Question for NT wives with AS husbands

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Spazzergasm
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14 Jun 2011, 4:05 pm

Chronos wrote:
The goal is not saving your marriage. The goal is to coexist harmoneously.

These are the same thing!

I don't know if I'm posting too late, but let me say women want to be emphasized with. They want comfort when they feel down. They want excitement from their partner, when they're excited. And they especially want to be listened to.

Learn to recognize her cues as to when she's particularly happy, or sad. For example, if I am unhappy, I look down more than usual, and my voice gets lower in pitch towards the end. You can learn to recognize things like this, and act accordingly (such as giving her a hug, and asking her to tell you about it. Or that you're there to listen if she wants to tell you about it.)

Very important: Learn to listen to her, and give value to what she says. If she is talking about it, she finds it important. Don't try to listen because she's your wife, but work on actually caring to hear people in general. Listening will allow you to learn so much more. And you will get better at things, such as comforting her.



jojobean
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15 Jun 2011, 12:08 am

You are not going to get anywhere with her untill you find out exactly what she wants or doesnt want.
But she may not be telling you because she feels ashamed of herself or afraid to hurt your feelings. Try getting her to write out in paper when you are not around what she wants/needs so she doesn't have feel that dirrect confrentation or worry about your reaction when she is talking about it. Mention to your UK therapist that you are willing to work with her, but she is not commicating what she wants to you. Communication is a big word in couples therapy and that will help the therapist understand that she is not giving you the information you need to be who she wants you to be. I personally think this is unfair of her to tell you that you dont meet her needs, but wont tell you what those needs are and throw in the towel cause you cant read her mind. That is HER problem and that needs to be addressed in therapy. Also most aspies are capable of change, although that takes alot more work on your part than hers. But her part needs to be recognizing your efforts and rewarding you when you try.


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BassMan_720
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16 Jun 2011, 4:54 am

Thanks again for the good advice. This small number of responses highlight how different we all are. I’ve been picking up these responses on my phone but have not had access to a PC for decent replies. So sorry about the very long rant.

Elora_Danan: I guess that my situation is far closer to that of Ilka’s than to your's.

Communication - I hold a senior management position and am fairly well practiced in putting forward my position. I am able to explain my actions and the reasoning behind them. The main cause behind my mistakes is often that my actions are often based on partial or incorrect information that an NT person would pick up and understand as a matter of course. This is not a problem for me in my work environment, where I can refer to written records. I miss an awful lot of non verbal communication. My wife and I can get into circular arguments where my wife assumes that I have all of the same information that she does but my reasoning, based on the information that I have understood, is sound and can even make sense to my wife, even though she knows it is not correct. When we eventually realize what it is that I am missing, I can feel such a fool and my wife becomes resentful because she also thinks that I am a fool for not understanding. I could quote a few examples but the post would be very lengthy.

Motivation – I am very self motivated so this doesn’t fit for me.

Responsibility - This issue is also not a good fit for me, in fact I deal with all the money issues. I can loose track of time, particularly if I am deep in thought over my latest interest. I have a number of strategies to deal with this. I have a watch with an alarm that is easily set and set reminders on the calendar on my phone. I have always done this even before I knew about AS.

Lack of common sense – OK! I lack common sense some times but I would never put my family in danger. My wife did nearly set the house on fire once though. She managed to set the oven door seal on fire. I’ve no idea how she did this.

I too never realized that there was anything wrong until I found out about my AS.

Ilka: Thanks again for this advice. It’s not all applicable to my case but much hits the spot..

Support for the housework – I think you have hit an issue on the head here. I do offer to help out on occasion but I suppose I do take my wife’s work for granted. It’s not that I don’t appreciate her hard work, I don’t notice when she has done something different or special or when she is overloaded. I’ve thought through a strategy to address this. My wife would not appreciate knowing that I had a item on my tick list to notice her hard work but it is as close as I can to doing the right thing for the time being.

Saying that I do not want to do something – I always try to respect my wife’s needs. The problem arises when I take the initiative to do something. When I take on a task I will not necessarily know that something is sacrosanct to my wife. I am not good at knowing when the rules change. What was sacrosanct last week may not be this week. My wife is rarely good at explaining the rules in a clear way that I can understand. I get scolded if I ask something that she thinks is common sense. I have a similar need to your husband regarding order and moving things. I understand why I need this. I am useless at finding things. Everything that is important to me has its place where I know where I can find it in a hurry, if necessary. My desk may look cluttered but I know where everything is.

