Considering telling ex-wife about my new diagnosis.

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markaudette
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23 Oct 2006, 12:20 pm

I'm divorced.

I was married for about 6 years.

When the marrige started unraveling, I had realized that there were things wrong with ME that were hurting the marrige. She never cheated on me. She never just gave up on me. She didn't do anything to sabotage our relationship. To her credit, she tried very hard to keep the marrige alive and well. There wasn't some magical point where we both gave up on each other. There just came a day when it dawned on both of us that our marrige was broken. That we had reached an empasse neither of us could hurtle. And rather than go down in a bitter, ugly fight, we both made the decision to leave the marrige on good footing. We both tried to part on the best of terms. Thankfully, it was successfull. There were still a lot of feelings of failure and hurt on both ends. But we pressed on and tried to work past any negative feelings. To this day we are still dear friends. I am proud of that.

The major problem that me and my wife had was that we were just too different in our likes and dislikes. We were too different in so many core areas that it was hard to have a common ground. My wife was really self-sacrificing. She would hold off on anything she felt or believed if it meant working things out for the best. She would try her best to bend to what people needed of her. Which, in the end, I told her wasn't really a good thing. She was not being her own person. And in a way I was doing the same thing. I wasn't being true to what I wanted either. Because if you could lay blame on the marrige ending, it was me. I was the reason it ended.

What my wife wanted is what I could not give her. And I never knew why I couldn't give that to her. She wanted to live a life I could not give her. And I grew extremely frustrated at the fact I couldn't give the simplest things to her. She loved traveling. I hated traveling. She wanted to just wake up one morning and go where the wind took her. I couldn't function like that. She was chronically spontaneous. I was stuck-in-the-mud immovable. She was everything I could not be. And in the end, it was these differences that kept compounding to do us in.

We've been divorced for 3 years now and since I have discovered that I have Asperger's, I want to try to tell her the reason why we were so incompatible was because of a syndrome. There were more than person reasons we divorced, there was actually a medical reason as well. We divorced in part because an Aspie was married to someone his polar opposite. My major dilemma now is trying to find a way to let her know about being diagnosed.

Because telling her is not as easy as coming out and just saying it. She comes from a family that knows no excuses. The will not give nor accept an excuse for any action. She comes from a family that is uber practical. They live their lives in absolutes. There are no grey areas in their beliefs. So there are no grey areas in my ex-wife's beliefs. Like her family, she does not accept failings in your mental landscape as an excuse. She will be hard pressed to accept Asperger's as a reason our marrige failed. She would just see it as my unwilling to bend to even the the most trivial of her needs. Plus, she just won't accept the symptoms of a disorder as an excuse. She comes from a family that does not like to read up on all things. They do like being learned in all facets. They are not stupid by any means. They just do not care to be knowledgeable in many things. They just believe all you need to know is how to wake up, take a shower and go to work. That's their core belief structure. If you have a phobia or an obsessive trait, then you're just crazy. You're nuts and you're broken. And they they keep you at a distance. So I kept any symptoms I had to myself and pretended (with all my might) to simply be normal. My ex-wife shares the same beliefs her family does. So any excuse I can ground in psychological fact, she won't accept. She just doesn't quite understand how an Aspie functions.

So now I want to tell her that there's now a bigger reason why we divorced. There's now a medical reason why I couldn't be what she needed me to be. I'm dying to tell her to further prove it wasn't her failings that caused the divorce. Rather it was my disorder. A disorder I didn't knew existed when we were married. I'm just scared she wouldn't accept the fact I have Asperger's. That in all definition, I'm technically Autistic. I'm just scared that that she'd call me a hypochondriac again. Because I got to a point where I became so frustrated over my failings, mentally speaking, that when I tried to describe to her what was wrong with me, she would just call me a hypochondriac. She thought I was just looking for excuses. I was just trying to explain to her what was in my head. I kept trying to find a reason why my brain was so badly wired.

Now, I want to tell her “Honey, I have Asperger's Syndrome. It's ultimately the reason that led to our divorce. Technically speaking, I'm Autistic. I'm still sorry I couldn't be what you needed me to be.”

She'd say that she's sorry about having Asperger's. And I wouldn't really know if she believed me. Then she'd say it still wouldn't make a difference because she still couldn't be what I needed her to be. And for the 1000th time I would tell her that it was always ME who couldn't become what SHE needed.

