Need advice from NT wives of Asperger husbands

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Tryingtogetit
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31 Jan 2011, 2:48 pm

I have been married to an Aspie for nearly 22 years, we have three great kids and we work two businesses together. We are struggling with one of our businesses and that is creating money concerns and big time tension in our relationship. I have known about the Asperger's diagnosis for about 4 years and since then one of our sons has been diagnosed with Non verbal learning disorder, although I really think he is Aspergers as well. Anyway, I love my husband but find him infuriating at times, especially times when I most need emotional support. I find his responses clinical and he always thinks I am trying to start a fight. He, naturally, doesn't want to talk about his feelings but he also doesn't really want to talk about mine these days either, because he feels mine are just anger or become anger (the latter part often happens) when we try to 'talk'. I cry a lot because I am stressed, tired and admittedly a very emotional person. I have tried not to cry in front of him too much lately because I know this also upsets and stresses him. But I feel very alone and unsure what to do now. This is literally the first forum I have ever posted on so forgive my rambling but advice from NT wives or Aspie husbands, especially those married to NT wives would be most welcome.



MidlifeAspie
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31 Jan 2011, 4:23 pm

As an Aspie husband the best advice I can give you is: Don't cry.

It changes the entire dynamic of the conversation and can prevent you from actually moving forward. If you must cry, put the conversation on hold until you are finished. This doesn't mean that he should not be offering emotional support while you are crying, but the conversation needs to stop at that point.



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01 Feb 2011, 12:02 am

OP, I know you're going through a rough time. Financial problems are such a huge cause of strife in marriages.....Aspie/NT or not, it's a very difficult problem to solve.

I'm going to give you some advice that's a little bit of tough love: I think you need to look for the kind of emotional support you need right now outside your marriage. To be clear, I'm not encouraging you to look for that support from another man or anything - but from friends, family, support groups, etc. I'm encouraging you to look for that support elsewhere because providing that type of support is not really something that's easy - or sometimes even possible - for an Aspie to do.

Knowing that, you're creating a no-win situation by hoping/wanting/needing him to provide that support. You're giving him a problem he can't solve (as much as he may wish he could solve it). That ratchets up his stress level, resentment, etc., which makes you feel more isolated, alone, and unsupported. I'm not saying that wanting emotional support during this trying time is too much to expect from a husband - but IMO, it is too much to expect from your husband. I'm not trying to trivialize your needs at all...I'd like to see you get them met, and hopefully in a way that can strengthen your marriage. I think you can start that process by recognizing what your husband does bring to the relationship, and understanding the areas in which he's less equipped to meet your needs.

Try doing some yoga, taking a walk, journal, meditate, and explore some ways to improve communication between you and your husband. Some Aspies communicate much better in writing than they do verbally. Perhaps you could give emailing each other a try? Or maybe telling him in advance what you'd like to discuss with him, so he has time to prepare? Maybe you can work out a plan to explore your options to get through this financial crisis together? If you focus on solving the problem (the financial crisis) together, rather than focusing on how you feel about the problem, I'm sure you'll get better results. Good luck.


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nick007
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01 Feb 2011, 1:15 am

HopeGrows wrote:
Some Aspies communicate much better in writing than they do verbally. Perhaps you could give emailing each other a try? Or maybe telling him in advance what you'd like to discuss with him, so he has time to prepare? Maybe you can work out a plan to explore your options to get through this financial crisis together? If you focus on solving the problem (the financial crisis) together, rather than focusing on how you feel about the problem, I'm sure you'll get better results. Good luck.

Excellent stuff here. Some Aspies(especially me) are much better at helping solve & sort out others problems instead of offering emotional support. We work better logically & lots of times that can get misinterpreted as being insensitive, unsympathetic ect. it's NOT that we don't care but rather we do not understand or know hot to express, relate to, or process others emotions; they overwhelm us. It's a lot easier for me to deal with the cause behind em when there's not a lot of heavy emotions involved


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ToadOfSteel
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01 Feb 2011, 1:23 am

If an aspie winds up with a situation of significant other in distress, he doesn't understand that the desired course of action from the woman's point of view is to offer emotional support. Many aspies just see this as another problem to be solved. So it's not that he's insensitive to your needs, he just seeks to remove the source of the anguish to make you feel better. This can often be overwhelming for an aspie to handle, and can cause panic attacks and meltdowns.

On the other hand, he could just be a dick... aspies certainly have that capacity just as much as NTs.



wefunction
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01 Feb 2011, 1:27 am

MidlifeAspie wrote:
As an Aspie husband the best advice I can give you is: Don't cry.

It changes the entire dynamic of the conversation and can prevent you from actually moving forward. If you must cry, put the conversation on hold until you are finished. This doesn't mean that he should not be offering emotional support while you are crying, but the conversation needs to stop at that point.


I agree with this. Crying derails the focus of the discussion. You're having an honest feeling that's quite appropriate, but it doesn't allow him to continue to resolve the issues. It creates a new issue.

When I cry, my NT husband has no problem comforting me or otherwise acting on my emotional outburst. On the rare occasions that he's cried, I have been at a complete loss for what to do. He's misinterpreted that to mean that it makes me uncomfortable (it does but not because of him) and that I'm looking down on him (I'm not). I feel bad because I don't know what to do! And we can't take care of anything else until the crying thing is done. It's a shame he doesn't feel comfortable enough to cry around me now because I failed at comforting him the very few times that he has cried. A man like him doesn't really cry to start with.

Plus, if you establish that the discussion to resolve the issue is on hold while you cry out an emotion that you're having, he may feel better able to comfort you. There's some organization to the discussion. The disagreement in on hold and now we're dealing with the crying. When we're done with the crying, we can resume the disagreement. I wouldn't be surprised if this sounds very stupid to NTs but it seems very sensible to me (aspie).



Tryingtogetit
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01 Feb 2011, 7:25 am

Wow, do you guys really understand him (better than I do after all these years). Everything you say I am sure he has said to me at some point but it puts into perspective how much his behaviour is shaped by the Aspergers and not necessarily that he is just tired of me. I really appreciate the ideas and will definately work to employ them. I think it is so much the same old issue that I want to 'vent' when I think there is no more to be currently done that isn't being done and he doesn't see the point because we are working the plan of action we agreed on.



MidlifeAspie
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01 Feb 2011, 10:23 am

We are happy to help :)



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01 Feb 2011, 10:46 am

Yay! Another satisfied customer!