Good morning friends,

If time permits, please tune in Tuesday, February 6, and Wednesday, February 7th for a re-airing of my interview with Focus on the Family’s broadcast Finding Freedom from Destructive Relationships. Below are links to the broadcasts if you miss them on the radio.

 

Wed 2/6 Part One

Thurs 2/7 Part Two

 

I need prayer. Lots of it. In the next month have more on my plate than I can do well. Please pray that God gives me the strength to do what I’m supposed to do and let go of the rest. Pray that I have creative energy to write and edit what is due. I’m really feeling the pressure of all of it lately.

A few weeks ago I received flurry of responses to the reader’s question on whether there is hope for a narcissistic spouse to change. After that one of our readers asked a similar question for her husband who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Today's Question: My husband and I have been married 10 years with 2 small children. We’ve never had a good marriage and it’s only getting worse in spite of years of marriage counseling. Recently our counselor suggested he be tested for Asperger’s Syndrome and it turns out that he has it. I am feeling rather hopeless with all I read. I doubt that we will ever be able to have a normal marriage. Do I stay and keep trying or do I leave before my children are negatively affected?

Answer: First, before I answer your question let me define, or better describe Asperger’s Syndrome for those reading who may not know what it is. Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder along the autism spectrum in which an individual may be very high functioning and intelligent but lacks in social awareness and processing. The brain of a person with Asperger’s works differently than someone without it, especially how it processes language and social cues. He or she processes language literally and thus often misses or misinterprets what someone is saying. His focus is in the details of something and he has trouble connecting the dots to gain the big picture.

Individuals with Asperger’s lack social awareness and aren’t able to pick up on people’s non- verbal cues or intentions. For example, most non-Asperger or neuro-typical individuals (NT as they are referred to) would clue in when someone they were talking to was bored or disinterested. A person with Asperger’s would not. Asperger’s individuals have a difficult time perceiving people’s intentions, needs, feelings, or motivations and therefore often respond inappropriately in social situations. They like routine, and have trouble managing their own emotions appropriately; especially when something unexpected happens or they are under stress. Describing or labeling their feelings can become a challenge for them.

Because a person with Asperger’s syndrome has a hard time being aware of other people’s needs or feelings, he can be seen as selfish and uncaring. He often has problems managing anger and can appear rude, insensitive, and indifferent although he is usually shocked when someone accuses him of this because from his point of view he does care. He just can’t see where what he is lacking. He is neurologically unable to see things from another person’s point of view. His brain speaks a different language than a NT (Neuro-typical) person’s brain does.

Being married to someone with Asperger’s syndrome presents challenges and opportunities. So does being married to someone with cancer, muscular sclerosis, blindness, bi-polar, or a host of other difficulties. Therefore, it’s important for us to remember that all successful marriages take hard work. No individual, no matter how talented, intelligent, or spiritual, has all 52 cards in their deck. Therefore, all marriages require that we learn some fundamental lessons about acceptance, forbearance, tolerance, forgiveness, love, sacrifice, and speaking the truth in love where necessary. Otherwise, Asperger’s or not, the marriage will not thrive.

For you, the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome must come as a relief after so many years of no progress in your counseling together. You and your husband have had 10 years of misinterpreting each other’s behaviors and motives. Perhaps you’ve seen him as selfish and uncaring. He’s seen you as critical and invasive. Those perceptions are tough to undue once they’re locked into place. Now you have a different paradigm in which to understand each other but the difficulties of communicating clearly remain.

Your biggest challenge as to whether or not you and your husband can make your marriage work will not be the Asperger’s diagnosis itself but what your husband does with it. Will he use it as an excuse to continue to hurt you and your marriage? Will he go into denial, refusing to admit that there is anything different about his thinking processes or his social responses? Or, will he be willing to learn all he can about how this syndrome has resulted in differences and deficiencies and is he willing to work with professionals who have expertise in helping individuals and couples with this problem so that the two of you can develop a healthier, happier relationship?

You too have some work to do if you want to move forward in a positive way from this point. Many people who discover that their spouse has Asperger’s Syndrome feel gypped and deprived of a full functioning partner. They will have to grieve some losses and let go of their desire for the deep emotional connection they longed for. However, some people with non-Asperger’s spouses also feel that loss or never have that connection either.

Your husband will continue to struggle to “get” you and you will probably feel that you’re working harder than he is to make the marriage work. Again, I’m quite sure that women who are married to men who do not have Asperger’s feel the same way at times. But in any marriage, but especially one with special problems, your anchor must always be in God, not your husband, not your marriage or your own happiness. If you can trust God through this, then you will grow and thrive through this season, even if your marriage doesn’t.

