He Has Aspergers, Do I Stay?

Morning friend,

It’s been a hard week and I’d appreciate your prayers. It’s hard all over and for everyone for sure. We need one another’s support and prayers for times like these. As I’ve been struggling and wrestling with something in my life, I’ve learned to press pause and remind myself that I do have choices. I can cope in good ways or bad ways. 

For example, when I’m stressed, I overeat. But I’ve learned to press pause and ask myself what’s my best choice here. I can eat a box of cookies, or I can go for a walk. Both work to feel better. At least temporarily. One is a healthy choice and I still feel better after the walk. The cookie choice, not so healthy. I feel calmer while eating them and later feel regret. Paying attention requires my ability to pause, notice and then choose. Today’s question reflects that opportunity for this person as well.

Today’s Question: My husband was diagnosed with Asperger’s over a year ago. He’s an engineer and 56 years old. I was separated for two months living in the same house with him with my children. He promised he would work on the marriage so I called off the divorce. 

For 15 months every two weeks, our therapist and I would ask him why he’s not doing the simple things I’m asking him to do. For example, find a movie for us to watch on TV, ask me to take a walk in the park, read some literature of yours to learn more about marriage and how I’m feeling empty. 

He says he feels fully filled. He has no remorse, he doesn’t change. He’s been getting told this for 15 months he’s lying to my face being deceitful lying about me in front of my child trying to say he can’t trust me when I’ve never given him a reason not to trust me in 20 years.

I have worked hard having a diagnosis of bipolar for the past 15 years. I don’t have episodes, I don’t go crazy, I am fully in control of my emotions. My question is if he’s not working on the marriage for the past 15 months when he is supposed to be so happy and I gave him another chance to have his family together and have his wife and his income, do you feel since he takes no responsibility for his actions or even cares about how I feel at all and is it OK to finally divorced and throw in the towel? 

I’ve also been seeing my pastor at my church for the past 10 years dealing with past pornography problems and other marriage problems so I faithfully go to Christian therapist and pastor and they know how he has been treating me and they say I’ve been emotionally neglected and it’s the indifference that you talk about. I just feel like I can’t go on anymore in this relationship. At 46 years old I feel that I will be losing my sanity If I continue in this crazy cycle that benefits him always and never me.

Answer: It sounds like over the years you’ve worked hard on yourself. You’ve also brought his problems to his attention and competent people helpers, yet nothing really changes. How long do you keep hoping? How long do you keep bugging and badgering him to do what he says he will do? How long do you live this way when nothing is changing? These are your questions to wrestle through. No one can answer these for you but you, because you are the one who has to live with the outcome of your choices. 

He says he’s fine. He’s content, he’s happy, he’s not hungry. Neuro-diverse individuals are handicapped in certain ways. They are incapable of understanding nuanced emotions and differences in people. They are self-referencing. Meaning that they don’t naturally see other people’s needs, feelings, or problems. If they don’t have that need, feeling, or problem, then you don’t or shouldn’t. If he feels fine with the way things are in your marriage, then you should feel fine too. 

However, when a neuro-diverse individual accepts the diagnosis that they aren’t “seeing” the world correctly, then we hope that he/she would now be more open to feedback, instruction, and correction. For example, if your husband realized that he was color blind, I hope he would receive your feedback on his clothing choices (especially if he wanted to look his best). Purple pants and a green shirt may not be his best choices if he had an important presentation to give at work. 

Professionals have told him he isn’t “seeing” correctly regarding how to do marriage/relationships. You have told him “I’m lonely, I need more, I am not content or happy.” In other words, you’re saying, “even if your tummy is full of food, mine isn’t. I’m still hungry.” Yet he doesn’t respond appropriately. He makes no effort to “feed” you emotionally by taking the initiative to do the things you or your therapist have asked him to do. In his mind, if he’s not hungry, you must not be either. (Which is the Asperger’s). But when you say, “that’s not true, I am hungry” he refuses to adjust his behaviors. That’s not Asperger’s. That’s selfishness and indifference. What does that mean for you?

