I think my husband has aspergers...(long, sorry!)
So, my husband has very EXTREME ADHD, like to the point where even with medication, it really interferes with our lives. Recently I found a book that was about some holistic approaches to dealing with the symptoms of ADHD, only the book was written for ADHD and Autism. As I was reading the book I was a little surprised to realize that my husband displays every major and some minor signs of Aspergers. Now, I've worked with people with Autism and had a few friends with Aspergers, so I'm actually pretty familiar with it, but seeing a LIST of symptoms in the book started making some things "click." Things from the very beginning of our relationship (both good and bad) started to really make sense.
Like, he will talk non-stop about certain obsessions of his in great detail even though he KNOWS I have NO interest in those things. And if I try to talk about something besides one of his obsessions he often cuts me off to start talking about the obsessions again. Its really annoying. I end up not feeling heard. Another annoying thing is that we get trapped in the same boring patterns over and over and over again. I make a million suggestions for how to change things up (go bowling, go rock climbing, go for a hike, go to a museum, go to music in the park, go to batting cages, etc.) but none of it ever sounds appealing to him so we just go to the book store every single day. He does NOT like to be involved in anything too social and can often be downright rude when we are at a social event- its just frustrating sometimes. Sex is really difficult for us to navigate- I feel like he is an incredibly selfish lover- no matter how giving I am. Its truly hurtful and no matter how I talk to him about how it makes me feel he seems confused and exasperated. We are both still in college right now and I am embarrassed to admit that I often find myself wondering if he will be able to hold down a job. He is studying engineering but I'm not even sure how he will do in that field as he gets overwhelmed really easily and has weak interview skills....his grade point average is also on the low side because he just barely passed the non-science and non-math classes (like social studies, public speaking, sociology, etc.)
So I've been doing some research on Aspergers in adults and last night I just started to cry because all the information describes him and our relationship to a T. I don't know what to do from here. I rally want my husband to get tested for Aspergers, but he is soooo resistant to anything like that. I have not brought up the topic to him yet. When we first got married (we didn't move in together till after the wedding) I noticed several strange habits of his and commented that I thought he has OCD and/or Anxiety disorder- both diagnosis I have, and I take medication and therapy to help with them...because his symptoms were interfering with us having any kind of normal life I asked him to seek out therapy of some kind but he refused. He also had a few eruptions of anger which terrified me about 6 months into out marriage and I BEGGED him to go to therapy with me and again he refused...So, he gets pissed off anytime it is suggested that the way he does things is anything other than PERFECTLY NORMAL. So I really do not see him agreeing to be tested. I think it would actually just cause more stress and tension.
One thing that I could see being potentially helpful might be to approach it as "lets do some testing to see what careers line up with your strengths and weaknesses..." but I'm not sure that will really work either.
We have only been married for 14 months, but I am really worried about how this will play out. I'm ready for kids and the thought totally overwhelms him. I've always wanted like 8 kids and before we got married we agreed on 6, but now...from everything I am seeing in him and with the thought that this might be a neurological restriction that he cant bypass I am terrified that we wont be having more than one or maybe 2 kids. I know that many kids would overwhelm most neurotypicals, so I can only imagine how overwhelming it would be to somebody with AS. I dont know what to do. I do love him, I'm just anxious.
Joined: Nov 15, 2009
First, please do not have any kids together until this gets straightened out.
So, your husband has medication for ADHD, which required him to get tested for it and so forth, but he won't do the same for Asperger's. I'm in the same boat, because (a) medications don't exist for Asperger's and (b) testing for it is expensive and difficult to get. The real issue is whether he's willing to look into it, think through its implications, and start plotting ways to succeed in spite of it. So far from your description, he's not especially interested in any of this. This is a very bad sign.
On the other hand, the way that an aspie is approached has a big impact on whether he'll participate in or even truly understand the conversation. If you're agitated, he'll very likely get defensive. Even if you're agitated about something other than him, he'll still get defensive. Low-key, calm, a bit cheerful... that kind of mindset leads to productive conversation. Emails can be even better, since there's no tone at all and some of us read and write much better than we listen and speak.