Recently a new book came out written by a husband who was diagnosed with Asperger’s and wanted to do all he could do to win his wife back. It’s called, The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch. Another resource for you is A Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood.

For those who might be wondering if they or their spouse might have Asperger’s syndrome, there is a free test for it at www.aspergerstestsite.com

Friends, those of you living with an Asperger’s spouse, what do you do to cope? What resources have you found helpful? What encouragement can you give this woman?

41 Comments

  1. Martha on February 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Any woman struggling with the challenges of being married to an Asperger’s Syndrome person could benefit from Sally Watkin’s book, Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      I think that this information on one spouse doing most of the changing is false, as both spouses need to change in a relationship despite the weakness. If your spouse with aspergers was cognitively aware enough to enter into a marriage (which most are), then he or she can make changes. I read an interesting blog by a woman who has a spouse with Aspergers, and she believes that ODD is at the heart of Aspergers. There may be some brain differences, but she noted that many individuals not only have difficulty seeing others’ perspectives, but when they are shown these differences, still refuse to understand the others’s perspective. Second, this is an aspect of Asperger’s that I am not buying-LACK OF ABILITY TO EMPATHIZE. The characteristic of empathy is God-given and every person can cultivate empathy. Empathy is part of being human. Since people with AS are human they can learn empathy. There is no excuse for not developing empathy. At the end of the day, every person should put effort forth in a marriage-otherwise Asperger’s or not, or YOU DON”T HAVE A RIGHT TO ENTER INTO A MARRIAGE. THE SPOUSE WITHOUT AS SHOULDN”T BE DOING 90% of the work. NO MORE EXCUSES> IT IS EASY FOR PEOPLE WHO DON”T HAVE SPOUSES WITH AS TO SAY THAT THE SPOUSE WITHOUT AS SHOULD OPERATE AS MORE OF A CARETAKER> IT NEEDS TO BE AN EQUAL PARTNERSHIP> PEOPLE WHO DO NOT WANT TO HAVE AN EQUAL PARTNERSHIP ARE BEING DECEPTIVE. ALSO MANY PEOPLE WITH AS MAKE MORE OF AN EFFORT BEFORE MARRIAGE SHOWING THAT THEY DO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING> REMEMBER THESE INDIVIDUALS DO NOT HAVE CLASSICAL AUTISM AND IT A SHAME THAT AS IS NOW INCLUDED IN ASD SPECTRUM> YES AS IS A DISORDER WE NEED TO STOP ENABLING>

  2. Rhonda Spellman on February 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Leslie,

    This is an absolutely awesome response! I have been married to my husband for 17 years. When our 13-year-old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome several years ago it was obvious (more of a confirmation) that my husband also has Asperger’s Syndrome.

    We have been through marriage counseling three times and he is currently in counseling for anger management. The boys (13 and 11) probably have permanent issues due to their father’s anger and inconsistent behavior.

    But, like you said, it is through faith in God that we are still together. He isn’t a bad man, he’s just a confused man. Is it worth it? I have to look at the glass being more than half full and do my best to keep things as routine as possible.

    It’s tough – to say the least – but changing my focus from “his issues” to “our family” has been key. I hope and pray that she will be able to do the same.

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      Realize that your man can change if he is willing to humble himself before the Lord Jesus, and ask him to heal the aspects of AS that are destructive in a marriage. The most destructive characteristic being Oppositional Defiant Disorder-whether it is overtly intentional or by default. Either way the effect is the same on the spouse without ODD and/or Asperger’s. Everyone has ODD in varying degrees because of Garden of Eden and man’s rebellion; however, it really becomes a problem when it impacts healthy relationships negatively and makes people physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ill. People dealing with these problems, ODD, Asperger’s, etc. often will get sick because it is beyond exhausting and this is not God’s will. Pray for release in Jesus Christ’s name. Like Leslie Vernick says in her book about emotionally destructive marriages, we are still individuals and we have to guard against going insane. Not from Leslie Vernick’s book-Asperger spouses are in emotionally destructive relationships even if the intent by the spouse with AS is different-the effect is still the same.