Frankly, it means he doesn’t want to change. It means he isn’t interested in learning how to feed your needs or nourish your spirit. But you have bigger problems than his diagnosis of Asperger’s. It’s not simply that he doesn’t “see” that you’re hungry (which is his Asperger’s) but that he doesn’t care (toxic selfishness). In addition, he’s undermining you with your child, accusing you of breaking trust, telling lies that are not true. (That behavior is not Asperger’s).

Now you have to think through your next steps because if you’re not conscious of all your choices, you may default to some unhealthy ways to cope. Here are the most obvious choices in front of you. 

1. Unhealthy – Stay focused on getting him to change. You’ve been here. You’ve done that. [Tweet “Doing the same thing hoping for different results is the definition of insanity.”]

2. Unhealthy – Get more bitter and resentful when he won’t change and stop doing your own work because he won’t do his. 

3. Unhealthy – Leave the marriage in a bad way, angry and bitter that he’s ruined your life and now you have to live alone.

4. Heathy – For now, grieve your broken dream of him changing and having a good marriage. Accept reality. He doesn’t want to change. Now you have some new options from this place. 

Option 1. Stay in the house/marriage without expecting/waiting/begging for any emotional connection. Only you can decide whether you can do this in a good way whether for the short term or more permanently. You might choose this option because despite his emotional anorexia and selfishness, he’s a good financial provider or you need his medical insurance. Perhaps you have local family and grandchildren that you enjoy visiting and/or your church is a strong source of support and you can build a life independent of him to meet your emotional needs. 

Option 2. Communicate to him that you regretfully accept he has no interest in changing and being a “husband” in real-time. And because of that, you are unable or unwilling to “pretend” that you have a marriage. He’s consistently shown he’s not willing to heed the wisdom he’s been given or do what they have suggested, you will now live separately or get divorced so that you and he can be at peace. 

[Tweet “Once you accept he’s incapable and unwilling to do what you need, your new question becomes how do you feed and nourish your own self?”] What kinds of activities, friends, purposeful things would make your life feel more interesting, creative, nourishing, and fulfilling to you? Even if he’s content watching television all weekend, you don’t have to be. You can start to build your life in a way that brings you joy. 

Friend, how do you press pause and start to become more aware of all your choices – both healthy and unhealthy before moving forward?


  1. Free on March 9, 2022 at 7:14 am

    My first response, is that your husband is not only unwilling, but incapable of being a husband. That is heartbreaking. It is up to you to figure out what you want to do about that. Weigh all your options. Can you continue to keep the cascade in place until your child is old enough to leave the home? I would end any activity towards trying to get him to change. The marital counseling has proved itself to be futile. It hurts to get divorced and it hurts to stay in a relationship with a emotionally harmful person. I think you have to think out YOUR choices and YOUR life, while protecting your child and forget anything to do with him and his life.

    • Susan on March 14, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      Nothing in this comment is biblical. This entire thread is terrifying at home often it’s women who are unhappy and looking for a way out.

      • Free on March 16, 2022 at 9:59 am

        Unhappy or in danger? There are women who wish they could post here who are dead or disabled due to staying in a relationship with a cruel partner. Do you thunk it is not biblical to flee danger? I know I thought I had to stay “until death do us part.” Then I realized that vow wasn’t in the Bible. It was just a Christian tradition.

      • JH on June 24, 2023 at 9:39 am

        Are you in an ASD marriage??? Toxicity is not something you can ignore nor does God want you to ignore. God shows us that the marriage relationship is different and there are responsibilities ( no excuses if you know the difference between right and wrong)-not a situation where both people are not willing to work hard and CHANGE. If one or both partners are not doing that, it’s going to naturally die and someone is left holding the bag. Divorce is a last resort but sometimes you have to separate if you are in a really bad situation.

