My husband has Asperger’s. It’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to start this blog. He has no empathy and cannot be an emotional support for me, so I’m sharing my emotions with the world wide web.
We didn’t know he had Asperger’s until after we were married and our son was about four. It made total sense. When our son cried, my husband told him to stop it, instead of comforting him. They couldn’t just play on the floor – it had to be structured play. On the positive side, my husband was obsessed with making sure the house was safe for a child.
At work, he is a genius and does his job very well. However, if there is a coworker he doesn’t understand or like, he quits his job. When he was going to college, he hopped to four different colleges because either the instructor was not teaching the way he thought was acceptable or his 4.0 GPA was at risk.
Within our marriage, we had rules which I didn’t always understand why they were so important to him and why I would get reprimanded if I broke them. For example, we aren’t allowed to fight. He has a tendency to get mad quickly and avoiding conflict was a way to keep everyone safe (we have never had a physical safety issue). The problem is that my family always argued and bickered so I didn’t understand how to express myself all the time without the emotion.
The dishwasher has to be loaded his way. When we do a project together, it’s his way. When we bought a house, we bought the one he wanted. When we spend money, it’s on things he deems important. We don’t go the beach because he doesn’t like the heat or sun. We have to have the type of dog he wants, or else he becomes allergic (even with the allergy shots.) He doesn’t walk with me because his knees hurt (unless we’re walking somewhere he wants to be at.)
I basically do things the way he wants them done to avoid conflict because his way is always right. Truthfully, his way usually is the most logical way, but sometimes I want things done my way. Speaking of logic, all of my emotions and feelings are illogical and therefor don’t matter and are dismissed. That’s always fun when I am crying to plead my position in hopes that he will understand, but he doesn’t.
Let’s not forget the hyper-focusing. My husband currently has two mistresses – Zelda and Ark. When he finds a video game that he wants to conquer, nothing else matters. He will even take vacation days to play even though he tells me he can’t take time off when I need family stuff taken care of.
We’re on our fourth marriage counselor in twelve years. The second one empathized with my distraught in being in a marriage with someone who couldn’t comfort me. The third one told us to get a divorce. The current one is working on helping us have conflict safely. I feel so suppressed right now, I have to be able to disagree with my husband, and I need him to accept things that I say and feel, even if they are illogical to him.
The one thing that keeps me in the relationship is that I know he loves me. Sometime when we argue, that isn’t always clear, but I know in his heart, he loves me. So how do I love someone who can’t give me what I need in a relationship? I want a husband who will hold me when I cry. Someone who can read body language and take social cues without jumping to the conclusion that I’m mad at him. Someone who can understand that when I yell when I am crying, it is an emotional response and not my attempt to be mean to him.
We had an argument just last night. I was crying because I was sad about how I feel about my life right now at home and at work. He came in and tried to comfort me, but I asked him to leave because he was one of the reasons why I was crying, but I couldn’t make him understand that. Then he started to yell at me and when I defended myself and told him he had no right to yell at me because I was crying, he called me names and stood there like I was a raving lunatic. All along, I was sitting there knowing that my emotions were making him uncomfortable and his reaction was the Asperger’s, so how could I blame him for his words? Does that invalidate my emotions about it? I feel like I’m not allowed to be sad because it upsets my husband, but then that means everything is about him, and nothing is about me.
They say people with Asperger’s spouses are very lonely people. That is the truth. I am lonely because I am alone in my feelings. I am lonely because no one I know can talk with me about this. I am lonely because he does what he wants, and I watch TV.
I know he tries. After an argument, he tries to make amends. He does weekend chores before he plays video games for hours. He empties the dishwasher before I get home. He’s coached years of youth sports in an attempt to spend time with our son. He works hard to give us a good life and he comes home every night.
I am sure I will post a lot more about life with an Asperger’s husband, but I wanted to get started with this post because the argument last night had weighed on me and I wanted to get it out so I could sleep tonight and hopefully be more cheerful and delightful at work tomorrow.