Joined: Oct 15, 2009
He sounds a lot like an Aspie to me - but a definitive diagnosis won't change anything if he refuses to accept it.
For me the insight brought by an accurate diagnosis was nothing short of revolutionary. I really think I'd be much further along in life had I known earlier.
I always knew that I was different, but once I understood exactly how I was different, and that there were others who were different in nearly the same way - I made a tremendous amount of progress.
BTW I have two children, an NT girl, and a boy who's on the spectrum (but functioning reasonably well in a mainstream environment). The fact that I probably "gave" it to him has been very hard to deal with - that's another thing to consider.
"There's nothing sadder than an aging hipster." -- Lenny Bruce
Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Location: Beirut ,Lebanon
You found out all these things about him only after the marriage? and during 14 Months of marriage?
For how long did you know him before the marriage? 1 week? 1 day?
It's really fascinating, if you hate all these things in him (which sound to be the core things of his being/personality), then what did you love in him?
thank you for the replies...Im hoping that a diagnosis might make some types of therapies available to us to learn to cope with the situation- and for me to figure out what are reasonable expectations and what things I need to not expect from him and learn to meet myself.
We will not be having children till this is worked out...I can already see that would be a terrible idea. Which honestly, just SUCKS for me. We had planned to adopt 4-5 children from foster care and then have only 1-2 biological children and we are both okay with having zero biological children, so the issue of this being a hereditary condition is definitely something to consider...I know they don't have genetic testing for AS, but we are planning to have him genetically screened before having biological children because of certain terminal diseases that run in his family that he may be a carrier of- so we had already planned to forgo biological children and just adopt all 6 if need be.. The problem with the fact that we plan to adopt from foster care means that we have to be able to pass things like a home study which would CERTAINLY be impacted by his ability to cope with children and family life...
I feel so isolated with all of this. My dreams seems so far away today and honestly I dont know if I will be happy with my life if I dont have a lot of kids, act as a foster parent, etc... But I also dont believe in divorce, so im really confused and just trying to have faith that things will work out and trying to remember to take things one day at a time...
As for the question about not knowing these things or whatever...we dated for six months before we married...we were friends for six months before we started dating, so I had known him for a year...There a lot of things that I loved about him and still do- hes very honest, he likes me to be myself and doesn't expect me to act like somebody else, we have very similar religious convictions which don't quite match the church we attend (where me met) he is amazing on the guitar, he is smart and has a really dry sense of humor. I like all those things, and some more...Once we got married I noticed several things right away and I honestly was afraid that I had been "tricked" into marrying a selfish and egotistical man- but that didn't seem quite right either because he can also be so caring and tender...I noticed MANY odd things that at first I attributed to: gender differences, birth order differences, his ADHD, his acute anxiety issues, etc....Its just all making sense that those things actually fall pretty neatly under the umbrella of AS....I also think that before we were married he really HOPED he could want to do the same things I wanted out of life but now he realizes he cannot do or want those things..
Joined: Nov 15, 2009
We will not be having children till this is worked out...I can already see that would be a terrible idea. Which honestly, just SUCKS for me. We had planned to adopt 4-5 children from foster care and then have only 1-2 biological children and we are both okay with having zero biological children, so the issue of this being a hereditary condition is definitely something to consider
I'm not really talking about biology here. He's not an idiot - this isn't something that needs to be filtered out of the gene pool for the good of society. I'm talking more from the standpoint of any little ones being (a) too much to handle in your already unsettled situation and (b) vulnerable to having your situation mess with their little minds.
Did he say that he cannot do or want these things? Lots of us have children, and some of us manage to be good parents. Not normal parents, of course, but certainly not abusive if we've got our own issues under control. There's no guarantees here, of course.
One thing that trips a lot of us up is that falling in love boosts our functioning temporarily. Like, by a lot. Wish it came in a bottle that we could take our whole lives. But it gets us thinking that we've actually overcome whatever was wrong with us before... until it comes back with a vengeance.