  2. Hope on March 9, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    I Leslie, this thoughtful blog was spot on. I’ve been married 33 years to my AS husband. You’re right–an “aspie” can still choose to learn. They can choose to be teachable, to grow. Despite the AS, they can learn new social skills and work-arounds to help improve a marriage. They can be willing be coached, especially by others who are AS-savvy. They can show care for their partner by trying, even if the journey is long and bumpy. But they can also choose not to do this work.
    Sadly, my husband hasn’t been open to learning and after all these years, I’m finally taking steps to separate. It’s heart-breaking and scary, but it’s even scarier to watch myself being gradually chipped away—emotionally, physically, psychologically–by a “marriage” with so much indifference and neglect and so little care and empathy. To me, he’s broken the covenant of care that’s at the heart of marriage. It’s agonizing and so very complicated and each wife has her own “wrestle” through this very painful decision…you outlined it beautifully. Thank you!

    • Donna on March 11, 2022 at 10:43 am

      I resonate with this so much. My husband, however, isn’t overtly unwilling to grow, get coaching, etc. He’s just not pro-active about pursuing anything. Does that mean that he is unwilling then? It’s all so confusing. I am exhausted with over functioning and doing my work and his. That obviously doesn’t work. It has proven to be rather difficult to find anyone in my area that understands this dynamic that even could be helpful. But I don’t see him even trying to find anyone. Should I interpret that as being not wanting to change?

      • Leslie Vernick on March 11, 2022 at 11:27 am

        Donna, why don’t you focus right now and do your own work. Stop overfunctioning, especially for him and see if he picks up the pace.

      • Hope on March 11, 2022 at 11:57 pm

        Donna, maybe you already know about this, but I’ve found some wonderful online help here: https://www.meetup.com/Asperger-Syndrome-Partners-Family-of-Adults-with-ASD/
        Dr Kathy Marshack has a wealth of resources on navigating the NT/AS marriage, including free teleconferences, Facebook live and tons of message boards with input from wives married to AS men. A lifesaver for me!
        Dr Stephanie Holmes is another great resource and from a Christian worldview – https://www.holmesasr.com/links
        It’s so healing to know we’re loved and not alone!

      • Hope on March 12, 2022 at 12:02 am

        PS to Donna – One of the best things I’ve done is exactly what Leslie recommended, I stopped overfunctioning and started focusing on my own wholeness/healing. Really has been helping me get “unstuck.”

  3. Anne on March 10, 2022 at 7:47 am

    I am Asperger’s and so are my kids. I am 47. I understood early on that I see things differently and have adjusted myself to see things and people as God wants us to. That is maturity. My 2 kids are more like you husband, however, my son who is 11, can see his behavior and ways quickly once I bring it up to him and that is how Aspergers is usually and I hope my son will learn to see others and their needs on his own as his gets older and older and I know that he is willing. My daughter is 19, she refuses to see anything but herself and can be very toxic to the point of manipulating to stay in her need mindset and also very two faced without any problem doing so. It seems like very dangerous psychotic behavior to me. I brought her up in a Christian household and I am a Minister and no matter what care and love I give or how I provide for her needs day in and day out, prayers we say as a family- she remains a very toxic person, rebellious to empathy and always inward. . I do not believe she will change, at least not for me. I’m her Mom and she needs care. Your husband is an adult. Let him go.

    • Julie on March 10, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      Anne, so very wise. Yes, I’ve said the issue is maturity and growing in love to the best of our abilities, whatever those abilities may by.

      And I’m so very sorry – the heartache.

  4. G on March 10, 2022 at 7:53 am

    I think what you should do if others don’t seem to help instead relying or asking or counting on others with great points ideas and opinions the best is to wait on the lord and be patient .

  5. Marie on March 10, 2022 at 8:43 am

    I am genuinely perplexed by your answers here. I am learning to discern where unbiblical patriarchal teaching has kept Christian women in abusive marriages. God loves the individuals in the marriage more than the institution of marriage itself. But here the focus seems to be more on self fulfillment than on biblical principles like honoring the marriage covenant (when there is not adultery or physical abuse or debilitating verbal abuse of wife or children) or principals of loving our “enemy” as Christ loved us, etc or even scriptures about the Christian spouse remaining married to nonChristian. Could you help me understand your biblical basis for the counsel you gave here?

