Adhd female/asd male couple - experienced advice, source of

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Desperate_wife_asdman
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03 Jan 2024, 9:01 am

We’re a couple in our 40s, been together for 8 years, living together the last 4 of them. Me, the female, was diagnosed with adhd 3 yrs ago, male is highly likely a very well-masked, undiagnosed autist.

I’ve not suggested this to him yet, although just understanding him through an “add window” have made a huge difference so far. At the moment I fear we find ourselves at something of a cross road, where what I do next will either bring us together or destroy any hope I still manage to hold on to.

I am currently trying to find the best way to specifically address our neurological differences as something we’ll have to take seriously, embrace - understand - and deal with together, for this to have a chance going further. Although topics on anything relating to emotions and differences have a history of being a mine field, and I’m desperately seeking solid and factual advice to help me approach him, not just empathetically, but also factual and directly enough for him to actually listen and download it as I mean for it to be downloaded.

I love him so much, and we’ve been so great together. I can’t bring myself to give up on us, until I’ve at least tried all I know how to try. So far I’ve tried every piece of advice I’ve found, on how to speak, when to speak, how to sound, how to understand his actions and statements, being patient, not blaming him, trying to ask and explain things very clearly.. helps a bit, but only brings us “that far”. We still keep running into problems I am pretty sure is unresolvable unless both of us open up to the idea we’re actually just neurologically different - not blatantly incompatible for eternity. This circle of both of us feeling misunderstood and not knowing what to do about it, is not the kind spiraling us in a positive direction, to say the least.

I’m basically happy for anything that might help, based on actual knowledge, experience etc. and especially hoping to find anyone with experience with relationships where the female has got adhd, and the male is highly likely to be an undiagnosed autist (well-masked)?? Or even diagnosed autist, better than nothing.

For anyone who knows anything about the challenges that comes with each of the two neurotypes, I guess it is unnecessary to explain that the combination of the two in a relationship tends to add even more challenges. Esp when the asd male is currently both unaware of the shape of his own piece in the puzzle, as well as not being convinced adhd is not something one can simply learn “how not to be affected by”, or that the issue is not about the lack of willpower or efforts.

I have read and studied tons of useful material on anything relating to adhd or asd level 1 (or Asperger’s if you like), and on how each of the two can (and will) affect and challenge a relationship. Along with advice on how to work well in each of the cases.

What I am struggling really hard to find, is anything, other than the occasional post in some online forum, addressing the case where adhd meets autism in a relationship.



TwilightPrincess
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03 Jan 2024, 9:28 am

It sounds like he's being dismissive of your experience with ADHD which isn't cool. Is he willing to read about it, so he can understand you better?

Apart from that, what have you been struggling with specifically? Every person on the spectrum is different. Every relationship is different.

Why do you think he has autism?


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Desperate_wife_asdman
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Joined: 3 Jan 2024
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03 Jan 2024, 2:00 pm

I’m not really asking for help
In considering whether or not he’s on the spectrum. And him
Being in the spectrum itself does not really bother me, apart from the fact that it give us rather tremendous problems on just about anything regarding emotional connection and support, communication, with the result of me feeling increasingly lonely and invalidated, and as far as I’m able to tell, he seems to struggle hard knowing what to say and do any time we encounter anything “outside his range”, so to speak. I try really hard to adapt by now “disturbing” our conversations with a lot of emotions, describing anything as literal and empathetic as possible, while I’m still just a human being, not an objective therapist. Meaning I sometimes fail, obviously. I’ve become highly aware of his state of mind, considering if he might be on an “orange” level, before addressing anything other than topics that appear to be safe ground, which helps avoid him feeling cornered, risking to push him over to a “red” state. It is somehow impossible to always read his signs, as they are not at all as obvious every time. Recently, I missed the signs, and we ended up in another silly, rather debate, that escalated all to fast. In a matter of a few exchanged sentences, he blurts out “we can’t live together”. End of discussion, more or less, and he then expects us to just go to sleep. All that is left, he claims is to decide what we do with our house. Meaning, one of us buying the other’s share, and the other one moving out, a choice he leaves for me to decide. When trying to have some calm conversation about it all the next day, he refuse any attempts to agree we need to talk things through before making hasty decisions like this, acting all defensive as if I’m the enemy, explaining every bit of it with my faults (even if just rather meaningless stuff), while in the next sentences being annoyed with me for not understanding it’s all about him not being able to live with me. And he also retracts rather quickly, with a notion as if I’m being ridiculous to understand this as him not loving me anymore. “We can still be together, just not live together”. He close to ridicules me for even wanting to talk about things, and being sad about his decision, as if it was all just the simplest edit to our everyday lives. We’ve had the same issue about a year ago, when I also picked up on him seeming almost powerless as to how he could do better, “it’s probably best for all of us if I live on my own”.