  3. NT Wife on February 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Dear Rhonda,
    That’s a great testimony…we are currently getting our daughter (almost 3) tested.. can you please elaborate what you meant about your boys having permanent issues due to dad’s anger? My husband is also very explosive and I am weighing whether it is better to stay or leave. I agree about what you wrote about focus. Some things I have done is to set up goals at the start of my year. Last year, I decided to get my Master’s degree online. I had to stay up late to finish homework, while my daughter slept (plus I was pregnant at the time and had to finish my action research right after our son was born!) It was tough doing, as my husband was not very supportive. But it made me feel good about myself and good to accomplish something I wanted to.

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Not surprising since many men with AS are not emotionally supportive. They need to learn to be! Yes, we are to do our parts to be compassionate, yet we cannot just put up with anything and everything…and sometimes we need to separate from people with AS. Amazingly, many do not learn even when there is a separation! Since God wants marriage, ask him to heal your husband and/or help you heal with boundaries in place. So tired of excuses being made for people with AS without any real help for the spouses of people with AS. Even women with AS have difficulty in relationships with men with AS. Each person has to have the humility to change. Anything short of this is not FAIR!

  4. Jodi on February 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    We found out in July 2012 that my husband of 32 years has Aspergers. I was very sad when I realized that we won’t have some of the things that I had hoped we would. But, we are in counselling and he acknowledges that he has Aspergers. I believe it has helped me to let go of a number of things that I thought were odd and didn’t understand. Now I see them as how he loves and cares. We are learning how to understand each other.
    I believe one of the most difficult times is when raising children. The additional members to the household and the changes that children have as they grow creates anxiety when the person with Aspergers needs routine and little change.
    The NT, will need a lot of support and care as they learn to understand the Aspergers spouse and the impact it has on everyone; family, relatives and friends. The Aspergers spouse will hopefully seek personal counselling so that they are able to understand the impact of how they think on others, especially their children.
    No family is perfect, God is there for everyone as they process the issues that are caused by the family of origin.

    • Jody on March 7, 2013 at 6:32 am

      Would a person with Aspergers also have boundary issues with not knowing what is appropriate in the area of touch, possibly appearing to stalk or hover. There has never been a diagnosis, but he thinks he is a labrador, not knowing when to say no. He has been acused of inappropriate behavior with a child, but excuses it, shifts blame, mostly to the child, an adult now. He was not held accountable due to statue of limitations at the time. As a wife, and church, we have tried to set boundaries for him, but he refuses the need to because there is no intent on his part, which he says was also true with the child, who is my brother. My brother is in a same sex relationship now but says he felt different from around age 5, but as a family, we were not aware of this. He is quite a bit younger than I and was in our home when some of the abuse happened. This has taken a tole on our family and even in our church family as he refuses to set or abide by boundaries. As his wife, I do not believe anything would ever happen again, but he believes it is slanderous for me to say we would need to inform each of our children’s spouses briefly so that they were aware of the accusation. I believe he has narsistic tendencies, also. I would value your input as well as advice as to how to handle this situation.

      • Leslie Vernick on March 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm

        I believe you should tell your children’s spouses so that they can take measures to keep their children safe. Whether he has intent or not, the damage is the same. But I think Jerry Sandusky claimed the same thing, “I am just fooling around” with young boys on his sports teams and he was convicted of child sexual abuse. This is not a matter to be taken lightly nor ignored. All child molesters say they won’t do it again. Do not ever leave your grandchildren alone with him. If he refuses to abide by boundaries he is untrustworthy and children should not be in his care or alone with him period.

  5. Jody on March 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you for your response. Should he ever fully accept the allegation, and display a genuine repentant heart, should he still have boundaries with children? I cannot be with him everywhere he goes and he has recently volunteered to be a guest speaker in another school on insurance/military information and also has inquired to do this at our children’s school. This is where it gets touchy because we are holding him to a legal standard in which he didn’t receive legal consequences due to statute of limitations. He served 20 years in the military and says that the reason the abuse didn’t seem wrong to him is because he had recently been to boot camp in which modesty was loose. I constantly have to remind him the difference between many 20 year olds and a 33 year old and a 14 year old. I have many questions and concerns as you can tell, sorry.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      SHould he express remorse and/or admit what he did and repent that is still not enough to leave him alone in the company of children. Many people regret behaviors or wish they didn’t do them again and they still do them again. Addicts are one. Sexual molesters are another. Even if your husband repents, if you allow him alone with young children you are knowingly putting these children at risk if you do not tell someone so that the children are protected. Certainly you cannot be everywhere your husband goes, however, if he intentionally goes places where there are children then I think you have an obligation to tell your husband that he puts you in a sitaution where you will need to disclose to the people there that he has this history. Otherwise, how would you feel if he did it again? I know you’d like to believe that’s not possible but that’s what they all say.