    • Leslie Vernick on March 10, 2022 at 11:36 am

      Marie, Thanks for sharing your concerns. I don’t think the writer of this question was seeking fulfillment but she was seeking basic relational nourishment. She was asking to be acknowledged as a separate person in the relationship who has her own needs. The Bible is clear when a husband neglects a wife’s basic needs it is grounds for divorce. In the Old Testament that passage would be Exodus 21:10-11 “If a man who has married a slave wife (which is the lowest person in that patriarchal society) takes another wife for himself, he must NOT NEGLECT the rights of the first wife to food, clothing and sexual intimacy. If he fails in any of these three obligations, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.” In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul says that if you are married to an unbeliever who doesn’t want to stay married to you, let them go. In such cases, the believing spouse is no longer bound to the other for God has called us to live in peace (verse 15) This goes to the issue of abandonment as for grounds for divorce. If a spouse has abandoned the spouse (he is considered an unbeliever). Most conservative churches say adultery and abandonment are the only Biblical grounds for divorce. Certainly you will agree that this woman’s husband has abandoned her, even if he is still living in their home. He’s abandoned his promise to love, cherish and protect. Someone may also have a husband who lives outside their home – for example, someone who is serving in the military or has an overseas job and yet not abandon his family. He still calls, sends money, cares for their well-being. So abandonment cannot be simplified to “leaving the physical residence” This writer is not talking about extras in a marriage but the basics that her husband isn’t interested in providing. That makes no marriage “relationship” at all. How do you do “relationship” with someone who is uninterested in relationship with you? You can’t. You can live with someone but that isn’t a relationship, that’s a roommate. But even roommates care about the other person’s feelings and needs. WHen you live with someone who is indifferent to you as a person, as a spouse, someone who has promised NOT to be indifferent in the very vows he takes, it is soul crushing. This woman wants to live in peace. So I gave her her healthy and BIblical options. I believe only she can decide what options are best for her life.

      • Amy on March 10, 2022 at 3:16 pm

        Excellent and very wise response! ❤️😘

      • Julie on March 10, 2022 at 4:12 pm

        “I don’t think the writer of this question was seeking fulfillment but she was seeking basic relational nourishment. She was asking to be acknowledged as a separate person in the relationship who has her own needs.”

        This is how we need to start talking about these relationships, because merely saying, as many often do, “He’s not meeting my needs” can give the wrong message, implying a whiny, “I need him to fulfill me” stance. People who have not been in these relationships often cannot comprehend what can be the profound diminishing effects of not being seen or heard as a separate person of value and worth.

        Other husbands (or wives) on the spectrum can and do grow in “seeing” and “hearing” his or her spouse.

        Thank you, Leslie

      • Margy on March 10, 2022 at 8:35 pm

        It’s true- living with indifference IS soul crushing, my own soul is squashed. My husband has Aspergers, we’ve been married 45 years and this so called marriage has destroyed me. At first as a young wife I lived in total confusion because I did not know what the heck was wrong with him, with his rages and bad temper so I tried harder and harder to please him.. He promised at the altar to love and cherish me but he hasn’t, he’s treated me like a nuisance for having all the normal needs of a wife in a relationship –he just wants to be alone and do his own thing, we now live as house mates, I am burned out and exhausted. Aspergers is a PROFOUND neurological disability, empathy is essential for the nuances of a relationship and he has none, he also has no interest in therapy, he sees nothing wrong with the way he is and if anyone displeases him and “makes” him angry and abusive, that’s THEIR fault, he owns nothing because he has no insight because he has no empathy.

        • J. on April 5, 2022 at 8:33 pm

          You have described my h. to a T.I have been unhappily married for 42 years. He lives on the opposite side of the house. He talks about facts, not feelings and nothing deep.I have been depressed for over 30+ years

      • Marie on March 11, 2022 at 10:25 am

        Thank you, Leslie. Pondering your words.

