Loneliness With An Asperger Husband

Loneliness With An Asperger Husband. With all the men in the world to marry, I ended up with a man who is on the Spectrum. Asperger syndrome, or Asperger’s, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). ASD is just that. It’s a spectrum of characteristic traits that can make their individual lives and marriages challenging. There’s nothing wrong with being on the Spectrum. I don’t like using the word “syndrome” because it pathologizes and fails to acknowledge the many great traits a person with Asperger’s possess.

I am accustomed to and fondly use the word Asperger’s in providing information to neurodiverse couples. My husband and I are a neurodiverse couple. I am the Neurotypical, NT and he has Asperger’s AS. Neurology matters in that if you don’t understand, recognize and treat the neurodiversity, you’ll never speak each other’s language to communicate or become relational.

Before we understood what we were dealing with life was very hard. My asperger husband realized I was suffering from Cassandra Syndrome aka Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome or Affective Deprivation Disorder. The curse of never being believed became a source of pain and frustration throughout Cassandra’s life. My ongoing psychological and emotional trauma was minimized or ignored when I shared what I was experiencing and feeling in my marriage as my husband is a kind and generous man. I thought I was going crazy and was losing my sense of self. Feeling alone and miserable I started acting out by hurt, anger, disappointment, resentment, and frustration. I had weekly meltdowns where poor self care hurt myself and people I love dearly. I barely recognized myself after years of marriage. I sought individual counseling and was thankful medication managed my anxiety and mild depressive symptoms. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist I am not immuned to the pain and struggles of relationships. I believe in putting in the effort to save a marriage and in maintaining it.

Loneliness With An Asperger Husband

If there is one word that describes the reaction of a family member to the diagnosis of autism in someone you love, that word is loneliness. Loneliness is disconnection when connection is desired. It is different from the solitude of choosing to be alone. It is a frustrating state related to not being seen, heard or understood. Women talk to me about their loneliness. They talk about the deep awareness that the intimate connection they sought when they married has not only not come to be, but is not possible. This existential shock is met with grief and loss as these women love their husbands but feel the sense of isolation from them knowing they will not have the relationship they expected. The Asperger husband also feels a sense of loneliness. One main difference between the NT and AS lies in the realm of understanding the implicit emotional and cognitive experience of another person. The ability to show empathy and validate another person’s perspective is limited with the AS and is a crucial in feeling emotionally connected.

 

Managing the feeling of disconnection and loneliness is possible. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Don’t put all the blame solely on your husband
  • Learn as much as you can about Asperger’s
  • Reframe your husband’s behavior so you put a positive spin on it and don’t take things personally
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Be very explicit about what you need and want – telling him what that behavior looks like for you is very helpful to Asperger husbands
  • Talk about how you would like to connect with each other – go for a walk; watch a show on television; listen to music, etc
  • Talk about weekend expectations – if he’s up for it great; if not, go on and do them without him
  • Have a supportive group of friends you can see monthly
  • Treat yourself to a “self-care” day
  • Don’t neglect your passion – if you don’t have one….find one!

As a Marriage and Family Therapist and wife of an Asperger husband who has managed the feelings of loneliness, I share my insight, positive attitude and strategies for successful relationships. As a Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor, I specialize in working with couples where one partner has Asperger’s, AS and the other is Neurotypical, NT. Together they learn to accept each other’s different approaches to life and find ways to overcome their problems and misunderstandings.

For more information on overcoming loneliness with your Asperger husband please call me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s? I’ve been married to my husband for over twenty years. From the beginning I thought he might be on the Spectrum as he displayed and exercised some odd behavior that negatively affected our interaction. We are all on the Autism Spectrum to some degree but those who suffer from the syndrome show signs of severe debilitation which affect social interaction, behavior and communication. What exactly is Asperger’s? Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder, characterized as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). There’s nothing wrong with being on the Spectrum. I don’t like using the word “syndrome” because it pathologizes and fails to acknowledge the many great traits a person with Asperger’s possess.

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

People with Asperger’s, affectionately known as Aspies, are high functioning, have no problem with basic speech, are quite capable and highly intelligent.

Common traits of Asperger’s include:

  • Not being thoughtful – despite any ill intent, the impact may appear rude or callous
  • Have memory problems – forgetful
  • Have a lack of theory of mind (Mindblindness) – incapable of putting themselves into someone else’s shoes – cannot conceptualize, understand or predict knowledge, thoughts, and beliefs, emotions feeling and desires, behavior, actions, and intentions of another person
  • Little self-awareness
  • Time management problems – lose track of time as they can become involved in restricted or special interests
  • Have a narrow range of interests – hyper-focused on one (often very specific) hobby
  • Show little to no empathy

  • Have sensory problems – sensitive to light, loud sound, skin to some clothing, smell and taste sensitivities
  • Repetitive behaviors – they like routine, have little tolerance for change, inflexible
  • Struggle for small talk
  • Limited relational skills
  • Conversations can be one-sided
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Have awkward moments and mannerisms
  • Little eye contact
  • Childlike (naive) behavior when initiating sex

As a Marriage Counselor married to a husband with Asperger’s, I work with Neurodiverse Couples (a couple where one partner has Asperger’s; AS and the other does not, referred to as the Neurotypical; NT) to help them recognize, understand and treat focusing on problem-solving, developing coping strategies, acquiring relational and communication skills to put a system in place that works for both.