3) Getting Mad – Unfortunately, I do not think I will be able to follow your advice in my case. My wife has no sense of humour in these situations so making her laugh is not an option. I may not know why my wife is mad and I don’t empathize well so I can’t read those tell tale signs to establish what is wrong. Hence I cannot establish what kind of support she requires. She may be mad at me because I have done something bad and I haven’t realized, she may be mad at somebody else, she may be just feeling grumpy and mad at everybody. Depending on the situation she may want to be left alone or she may want moral support. Until she calms down she will not provide any form of rational response to me even If I ask questions such as you have suggested. If I assume that she wants me to go away and get it wrong I am as much in the dog house as if I wrongly assume she wants moral support. I’m still stuck on this one.

4) Decisions – Some very good suggestions here. The "What do you want for dinner?" solution may work. However, I have tried the "What color should we paint the living room?" solution. I helped choose the basic colour but left the detail to my wife’s decision. As soon as the job was finished, my wife changed her mind. I got the blame for leaving the final decision to her. The colour still made no difference to me.

Merculangelo: I am so sorry for your situation. Until I found out about my own AS I was totally oblivious to there being anything wrong. Without discovering my daughters AS, I probably would not have accepted any suggestion that I had AS. Before your father will be able to address his issues, he will have to accept that things are not right and want to make changes. I am not an expert but, from your description, your father may have a more severe condition than AS. I wish you luck in supporting your father and the rest of your family.

Spazzergasm wrote:
Chronos wrote:
The goal is not saving your marriage. The goal is to coexist harmoneously.

These are the same thing!


I’m glad you posted this. I thought I was missing something.

Spazzergasm wrote:
Learn to recognize her cues as to when she's particularly happy, or sad. For example, if I am unhappy, I look down more than usual, and my voice gets lower in pitch towards the end. You can learn to recognize things like this, and act accordingly (such as giving her a hug, and asking her to tell you about it. Or that you're there to listen if she wants to tell you about it.)

If only it were this easy. I’ve read all the books on body language that I can find. I know the theory quite well: I can even pass written tests. But, can I put this into practice… Not on your life. I just do not see the signs in real time. It may hit me hours or even days later but not when it’s important. I don’t even see wild exaggerated gestures, if they are out of context to the moment. I am convinced that not being able to recognise non-verbal communication is a symptom of how my AS mind works and is a root cause of many of my issues.

jojobean wrote:
You are not going to get anywhere with her untill you find out exactly what she wants or doesnt want.
Yup!
jojobean wrote:
But she may not be telling you because she feels ashamed of herself or afraid to hurt your feelings. Try getting her to write out in paper when you are not around what she wants/needs so she doesn't have feel that dirrect confrentation or worry about your reaction when she is talking about it.
My wife can be very hard and straightforward. She does not pull her punches, I may be wrong but I do not think this is the case. We have tried the writing thing by keeping a journal. I ended up writing to myself and so gave up.

All: Many thanks again for your input. There is lots here to help



Ilka
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16 Jun 2011, 11:40 am

I might be wrong, but it seems to me like your wife suffers from a very common illness: the house wife syndrome. My mother suffered from the same, made our lives miserable, and she eventually left my dad. That's why I never, EVER considered being a house wife even an option. House work is hard, monotonous, un-fulfilling. I actually worked at home for about 2 years when I lost my job at UN and took a time off to work on my thesis. It was horrible. I was always moody and irritable, and blamed my husband for everything (he was outside, working, while I was at home ALL DAY). You do not even notice, but being in the same environment all day, day after day, hits you hard. And I was WORKING at home, not just doing house work.

Maybe she could do something else besides being a house wife. Maybe charity work? Would she enjoy that? Or starting a home business? Is that an option? Can you talk to her about that? Please please do not mention the fact that you think doing something useful would make her happier. Maybe you can mention a charity needs people and she is so good at something (management, organization, cooking, etc) that she could be great help, or you could mention that she is so good doing something that she could start a business about it, that with your experience you could help. My husband always says doing things together keeps marriages together. I think he is right.

--

1) Support for the housework – Try not to let your wife know that you have that in your tick list. She might not understand. She will think she is nothing but a job to you. She will not get you will not remember otherwise. It's a great idea.

2) Saying that I do not want to do something – My husband has the same problem. He is useless finding things. That's why she does not want this things moved. Then he feels lost and do not know where to look. He always asks for my help. I always find what is lost. Sometimes we look in the same place, he does not find it and I do. Thank God I have an incredible sense for that (and do not get mad anymore about him not being able to find his stuff).

3) Getting Mad – Your wife does not seem very rational about it -she should understand you have AS and need help with this things. She should let you know what she needs. I know it is frustrating. At the beginning I felt the same. I felt my husband should understand how I felt. After a few years of suffering I finally understood he does not have a magic ball and I need to let him know what I need. I do not feel bad anymore about him not being able to guess my emotional needs. If you think a little about this is pretty dumb. Nobody can understand how you feel if you do not communicate your feelings.