  6. E on March 10, 2022 at 8:47 am

    This is so hard. My husband won’t acknowledge his ADHD and seek treatment. We have a business and home together and two teenage daughters. I am stuck in the decision of what is causing more harm, to stay in this dysfunctional situation or to make the hard changes. I feel I am often mediating his behaviors with our daughters and if he has half custody I won’t be able to shield them. And the heartbreak of losing half of the few years I have left with them at home. The financial fallout. But the toll it takes on me is so draining and soul killing that I’m not being the parent or person I want to be anyway. Prayers for you and all of us with tough choices trying to do the least worst thing.

    • JoAnn on March 10, 2022 at 5:24 pm

      E, this could be an opportunity to teach your daughters how to live and work with someone like their dad. Eventually, they will go to college and have to deal with roommates or coworkers. Be honest with them about their father’s ADHD and the ways you have discovered how handle it. Get some help, perhaps from some of Leslie’s books, so that you and your daughters can get on the same page about dealing with him. Teach them to be respectful with boundaries. Just running interference isn’t going to teach them the kind of interpersonal skills that will help them later in life. If you can, find a family counselor and take your girls with you so that together you can learn ways to manage this life. I appreciate that you don’t want them to have to deal with him alone, but teaching them good ways to deal with him will help them throughout their lives.

      • Aly on March 24, 2022 at 10:32 am

        Hi JoAnn, 🤗
        While I think I understand your point on dealing with all kinds of different & difficult people in life (roommates/co-workers) being in a sacred type of relationship with a person who is not treating ADHD is not close to the situation. Usually those with the diagnosis regardless of where they are on the spectrum, can function well with people outside their family unit and it’s usually the spouse or family members who take the brunt of the untreated ADHD issues. What gets frustrating is the inability to predict a meltdown or live on a regular basis expecting a meltdown to where everyone lives on edge not wanting to be deal with the irrational behaviors or thought process of the ADHD person. Not having professional intervention in these sacred relationships is too taxing on all involved. It certainly does not model for children a healthy marriage dynamic.

  7. Michelle on March 10, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Thank you for posting this today… I cannot tell you how the Lord has used this in my heart at this very moment.

  8. Kim on March 10, 2022 at 11:38 am

    I very much appreciate that you list staying well as an option. My husband is no longer abusive to me, since I implemented boundaries, but he is neglectful. However, he is neglectful of himself as well. I stay because I have found spiritual family in church, BSF, and friends, I have emotional support from our children and community, and I haven’t sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to leave. I can honor my husband by being available to him and continuing to support him in his work efforts, by being joyful in my salvation and relationship with the Lord, by creating a happy home. It’s on him to choose to appreciate that or not. We live separately in our home, and I make no pretense of a working marriage. I can still act with dignity in my interactions with him, and I believe that’s a scriptural response.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 10, 2022 at 12:26 pm

      Kim, Thanks for sharing your story. And some women can do stay well because they have needs met through other sources – children, church, friends, and some women cannot. I remember when I was pregnant with my 1st child. All my friends did “natural” childbirth. That was the “godly thing to do for your child” I tried. I couldn’t do it. I felt such shame at my “failure” Later on – all my friends homeschooled their children. I couldn’t do it. I have no gifting to teach kids more than 15 minutes. Yet my Christian community all felt “Homeschooling was the more Biblical and spiritual option” I felt shame at my failure. I say this because we are all different. We don’t have the same strengths, or weaknesses. Some women can stay well and should. Others cannot stay well. In this woman’ story she was breaking down and she already had mental health challenges that she had been working on for a long time. Some woman have physical effects from living in a toxic environment. So staying well is a Biblical option for some women. Leaving well is also a Biblical option in some instances. Staying and being angry and resentful is not a BIbical or healthy choice, nor is leaving with bitterness and resentment a healthy or Biblical choice – although some woman may leave that way because they are escaping a very toxic environment and then have to do their own work to get healthy after getting out of that environment.