My husband is a kind, generous and intelligent man. I didn’t want to leave the relationship so I educated myself on Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s) and acquired coping skills to manage the emotions that come from living with a partner who has limited relational skills. I’m a very social, loud, and outgoing person. My extrovert personality is a strength that became damaged as I was suffering from Cassandra Syndrome. Feelings that led to losing my sense of self. As traditional marriage counseling is ineffective, I empowered myself by becoming certified through the Asperger’s/Autism Network (AANE) as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor. I see couples through a neurodiverse lens helping them to recognize, understand and put systems in place for effective communication, as well as feeling more emotionally connected.

For more information on Asperger’s and whether or not your husband may have it, please call me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s? Being married to a man with Asperger’s has its challenges. But, like anything else, there are strengths and weaknesses to every relationship. I’ve been married for over 20 years. The first 13 years were frustrating to say the least and I felt alone most of the time. My husband is a kind and generous man so I wondered why he could look and act like a jerk. There were times when he seemed thoughtless and showed no consideration or regard to my existence. Being a strong and confident person I developed Cassandra Syndrome aka Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome where I lost my sense of self. Not being seen or heard left me a shell of a person. My best seller on Amazon. “Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship”

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

I cried a lot, had major meltdowns where I ordered him out of the house and threatened divorce on a monthly basis. Of course, I never wanted a divorce or for him to leave. It was the fight/flight mode where being exhausted from fighting one fantasizes leaving. An acting out way of displaying emotions that most certainly undermines relationships. As the years went by the clinician in me, and my strong gut feeling said there is definitely something going on with his odd behavior.

We went to marriage counseling where we found no relief. As there were little resources to help Neurodiverse couples such as ourselves, I became Certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor through the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) to help those who are truly suffering in their relationships. Your Asperger husband wants to meet your needs and make you happy, but needs the tools to do so.

Here’s a checklist to see if your husband may have Asperger’s:

  • Conversations are fact based and more transactional than relational – doesn’t feel personal
  • Awkwardness in social situations you used to think was shyness but now appear strange
  • Memory problems
  • Time management issues
  • When it comes to sex he initiates in a childlike manner where it appears and feels awkward
  • Not able to show empathy
  • Incapable of validating your perspective
  • Seems thoughtless where the lack of consideration and regard for you can make you feel as though he doesn’t have your back
  • Family and friends say his behavior is odd and may not take a liking to him or they think he does not like them
  • Not able to console; lacks compassion
  • Has special interests like computers, astronomy, cars, etc.
  • Sensitivity to loud sounds, light, crowds, and certain types of clothing
  • Can appear selfish and/or Narcissistic

As it is a Spectrum the combination of characteristics will vary from one individual to the next. Typically, adults with Asperger’s feel a sense of relief once they receive a diagnosis. Because it is a Spectrum I don’t like placing a label as much as I want to help them acquire tools for communication and becoming more relational. My husband felt that sense of relief with his undiagnosed Asperger’s. It made a lot of sense and was the turning point in our marriage for moving forward.

I appreciate the ability to recognize, understand and treat Asperger’s as it pertains to relationships. I help couples put systems in place, acquire the necessary tools to be able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what you need and want. I always loved my husband but now I can say I actually like him again.

For more information on developing a functional and harmonious relationship please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or at my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling With My Asperger Husband

Traveling With My Asperger Husband. Asperger’s is now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but for my writing purposes I continue to use the former. Living with an Asperger husband isn’t easy. So can you imagine what travelling with him is like on vacation? I’ve been married for over 20 years. I didn’t know my husband was on the Spectrum until about 13 years into our marriage. My husband is a kind and gentle man. He is intelligent and can be hyperfocused in what interests him. I had been divorced for seven years and was a single mom to my then 10 year-old daughter when I met my husband. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have training and experience in understanding human behavior. He is a computer program developer so his “nerdy” disposition and odd behavior seemed normal, as well as cute when I first met him.

Bali

My husband and I have traveled all over the world. We’ve been to six of the seven Continents and hope to visit Antarctica sooner rather than later. We’ve been to some exotic places that some people only fantasize about going to. So you can imagine I was feeling fortunate and elated when we went to some of the wonders of the world. These vacations and destinations I share are during the days I didn’t realize my husband was on the Spectrum. There are characteristics of Asperger’s that made travelling challenging.

Traveling With My Asperger Husband

Thailand

I develop our trips which include making all the plans. From airlines, hotels, food, scheduling, etc. So while on holiday I expect ease and enjoyment. I also expect my husband to exercise some kind of help if not through male chivalry. I noticed when checking into the airport and retrieving our baggage, he left the heavy lifting to me. I not only carried my own luggage but had to make sure his bags were securely removed from the baggage carousel. I also noticed he would let our daughter get her own bags, as well. We then would proceed to getting transport to our hotel. Again, I noticed he didn’t take the lead on procuring a taxi or find out where the shuttle bus is located. After about several trips like this I became frustrated and angry. I wouldn’t bring it to his attention because I thought common sense guided that process to help out.

