1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Autistic husband???

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Loopy lou, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Loopy lou

    Loopy lou New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Karma:
    +6
    Hi everyone
    Im new here so please bear with me.
    Im a teacher so i have a little knowledge of autism and have taught kids with autism.
    Im convinced my husband has autism and i need help. I love him dearly but he can be such hard work at times.
    Everything is so black and white with him, his routine CANNOT change and he really lacks empathy.
    Does anyone know where i can look for support???
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 5
  2. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,743
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +7,165
    What type of support are you looking for?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Loopy lou

    Loopy lou New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Karma:
    +6
    Anything! Someone to tslk to, someone whos been there, someone who understsnds.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  4. Nepenthe

    Nepenthe Active Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Karma:
    +7
    Hi Loopy lou, I'm not a man, but I am 46 years old, female, and just got diagnosed last year. Around the time of my diagnosis, I divorced an extremely extroverted, NT man who knew absolutely nothing about autism (he still doesn't know much about it, actually).

    I feel for you. A lot of people think all autistic people do not experience empathy. Maybe some do not. I experience profound emotional empathy. What I lack is cognitive empathy. I may sense that you are unhappy or feeling a strong negative emotion, but I have trouble understanding why. It would be interesting to hear about some of your interactions with your husband.

    It is terrible to be with someone who truly has no idea who s/he is--my ex-husband and I experienced a lot of frustration and confusion on a daily basis for almost 20 years. I hope he is happier now!

    I provided that information so you would know where I am coming from. I'm here to listen and try to understand, not give advice.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  5. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,620
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +9,667
    There are some non-autistic people here, but most are on the spectrum ourselves, so that will affect the perspective some. In other words we are for the most part the people the neurotypical folks have a hard time understanding/interacting with. As do we them.

    But being in a mixed NT/ASD marriage myself for 38 yrs, the most important part seems to me is for both to be aware of the condition and both be on board to improve the relationship thru whatever means possible. Negative behaviors are possible with anyone, but if it is the case your husband has some it is only him that can effect the changes. You (or perhaps with the aid of a mental health professional) can explain the issues and the problems, but he must accept the responsibility of trying to improve. It is often, btw, a case of meeting in the middle, compromises rather then outright big changes.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Winner Winner x 4
    • Like Like x 3
  6. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,485
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Karma:
    +6,303
    Research autism and learn all that you can about it. Understanding is very important. This will not be easy and may take a long time. It is a totally different way of thinking. It can be very beneficial to both of you.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

    Messages:
    2,565
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Karma:
    +3,299
    Feel free to interact here, but these two organizations are good for helping NT family members (if you are in the USA):
    Steer clear of Autism Speaks. They view autism as a mental illness rather than a neurological difference to be embraced.

    Lower-functioning autism (that you may have encountered in your classes) is not more autistic. It is just autism with mental illnesses on top of it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. disconnected

    disconnected Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    386
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Karma:
    +739
    I’m an Autistic Husband!....I have a great Wife The has researched and try’s to help. Her latest help has been modifying my diet.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  9. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    159
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Karma:
    +493
    I agree with Tom, but I also wanted to add that there's also an element of accepting one another. Compromise can lead to some beneficial changes, but there may also be certain areas where you just have to accept him like he is--and vice versa.

    Here's an example. My husband might say that I'm rigid and inflexible sometimes. But *I* would say that he's not only imprecise in his language but also inclined to ignore factual details in favor of sensationalism (i.e. he says he's a storyteller while I say he lies). And here's the thing: The compromises that we've come to in these instances don't necessarily look like what others may think they should look like--it's not all about making the autistic person behave. Instead, we try to accept each other as we are in some of these cases instead of trying to get each other to change. So when we're working together and I correct imprecise language, it's because I have to understand what I need to do, and I can't if he's not clear, so in that instance, he just needs to deal with it. And when he's chatting with people and telling stories, I try to ignore the fact that I know some of the details are outright WRONG; I understand that what's a lie to me is socially acceptable hyperbole to NTs.

