How can I help my AS husband to understand me & act on i

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Joined: 5 Sep 2009
Age: 46
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,807

07 Sep 2009, 11:29 pm

FiveEggsIn wrote:
My husband usually stays in a constant state of neutrality and movement out of that zone is usually only toward the frustration or anger end and not toward the happy and pleased end. He doesn't get angry very often, but he does stay in a slightly-below-neutrality state for long periods of time when something isn't sitting well with him. It colors everything, he becomes much more introverted and individualistic, his words become even more minimal and negative, he's far less likely to go along with something and more likely to be stern or to complain, but it is all just right under the surface and not usually passive-aggressive, just crabby. But he says he doesn't see it and doesn't have a clue why he'd be grumpy and thinks all is fine most of the time when I bring it up. From what he's said to me, it isn't that he's unable to communicate his feelings to me but that he really is unable to be introspective, to be able to identify and label feelings or thoughts, much less their root causes.

It is therefore extremely difficult for me to understand what's going on or what I can do in the circumstances. And with every circumstance being completely new and him not seeing a pattern of similarities, trying to figure it out on my own is nearly futile. I've tried explaining that I am unhappy, feeling discouraged, and not knowing what to do when he gets this way, but when my husband doesn't see the problem, he doesn't see my problem with the problem, either.

I accept that my husband, like any other person, thinks and feels differently than me, has different interests and frustrations, and receives love in a different way. This was a premise I had of marriage before Asperger's was ever in our vocabulary. So if it is important to my husband that I not go get a store clerk while we're out together and he's too stretched already to handle the stress of the encounter, even though I totally don't get what or why he feels this way, I respect that he does and I don't do it. Instead, I might wait patiently for him, return to the store on my own, go home and look it up online, or any other number of things.

I really don't understand why my husband can't simply accept when I say something about how I experience the world (needing praise in order to feel appreciated and acknowledged and respected and therefore to have feelings of love, for example) and even though he doesn't get why I feel this way, that he doesn't accept that I do and try to show me love in a way I understand. He says he gets it, promises to do it, assures me that he's more than capable of doing what I am asking, then we're right back where we were as if our conversations never happened. I am fine with being blunt and explicit, but it still never materializes. It is so frustrating and I get to feeling hopeless.

So many people say their spouses with Asperger's are blunt and honest, saying what comes to their minds. I wish I had that because then I'd know what is going on and would understand him. My husband does not spontaneously offer any info about himself or his thoughts and when asked about nearly anything but something on the topic of his latest passion, he says he has no opinion. "How's this dress look on me?" isn't likely to get a statement of it not flattering me or how great I look, it will get a slight head wiggle indicating he has no opinion. I have to pull the slightest bit of info out of him, no matter how mundane. I feel like there's no one there!

I've been reading some threads here in which individual posts said things that made me wonder if they might be involved. Someone said he doesn't really store emotional memories, only sensory ones, so most of his memories of homelife are negative since he's in sensory overload. The sensory overload isn't a problem for my husband as I'd say if anything that he notices sensory input less than average, but which memories are stored and accessible was an interesting idea to me. Someone else said he couldn't act on what he doesn't understand and doesn't understand what he hasn't experienced for himself. I accept this, but I don't understand it. My husband has experienced someone giving him love in a way unimportant to him and in a way he can appreciate, so how come he can't get what I'm saying?

I'm hoping to understand first but really only as a means to finding some ideas to try on how to improve this situation. I can't control him or what he does and I accept that. If you have ideas for him, I'll share them. I'm hoping there are some ideas for me, too. How do I break through to him and have him want to understand? Even if he doesn't have the skills now, what made you actually care and begin to learn or try to meet your partner's needs that were different from your own? Any ideas on how to help bring us together or constructive ideas on what might be going on are welcome.


Never, never EVER ask a man (even your husband) how a dress looks on you. These are loaded questions that can lead to arguments. Also never ask him if these jeans make your butt look big.

The fact that he won't reply to such a probably good. But everything else...yeah he's got some kind of issue. He's a quiet one.


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Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 399

02 Oct 2009, 3:28 pm

Well I deeply feel love for you and what you're going through. It's a huge and hard, hard road. May God bless you and open your husband's eyes, and give him motivation (my wife's pain was mine) to dig, dig, dig for freedom - and to be with you. Very, very best, JC
p.s. some comments on the Updates page here - ... dates.html
I also recommend you and he - ideally together- fun- do the questionnaires at the end of The Essential Difference book by Baron-Cohen..