I could tell her about Asperger's but I don't think she'd ever believe me.



itfits
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23 Oct 2006, 12:43 pm

I am with you on this on markaudette I am going thru my second divorce currently and I am sure that alot of the issues I faced in my marriages are ones that you would be familar with.
I have not gone to get an official Dx. yet and am unsure that I will, That being said I dread telling my soon to be ex-wife about the ADD much less the Asperger's syndrome. I think that she will both disregard the Dx. a being valid and at the same time use it as a weapon against me in conflict situations( we have a son).
I am sure that if and when I do tell her the first words out of her will be"I knew that all this was your fault" or something very similar to that. The main reason I am considering being evaluated for asperger's is so that my son (so far fairly normal) can be watched for it.
I still have not told her that I was Dx. with ADD inatentive type although I have been on stratterra for a little over a month. I am goning to tell her I just do not know when I will.

Lots of luck with your ex I hope that she will be understanding.


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Wombat
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23 Oct 2006, 12:46 pm

Should you tell your ex-wife?
Yes.

This goes far beyond "your fault" or "her fault".
No doubt you cared and gave all you could in your own way.

If she understood that then perhaps it could make a difference.



en_una_isla
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23 Oct 2006, 12:54 pm

I would tell her if you believe she is the type who would gain insight from it. But if she is the type who would just laugh at you and say you're looking for an excuse, no, I would not tell her.



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23 Oct 2006, 12:56 pm

I don't know especially if she was calling you a hypocondriac then she was not really respecting your perspective. I mean if you want to tell her to allay her feelings that is fine I guess provided she can't use it against you. I married a polar opposite also - I think that was part of the attraction to find that someone who was so different from you could find you attractive. But it is not an easy thing - maybe it is easier though for a female with AS and a male who is NT because women are conditioned to be more accomodating I don't know.



markaudette
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23 Oct 2006, 1:04 pm

ifits, I'd say, yeah, get the official diagnosis. It could really help both you and your son. Academically, it would give your son the chances I never had when I was growing up. I never had a single peson who understood what I was going through. Being an Aspie parent gives your children a good head start on growing up better adjusted to all things Asperger's than we were. In all aspects.

As far as telling someone I have Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high functioning Autism, it's a gamble. Maybe they will teach themselves about AS and learn to adopt to your lifestyle. Or maybe they won't know what to do. Or maybe they will just think you're a retard. It really IS a gamble.



markaudette
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23 Oct 2006, 1:12 pm

She would call me a hypochondriac because I got to a certain point where i became so overloaded with my problems that I KNEW beyond the shadow of a doubt that something big was wrong with me. So I started trying to describe to her all the things that were going wrong in my mind. There were just so many things going wrong inside my mind that i couldn't hold back the flood any more. And since I suddenly uncorked all my symptoms to her, she thought I was just being a hypo. I kept the symptoms a great hidden secret because I knew her understanding of the matter is tainted. Keeping them secret was my fault.

Even though she is an understanding woman, her perspective on mental issues are a liitle too short for comfort. You work. You live and you die. There is no room for being crazy in her mind. That's how her whole family is.

She is a very good person.



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23 Oct 2006, 2:05 pm

If you already suspect that your ex-wife won't be very receptive to the news, due to how she was brought up, then there really isn't much point in telling her about the AS. Maybe she is a very good person, and maybe she bends to meet the needs of other people, but the fact that you went on and on about how she doesn't like excuses for absolutely anything, suggests to me that she won't be as understanding as you really need her to be. I think that it's interesting that in your post you seem to blame yourself entirely for the way things ended up in your marriage, and yet it kind of sounds like she and her family are as immovable in their positions, as you describe yourself to be about the AS condition.



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23 Oct 2006, 2:08 pm

I could have wrote this...

In my case I got divorced in 2001...he blamed me and I blamed myself totally, because of my health problems and my quirks.... but we remained friends and about 2 years later we got back together with me trying so hard to be the person he wanted...I couldn't... and I started reading more about Asperger's...now I understand why I can't ever be that person he wants, but telling him won't make a bit of difference...he sees everything in black and white...there are no grey issues with him, never were.

The last few months were ugly (we've only been apart since August now)...he accused me of being a "monster", "crazy", and incapible of raising our child to have a normal life...he started dating other women on the side, one I found out later he'd been seeing for quite awhile..I found him with a 19 yr old in the living room...presently he's living with who I believe was his therapist (he has problems with anxiety and depression).. I kept wondering why he would be so hateful and accusing usually after every appt...I guess that may be part of the answer, but I'm not one to put 2 + 2 together until it slaps me in the face, I just walked with my head down alot and tried to hide...

