mutual feelings and about how we could help our situation.

The weekend enabled us to get things back together again and we've been together (and better) ever since. That was Seven years ago.

Check out the web site, you should be able to find a weekend in your country that you can do.

http://www.wwme.org/

Now for the disclaimers/explanations;

The weekend contains other people. You will all sit together in a group to learn how to communicate and to hear the "group leaders" speak. You're then sent away to separarate locations for each married couple to discuss things before rejoining the group.

You are not expected to share anything with the group. You feelings are private and respected.

The weekends with all meals paid for etc, cost $50 Australian when we went. They ask for an undisclosed donation. You can give this discreetly at the end but aren't required to. Nobody is denied the option of a weekend, even if they're in financial difficulty.

Finally, and this (for me at least) was the scary bit. The weekends are run by a group in conjunction with the Catholic Church. They don't shove religion down your throat though. There's a mass because it's a weekend but you don't have to attend. In all honesty, you'll probably be too tired to attend. We were.

The weekends are a lot of work and you'll only get out of them what you put into them. Regardless, it's one of the best chances you'll have for getting your marriage back on track.

A lot of people say "oh, my partner wouldn't do that" without asking them. Without telling them that it's important.

I'm sure that there are other options too but this one worked for us.



makuranososhi
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27 Apr 2009, 8:14 pm

Black-Knight wrote:
Thanks to all of you for your kind words of support. This has been a bumpy ride and I know it's not going to get any smoother any time soon.

These are the things that are the most difficult for me right now - maybe some of you can relate and tell me about your experiences.

- Accepting that I have a condition that is incurable
- Wondering if I would even want a cure if one was available, considering that Asperger's makes up a large part of who "I" am
- Frustration from the fact that my wife cannot see that I just plain can't think the way she does
- Feeling completely alone in a world that doesn't understand me
- Wanting nothing more than for my wife to love me for who I am right now

Is it more difficult for NT's to see that Aspies are different just because we look normal?


In that there is no apparent way to distinguish that one is different, I do believe that there does lie a certain degree of inherent skepticism. To address your other points, in order...

- While that did take some adjustment, it also gave me a lens to understand why I reacted the way I did - I was no longer operating in a void of understanding. However, it is not without the possibility of adaptions.
- That too is familiar; I don't think I'd want to be someone else. Having perspective gave me cause not to hate myself.
- The sheer difference in how one perceives the world is astounding; that those with AS have the greatest trouble with non-verbal expressions makes it that much more difficult to explain.
- From what I gather, that is rather universal for people... perhaps just more attenuated in those on the spectrum. Personal experience is that I understand myself better, that others can relate to me better.
- ...this is the hardest response to make. Desire is one thing; expectation another. Love is not enough, sometimes... as much as we wish it were. There may be damage done that is irreparable; needs change, wants change. One thing that has been discussed elsewhere here is the difference in rate of change of those on the spectrum vs. those who are not - that can pose problems in long-term relationships.

I wish you the best; I am embarking on such a marriage, albeit that we are going in with the knowledge beforehand about issues we both face.


M.


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Black-Knight
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27 Apr 2009, 8:33 pm

This therefore is the quandry.

If my wife wants to leave me because I am different, then our daughter (who is beginning to exhibit signs of AS) doesn't get to grow up with her real Dad because I am different. What then is the message being sent to our daughter?

That it's not ok to be different?



makuranososhi
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27 Apr 2009, 9:02 pm

Black-Knight wrote:
This therefore is the quandry.

If my wife wants to leave me because I am different, then our daughter (who is beginning to exhibit signs of AS) doesn't get to grow up with her real Dad because I am different. What then is the message being sent to our daughter?

That it's not ok to be different?


To some people... that is their perspective. If your daughter is on the spectrum, I think you have a lot to offer her in terms of helping to adjust and adapt. However, her reasons for leaving may have less to do with you being different and more about her being hurt, disappointed, frustrated, exhausted... uncertain. So it is hard to pigeonhole a message in what happens. I know all too well the situation you fear; if you'd like to talk more, please send me a PM.


M.


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For those who seek an alternative, it is coming.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!


CanyonWind
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28 Apr 2009, 12:13 pm

Black-Knight wrote:
Is it more difficult for NT's to see that Aspies are different just because we look normal?


If you were in a wheelchair, she wouldn't get mad at you for not dancing.

Black-Knight wrote:
This therefore is the quandry.

If my wife wants to leave me because I am different, then our daughter (who is beginning to exhibit signs of AS) doesn't get to grow up with her real Dad because I am different. What then is the message being sent to our daughter?

That it's not ok to be different?


Not exactly. The message is that fathers aren't important, and if they're different they're even less important.

Meanwhile, you get to watch the aspie daughter you love growing up being told that all the difficulties she encounters are her own fault and she only needs to try harder.

Welcome to hell.


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They murdered boys in Mississippi. They shot Medgar in the back.
Did you say that wasn't proper? Did you march out on the track?
You were quiet, just like mice. And now you say that we're not nice.
Well thank you buddy for your advice...
-Malvina


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28 Apr 2009, 12:22 pm

It requires work on your part, and on HER part. I would suggest you start talk to her online via email. It may be helpful to identify conflicts that bother her and then try to resolve them one at a time.


