Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Asperger's Syndrome; Hard on a Marriage

Over 12 years ago I met my husband and we were engaged only after 2 short months. We were married 4 months after that. Too short? I wonder sometimes.

I didn't know he had Asperger's Syndrome. Heck, he didn't know he had it. He thought he was just kind of weird. I didn't seem to notice or care maybe. Or maybe we made a good match since he seemed so forgetful and stress free, while I was always so needing to organize, stress, and control everything. Hmmmm...

I don't know which has been more difficult---the time we were married before we knew about his Asperger's, or the time since we realized and accepted it.

Before, we were always arguing. Well, I guess I was always yelling at him not understanding how he could forget to do things so often or not see the need to help me out here or there. Or how could he spend all his time playing video games and lose so much track of time, or why he got so upset with me if I changed something in the schedule. Why did little things upset him so much, yet big things seemed not a big deal? Amongst my yelling, he would always see the need to be better and promise me he'd change, yet it would all be forgotten by the next week.

What a pain I am. Really, I must be the most nagging, mean, and awful wife. Why do I expect so much? Why can't I just accept him and not want to change him? Why am I so pushy? Why did I have to push him so hard to get through college, and get a job and all that? I'm just a mean nagging wife who acts like his mother. That isn't what a wife should do.

I suppose after we figured out he had Asperger's it changed things a bit. I could understand now that he wasn't trying to be lazy or ignorant or mean. He really didn't see the need for doing things, and he couldn't understand his emotions when things didn't go as planned or he didn't understand how I was feeling and what I expected of him. He was trying to not get overfocused on unimportant things, but it was difficult. I knew he loved me and wanted to do good, it just didn't come out the right way.

So, yes, we still had our fights, yet I couldn't get as mad because he wasn't doing things or not doing things to upset me. I still got angry, yes, but what could I do? All I could do was say that I know he didn't mean this or that or that I knew he couldn't handle this or that, but I was still frustrated.

As I wrote in the previous post, I started taking care of more and more hoping it would make things better. Yet, I soon became very overwhelmed and feeling like this was not an equal partnership. I'm sure many little girls dream about when they get older and get married and how they will be taken care of and live happily ever after. Well, my picture of being taken care of was not working out. Why did I have to do everything, plan everything, figure out everything, fix everything......etc...etc? I just didn't want to do it anymore.

I was tired of being stressed because of all the times he was supposed to be somewhere but had forgotten or lost track of time. I was tired of being his constant reminder or sort of beeper to tell him when to come home from work and when to go to the dentist or when to pick up the kids from an activity. I was tired of getting to work late all the time because he hadn't gotten home on time to watch the kids. It was all wearing me down.

Well, he went on a business trip and for a week things were different. Not different for what regular things we had planned, but for this week I was all alone. I didn't have his help or an extra driver for the kids' activities, and I didn't have a helper to get the kids to bed or clean up or make dinner, but yet somehow everything went so much smoother.

How could this be? I had to do everything on my own. But then I realized it---it was because I was in control. I didn't have to worry about him remembering to leave work on time or getting a kid to dance class on time or exploding the kitchen while making dinner. (OK, I'm exaggerating there.)

And all of the sudden I was confused. I was confused with my emotions and feelings of independance. I felt as though I wasn't missing him. I was almost relieved he wasn't there. And what a horrible horrible feeling that was! What was wrong with me? Why would I think such awful things? I knew I loved him, but how could I feel this way?

So, yes, when he came back from his trip I told him some of these thoughts that had come to my mind. I told him I was tired of always having to be the one to call people or figure out what to do when things broke or blew up. I told him I was tired of always stressing out whether he will be home on time or get to an appointment on time. I just didn't want to do it anymore. I'm sure I talked for a long time and probably said pretty awful things, and to my dear Aspie husband, he took everything word for word and very literal. And for me, a non-Aspie, I'm sure most of my words that didn't mean to be literal were all taken like knives to his chest.

What an awful wife I was! And yes, my dear husband was deeply hurt and terrified that our marriage was over. He couldn't understand I would say things I didn't mean.

So, over the next few days all disaster broke lose for he felt the world was over and yet I was just getting over another "fight". Yet, we didn't see eye to eye. He wanted to change. He wanted to be more independent. It was just hard for him. He always had a plan and intended to be places on time, or remember to do things, yet there was always something else to draw his attention elsewhere or it was too difficult to talk to people or talk on the phone. And, yes, I understood these were all things difficult for someone with Asperger's, but it just upset me so. I didn't want to always take care of everything. And, I didn't accept that I needed to. I was willing to help, but I didn't want him to have to depend on me so much. He admitted it as well. And why not? He said I was always telling him when and what. Well, then that was my fault. I was more than a nagging wife. I had taken away his independance. How could he be able to do things on his own if I was always jumping in front and taking care of everything?

