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Resentment in the Neurotypical Wife

Comment:

I've been married to a man with aspergers for 35 years and he has sucked the life from me. There is no cure for this condition and it will never get any better. I've grown to utterly despise him, and then, of course, hate myself for despising him because he ‘can't help it’. I know this sounds terribly resentful on my part. But my advice to all women neurotypicals married to Aspies: It does NOT get better - it gets worse! Get out early while you can have a life. You're not doing anyone any favors - your Aspie husband and not yourself. You will end up regretting not having a life. Let your Aspie husband find an Aspie wife. You find a neurotypical husband. Living with an Aspie husband is living with an abusive husband. Period. Do you want to be a victim of abuse? Get out early.

Response:

You’re right! This does sound terribly resentful on your part. But, if you’re being honest (and it sounds like you are), then you’re entitled to feel what you feel. And I’m sorry to hear that it has come to this point where you are so deeply hurt – perhaps beyond repair. So, rather than defend your Asperger’s husband, I would simply like to validate what you have said and what you have been feeling.

If you find that some people are critical of you for saying what you said here, and for feeling the way you do now, then they haven’t been through a similar challenge – they have no frame of reference and truly do not understand your pressures. They can’t imagine being in your situation. As a result, they may tend to minimize your predicament, asserting that the problem is your attitude and resentment-level rather than your husband’s "hurtful" behavior (which may very well be unintentional on his part – after all, he still has a “disorder”).

If you've repeatedly confronted your Asperger’s husband about his behavior and things haven't improved, you need to draw a line to accept that you've done as much as you possibly could to improve relations with him. There's no more thought that you need to give to the situation. Don't overanalyze your behavior or his. He may truly WANT to “change,” but may be unable to meet your needs due to his disorder. So, move on with your life and restore your sanity. Stop beating up on yourself for feeling the way you do. In this way, I believe you will be able to heal and let go of resentment.

Let me share what one neurotypical wife said about how to cope with an Asperger's husband (who at one time was feeling similar to how you feel now):

“I know EXACTLY how you feel. This is my life in a nutshell. One thing that helps me is to write my thoughts and feelings down, then have him read them. This gives me time to calm down and think about how I want to say something. Also, you need to give logical reasons for things, at least I do. For example: 

'I need you to take out the trash because I'm cooking dinner' ... 'It upsets me when you ignore me for video games because it makes me feel like you'd rather play games than be married to me. I'm asking for help because I can't do everything myself' ... 'You cook, I clean. This is our agreement' ... 'You can't be around chemicals, so you have to sweep, vacuum, and do the laundry.' 

Getting emotional usually frustrates and/or shuts my husband down. Once I learned to take a step back, breathe, and think of a reasonable argument in a calm, low tone, things got SO much better. I'm a hot-tempered Texan, so it's not 100%. Ask him what he needs. That really changed my relationship. Also, try reading "Five Love Languages". There's a quiz you can both take that will tell you your love language, which was crazy eye-opening for me and my husband.”

There's always hope. Please remember that :) 

Best of luck!

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Rules of Effective Listening: Tips for Men on the Spectrum

Being a good listener won't just make a big difference in your relationship and sex life, but in every part of your life that involves social contact. Effective listening may be the most crucial factor in keeping your relationship running smoothly.

Rules of Effective Listening: Tips for Men on the Spectrum

1. Always give your partner your undivided attention. Make sure that you're not watching the basketball game while she's trying to discuss your next weekend get-away together.

2. Don’t be judgmental. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as positive, constructive criticism.

3. Don't try to fix things. Most guys are under the misconception that they need to provide all the answers in a relationship. WRONG! Make sure your wife is involved in ALL decision-making opportunities. In this way, she will feel more loved, involved and special.

4. Help your partner along by asking questions to encourage her to open up and to clarify things for you.

5. NEVER be sarcastic. If you do, it insults your wife’s intelligence.

6. Realize that listening to women is a great man-skill to have. Most likely, no one ever told you that listening to women is an important part of "being a man," so you may have tended to discount it.

7. Remember that your one and only job while listening is to understand your partner’s experience, feelings, attitude or point of view.

8. Show your wife that you truly understand her point of view. Whether or not you agree with her, talk to her in a calm and composed manner. Don’t forget, as soon as your tone of voice goes up, so will hers. If she is shouting, then bring your voice down and she will probably do the same.

9. Try to recognize the different sets of emotions that your wife speaks with. For most wives, the feeling is usually more important than the content of a conversation.

10. Understand that listening is not the same as agreeing. Men don’t have to agree with their wives, just listen and try to understand. Women are usually more receptive to working things out and comprising when they feel understood.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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