  9. Kirstin on March 10, 2022 at 11:56 am

    This has been incredibly helpful. I am in #4. I am trying to live with Option 1, but my friends/family are not able to meet my needs. They come close, but I still long to hold hands with someone or simply hold them. Or to communicate with them in such a way that would be considered “inappropriate” between friends. 🙁

  10. Lois on March 10, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    My h has shown many of the “N” tendencies. It sounds like this dear lady is in the Clarity stages. This is all good to finally realize the truth of her husband. Next grieve and let go. It is freeing to say you are done trying to get him to change. I had to be “done”… totally done. Then my eyes can be on how can I gain my voice. How can I be separate? I do not need my h to agree with me for what I need. I do not need to wait for him to help touch me anywhere to help my needs. Now she can either leave well, or stay well. I chose to stay well. 2 yrs now in the same house but not really “living together” I feel stronger. I have taken better care of my social needs. I am learning how to say, “I accept how you think, we will just have to agree to disagree.” Yes, I “Accept that he believed the worst of me.” and “I did not.” He lives his way, and I live my way. Now the Lord is working on helping me to be kind to him without any expectations still. I do little things for him. I keep a guard over my heart, but I still choose to not fear or dread him. God has strengthened me. Not that I ever hoped anything to change, but my h is trying to do some little things for me too. I tell him how great that is… especially in front of our adult kids. Leslie’s book “How to Act Right when My Spouse Acts Wrong” is a must for anyone with a disappointing marriage. It isn’t easy, but I am glad I stayed. We will be married this August for 45 years. Thank you Leslie for your abundant wisdom from the Lord!!!!!

  11. Gisele Noel on March 10, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    My experience in LPC marriage counseling is that the adult Aspberger’s diagnosis only comes out after a spouse proves to the counselor s/he is refusing to actively contribute to a mutually sacrificial love in marriage… it’s more of “try harder” victim blaming shaming strategy & it’s exhausting.

    We are all DEEPLY flawed even there is no diagnosis for it, so we all need grace (not just those with official labels). But these psych labels in the context of relationship counseling often reward clear established patterns of bad behavior with calls for unlimited grace for blatant selfish behavior & unlimited works-righteousness for the person who is married to it.

    My unsolicited advice: try your best to endure as much injustice as you can so long as it’s not endangering your safety or the safety of any lives in the house for the sake of Christ. This way when you finally prove to yourself that you’ll never reach a level of perfection to provoke reciprocation &/or mutual love out of a heart of stone, then you can receive divorce as an expression of God’s compassionate love for you to deliver you from evil with a clear conscious. Bless, do not repay & leave room for God’s wrath — he will repay. May God have mercy on us all & bless everyone with wisdom, self-control & a desire to model Christ’s sacrificial love for His name’s sake. Amen

    • Autumn on March 11, 2022 at 3:55 am

      “Endure as much injustice”


      That advice is insane!

      No, do not endure injustice. It is not healthy or wise! Submitting to abuse devalues you and causes physical and psychological harm.

      Please, Oh, please, release yourself from whomever is brainwashing you spiritually and seek trauma informed counseling.

      • Leslie Vernick on March 11, 2022 at 9:35 am

        I think Martin Luther King said it well regarding injustice when he said, “You be the bigger person”. However he didn’t say be passive and just endure. He said as Jesus did, when being treated unjustly, don’t retaliate. But that does not mean we “volunteer” or put ourselves in an unjust situation willingly. So there is a both/and biblical call for us. If someone is oppressing you – don’t retaliate. “If someone slaps you on the cheek kind of thing – turn the other cheek instead of slapping them back.” But that is when a stranger is doing it. But Jesus also says, “WHen a brother or sister sins against you – go confront him or her. And if they listen – your relationship can be reconciled. And if they don’t listen – the relationship is broken.” Endure is not part of his advice to someone in relationship with a brother or sister who seriously sins against them. Confront, confront again, forgive, and realize that they are no longer your brother or sister, but your enemy and he said love your enemy but he doesn’t say continue to live with them or allow them to treat yo unjustly or abusively. That’s called foolishness Proverbs says, the prudent see danger and seek refuge (safety).