You can tell her...if it's something that will make YOU feel better, than do it, for yourself...but realize she's probably never going to truly "get it"...just as I know mine is never going to "get it".... thankfully we never re-married...so I'm not going though the whole entire mess again, not to say it's any easier some days...

I've went for 38 years not knowing why I was the way I was...my relationships have all sunk like a cement brick in 6 feet of water. LOL...right now I'm living for me and my son...and saying the he$$ with it...I'm tired of trying to explain.

In my case I'm not saying anything to him...I know it's a lost cause...we are total opposites and always will be. It's not his fault...but for the first time I can say with certainty it's not mine either...I can't change me.


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walk-in-the-rain
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23 Oct 2006, 4:19 pm

Beenthere - sounds like it isn't any easier, maybe I am trying to be optomistic. I get called crazy too which I find odd because I am not the one screaming. I also think NTs are not ones to take any part in blaming themselves.



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23 Oct 2006, 4:42 pm

walk-in-the-rain wrote:
I also think NTs are not ones to take any part in blaming themselves.


I think that people with AS can also be guilty of this, especially if they simply don't see the other person's point of view at all. But that pretty much goes for everybody. :wink:



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23 Oct 2006, 4:58 pm

Quote:
I think that it's interesting that in your post you seem to blame yourself entirely for the way things ended up in your marriage, and yet it kind of sounds like she and her family are as immovable in their positions, as you describe yourself to be about the AS condition.


My thoughts exactly. If you're truly still friends with her, then you should be able to tell her this news. She can take it or leave it.



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23 Oct 2006, 5:15 pm

Stinkypuppy wrote:
walk-in-the-rain wrote:
I also think NTs are not ones to take any part in blaming themselves.


I think that people with AS can also be guilty of this, especially if they simply don't see the other person's point of view at all. But that pretty much goes for everybody. :wink:


I think people who get labeled though tend to be more inclined to accept that everything must be their fault. Do people with AS fail to see other people's perspective sometimes - I'm sure they do and that is just a normal part of the human experience. But once someone gets tagged than it tends to become easy to blame them for everything. And depending on if they were labeled as a kid or whatever it can affect their ability to see that any relationship has two partners. Don't know if it is a cause and effect kind of thing or not but I think the scapegoating and acceptance of that can run through different labels (AS, OCD, depression). Except say someone who is a narcissist perhaps :)



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23 Oct 2006, 5:30 pm

print your first post and give it to her. she can take it at whateer value she wants. At the very least, it may ease any guilt she feels.



markaudette
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23 Oct 2006, 9:13 pm

My ex-wife calls me tonight and we talk about her being on this extended road trip to find herself, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I make it a point to tell het that if she's ever at a point where she doesn't have anywhere to live, she can come stay with me. She knows I don't mean to stay for good. She knows it'll just be until she can get back up on her feet.

She replies: "Why? Why should I come stay with you? You don't want me." (talking about the divorce and my reluctantance to get back together)

And that really breaks my heart. As I'm sure it breaks hers. She thinks I just don't want HER. When what I don't want is the lifestyle she chooses to lead. A life where she is absolutely happy to just pick up at any moment and head out for parts unknown. This week alone, she's been to North & South Dakota, Canada, Tennessee (that's where we live, in different towns), Kentucky and North Carolina. The thought of me traveling that much almost has me in a panic at just the mere thought of it.

I tell her that I want her. But in my mind, I want to keep her as a friend. I don't know how to to tell her I don't want a life with her any more because of my Asperger's and her live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants lifestyle. I really care for her and I DO NOT want any harm come to her. So she puts me up against the fence and accuses me of not wanting her in my life. So I tell her I do. And I know I am choosing the wrong words. Because the right words just will not come and it frustrates me so damn bad!! !! !...

She says to e-mail her why I would want her in my life still. We're not talking about getting back together in my mind, but I think she's angry because I won't talk about making a life together again. I'm being asked to send her an e-mail telling her why I want her in my life. But I'm real sad now because it's the perfect time to tell her about AS and why I can't be with her again. So now I don't have an option about telling her or not. Now I HAVE to. She has to know that I can't function in the kind of life she wants.

I would give any damn thing to just say what I'm thinking. :x