Peru Amazon

The airport situation pretty much set the tone for the vacation. Of course, there were nice times, but I can truly say most of the time was confusing and frustrating. I became resentful. He seemed grouchy and non interactive when he was out of his normal routine and environment. He acted curt with wait staff and would become frustrated and irritable when sightseeing. I could tell something was wrong but never addressed my observations with him. Due to his sensitivity to bright light eating out doors under the sun was not a nice experience. Again, because I didn’t know what was happening I thought he didn’t like or want to eat outdoors. He’s not a picnic type of guy so I thought as much.

I’d make up my own narratives about what could be going on and say things to myself like, “I wish he’d stayed home,” “he’s lucky to be on such a great trip,” and “what the f**k!”

Traveling With My Asperger Husband

Peru Machu Picchu

An incident happened in Bali where I became enraged on our way home as I was fearful of being in a developing Country during a layover. I had purchased some wine for my father to thank him for house sitting. I purchased it through Duty Free and had my husband hold the bag for me while going through security. The security agent asked him what’s in the bag and he told them dinner wine. The security guard motioned him to an area where he appeared lost to the rest of us for about 30 minutes. My husband immediately followed the guards directive without even looking at me to see what was happening. We almost missed our connecting flight. He had to throw out the wine despite my following duty free instructions. The point of this story is my Asperger husband and his tunnel vision. It creates much chaos and havoc to me, the Neurotypical partner. I would have assessed the situation and explained to the guard of the duty free process from Bali to Taiwan and the situation could have been managed with less anxiety for all parties. When I tried to talk to my husband about it he blew it off as he said he was following the directive given to him. He offered no show of empathy or validating my ability to have managed the situation a little easier.

Fiji

I am fortunate to have a partner who is up for traveling to exotic places. I appreciate that he tries to accommodate. I also appreciate that it is difficult for him in making changes to his routine. He is a sport about eating indigenous food. I will say we have a wonderful time. There are snags that come up whether you are in a neurotypical relationship or not.

Tips to manage our traveling include:

  • Develop vacation plans together
  • Be explicit with what is wanted/needed
  • Talk about what the expectations are for the holiday
  • Make a schedule for the days on holiday and what the activities are for that day
  • Develop a list of what you want to do and what your husband wants to do
  • If you are with family everyone can benefit from utilizing these tips
  • Express thoughts and feelings sooner rather than later
  • Find time at the end of the day to review the day and talk about expectations for the next day
  • Carve out alone time so each can recharge one’s energy

Australia Uluru outback

For more information about traveling with your Asperger husband please contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or call (858) 735-1139

 

Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

“From early childhood, people with Asperger’s syndrome are less likely to recognize and understand thoughts, beliefs, desires and intentions of other people in order to make sense of their behavior,” writes Tony Attwood. My husband is happy to do any job which needs doing. He runs errands, does household chores, repairs anything broken, assists our children or dog after an accident or brief illness. But when I slipped during a hike and fell to the ground and scrapped my knee, all he did was look at me and said, “you’d better get an alcohol wipe and band aid up that cut.” He made no attempt to comfort or help me.” I thought he was insensitive because if he was the one who got hurt I’d be showing him some empathy saying, “that scrape looked like it hurt.” There’s another time our dog got bit by a rattlesnake and the Vet said he might not make it. I cried like a baby in the examining room. My husband just sat there and looked at me. Didn’t come toward me to comfort me. I vividly remember shaking and hyperventilating I was crying so hard. Thank goodness my dog made it, but that was a most disturbing memory. He showed he cared by paying the $5,000 hospital bill. Again, as generous as that was, I could have used a hug and a kiss.  Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married.

Tips to help stay married to an Asperger husband:

  • Pursue a diagnosis; even if the diagnosis is not formal
  • Understand how AS impacts the individual
  • Manage depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Self-exploration and self-awareness
  • Create a Relationship Schedule
  • Meet each other’s sexual needs
  • Bridge parallel play
  • Cope with sensory overload and meltdowns
  • Expand Theory of Mind – limited ability to “read” another person’s thoughts, feelings, or intentions
  • Improve communication
  • Manage expectations and suspending judgment
  • Co-parenting strategies;

Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

A skilled counselor, can help implement the suggested tips to able to gain awareness of the AS and NT’s own individual patterns of behavior, and learn how they can make both attitudinal and behavioral adjustments to become more relational with one another. A counselor can also facilitate conversations, and help both partners learn to be more relational. With acquiring tools for better communication, implementing a process utilizing the tools, and putting a system in place the couple will be able to connect emotionally, and problem-solve around sensory integration issues, meltdowns, and co-morbid conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Being in a neurodiverse relationship myself, I know first hand how difficult it can be to get the life you want given the situation at hand. Nothing changes if nothing changes. With any challenge if changes aren’t made to adjust and manage them there is poor prognosis for a long and happy life together.

For more information on managing your neurodiverse relationship, understanding Asperger’s and how it plays out in a relationship, or managing Cassandra Syndrome please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com