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Aharon
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27 Dec 2011, 2:36 pm

Hi,

For years I couldn't understand why my wife seemed to have devolved into a mean, angry person. It never occured to me that I might not actually be the kind loving man to her that I thought I was. But after some serious reflection I began to realize I had actually done very little for her, and doing things like making her coffee in the morning did not make up for the fact I was seriously neglecting critical aspects of our relationship and marriage. She wasn't mean, she was hurt! So I began to try to "fix" myself, and quite frankly that isn't working out very well. I haven't been diagnosed, and I'm not sure if I want to be, but I'm fairly certain I'm AS or at least HFA to some degree. I've looked for resources online that might help me understand how to communicate with her better, and came across books like "22 Things Every Woman Should Know" and have read some of the comments readers have made of those books, and I read the most disheartening stories of women who feel alone, imprisoned, cut-off, fed up, ready to divorce, and I think man, this sounds like my wife could have written all of these!

Is anyone here in the spectrum married to an NT and actually fulfilling their partner's needs? What I've read so far online seems to basically say the AS spouse can't ever change and it's up to the NT to make all the sacrifices and concessions to make the marriage work, and I refuse to believe that. It may have taken me years, but I have learned some things over time. I don't explode like I used to, I'm not as defensive, and I'm more apt to admit my mistakes. But I don't know what my traits or characteristics are and when I don't give her answers, she makes them up for me and concludes things like I"m passive aggressive, trying to spite her, trying to get back at her, that I don't want to be her partner in life, that I refuse to be a team with her.... This all hurts very much because I very much care for her and want to be a team with her. I also understand she didn't get this way on her own and I have a lot of lost ground to recover in my marriage.

After doing some research I began to strongly suspect I was in the spectrum and let her know this, not to use it as a crutch but to say, hey this seems to fit, so there must be some coping skills to deal with it that I can learn. I think she thinks I'm just making excuses. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear about them, and if you're an NT married to someone in the spectrum, I can tell you I spent years and years not knowing how unhappy my wife was, and though I did feel something wasn't quite right, I could never put my finger on it. Even then, I always loved her from the bottom of my heart. I just didn't see that my love was not reaching her. I sure felt it, but how I felt didn't magically teleport from my heart to hers! My advice would be to be insistent, but not accusing, to watch your tone, to not just bring it up whenever but have planned times and places for discussion, to be patient and gentle but firm, repeat yourself, and don't pretend it's okay when it isn't. If you're lucky, they'll eventually get the hint that something is wrong, because I finally did. I just need to know what to do from here. Quite frankly, I"m lost.



Dunnyveg
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27 Dec 2011, 3:58 pm

Aharon, if she's given up, I'm guessing there's not much you can do. If she's willing to work with you, have her read a good description of AS and ask her if it fits you.

I'm not married, but I've been in a relationship with a normal woman for over eleven years now. Before I knew I had AS (I thought I was simply a freak of nature), I'd get the same thing from her. When I told her I thought I had AS, she went to Wiki, read the symptoms, and said I definitely had it. She also said it made her feel a lot better knowing that the way things were weren't her fault--or mine for that matter.

She wound up buying a book on AS and relationships, and things have been much better since.

Your situation affirms my line that the only thing that's really offensive is a bad attitude; anything else can be negotiated. If your wife still has a good attitude, try to reach her. At this point, the ball is in her court.



Aharon
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27 Dec 2011, 4:30 pm

Are things better between the two of you because you learned to cope or because she accepts your limitations? Or a bit of both? My wife wants to trust me, but she can't believe we've been married for over 15 years and i've suddenly had a change of heart. I can't blame her for doubting me. Is there a good book you'd recommend, or a site? I'm starving for information! I need to seriously figure out what my traits are, how to develop coping skills, and how understand her better. Thanks for your input, and may your relationship continue to heal and flourish!



Dunnyveg
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27 Dec 2011, 5:10 pm

Aharon, first some books. The first is considered to be the Bible on AS, though it was mostly written with kids in mind. But it has good information for adults as well, including a bit on relationships:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-As ... 093&sr=8-1

Here is an entire list of books on relationships and AS. I'd have to ask my girlfriend which one she read. If you're interested, I'll ask when I talk to her tonight. Just send me a PM.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_ ... ger+relati

If that doesn't work, just go to Amazon and punch in Asperger and relationship.