When I explained how I can now, as opposed to our first years together, understand how his ex (mother of his 2 teenagers) could accuse him of being a psychopath. Difference is, as I also explained, I know he’s not. I’ve learnt to know a kind of psychopath/narcissist up close, and although to a “novice” they might appear to act the same, the actual differences between the two are all too obvious. Basically, one does everything to manipulate you, using emotions as a tool - the other one is incapable of manipulation, acting more as if emotions is something unmanageable, confusing stuff to rather be avoided at all cost. I’ve seen more than once he could easily have sacrificed anything to ensure my wellbeing, only to completely reject me when I’m hurt, as if he doesn’t understand at all that I’m hurt and sad.

Even after I’ve explained very detailed and practically, that I’m going through difficult things at work, which will affect me over the next few weeks and months, explaining how I need him to know, so he’ll understand, he shuts me out in the cold, emotionally. Accusing me of not being “present” and staying up late. Another thing that came up in the confrontation I mentioned, where he shut all communication down by saying we can’t live together anymore. I was flat out shocked, and asked him if he’d not for a second of the two months considered I might be having a hard time, wrt what we talked quite al lot about just before (I decided to leave my job after us talking through my situation and alternatives). He just looked at me, confused wondering what I was talking about. Admitting that it hadn’t struck him once. Still clinging to his decision, the next step is me deciding what to do with the house.

I suggested we at least talked to someone, a couple’s therapist, to try and understand each other and both our needs and frustrations. He agreed we might do so - but only after we’d sorted the living arrangements. Unable to give me any reason as to why we can’t try to work on things beforehand. I’ve also tried to understand how exactly he imagines us living apart, yet staying together, would work. Leaving me with the impression I’ll just have to wait and see how he feels when he’s settled on his own.

Then Christmas came, and it’s all been put to rest while we’ve gone through all the regular plans with our families. Only this year, he’s more or less acted as if I’m just “anyone”. Not giving me any present or trying to even spend some time together with me, apart from any plans with the family. Btw last year, he decided he couldn’t live with me, because I struggled to settle with his angry, rather new decision I’m not allowed to give him any presents. I adjusted, and didn’t give him a Christmas present, although it actually hurts, as I’m one to enjoy putting thoughts and care into present for the ones I love, rather than buying just expensive things. My kind of compromise was giving him just a silly, flirty thing before going to bed on the 23rd, and I was stupid enough to wrap it. Honestly, it was just a boxer shorts with a gingerbread face in the front, saying bite me. I did not at all expect him to be angry about any joke indicating him getting a blowjob, something he’s usually more than happy to receive. This time, he was really pissed off, after all it was wrapped, meaning it was a present. When I tried to explain in a calm manner, it was not really meant as present, I just came across the bloody thing and thought it was a sexy, funny thing i could’ve given him any day. He concluded, after more or less threatening about it, he’d have to move out. Luckily, I was able to keep my head cooler than him, and avoided it to escalate further. And after a calm conversation the next morning, he came over to give me a (very, the last few years) rare, warm hug, saying he agreed we should try and work things out. Over the last year, as usual, I’m the only one who’s really tried working on things, although he’d probably claim he has - meaning he’s endured the days without arguing, yet not putting any actual effort into any development. Things still felt as if going a lot better, by me trying to understand him as and autist. Until we then entered a phase where I was no longer “on top of everything”. Seems he pretty much forgot anything I said about going through a rough time, and didn’t catch it happening at all, seeing as I probably appeared to him as being normal. After all, I put a lot of effort into not acting as if I was depressed or feeling sorry for myself, knowing all too well he doesn’t cope very well with me being sad too much. It’s like it freaks him out if I’m troubled without him knowing how to fix it practically, as if I was a box of Lego pieces he could tidy and put together. I also chose very deliberately to trust all he’s said about being there, loving me (until he tells me otherwise) and how I don’t have to be perfect all the time.

Stupid me for taking him literally, as he expects me to do.

Anything I read about asd relationships and marriages fit us like a glove, only we have this extra challenge of me having adhd as well. Something I also addressed in this case, after he explained one thing he thought had changed with me over the years (he couldn’t really think of anything else, seemingly) being that he found I was using adhd as an excuse to not make an effort, esp referring to me not always being in time. I mean, wow. I’ve hardly ever tried to talk about my adhd at all, after realizing he chose to read any effort as to explain what adhd affects in me. And I put rather tremendous amounts of energy into trying to be on time. His simple analysis is that, after all, I do manage to be on time for some things - meaning when I’m not in time, it HAS to be because I just don’t bother.

It’s like bashing my head against the wall sometimes. And I know if I talk to anyone “normal” about it all, they’ll either be shocked I’m not leaving him in the speed of lightening, or decide I must be nuts, exaggerating things. And believe me, both perspectives have been on my mind more than once.

I still can’t bring myself to give us up just yet, as I know how good we CAN be, and have been. I’m kind of left with one last hope in that him really opening up to understanding our problems come from working differently, not because we’re incompatible. I’m able to read one article on adhd and relationships, another on asd and relationships, and combine the two insight into our own context. Still, I’m hoping to find something offering even better advice on the particular combination of adhd and asd, as well as I expect he’ll have trouble dealing with anything not literally compatible with our particular context.

Hence my search for someone that might help me find that particular topic. Or have personal experience from it.