4) Decisions – Hahahaha. Do not worry. There is nothing bad with that. Most NTs have the same problem. It was your fault because it could not be hers. Simple as that. She cannot accept the fact that she made a mistake, so the best solution is blame it on you. I think the best you can do is accept you made a mistake (which you did not) and tell her it's not big deal and you will gladly pay for getting the new color she wants. That should make her happy, but your pocket will suffer.



BassMan_720
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17 Jun 2011, 6:54 pm

Ilka: Thanks very much for your advice. I have been putting some into practice and getting some positive results.

Ilka wrote:
I might be wrong, but it seems to me like your wife suffers from a very common illness: the house wife syndrome. My mother suffered from the same, made our lives miserable, and she eventually left my dad. That's why I never, EVER considered being a house wife even an option. House work is hard, monotonous, un-fulfilling. I actually worked at home for about 2 years when I lost my job at UN and took a time off to work on my thesis. It was horrible. I was always moody and irritable, and blamed my husband for everything (he was outside, working, while I was at home ALL DAY). You do not even notice, but being in the same environment all day, day after day, hits you hard. And I was WORKING at home, not just doing house work.

Maybe she could do something else besides being a house wife. Maybe charity work? Would she enjoy that? Or starting a home business? Is that an option? Can you talk to her about that? Please please do not mention the fact that you think doing something useful would make her happier. Maybe you can mention a charity needs people and she is so good at something (management, organization, cooking, etc) that she could be great help, or you could mention that she is so good doing something that she could start a business about it, that with your experience you could help. My husband always says doing things together keeps marriages together. I think he is right.


This is highly likely a root cause of our issues. What is making things worse is that we are home schooling so my wife is tied to the house even more. We started home schooling, before we left the UK, to help my AS daughter. We didn’t know she had AS at the time. As soon as she started school, she was having trouble with her teachers because she got too involved in her lessons and did not cope well with flitting from one subject to another. I am very similar to my daughter but never had such a problem. The education system in the UK has developed so that information is passed on through what are more like sound bites than the traditional lessons that I was exposed to. The move to home schooling was my wife’s initiative. I was very sceptical at first and worried that, without contact with school friends, my daughter would not learn how to interact socially with her peers. However, I could see that school was not the best option and I supported my wife’s decision, even though this would mean that we would have to make do with only one income. We took both daughters out of school, because we thought we could not justify to our older NT daughter why she was being treated differently.

Both girls have benefitted from home schooling. I also play my part in their education. My wife does the body of the work and I pick up the pieces of the more technical subjects at the weekends.

I have more than once tried to get my wife to pick up a personal interest but she says she has not got the time. She is very much like her own mother, who rarely leaves the house. My mother in law used a similar excuse and used to say that she had no time for work or personal interests because she had to look after a large family. Now that her family are all grown up, she still rarely goes out of the house even though she is still fit and healthy. Both my wife and mother in law are NT.

Anyway, last night we managed to go for an evening out together as a couple, without the kids, for the first time since I can remember. We had a great time and things are looking up.



Ilka
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18 Jun 2011, 1:41 pm

I am so glad I was able to help you in some way, and things are getting better for you two. I hope you can make it work.
If you got your daughter out of school BEFORE she was diagnosed, maybe you can consider putting her back into school. Before our daughter was diagnosed she was doing terrible at school. After she was diagnosed everything changed. To start with, the approach when your kid is diagnosed is very different. The teachers are more willing to cooperate. On the other hand, we got a therapist for our kid. That also made a huge difference. Our daughter is at 6 grade now, and she is doing great. It is my believe that school is necessary, because it helps them with social interaction. I have noticed it is different for my daughter to interact with us and the rest of her family than interact with strangers. That interaction with kids and teachers at school gives her experiences we are unable to provide, and that helps her develop abilities she will need when she goes out to the real world by herself.
Best wishes.



draelynn
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19 Jun 2011, 4:26 pm

Whether you have AS or not - a relationship is about communication and it is a two way street. If you are being forthcoming and saying 'I do not understand' or ask for clarification why on earth would she get mad? If she is expecting anyone to be able to read her mind she is sadly mistaken. I know the frustration of trying to understand and be understood - I'm the AS one, my husband is NT. Almost all of our points of contention arise when it is an emotional issue. He has an emotional need that I simply cannot understand, rationalize or reason into some semblence of coherance.