As far as my relationship goes, it's give and take. I didn't find out I had AS until I was 47--about two years or so ago. I didn't have a supportive family (to say the least), so I've always been as completely on my own as it's possible to be. It was hard, but I learned to deal with the world quite well. So, there are plenty of things I have to give her.

If she's done all the giving and you the taking, yours might be a different situation, but I doubt that's the case. She likely would've dropped you long ago. You could impress upon her what you've given while acknowledging what she's given, with apologies for inadvertently being insufficiently appreciative.

I think it's part of human nature that women do the choosing when it comes to a mate. The rest will be up to her, assuming you don't change your mind.



Stevo1965
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27 Dec 2011, 10:58 pm

I've discovered belatedly that the best match for many if not most of us ASDers is either another ASDer (but beware of certain pitfalls) or an NT who's a very easy going person.

If we end up with partners who tend to be critical, parental or are impaired with OCPD, OCD, PTSD, BPD, or other things which have phases that involve aggression or anger, then no good will come of it.

We ASDers present a "target rich environment" to the archetypes I've described.

It's difficult to find an accommodation in a case like this.



The-Raven
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28 Dec 2011, 6:50 am

The books Ive found most helpful are not aimed at asd but are a nice series by Andrew Marshall

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Build-Life-Long ... 758&sr=8-6

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Resolve-Your-Di ... 758&sr=8-9

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Learn-Love-Your ... 758&sr=8-5

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Help-Your-Partn ... 83&sr=8-17

and a most fantastic book by Susan Jeffers which has helped me in all my relationships inc with family, freinds and kids

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Feel-Fear-Guide ... 48&sr=1-10



BassMan_720
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28 Dec 2011, 8:38 am

Hi Aharon

You are not alone in this. I could have written your original post. My wife, however, has given up on me since we realised I had AS just over a year ago. I hope your wife is willing to work with you.

I have not given up. My wife is still living in the same house as me, for the sake of the kids. I have been working on myself and made similar improvements to those that you describe. I hope that my wife finally notices the change in me enugh to help her decide to stay with me and turn things around.

Best wishes



gorgeousdisaster
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17 Jan 2012, 7:36 pm

This is my first post but I had to reply. I am a female aspie who has been in 2 long term relationships, one with an NT and one with another aspie.
Most of the men and some of the women in my family are aspies, too. (Dad, uncles, grandfather, cousins, and a couple of females as well.)
The number one thing any man can do to help a woman heal is this: romance her. It doesn't have to be expensive- just be thoughtful. Pick her flowers, feed her chocolate covered strawberries, write her a sweet note on the fogged up mirror in the bathroom after your (or during her) shower. Do some little things and be romantic in a simple, innocent way. Also... (if she likes sex) ... get sensual. Bust out a can of whipped cream (not to be put on or in the vajajay) and play with each other- putting it in all sorts of places and kissing/licking it off. Touch (for those who like it) can be a powerful healer.
Physical intimacy (for those who enjoy and want it) can totally rev up a relationship on the rocks. Keep it going and you and your wife will likely have less problems.



Stone_Man
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24 Feb 2012, 1:56 pm

Aharon wrote:
For years I couldn't understand why my wife seemed to have devolved into a mean, angry person. It never occured to me that I might not actually be the kind loving man to her that I thought I was. But after some serious reflection I began to realize I had actually done very little for her, and doing things like making her coffee in the morning did not make up for the fact I was seriously neglecting critical aspects of our relationship and marriage. She wasn't mean, she was hurt!


Congratulations in that insight! I have had to face similar issues in my life and relationships with women. It's humbling, eh? But it's a great step to truly realize that there are two sides to everything and that you are just as much a contributor to these marital issues as she is.


Quote:
So I began to try to "fix" myself, and quite frankly that isn't working out very well.


Why is that? In order for one partner to "fix" themselves, the other has to be accomodating to the fixes. There are undoubtedly things that she needs to fix, as well.