  6. Ashley on April 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    This is a wonderful article. My husband has AS, and while I’m not exactly neuro-typical (NT) myself, it has been a hard road. I’m trying to understand why he doesn’t understand, and he’s trying to understand why his best isn’t enough. I’m so thankful for all the resources, like yours, that I have found on our path to understanding each other. Things are getting better, but it’s a journey for sure.

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      I can empathize with you. The best emotion that I can conjure up to explain my marriage is confusion. Yes, I have loved him deeply, but not in love because of the barriers he put up with communication. I may have violated his trust by confiding in family about different issues, but he still never really opened up when we were dating, engaged, and in the early years of our marriage. He has emotions but does not express them when I NEED HIM TO-only when he needs to or when it is something that he enjoys. Thankfully, he can show emotions with the kids appropriately enough-though it could be better. With me, we are almost always out of sync, and can’t form a real bond, no matter what I have tried or he has even tried at one point or another. The problem is that he is not consistent and so it has messed with my capacity to go further with him. I started to open up with and feel comfortable with a man at church, that would have been a type of individual that I could have developed something with had I met someone like him before I got married and had I been more sure of myself and with it myself. For different reasons I am in an unhealthy marriage and even if I grow in Christ, I cannot see this ever changing. I don’t know if the Lord is just jealous for me, or if it is a combination of marrying someone I wasn’t in love with in the first place, but who yet, felt more than a friend and someone I had to have in my life daily. I knew that I wasn’t in love with him enough to have a healthy relationship + his lack of communication, yet I had to have him in my life more than a friend, and the only godly way to do this was to marry. I thought God brought him into my life because I was supposed to marry him, but I don’t know if it would have mattered to God either way. I do believe that it was meant to be that I had my two wonderful children, but I don’t feel a real bond with my husband

  7. Danielle on April 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

    My husband was diagnosed with Asperger’s about 6 months after we got married. We have now been married for almost 4 years, and it has been awful. He was also abused as a child and during our first year of marriage specifically, he was verbally and emotionally abusive (yelling, calling me names, telling me that my body was his now that we were married, playing video games for 6-8 hrs a day and not speaking to me, not allowing me to talk to my family, telling me that I was the only one hurting so why should he go to counseling…). I don’t think I’ve ever really been able to get past our first year. He has gotten a little better, but we recently had our first child and I’m afraid of what his impact could be on her. I recently left and moved in with my parents with my daughter. He has been an angry, raging mess…insists that we come home and so far hasn’t been to any counseling to deal with it. He has realized that he needs to work on his walk with God, but that hasn’t changed the anger. I am a Christian and have never believed in divorce, but I don’t think that I am strong enough to do this for years and am so afraid for the effect on my daughter. He really doesn’t see that Asperger’s plays into any of our issues and honestly believes that I am a crazy person. How do you decide to leave? I don’t want to be a single mom…I have been at home with my daughter since she was born and have always wanted that for my children…I would probably have to give that up if I left…The whole thing is just heartbreaking. Advice?

    • Leslie Vernick on April 10, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Danielle, as long as he’s in denial about how his condition affects his ability to handle his emotions and relate to people he will blame you for everything. But meanwhile get the help you need to either cope with this Asperger’s in a wise way or continue to be separate, stating what you need if he wants you to return to the marriage. If he chooses not to do so, then you’ll have to decide what your next step is. No one wants to be a single parent if they can help it. But you’ll have to pray about what is more harmful to your daughter, living apart from her dad or living with him raging all the time. Tough choices and there is no right or good answer for every sitaution.

  8. Danielle on April 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I should also add that I have read two of your books and see that I have also started to fall into his same patterns with him in how I react to him, which really scares me. I don’t want to have that reaction and I know that isn’t who I am or who God wants me to be. I’m struggling with how to not just react when he won’t let things go and can never see anything from anyone else’s perspective, continuing to badger until someone comes to his point of view.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Danielle, you are wise to recognize that this whole thing is having a toxic effect on you. If he won’t get help, go yourself and get help. Be kind, loving yet firm with your husband that you don’t want to be badgered and then leave the room. If he escalates, leave the house or call the police. There is no easy answer here. Every turn you take will have consequences both for you and your child. You’ll have to figure out which is worse, staying home with your daughter and subjecting everyone to this, or putting her in daycare while you work and having peace at home. But if you choose to stay, I’d be very cautious about your decision whether or not to have more children. It will only make everything much much harder. I know that’s hard to hear, but it is the truth.