    • Kathy on March 11, 2022 at 5:26 am

      I tried living with injustice. I spiralled into depression. Nowadays I respect myself and put up boundaries, and stick to them.

  12. Alexandria on March 10, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    My Soon-To-Be-Ex has Asperger’s and I am in Cassandra Syndrome Recovery groups. The problem is, even the divorce is brutal and has dragged on more than three years so far. There is very little literature on how a Neurodiverse marriage damages children, but it does, very much. Men with Asperger’s never leave YOU, so you have to leave. Men with Asperger’s want to WIN in the divorce, so kids are used as pawns. My marriage has been the most brutal, damaging, awful experience mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially. I cannot wait to finish the divorce and start healing me and my kids. I am 51. My kids are 5 and 6. It gets worse as he ages. Get out.

    • Anne on March 11, 2022 at 9:40 am

      I am so sorry for the struggles that have kept you in chains. I pray, like Paul, that you find peace in your chains. I am Aspergers and so are my kids. I also have been with a partner with aspergers and narcissism. Many men who are aspies, have narcissistic traits,and it is a miserable experience but remember they are projecting their pain onto you. That si How THEY FEEL ALL of the time. So be grateful that you are not them, pray for them and for deliverance of any strongholds over them and get away and stay away. You are right- with age, it worsens when they also have these narc traits. Most aspies are empathetic to a fault, are quiet and even though social skills need to be learned, they can be super loyal and loving. My daughter is on the similar side of your soon to be ex and my son, although he is inward and can act selfish at times, it is usually a self soothing thing due to anxiety. He has been learning how to be empathetic and is young and his story will be different. When one chooses to stay in a selfish attitude like my daughter or your ex, then it will only grow that monster. My son, allowed Jesus to be on the throne of His heart and stays sanctified, so that helps- the same for me, since I was little. God makes all of the difference for anyone with aspergers, or anything. 🙂 I was hit emotionally and financially by my ex too and It about put me on the streets and they would of kept taking if I let him. However when He interfered with my prayer time or affected my spirit life with Jesus- that was it- had to let him go. It’s not aspergers only- it is a choice and they can choose to be bad or good in choices.

  13. Mary on March 10, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    I’ll be praying for you Leslie and for myself in learning how to push pause.
    Thanks so much to everyone’s for sharing there experiences here. I will be reviewing these next questions for a long time to come I hope.
    Thank you Everyone!!

    .” What kinds of activities, friends, purposeful things would make your life feel more interesting, creative, nourishing, and fulfilling to you? Even if he’s content watching television all weekend, you don’t have to be. You can start to build your life in a way that brings you joy.”

    • JoAnn on March 13, 2022 at 6:01 pm

      Sometimes getting involved in helping/serving others can be very fulfilling, and there are many ways to do so. Some things that come to mind are:
      child care….advertise yourself as a babysitter; visit nursing homes and volunteer there; help out in your local library shelving books; drive seniors to their appointments or for shopping; take online classes to prepare you for a job, etc. I know it’s hard to take that first step, but once you do, it can be very enjoyable.

    • R on March 14, 2022 at 11:46 pm

      I’ve built connection with women friends mainly through phone and text. Real communication, talking about what’s really going on in our lives and praying for each other. I also enjoy working at a part-time job that gets me out in the community.

  14. Lori on March 11, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    This is something I really needed to hear. My husband has had mental illness all of our marriage (40 years in May), and suffered a lot of abuse and trauma in his childhood. I have also suspected Asperger’s but he has never been tested/diagnosed for it. It has been a long bumpy road and has always been tricky to differentiate between his diagnoses and will – where he truly knows what he’s doing and when he doesn’t. This article helped bring me more clarity.
    Thank you!