I think you're on the right track, though. Life is a process of "fixing". Doesn't mean you have to try and change who/what you are, which I think is close to impossible. It means you adjust your behaviors.

Quote:
Is anyone here in the spectrum married to an NT and actually fulfilling their partner's needs? What I've read so far online seems to basically say the AS spouse can't ever change and it's up to the NT to make all the sacrifices and concessions to make the marriage work, and I refuse to believe that.


I don't believe it either. Marriage is about compromises, from both sides. It's about trying to learn about your partner's needs and doing your level best to meet them. Incumbent in that process is a partner who is willing to sincerely discuss their needs with you. Mind-reading is not a valid requirement here, especially for Aspies. If a partner isn't willing to do that, your chances of success are minimal, in my opinion.

I think you're taking the right approach. You're thinking about your marriage and you sound willing to follow through with making needed changes in your behaviors. That goes a long way.

Maybe some couples counseling would help. Here's another book I've found very helpful and insightful ... Love As a Way of Life by Gary Chapman. He discusses the very kinds of things you talk about, and offers some thoughts on dealing with these types of situations.

The best of luck to you.



Brodi56
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08 Mar 2012, 12:13 pm

My wife and I are going to a new counselor tonight. I am hopeful because this woman claims to have experience with AS-NT relationships. A previous counselor "fired" me after six months of working with us. Actually, what she did was to send me for a diagnosis and said that if AS was a factor, then she was not qualified to counsel us.

My advice is to go ahead and get the diagnosis. For me personally the DX means nothing. It's just a label. For my wife, however, the label has given her a lot to ponder over. It confirms that I really am not playing games with her emotions.

If you get "officially" diagnosed as AS, then consider looking for a counselor/therapist with AS experience. Be persistent. Don't let a snake-oil salesman tell you "I work with all types" or some similar line. Asperger's experience trumps everything else when picking out a counselor.

Bob
Your Aspie score: 94 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 90 of 200
You seem to have both Aspie and neurotypical traits



Kyra71
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09 Mar 2012, 11:11 pm

I don't have any useful advice, but I could relate to a lot of what you said. Especially feeling like from your own point of view, you're in love and it's all good - but the other person doesn't feel that way. I thought I had the perfect, most beautiful, loving marriage, for 14 years, only to be informed that my husband didn't feel that we 'connected' at all. 8O

Every situation is different, but in my own case I felt that I was doing everything I possibly could to be a loving wife, and in the end my husband just didn't feel it was enough for him :/



Chronos
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10 Mar 2012, 3:21 pm

Aharon wrote:
What I've read so far online seems to basically say the AS spouse can't ever change and it's up to the NT to make all the sacrifices and concessions to make the marriage work, and I refuse to believe that.


I'm glad you refuse to believe that, because it isn't true. One reason you might see more posts which seem to convey such a message rather than posts directed at the spouse who is on the spectrum is that it's typically the NT spouse who comes here or to other forums online ranting about their partner who they believe is on the spectrum. So the replies to those posts can't be directed at the individual with AS and can only be directed at the NT spouse advising them of things they might be able to do to improve the marriage. The few posts by spouses with AS who wish to improve their marriage focus on things he or she has the ability to change.

Aharon wrote:
It may have taken me years, but I have learned some things over time. I don't explode like I used to, I'm not as defensive, and I'm more apt to admit my mistakes. But I don't know what my traits or characteristics are and when I don't give her answers, she makes them up for me and concludes things like I"m passive aggressive, trying to spite her, trying to get back at her, that I don't want to be her partner in life, that I refuse to be a team with her.... This all hurts very much because I very much care for her and want to be a team with her. I also understand she didn't get this way on her own and I have a lot of lost ground to recover in my marriage.


It's difficult to offer advice on how to address this matter because I think the context of the situation in which she made these claims is important. I think it probably boils down to the fact that you might not communicate your thoughts and intentions enough, and are not receptive enough to her needs with respect to certain situations. You might find a post I made a few months ago to be helpful. You can find it at

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt153705.html

It's the third one from the bottom.