  9. Children with Aspergers news on April 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm

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  10. Julie on May 29, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Thank you Leslie, for your caring understanding and informative response to the question.
    I have been married for nearly 30 years and finally realised at yr 27 that he has Asperger’s syndrome, it was a revelation, after so long struggling to make the marriage work, mostly singlehandedly, that it was not my fault or his but the AS!
    I am extremely grateful that my husband is accepting of the AS and that he tries to learn more about how it affects him and I in turn work hard to understand his way of thinking. We have our adult daughter who has high needs autism so I do know a lot about AS already.
    Our relationship is very different from most, however we do love each other and are working on making changes from years of destructive patterns that must change. I think the fundamental shift for me has been that I must take care of myself emotionally physically and spiritually.
    This is a priority for me so that our marriage continues.
    I write a blog which focuses on helping women in relationships with partners with AS found at http://thefastforwardcoach.com
    Love to share info!
    Best wishes
    Julie’s

    • Leslie Vernick on May 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks Julie for your response and letting us know of your blog for AS wives.

  11. Tammy Wertz on August 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I am reaching out for the first time on this topic. Researching, reading everything I can about AS. I have been dating a man for 3 years that I believe has AS. He is 53, never married, awkward in situations out of his professional surrounding. He is very successful, a loving/wonderful man but used to hurt me but his ” lack of”. I had a friend tell me that after meeting him he reminds her of her friends husband that was diagnosed with AS. After watching videos, and reading a lot, I would place a 98% chance that my wonderful man has AS. I need to understand this more not only to better understand him, but to understand what I will be facing moving forward with the relationship. I love this man like have not before, never met a man so honest, integrity, kind, and respectful in my life! It used to hurt me that he never kissed me ( twice ever), did not get hints, seemed so neutral most of the time, and would harley ever enter my world of friends, and at 1st seemed blank around my 10 son. Over 3 years I’ve seen him step a bit out of his work comfort zone, I’ve learned to tell him how I’m feeling and he try’sto show feeling’s, and just recently, realize that at his work functions him saying something ( topic of a past girlfriend or?) is him just trying to engage in a “normal” ( as he calls things outside of work) conversation. This man is a non selfish, caring, hand holding, door opening man that is loving someone that loves him back. The more I understand this, the more I will be able to him and myself.
    I need all the help I can get….

    Tammy

  12. Tammy Wertz on August 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I am reaching out for the first time on this topic. Researching, reading everything I can about AS. I have been dating a man for 3 years that I believe has AS. He is 53, never married, awkward in situations out of his professional surrounding. He is very successful, a loving/wonderful man but used to hurt me but his ” lack of”. I had a friend tell me that after meeting him he reminds her of her friends husband that was diagnosed with AS. After watching videos, and reading a lot, I would place a 98% chance that my wonderful man has AS. I need to understand this more not only to better understand him, but to understand what I will be facing moving forward with the relationship. I love this man like have not before, never met a man so honest, integrity, kind, and respectful in my life! It used to hurt me that he never kissed me ( twice ever), did not get hints, seemed so neutral most of the time, and would harley ever enter my world of friends, and at 1st seemed blank around my 10 son. Over 3 years I’ve seen him step a bit out of his work comfort zone, I’ve learned to tell him how I’m feeling and he try’sto show feeling’s, and just recently, realize that at his work functions him saying something ( topic of a past girlfriend or?) is him just trying to engage in a “normal” ( as he calls things outside of work) conversation. This man is a non selfish, caring, hand holding, door opening man that is loving someone that loves him back. The more I understand this, the more I will be able to him and myself.
    I need all the help I can get.

    Tammy

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      I would recommend not to marry him if he is not a strong Christian man who humbly wants to change for the marriage in major ways. If not, find someone else who will be a real partner to you. I know this comes late, and may be too late.