  15. Moon Beam on March 12, 2022 at 3:41 am

    I am just wondering. What are the expected dynamics when the wife has Asperger’s and the husband has a cluster B personality disorder on the Narcissist spectrum. What are the chances of a successful marriage with an abusive man and an Asperger’s wife? It is a third marriage for her and a second marriage for him. Both say they are Christians and attend my church. They have only been married for two months and I wonder if they made a huge mistake. Thanks for any thoughts on what behaviors to look for in our fellowship.

    • Moon Beam on March 12, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      Ha… not “our” relationship, THEIR relationship. They are seeking church leadership and i am concerned.

      Anyone have insight on how the dynamics play out with Abusers marrying Asperger’s women.. Seems like a perfect victim situation to me.

    • Moon Beam on March 12, 2022 at 5:15 pm

      Oh, goodness. Our church fellowship. Their relationship.

      Oh, my!. My brain is not working today. Thanks!

      • Autumn on March 15, 2022 at 7:28 pm

        I think a person with neurodivergence or Asperger’s is a perfect victim. Someone probably needs to reach out to the woman and give her some books on abuse. Oh, what a perfect storm of pain and deceit..

  16. Lydia on October 9, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    I was physically harmed by my asd husband just last night. I’m still psychologically upset and I can’t believe how much strength he has when he’s physically violent with me. Yes, he could accidentally kill me. I don’t have any family or friends to talk to about this subject. Thanks for your blog, it makes me feel like I’m not alone.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 10, 2022 at 11:41 am

      Lydia, This is serious. Please file for a protection order and contact your local domestic violence shelter for help. The national hotline is 1800 799 SAFE

  17. Rose on October 19, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    I had to block a boyfriend who is diagnosed on the spectrum. He has a therapist he talks to once a month, and also has apps on phone he likes to use every day. The only problem is he has extreme rage when I say or express something that I need or bothered me. He will say to me that he is willling to get better, but it never does. I am afraid to talk around him, because he gets very verbal abusive, and says terrible things about my ex spouse and what I put up with in my previous marriarge, and that hurts. I ended it by just blocking him. I walk on egg shells around him. It never changes.

  18. Tasha on July 9, 2023 at 8:12 pm


    This response has helped me tremendously. I’ve been married to an aspie for 12 years. I’m 46, and we have a 10-year-old daughter together. We have done counseling, books, coaching, writing, scripts, teaching, but it’s been me doing all the things and him just along for the ride. I have been emotionally devastated by the lack of empathy and caring that has been pervasive since he dropped me as his special interest immediately after we moved in together as husband and wife. The severe emotional abandonment has led to me having anxiety and needing to change jobs repeatedly because I was always so stressed. I am Pentecostal, and because he is not hitting me, I am looked at as the woman with the Scarlett letter A for wanting to end it. The years and buckets of tears I’ve cried. He is not a bad guy. He has a job. He does chores. Thanks to therapy, he now even connects on a surface level with our daughter and puts her to her at night and makes her ice before school Yet, he takes no initiative in the relationship, refuses to get a formal diagnosis from an adult autism specialist, and refuses to take any individual communication classes though I’ve found two for him for autistic people. If I beg for connection, he screams at me, leaves, does a chore and then goes to his den where he remains for upwards of 24 hours without speaking a word to me. I’m drained, distraught, and vacant with sorrow. I’ve tried living together without a marriage. It doesn’t work for me. The constant reminder of his presence is like an emotional slap in the face. I’m leaving him, but I’ve told him if he will initiate dates and take a communications class, I’ll give him a second chance. So far, he has done nothing, so we are legally separated. I’ve been eaten up with shame and grief, but God gave me exodus 21:10 as well as told me it’s okay to leave, but I must not return if I end this. None of my Pentecostals believe or accept that. Seeing your words felt like God speaking directly to my spirit and encouraging me that He loves me — the person — more than He loves my vow of marriage. I look forward to freedom a year from now, Lord willing, and I pray tonight I will finally enjoy a good night’s sleep. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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