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HippoPiratesMom
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14 Mar 2013, 4:24 pm

Hi everyone,

I apologize, but this is long.

I joined this forum a few years ago when my son was diagnosed to gain some autistic perspectives on navigating life. I'm NT, and my husband and I believe that he is autistic, but he is undiagnosed.

Since the birth of our 15-month-old daughter, things have been really tough for my husband. He finds day-to-day life very difficult to cope with, and he has a lot of anxiety and some rage issues as well. On many occasions he has said things like, "I don't think I'm cut out for this," and "I didn't know it would be this hard." He has recently started individual counseling. Over the past year, I have felt that we were growing apart. I tried to reach out to him a few times, but he didn't really respond, so I thought he probably needed space. I gave him as much privacy as he wanted, encouraged him to go out on his own if he was feeling overwhelmed, and didn't push the emotional intimacy that he seemed not to want. I thought we were just going through a rough patch and that things would get better eventually. About a month ago, we hit a point where he seriously made plans to move out, but then we had some very good talks about where our marriage had gone wrong and how we could fix it. We agreed to get counseling and things have gotten much better over tha past few weeks.

When things got bad between us, he apparently felt that we had lost whatever was good about our marriage and that our relationship didn't have a future. About 6 months ago he became involved in an emotional affair with a woman he was involved with before we met. They exchanged email and chatted online. It started out just as friendly catching up, but escalated to sexual fantasies and statements like "I love you" and "maybe someday when our kids are grown we'll be together."

I found out about this last night, totally by accident. I wasn't snooping. I have never, ever been suspicious or jealous. I trusted him completely and I never thought he would be involved in something like this. He has always seemed like the most moral, ethical person I've ever known, and lying is very difficult and uncomfortable for him (or so I thought). He told me that when things got bad between us, he felt like he couldn't open up to me and he just kind of stumbled into this relationship. He found it so much easier to connect emotionally with her, and he didn't think that the feelings he had for her 15 years ago would resurface so strongly.

We talked about how he has a much harder time communicating verbally than he lets on, and he feels that since I communicate my feelings and wishes so well, he feels like he never has a chance to be heard. He thinks that since he could write to her instead of trying to talk face-to-face, it was easier to invest himself emotionally in this fantasy relationship than to work on ours. I asked him if he had ever considered trying to write out his thoughts and feelings to me, and he said it never occurred to him before, but he thinks it would be a really good idea moving forward.

He says he loves me and wants to focus on our marriage and make it work. I believe him. I'm still processing a lot of hurt and wondering how I'm going to trust him moving forward, but I realize now that I wasn't giving him what he needed, even though I thought I was (space, privacy, etc). I don't want to by the typical NT wife, insisting that he relate to me in an NT way, and I guess I'm just looking for some thoughts on how to move forward from this, from an autistic perspective.

Someone on another forum (probably NT) said that because he is autistic, my husband is unable to sustain satisfaction through investment and growth in a long-term relationship, and that once the first attraction wears off, he will continually be seeking gratification through new romances because that's what he sees as love. I am offended by this, as I think it really sells him (and other autistics) short. At the same time, my husband has expressed frustration that he doesn't feel the passion for me that he did when we were first together, and he doesn't seem to believe me that this is normal. Thoughts?



uwmonkdm
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14 Mar 2013, 4:29 pm

This is exactly why I'm petrified of having kids/getting married.
It's fairly normal for couples to have immense problems after having their first kid..

Quote:
Someone on another forum (probably NT) said that because he is autistic, my husband is unable to sustain satisfaction through investment and growth in a long-term relationship, and that once the first attraction wears off, he will continually be seeking gratification through new romances because that's what he sees as love.


I am actually like this at times, but I just attest it to being young and wanting to "taste the rainbow" so to speak... but I was engaged, we were together for a few years and this was an issue. I didn't feel invested in the relationship, other than the time I had put into it. That doesn't mean there's no love or commitment, it's hard to explain..

I think you might get better advice in the 30+ adult forum, but I'm not sure what else to say. I'm not experienced enough :lol:



HippoPiratesMom
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14 Mar 2013, 4:39 pm

Thanks for your reply, uwmondkdm, I've cross-posted in the adult forum. I forgot it was there! I do appreciate your perspective.



BlueMax
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14 Mar 2013, 5:44 pm

Many of us "Aspies" have NO problem committing to a single partner for life. I don't think this is an Aspie issue at all, merely personal preference.

Sounds to me like he prefers a fantasy world to the real one... hope he can see what he has before losing it. :?



Dan_Vincze
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15 Mar 2013, 2:50 am

How often do you make time for just the two of you, go out to a nice dinner, et cetera?
It won't solve everything, but I don't see how it would hurt.

Quote:
At the same time, my husband has expressed frustration that he doesn't feel the passion for me that he did when we were first together, and he doesn't seem to believe me that this is normal. Thoughts?


A bit of emotional immaturity isn't uncommon in autistics, so I can believe your husband is having trouble accepting this. Maybe hearing it from other people will convince him.



HauntedKnight
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15 Mar 2013, 5:27 am

Hi, I can relate to a lot of what your husband is going through, although children haven't been involved in my case. I think he needs to think whether he really wants your relationship to continue, and whether he still has feelings for you. I hope for your sake he does.

What might help is if you ask him, in an ideal world, what would he want from you in the relationship, and vice versa, what you want from him. This might help you both see it from the other point of view.

In the short term though, you'll probably find it difficult to get over what you have found out about him doing behind your back. I hope it works out.



The_Face_of_Boo
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15 Mar 2013, 6:49 am

Quote:
When things got bad between us, he apparently felt that we had lost whatever was good about our marriage and that our relationship didn't have a future. About 6 months ago he became involved in an emotional affair with a woman he was involved with before we met. They exchanged email and chatted online. It started out just as friendly catching up, but escalated to sexual fantasies and statements like "I love you" and "maybe someday when our kids are grown we'll be together."


If I had a wife doing that I would divorce her immediately.