  13. Kristi on August 27, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Married for 8 years next month , discovered the Aspergers 8 months ago . At first it was such a huge relief to know that I really wasn’t crazy , then came the grief of realizing things would NEVER be what I had hoped . Then came a few months of ignoring the problem because I has some other very big issues to deal with involving an accident/ injury with one of my children . But now for the last few months it has been back to reality .
    Over this time I have read so many books and articles on the subject and it has been a true healing process for me. All of this helping me to forgive and have an entirely new perspective on all the deeply wounding situations that have been a constant bombardment on our marriage .
    I feel more freedom now than ever because now I am no longer boxing at shadows . I don’t have to be angry , bitter and frustrated all the time anymore , I can choose to see the daily issues for what they are and not take it all so personal . My husband quickly recognized that he was most certainly Aspergers and even read a couple of books by authors with Aspergers that I gave him . It was a mixed reaction of him seeing himself in every word written and then him feeling even more hopeless than ever . I honestly thought he was going to make some forward movement with it all , and he did in the way of recognizing his anxiety and angry outbursts for what they were . But the bottom line is , he has just done what he always does which is to sit back and watch me row the boat . If I am not pushing , pulling , dragging or prodding him , he isn’t going anywhere . I have been the one putting forth all the energy for all these years and I am completely exhausted . I have struggled with many chronic health issues which have come back on me with a vengeance over these past years of this marriage and debilitating depression from the constant living with ZERO positive feedback , and basically being a single mother of my children as well as my husband . It is like being with a 10 year old boy that I have to micromanage everything he does even more so than my children . I get no help with anything , no intimacy , no social interaction on an adult level and no spiritual support or leadership . We finally came to the mutual agreement to file for divorce about a month ago . It has been such a roller coaster since then , more so than usual . I go back and forth between feeling the most relief I have had in years to being completely confused about why it is I just cannot continue to make the sacrifice and make this work . He has daily pitty parties and says things like ” I feel like a puppy that just won’t mind and won’t learn so now you are taking me to the dog pound and leaving me there because I’m defective ” .For me these manipulative remarks are excruciating even though I see them for what they are , it just sends me into deeper depression and confusion about how I could possibly leave him and be able to live with myself . But it’s down to the fact that I have been rowing the boat , bailing the water as it sinks and now we are floating around in deep water with only one life jacket and I have to decide , do I keep letting him have the jacket , or do I take it for myself so that I can live and be there for my children ? There are so many more details as with everyone I’m sure , but I’m trying hard to stick to my guns and move forward with the divorce , I must say it was at a critical point a few weeks ago that I found this website and I am so very grateful . I know the Lord led me here . Just hearing about how God is more concerned about us as individuals than he is about the legality of staying in a damaging relationship ,was like someone turning the key to open up the cage door and set me free. I never wanted to divorce , but here I am . I just want to handle this in the most healthy productive way possible for everyone concerned . Then I can begin to heal and actually be there for my children instead of having to focus 24/7 on how to maneuver around my husband and his issues . thank you so much for a great website and Godly counsel .

  14. Laine on September 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    My husband Joe and I have been married for twenty –five years. He is 64 years old and I am 52.
    I can’t do this,, I need help.. I need to speak with someone on the phone if that is at all possible,,,,, I have been in shock since middle May of this year….. My husband has left and refuses to speak or txt… He will not answer any calls, etc….. I have always known that there was “Something”,, I have no doubt he will be diagnosed with AS. I am exhausted and hurting beyond belief,,He is “CLASSIC” I need to talk to someone who has knowledge answers, and information that could help ,, Please,,, So Sincerely, Laine

    • Sandra on January 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Hi Laine.
      I had the same situation with an AS male. I had been with him for 4 years. I loved him, we had a major row over his reaction to my illness. Its such a long story, but all the stories of AS relationships are so identical its scary.
      That was 2 years ago and like you have experienced he will not talk to me. I bump into him and he walks past me like I am a complete stranger.
      I really feel your pain.
      Sandra

      • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

        Honestly, sometimes I wonder if there is a demon involved in this AS. Not to say that people with AS are demon-possessed or that the demon is there excuse. No, this is more than a weakness that sometimes us Christians have to live with-this is destructive, that is how I know it is from the enemy!

    • Tammy Wertz on January 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      I have been dating a wonderful man for 3 years. I knew shorty after there was something different about him but was intrigued. He’s a very successful man and was so kind simple and loving. He is also a work attack. At first I thought i was me. Unlike some he’s affectionate, hold hands, open doors, cuddles at night. Them it slowly stopped. I believe he’s hyper sexual at first then later in the relationships, disconnects. I am a communicator, he does not. He talks a lot about work, clients, etc. he;s their if I have personal issues; ie surgery. But spends very little time with me due to work 7 days a week. He;s has a routine
      That I can walk through his day at home. If I need to address anything with him about us even if only sharing he gets distance. and will even change the subject. He gets nervous even awkward id malls or places of lots of people, but work is very different? Very little emotion. He is 53 never married and no one last much longer than a year; I’m the longest and have spent the most time with him.. I love this wonderful man but have hurt many times over trying to reach this person somewhere inside. Any help of thoughts is always welcomed. I think I need support on how to communicate with someone AS. We broke up and finally after 2 months he has seen me. Would never talked to me only a few text. Is there support out there on how to communicate with an AS person? Tammy
      303-887-9980

  15. Andy on September 16, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    After much persuasion from my wife, I went to get tested and I was diagnosed with AS.