That doesn't mean I do not try to do what he asks, even if I can't understand it. But I rarely get the benefit of the doubt either. My inability to understand his emotional/feeling point of view about his entire existence isn't some sort of personal attack on my part. I do not deny him what he needs intentionally although he feels this way. There is no middle ground on this point for us. I cannot grasp this emotional reaction to EVERYTHING - (it seems a little bit like living in a chaotic hell to me...) and I am not purposely ignoring, discounting or acting out negatively, on purpose and with ill intent - but that is irrelevent. I am the one who needs to change - I have been told that I need to learn to not be this way.

Well, that's the same as telling the blind to stop faking it and LOOK AT ME... a dysfunction in my brain prohibits me to a degree in changing. I can learn how to fake it for his benefit but then he is mad because I'm faking my emotional reactions - I don't actually FEEL it. In fights, I have accused him of being an emotional black hole - it doesn't matter how much feeling and emotion I pour into it, it is never enough. And, coming from me, I'm sure it just isn't enough for him.

I wish I had some helpful insight or a method to help her understand you better and you to 'get it' when it comes to her emotional needs. I'm not sure there is one. NT's see the world from an emotional, feeling point of view, their entire world revolves around how they feel about it. We are on the opposite side of that - we reason and deduce our way through life and our entire existence is explained by what we think about it. It doesn't mean that NT's don't think or that AS doesn't feel - it just means that we are speaking from radically different points of view. They ask a question from an emotional standpoint - an answer from a logical, rational standpoint makes NO sense to them or what they were expecting in response. She tells you she's hurt - you try to figure out why and look to explain why she may have misinterpretted and shouldn't be hurt - or how to fix the situation so her feeling won't be hurt. She just wants an apology and a big hug with a promise to try to not do it again. Anything else is seen as an affront to her feelings. Constantly being asked to apologize absolutely sets my teeth on edge. I rarely understand WHY I need to apologize and resent being told that I am always TRYING to intentionally cause harm. Even when I just swallow my pride and apologise - its' not good enough because I do not understand why I am apologising and therefore just placating - which is equally as bad.

I'm not sure there is a middle ground if one or both partners aren't dedicated to a serious attempt at understanding the others point of view - exactly how different their partner views the world and frames everything in their life. In essence, both parties need to radically change something that neither feels should need changing - how you approach the world is part of your identity. Asking a love one to change an essential part of themselves begs the question - is that really love then? If both parties can agree to tackle ths as the radical misunderstanding/miscommunication issue it is and commit to reaching that middle ground it can happen. But it will take both.



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23 Jun 2011, 2:13 am

draelynn: Your insight and reasoning are, yet again, spot on from my perspective.

draelynn wrote:
I'm not sure there is a middle ground if one or both partners aren't dedicated to a serious attempt at understanding the others point of view - exactly how different their partner views the world and frames everything in their life. In essence, both parties need to radically change something that neither feels should need changing - how you approach the world is part of your identity. Asking a love one to change an essential part of themselves begs the question - is that really love then? If both parties can agree to tackle ths as the radical misunderstanding/miscommunication issue it is and commit to reaching that middle ground it can happen. But it will take both.


Until I knew about my AS, I did not see any need to change. I now know that it is me in the minority and, if I am to be successful at saving my marriage, it is me that has to change most. My wife is reading the books on AS but she still does just not get it and still will not help me by being more explicit about what she needs from me that I do not provide.

Her main complaints are that I do not make her feel loved, I do not interact with her empathically and she can't have a conversation with me. There is no further detail. To be totally honest, I do not understand what she needs from me to make her feel loved. From what I gather, it is not doing or providing tangible things. I think it fits in with her need for empathy. I do not instinctively know when to give her a hug or when to make myself scarce. I doubt if I ever will, without being told. I do talk with my wife, but she does not consider our talks to be conversation. I still do not know what she means. I know I am not good at small talk. I miss all of the things that my AS brain considers unimportant.

I will continue to try to tackle my AS traits, systematically. I get no feedback from my wife about the changes that I make. I am finding the concentration very hard work, I wish I knew what is most important to my wife so I could spend most effort on thse areas. If my wife does eventually decide to leave me, which is becoming more probable, I will know I have done my best. Even if my marriage fails, I will have learned a little on how to better fit into the NT world.



Learner87
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01 Mar 2012, 3:09 am

:D Ok i am totally new to all this. Long Story Short: my husband AS. Recently found out. Anyway

a new approach might be: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It's a book about there being 5 different languages of love and each person responds to better to certain ones.

Hubby and I read this book and now that I know he is AS with this book we are communicating so much better as I can understand his wants/needs and he logically can understand mine without getting frustrated.

Just adding two cents worth.