JudeFarmer
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10 Mar 2012, 8:35 pm

thanks for the link Chronos, that was very insightful.

I am in a similar situation to the OP. my NT partner and I have been together six years, half of wich have been a little bit hell. I discovered that I'm aspie (my therapist agrees though I'm not pursuing diagnosis at this time) about six or seven months ago. This discovery brought me lots of hope; but in the ensuing months I have found very little examples of AS partners who have done the work to bring balance back to their relationship. And like several other posts mentioned the books that are out there are addressed to the NT partner, and so seem to assume that the AS partner will remain the same and the NT has to do all the changing; as we know this cannot work, as a relationship involves two partners and compromise and responsibility on both sides.

Is anyone out there aware of resources aimed at AS partners? it seems to me to be a pretty big hole.

Are there any Aspies out there who have managed to learn the necessary skills to turn a failing relationship around? how do we breakthrough to our embittered/ entrenched NT partners?



Kyra71
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10 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

JudeFarmer wrote:
Are there any Aspies out there who have managed to learn the necessary skills to turn a failing relationship around? how do we breakthrough to our embittered/ entrenched NT partners?


I think in some cases it simply can't be done. In my case it came down to sexual contact; I can do it, and pretend to like it, and smile, and force myself to look into his eyes, etc... But no matter how hard I try, he will always know that I don't truly love having sex with him. And bottom line, he wants a woman who craves sex as passionately as he does. So in our case there is simply no way for me to meet his expectations :/



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15 Mar 2012, 10:47 am

Aharon wrote:
don't know what my traits or characteristics are and when I don't give her answers, she makes them up for me and concludes things like I"m passive aggressive, trying to spite her, trying to get back at her, that I don't want to be her partner in life, that I refuse to be a team with her.... This all hurts very much because I very much care for her and want to be a team with her. I also understand she didn't get this way on her own and I have a lot of lost ground to recover in my marriage.

She's entitled to air her suspicions about your motives being possibly malicious, but It seems to me that she assumes far too much about your inner feelings. She doesn't know if those things about you are true or not. And strictly speaking, neither do you, even if you've searched your heart and can honestly say you don't do anything out of spite or "passive aggression." There's always the unconscious. But I wouldn't take her accusations as gospel.

If she's still got the commitment to talk with you about your relationship problems, if it were me I'd want her to pick one of those accusations and to give examples of your behaviour that have led her to think that of you. Then I'd ask for time to look into it, and promise to get back to her. You could post it here and people would tell you if they thought she had a case or not. Or look for a good AS-savvy counsellor. If your wife is using destructive methods of complaining, a good counsellor should be able to steer her off that course and get her into some better communication tactics. A counsellor of mine put me straight about the folly of insinuating that I knew what my partner was feeling when I didn't.......he kept getting me to translate my accusations into more acceptable, objective revelations about what I was feeling, so "she stuck her nose in the air and haughtily told me that........." became "she seemed to stick her nose in the air but frankly that could have meant anything......I don't know how she was feeling but it seemed to be something negative.....I thought it was disdain for me but maybe she was just scared or upset......perhaps we should ask her what she felt?"

If her remarks are genuine, she'll presumably be interested in examining those problems with an open, conciliatory mind. Until she does that, those problems are unlikely to ever get resolved.



gogeyi
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17 Mar 2012, 11:50 pm

Aharon wrote:
Is anyone here in the spectrum married to an NT and actually fulfilling their partner's needs?


Yes. Sorry this response is so late. Just joined.

Anyways, I care for my disabled, NT husband. I'm actually the one making sacrifices. I know we don't represent a normal marriage because we're both disabled (I have disabilities on top of my AS), but I'm actually the one often left feeling unfulfilled.

It's taken a lot of hard work and serious communication, but we've gotten to an amazing point where we're very happy with our relationship. My AS used to get in the way so much on top of everything else, but once we learned I had it (my diagnosis was kept from me by my parents until I called them out on it) things improved.

I know a couple of other people with AS who have wonderful marriages.

People with AS can't be massively generalized like that (i.e. the NT spouse will always be unhappy) just like NT's can't be. It's just not accurate.

Hope you're doing well.