So, we talked and talked and talked....and figured a lot of things out. He was very successful at work. He got things done. People depended on him. He met deadlines. He was on the ball! He could do things. So what happened at home? I guess it was a lot me and my over controlling self, but he knew there were steps he could take to help out more or be more on time.

So, as any married couple, we talked and sorted things out, and even talked to a counselor to get our feelings out. It didn't last more than a few days. We value marriage and the committment it is. We love each other and our children. We want to do what is right.

Who is to say that any marriage can be difficult no matter what is mixed into the batter? So he has Asperger's Syndrome. So. I'm sure I have a bit of OCD. So. Maybe that makes us work.

There have been so many "specialists" or "experts" who have written articles about how marriage can't work with Asperger's Syndrome. Well, I think that is wrong. People have all sorts of differences, Asperger's may be one of them, but who is to say it is any harder than another couple that have their own issues? I won't accept it. Although I know we will continue to have our arguments and misunderstandings no matter now hard we try to understand one another, I know we will also continue to work our hardest to keep our marriage strong and love each other. You have to want it. We won't give up or give in to the statistics. And we will work to teach our son with Asperger's to also value marriage and relationships as we have full hopes for him falling in love one day and getting married as well.

For those of you out there working with your own marriages with Asperger's in the mix---hang in there. Sometimes it may feel like there is no hope, but I believe you can get through it if you want it badly enough. Work together. Fight to understand. Strive to accept your differences that cannot be changed, but try to work on those differences that can be adjusted.

To me dear Aspie husband, I know it isn't often you read my blogs, but I do love you and I'm sorry for the bazillion times I say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing. Just as you're trying to understand the weirdness of my neorotypical brain, I'm trying my best to understand yours. Together we can figure things out.


usarian said...

Great post!! My NT wife blogged about her experiences being married to me as well (an aspie). http://www.glimpsesofskiff.com/2011/08/so-i-married-aspie.html

mossie said...

Well I am new to this knowledge. I am in the dead end - but I really hope that me and my Aspie husband can work through this. The only thing is he works far away from home for weeks on end, which he likes very much, being on his own. I feel as if I could have written this story. I do need help - how to and when to do the right thing. I want to learn but find almost no to none places with help. Thanks for your post, it helps so that I don't feel like a total faillure.

Anonymous said...

For any woman thinking about staying. Why the hell would you? I have just spent 10 months in a relationship with an Aspergers man and it has been hell. DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND GET OUT! THEY CLING TO STRONG, ORGANISED AND REPSONSIBLE WOMEN AS THEY SEE US AS NOTHING MORE THAN A MOTHER FIGURE!


DO NOT GET SUCKED INTO THEIR WORLD OF CRAZY! Asperger men do not know how to love. All they know is how to have a little infatuation. They do not understand respect, boundaries, responsibilities. You are crazy if you think they can ever change. Believe me, I tried. I cared way too much and it only brought me anger, pain and many health problems.

GET OUT NOW! You can make all the excuses for his selfish behavior under the sun, but at the end of the day, being emotionally abused due to Aspergers is still one woman being EMOTIONALLY ABUSED. I you stay, you will only ever be his mommy and you will never have a normal sex life and YOU will always feel like crap. Start to realize that it isn't your fault that he loses his erection and giggles like an idiot when it comes to sex. An aspie man would lose his erection with a supermodel.

These types of men deserve a warning label. It took me months and much heartache to figure out what was wrong with my ex. I would have liked to remain friends with him, but I have more self respect than to be friends with someone who abused me. I will recover and get my life back on track, but he will be forever a lying loser who can't manage money, can't get along with people, can't hold down a job, can't relate to a woman and he will always just live with his MOMMY or expect the next poor girl who comes along to be his replacement MOMMY.

Being with an aspie man has made me realize that I am a lot stronger than I thought, but also that I will not excuse bad behavior just because someone has a disorder. If I was drunk and I punched you, would that somehow excuse me from punching you because I was drunk and "was unaware of my actions?" exactly! These aspie men and families and parents need to be called to task. It is unfair to simply palm an aspie off onto a young woman without warning her that he has Aspergers. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

And before you all judge me with my harsh words. Go and be in a relationship with an aspie. I guarantee you that after a few days, you will be wanting someone to bash you over the head with a brick and put you out of your misery. Now, whenever I'm dating...the moment a guy mentions that he likes computers or works in IT, I quickly exit the building! I'm not going to take any more chances. You other women can all be heros and judge me for leaving, but I have my life back and all you will ever have is a life with a baby-ish robot. If you're cool with being your husband's mother then awesome. If you're cool with beig disrespected and made to feel insignificant, then awesome, whatever floats your boat. No one is going to care.