Joined: Apr 26, 2009
Location: Houston, Texas
I need copious amounts of alone time to recharge my batteries, and then I can do pretty well socially. I can pay attention and be emotionally 'with' the person.
Maybe after marriage, he tried too hard to be 'normal' (no such thing really as 'normal' anyway ), and didn't give himself enough alone time?
Joined: Feb 03, 2009
She-prays, I'm a female Aspie (this may make my reactions and interpretations a little different than a male Aspie). The thing that stuck out for me in your original post is that he seems like he doesn't want to try.
A special interest I have is cats but when my partner has said he's had enough I try to talk about something I know he's interested in, I don't talk over him and keep on talking about cats. While AS can cause us to not be able to read cues, when someone says clearly that they aren't interested any more or that a subject bores them or that perhaps they should find someone else to talk to about it, there is no good reason to talk over them.
Perhaps next time that he ignores you saying that you're not interested to just walk away and see how he would react, if he asks 'why' explain that as he doesn't seem to want to listen to you that you'd give a physical demonstration of what you feel when he talks over you. If he doesn't react then he just wants to speak about his special interest and doesn't care if he's listened to or not.
I realize that you don't believe in divorce but you must realize that any children (adopted or otherwise) would be emotionally damaged from living in this relationship unless he were to attempt to change and he doesn't seem to want to change. More than that, it would seem that he doesn't believe that he may need to change at all. Relationships require two people working together (like carriage horses), not just one person chugging along pulling the other like a train. Just something to keep in mind.
Good luck regardless. I hope you make the best decision for you.
I'm female but I have a boyfriend.
Yes, I quite agree with you...this isn't something to "filter out... for the good of society!" but I do imagine my husband might have feelings abourt the hereditary link. Also, because there IS a strong genetic componet, it would be prudent for us to consider if we had the resources to support a child with differnt needs (financially, emotionally, mentally, etc.) That doesn't mean Im saying we will NOT reproduce inorder to assure we dont pass this on, it just means we will need to have further discussions about it. As for the way the dynamics affect a child, I heartily aggree with you and THAT is the reason I am saying we cannot go ahead with having/adopting children right now...
This makes a LOT of sense!! !! THANK YOU for sharing that because I didnt quite know what to make of the fact that he seemed more flexable then than he is now...
LostAlien, your insight is also really appreaiceted... Im reading through all the replies againa dn the common themse seems to be that the issue is really that if he doesnt want to deal with this, than it is a BIG problem...I kinda missed that part in teh replies until I read yours which expanded upon it further and makes it clear that I can hope for more than what I am seeing now. (Ie your ability to stop talking about cats at somepoint.) Im not sure what to do to get him to see that this is a really really big deal to me.
and as aardvark pointed out, maybe he is having a hard time balancing his alone time with his social time? I know he FEELS like he doesnt have any alone time so I try to give it to him and encourage him to TAKE alone time but that too seems to be a battle...One thing he does that drives me crazy is picking his nose. LOL, I know thats a silly and minor thing, but I ask him to please do it in private, that its not appropriate to do it in public. And he says hes never alone so how could he pick his nose in private?
Joined: Apr 26, 2009
Location: Houston, Texas
As far as picking his nose, could he step into the bathroom, or could he step to the side facing a wall and be quick about it?
Does sound rather aspie that he needs coaching about this, but so be it. I also have my social issues I need coaching about.
Now, if it's become an issue or argument, that's a whole other level of complexity. And you'll need to know when to bring it up and when to graciously back off (one thing I've found very personally liberating is realizing that 'neurotypical' people make mistakes, too).
Joined: Apr 22, 2010
If he is physically or verbally abusive towards you when he gets upset, then get out of the relationship now.
There are two types of successful relationships. One where each party meets the other halfway to work through problems, and one where one at least party is miserable, and only one is submissive. My friend's grandparents hated each other but were Catholic and didn't believe in divorce so they just had separate rooms, and avoided each other as much as possible.
Honestly if I were in your position I'd give your husband an ultimatum. Work on addressing these issues or sign divorce papers.
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