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drybones
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29 Apr 2009, 5:19 pm

I feel your pain. I sent you a Private Message

oh, welcome to WP!



lee23
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30 Apr 2009, 7:35 am

I too am in a AS/NT marriage and of recent, well since my diagnosis (I'm 39) I have been displaying all the typical traits to some concern of my partner (married for 5 years). She just had accepted I was a bit weird, and to some extent was one of the reasons she was attracted to me in the first place..I stood out in the woprkplace (for that is where we met), I have never been a 'norm' in fact I was always aware that in some way I was different..well the shattered remains of gone by friendships, relationships and yes employment made me well aware I was not functioning well in the big wide world.. but I just got on with it....I have found that some people whom are really close to me have found that when I reveal my AS to them, it clicks something and they usually sigh in relief that I dont actually have a personality disorder or am in fact quite mentally ill.
I have found that alot of introspetive thought and challenging ones own behaviour and thought processes allows for my NT partner to feel more at ease and accepting of why I behave/act in certain manner. One has to realise that you are different in a way to the 'norm' and its a tough world out there..and I am not advacating that I have to fit in to their world rather than they understand mine, its just there a certain rules to behaviour and being able to work them into ones coping mechanisms or way of presenting oneself goes along way to others accepting you for who you are.. telling people of your AS is so much easier when the inital line of communication and friendship has been crossed, I learnt alot from reading erving goffmans 'presentation of self in every day life' I recommend reading it', I also recommend that if you still want to be with your wife and she with you, you both have to sit down and discuss the fact that YOU haven't changed from the person she fell in love with.
Maybe perhaps she is scared, she doesn't know the future and that scares her, well no one knows the future and its always best prepared for in company, someone to share the experience with.. She may in fact have no information or has rejected information about AS, heard too many scare stories, seem too many graphic images of what a person on the spectrum is..my gosh the amount of Rain man jokes that have been thrown at me are too many to mention... maybe she has no knowledge of the positive and life enhancing aspects of AS, and the folk heroes whom have or been deemed to have AS..look at the great beethoven, Einstein,Jung, Kafka, Isaac Asimov, andy warhol, LS lowry, Bob Dylan, Tony Benn, Garrison Keiller, James Taylor, Keanu Reeves, my gosh even that berk michael Jackson, Gary Numan, Peter Tork...the list goes on and on... hey take the advice ofleartning to survive and go from there... reintroduce yourselves... take some time to be the people who fell in love and well....just good luck my man..



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05 May 2009, 11:07 am

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you both have to sit down and discuss the fact that YOU haven't changed from the person she fell in love with

This is something that I ponder a lot - with all the evident angst that some NT partners of Aspies have, why in the world do they not notice at the outset that they're not suited, and simply make for the exit door? Is it really so common for individuals to choose partners not on the basis of what they see in them, but on some hope of getting them to change?

I have a tentative theory - perhaps it's something to do with the way people start having sex with each other very early.....before contraception, and before we in the developed world were liberated from much of the the powerful control that the older generation used to have over us, I suppose the old taboo on sex before marriage was largely obeyed.

The thing is, having sex is sometimes said to forge strong bonds between people - I wonder if that's what happens - like taking an addictive drug, we unwittingly get emotionally bonded into something we'd never have chosen.

Anyway, pondering the general causes of unhappy marriages might not be of much help - I don't even know how early you slept together, and wouldn't presume to ask such a personal question. Just that sometimes insights into the cause of trouble can ease the resentments and the tendency to blame each other.

Back on topic, you have my sympathy. I was deserted by one wife, and the fact that we had a child together made it the hardest thing I've ever had to bear in my life. If you don't get her back, I'd suggest that you try to reassure your daughter that it wasn't her fault - children have a strange tendency to blame themselves when their parents separate.

If you can possibly save the relationship, I think that would be the way to go.....that's usually what the kids want. It's worth doing what you can in that respect - sadly in my case, that particular wife immediately started an affair, and I couldn't swallow my pride enough to ask her to come back after that......her behaviour was so callous (she knew the new guy wasn't going to last) that I felt I had to keep my distance or my negative feelings would have driven me to suicide, murder, or both. Hopefully your wife has more compassion than to take such an extreme route, so your chances, although apparently slim, might be a lot better than mine.

If she won't give counselling a go and she rejects all reasonable requests from you to reconsider before closing the door for good, then you'll probably have to accept defeat and do whatever you need to prop yourself up emotionally until time has healed. It took me several years - some things aren't really healed even now - and I sure had my share of depression. I just hope you have (or will find) sympathetic, sensitive people who will be able to help you out when life doesn't seem worth living. I drew a lot of strength from my role as (virtually) a single parent, my commitment to caring for my son grew a lot stronger, especially when he told me that I was the only adult he know who cared about what he wanted. People told me I was a good father, they told me I was his rock in an otherwise completely unstable environment, and (after a very dark moment just after the separation when I contemplated leaving the city for good without a word to anybody), I threw myself into that role. I also made sure that I looked after myself as well - my son spent just under half his time with his mother, so I had the freedom to do that.

Hope this helps.....I was nearly overwhelmed with the pain of my losses, but in the end if you hang on in there, I think you do find that there is a bigger picture, and I think that sensing the truth of that kept me going. I saw one guy in a similar situation to mine just go down like a stone, he got heavily into alcohol and drugs, and died of that within a few years. Don't let that happen to you!