Becca said...

So sorry Scully's Apartment has had such an awful experience with someone with Aperger's. All you say is not true to everyone with Asperger's. My Asperger husband IS very loving, kind, and can be understanding once it things have been better explained to him. The same goes for my son with Asperger's and several other people I have met. Aspies can and do know how to love. It may not come as natural, but it's because maybe they have never learned as many of us learn intuitively, Aspies need a sort of instruction manual, but they do have feelings, they can show emotion, they can feel it when you are upset and they can make sense of it. You are true, that just as any man can have problems or issues, there probably are a lot of men with Asperger's that aren't good for a relationship. But I do not pin it down to just men with Asperger's. I know several men with Asperger's who your comments could apply to, but then I know just as many who are so kind, considerate, and really strive to do the best they can and treat their wives the best they can despite their Asperger's. I am lucky that my Aspie husband although does make many mistakes, he does treat me like a queen and while there are times I feel he isn't responsible or isn't organized or what not, he means well, and he only tries everyday to be a better man and a better husband. Good luck to you.

Justin said...

Go and be in a relationship with Scully's Apartment -- and I guarantee you that after a few days, you will be wanting someone to bash you over the head with a brick and put you out of your misery.

Tammy said...

Scully's apartment, I am not going to condemn you. Just like with any health condition, there are ranges to the disease. Nothing is black and white with Aspergers. I am psych major and had the wool over my eyes. I have known my husband since I was 8, I am 41 now. Long time. We have 3 kids together. He is Italian and high functioning with Aspergers, so alot things for YEARS with he and my son were assumed to be this or that. But to say all Aspie's are NOT abusers or liars, etc... is false. I do know what you are saying and can empathize. When the metal abuse started, I thought I was nagging him into somehow. Like this blog and many others said, when the subject of "change" would come up, it would last tops 2 weeks. Always an expiration date. Yes, he does love, but has no clue on how to show it. And when "they" (my 20 yr old son and husband) don't get their way because its not logical or safe, they get verbally and physically violent. Whether its intimidation tactics of acting like the incredible hulk or a perfect example: my husband didn't get his way about a flight I made on Thanksgiving morning, so he broke my nose, gave me a black eye and fractured my cheek bone. When my son didn't get his way and I tried to punish him for his lippy cursing mouth, I was picked up on thrown thru a wall with steps on the other side that dam near snapped my neck and killed me. I have serious life threatening conditions.
What am I suppose to do or go. I can't raise 3 children on my own financially and I can't abandon my son. Now my husband did seek treatment for putting his hands on that day, its been 3 years and when things do happen, after the recognition period that what he did is wrong, there is a process of remorse and he does try and fix it. He has come a long way. But I am drained of everything I have and everything that ever made me happy. I live to not trigger the Aspie all the while they keep writing checks financially their buts can't cash and I suffer with always trying to fix it. I came online today looking for other people like me because I am at my wits end and I am about to lose my shit with a full on nervous breakdown that I can't afford to have. So Scully, don't feel alone. Every Aspie is different and the fact that you were on a Aspie blog after the fact of leaving says that a part of you is still broken over it.

LLoyd said...

I just read this post on your blog for the first time. It is if you had observed my marriage and wrote about myself and my wife. I, like your husband, have asperger's and my wife, like you, did a lot of yelling. Thank you for posting your experience and especially for your commitment to your marriage and sticking with it when it is extremely difficult. My son also shows signs of Asperger's and I think it is vitally important to share that with him so that he can start now to develop skills and strategies to deal with the struggles he and his future wife will encounter. I wish so badly that I could have been diagnosed at a young age, I wonder how different things could have been. Most especially for my beautiful, patient, kind, and loving wife.

Unknown said...

Hey, I'm new to this, my husband of 22 years was JUST diagnosed with Asbergers. He's been treated for depression all his life. He has come off ALL meds and he is raw as hell! I can't speak to him without him having to remove earphones, then he gets mad! I feel like no matter what I do I make him angry, and I'm disabled myself with seizures and that makes him mad if I have a seizure! I'm not at all ready or willing to give up, I made a commitment for better or worse! I need to learn how to talk to him without triggering him. I'm VERY outgoing and sarcastic, so it was interesting when we figured out he had missed my whitty sarcasm for 22 years, lol. HELP. Any POSITIVE FEEDBACK would be appreciated greatly!!

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