    I'm not trying to say that your point of view is not valid. I don't know him--he might be an utter nightmare to live with. :) But this is what I would want someone to tell my spouse in this kind of situation--that the autistic way is different, but not necessarily wrong, and making a marriage better will always require both sides to both change and accept lack of change.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,620
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +9,667
    Yes, I agree there is much acceptance involved and it can be a complicated process. Or actually a whole series of them as you work out the many issues of life. It is not easy or even desirable usually to try and change ones basic nature. Sometimes it is just accepting some behavior and giving up bothering them about it or changing them. It depends often on if its major or minor. The devil is in the details, but in a general sense the overall important thing is to try and meet the others needs as much as meeting your own, establishing a equality/fairness to the process.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,172
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,433
    There are a lot of useful threads here you can read, I hope that you find plenty that's useful. I wonder if understanding how he sees and experiences the world may help you, as behaviours can often be misunderstood if interpreted in a neurotypical framework.

    My experience is, I have a different brain and I do things a bit differently because I experience the world differently. This makes relating more complex, a bit like being in a different culture and with different languages.... between partners, there's potential for this to be explored.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,748
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Karma:
    +11,171
    The famous book was 'men are from mars,women are from venus.'

    Autistic people are from a different solar system. There is an equivalent planet similar to mars.
    Some autistic are there, some are actually on the venus equivalent - in the different solar system.

    Personally, I find it is the hardest thing for some people, to know the reason why they are communicating.

    There is a habit , with an expectation of a result.

    This is often subconscious.

    An autistic guy or gal, may give you an answer- they don't meet your hidden expectation.

    OR - you interpret what is said as having an emotional message (ie the meaning is not in the words but,perhaps, you were expecting a response to make you feel good. ie you said something to make him feel good. He didn't say something back with the same intent - therefore he is nasty.

    Often our words are face value. The emotional message you transmit is lost.

    You can think it is being ignored maliciously (and may experience a visceral reaction, getting angry not being sure why) but it isn't. Your emotional message was missed.

    Often there is a completely different purpose behind our conversations.

    Something like that + all the good words the others have already said.

    As well as learning more about autism it is also making a commitment to learning about your systems of communication (cultural,social,emotional,etc)

    Often people try to transmit emotions through words - so the sentences do not mean what they appear to on the surface.
    When the emotional expectation in the sentence is not met. Anger,sadness can result.

    Be careful of categorising others when often we can be labelled as a result of anothers expectations and not the reality.

    Often we can be categorised as lacking empathy, for example.

    This, I feel, is more a case of empathy not being seen, as a result of the way and invidual may not receive an expected response or the way they test or look for it. (a case of cultural or social expectation perhaps.)

    Now imagine you are autistic for a second.

    You have lived in a world where nobody understands you.
    You try so hard to connect.
    They categorise you as weird, or worse.
    You feel things very strongly but have a difficulty in expressing in an expected way.
    You are then told you lack empathy as nobody can be bothered to listen or even attempt to understand your position.
    You are then usually told to stop whinging.

    Very empathetic, I may say.
     
    • Winner x 4
    • Like x 3
    • Agree x 3
    • Informative x 2
    • Funny x 1
  13. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    4,061
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Karma:
    +6,568
    Hi there. I have aspergers and married to a neurotypical and he would also echo what you say, but at the same time, I would say the same about him and what you are saying about your husband.

    By the way, I do believe you are talking about sympathy and not empathy? And the reason is, because with empathy, you are able to put yourself in another's shoes and feel what they feel and I know that many nts cannot do that and many aspies can do so! In fact, I am too empathatic and it is disturbing to me.

    Sympathy, on the other hand, is very easily portrayed by nts, because it is a momentary emotion and we find that chronically difficult.