    With regards to Leslie’s description of AS (now reclassified as HFA (DSM-V). HFA is High Functioning Autism on the Autism Spectrum. Everyone diagnosed falls somewhere along the spectrum and may or may not exhibit similar tendencies. Granted some may be the same, others markedly varied in presentation.

    But generalizing the description of persons with AS/HFA in such broad strokes doesn’t do us justice.

    Can you imagine having lived your life well into your adult years only to be diagnosed with something like this? (prognosis feels like a prison sentence) And then your wife turns around and tries to explain away every action, response ad nauseum with the AS/HFA label. I think that would drive any person insane (not just people on the spectrum.)

    Granted, I acknowledge and take responsibility for my explosive outbursts but I feel like I’m being held up to a yardstick that I can never measure up to. (FWIW Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.)

    Here’s the inside track for all y’all…

    We want to do what’s right by our wives, we want to love you and we want to be the best we can be, but we can’t if we are under constant pressure from the multiple stressors we have to deal with (not to mention the truckload of hurt and resentment that’s been festering; how we didn’t do this or that, or didn’t accomplish something to the pie high in the sky expectations)

    Like anyone else we get frustrated, maybe that we’re more sensitive and the frustration level builds up much faster then because of how quickly the rate of change happens, these outbursts explode, much like a shaken pop can fizzes when opened.

    A recent article I read even suggested that AS/HFA people actually experience empathy (only that we feel so much that we’re overwhelmed and thus paralyzed? Or maybe it could be because we’re so numbed by the hurt and pain we’ve experienced… I digress)

    What’s my point? I feel like we don’t have a voice, everything’s just shoved on to us and we’re the defective ones, the ones who have to live out the rest of our lives knowing that we’re “different”. Instead of being embraced and loved even more deeply, we’re labelled and marginalized but the very people who promised before God to love us in sickness and in health.

    Is there any way forward?

    Engage your man. Look deeply into his eyes, tell him you love him as he is, flawed as he is. Reassure him that you’ll stay as long as he is willing to get help, to work on self regulating, etc.

    1. Everyday is a new day. Start from scratch, clear the scores. Brand new day. Ask God to give you strength to forgive and to get through the day.

    2. Leverage technology and innovate! Automate mundane tasks by creating sequence and structure like a schedule on google calendar with alarms.

    3. Incentivize! Be creative, build in treats for yourself, the kids and him. (The therapy lady calls this a reinforcer e.g. Will work for ice cream)

    4. And lastly prayer helps a lot. Ask everyone you know to pray for you and your family.

    And if you remember, say a prayer for me and my family. We’re on shaky ground. 🙁

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Ask to Lord to help you get rid of the destructive characteristics of ASD and/or ASD completely. Ask him to definitely help you get rid of the ODD in your life, the lack of perspective taking, and lack of empathy. Empathy is a God-given characteristic that every human possesses, but like anything the seed needs to be watered. Otherwise, your marriage will not be healthy.

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      Both spouses have to put in the effort equally. Yes, Christ takes us as we are, and we can receive salvation as we are. But the fruit of our lives should reflect the gratitude that we have in having received salvation as a free gift. When you are in a relationship that is of value to you, you want to make the other person happy and if that means changing some things about yourself that bring the other person down, that is what you have to do. No one needs to be a victim. We all have responsibilities to each other in a relationship, but the person with AS can’t expect that he or she doesn’t have to change because of the disability.or problem.

  16. barbara on November 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    please do not marry an asper man. not fair on the children. my children greatly suffer…i just found out a year ago and i am still grieving. I wish I found out before I married him. If I knew about his hidden disability before I married him, I would not marry him. My advice is flee,

    please dont print my email

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Especially if the man or woman with AS is not willing to change for spouse. The whole willingness to change for the betterment of the other person is key. Otherwise find a partner to marry who will make the sacrifices for you.

  17. Mariyah on November 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I was engaged to a man with Asperger’s. I only found out after the break-up. It broke my heart to leave him. But I was so lonely with him, I had to deal with difficulties all by myself. And the main reason was that he demanded total submission, according to the bible. At least, according to his interpretation. I got so scared of him. But I feel like I left a puppy in the forest and that hurts a lot. I love him, with all my heart.

  18. Sandra on January 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    How can I get my ex back. I ended with him as I didn’t understand what he had. No he won’t speak to me.
    What can I do ?

  19. Cheryl on January 14, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I’ve been married for 20 years to a man with Asperger’s. When we were dating, he was never intimately demonstrative but we are Christians who believe in no sex before marriage, so I assumed he was just being a godly man. He was a bit odd in behavior and dress, but I was attracted to his kindness, loyalty and strong faith. Things went south immediately in our marriage. He has never once made love to me in 20 years. The most intimacy I receive is a peck of a kiss as a man would kiss his mother or sister. And that is exactly the kind of relationship we have had. He struggles with making decisions on his own or initiating any activities (though he is a faithful employee to the same company for 26 years). He cannot be around any loud noises and is very obsessed with facts and details. It has been a lonely 20 years, and I have struggled with bulimia and drinking and the quilt and shame of having affairs with other men. I always assumed the problem with intimacy was with me…that he just wasn’t attracted to me. I have my own issues of being abandoned by both my parents as a child and growing up in various foster homes. I was also cross-eyed until that was corrected by numerous surgeries when I was 17, so you can imagine what that did to my social life growing up. I have been through counseling with these issues, but my husband is unwilling to get counseling himself and is basically in denial about Asperger’s. And quite frankly, not many counselors out there are familiar with or know how to counsel couples where Asperger’s is involved. I feel so trapped and alone.

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      He never consummated the marriage! He is selfish!

  20. Sandra on January 20, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Oh dear.
    You need to read up on AS. He cannot help you with this.Please educate yourself on how the asperger’s mind works. They live on a different planet than us NT’s
    Its heartbreaking, but all relationships with them start out the same way. Wonderful in the beginning and then you live through an emotional nighmare until you finally get the strenght to leave and save yourself.
    blessings

    Sandra

  21. aspmom on March 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Leslie’s writings have tremendously helped me in my journey as a christian Aspergers wife and mom. I’ve journaled at http://www.aspiewifeandmom.blogspot.com for over five years.

    Thank you, Leslie, for addressing this topic with such wisdom and grace!

  22. Cheryl McEnery on April 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    My husband has Asperger’s but he is not abusive. He is, in fact, kind, gentle, loyal and has a strong faith in God. We have been married for 20 years, and our problems began on our honeymoon when he could not be intimate with me. When we were dating we held hands and kissed,though he always seemed like this was not comfortable behavior for him. I shook this off as his just being a Christian gentleman. My own background is that of being abandoned by both of my parents and growing up in foster care and, during which time, I was cross-eyed until I was 16 years old. I had already experienced a lot of rejection in my life up til marriage, so having my husband not want to touch me sexually was extremely painful to me. At that time I had no idea of his Asperger’s diagnosis, so I believed the problem was me. That he was not attracted to me. I was quite over-weight when we married, so my first step was losing the weight. I lost 90 lbs the first two years we were married, but this did nothing for our sex life. Through most of our years together I found myself in a cycle of sin….numerous extramarital affairs, lying and stealing money to cover up those affairs, bulimia and I started drinking hard alcohol to just cope through each day. My husband NEVER oonfronted my behavior or expressed disappointment…I thought he just didn’t care. We finally separated in 2007 and it was during that time that I found that he had Asperger’s (I became aware of the syndrome through a friend and requested that my husband be diagnosed). My problem is that while I was separated I was in a live-in relationship with another man. Even though this man wants to marry me, the guilt of my adultery ate away at me until I left him and reunited with my husband. I thought that now that I knew of my husband’s diagnosis, I could handle it and make our marriage work. That has not been the case, however. There was just too much damage in our marriage for me to pretend that it hadn’t happened, which is just what my husband wants to do. He thinks that if we just go to church and live as we used to before our separation that all will be fine. He does not have it in him to work through our issues and struggles. I’ve felt so abnormal and unlovable through most of my life, and not ever having sex with my husband of 20 years (so, that means I never had children) has been devastating. My husband does not want to seek counseling, but while I was in this other relationship for the last seven years; my boyfriend not only made me seek counseling for myself but he also attended counseling with me for us as a couple. I believe that the healthiest thing for me to do at this point is to divorce my husband and make my relationship with my boyfriend right before God.

    • HJH on August 19, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      If you have never had sex with him even once, how is the marriage a marriage if it hasn’t been consummated. When you get married, the two become one flesh. This is one of the descriptors of what a marriage is in the NT.

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