    My husband is always complaining that I lack sympathy, but he lacks empathy and I think that is far worse actually.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    Hi Loopy Loo.
    You put triple question marks in your post, so you feel quite strongly. May I enquire what exactly makes you so distressed?

    To really support you, we need to understand more specifically the issues that are bothering you.

    You mentioned 'hard work'
    It is a cliche, but true that all people are hard work at times and all relationships require continuous work from both partners, especially when the initial hormonal euphoria fades away. As many said you are probably a very hard work for him :)

    Are you working on your the relationship?
    When relationships becomes a hard work, it could be a signal of many things going suboptimal, a sign of a potential breakdown. I guess I am trying to say that all the advice and support that applies to any relationship breakdown would apply here as well. Do you have a good intimate life?
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  15. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    You mention 'black and white'

    It is a stereotypical characteristic of aspies, but it is a tendency, not an absolute. I think it is a manner of speaking more than an absolute truth. You don't take it literally. I never met an aspie that really see things in black and white, without greys and color, and that see it like that all the time. In my experience and observing the aspies I know, we may have strong views on certain issues, be reluctant to compromise on certain things, and this may be a manifestation of the stereotypical black and white thinking, while in fact it stems from a certain need, a constraint.

    In that case it is good to discuss and explore why it is so important, what is the reason behind the position. Maybe there would be a scope for compromise after all, it that's what you need. But you may also need to be prepared for a discussion, for questioning the value of your idea to fudge things into shades of grey.

    Aspies have sensory sensitivities and can get overstimulated, which makes them to avoid certain environments quite legitimately. Certain situations and people could be triggering and anxiety provoking and therefore best to avoid.

    Does your husband find certain places overstimulating and cannot stand going there? In that case, is it absolutely vital for you to go there? Can your need be met by going to a more acceptable place for your husband? If it is the only place, how about rationing the frequency, what is the minimum number of times your husband could suffer that experience to accommodate/please you? (he would absolutely want to please you, as long as you understand the limits of his tolerance as well). Maybe you could discuss how you could make the experience more tolerable for him, like how long to stay, the doo's and dont's?

    In my experience a lot of issues could be resolved in this way.
    Any relationship is based on acceptance and compromise, a dynamic negotiation of needs.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    The routine 'CANNOT change'

    Really, your husband never changed anything since you're together?
    I don't know. My asies do change routines quite often. Maybe knowing it is an autistic tendency helps to recognise it is a tendency, that it is there to reduce anxiety, so maybe there could be other ways to deal with that and to basically change the routine?
    Could you specify which routine is so upsetting for you and maybe we could support you?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    'He really lacks empathy'

    Previous posters said a lot about empathy. It is inaccurate that aspies don't have it. I feel it deeply as do all aspies I know. Even Franchesca Happe and Utah Frith admitted it. It is more about showing it in a way that the NT register as such.

    It is also a stereotype that lives a life of its own. People repeat and recycle it without really thinking through the implications of the language.

    I don't even think it is about the technicalities of 'cognitive' vs emotional or what's it. I think aspies functioning well enough to lead an independent life, to enter relationships have all the cognitive skills to understand how other people feel and think. Simply aspies live in a different 'culture', so their experience of the world is very different and the 'language' in which they express emotions and thoughts is not always recognised and understood. In a relationship, this would require work from both sides, to bridge the cultural gap. That's what it takes to be in a relationship with an aspie.

    I don't know whether there is definite 'proof' that NT can put themselves in other people's shoes. With respect, you will find a frequent experience here that NT people are not so good at empathy, certainly not at empathising with aspies. Historically, many groups of people would have a view on the ability of other groups of people to empathise with them, especially when a minority, an imbalance of power is involved.

    There are several theories about the theory of mind and empathy, at least half a dozen. Whether it is genuinely picking up the emotions and thoughts of others, like a contagion, or is it about projecting how others would feel and think from your own experience, the jury is still out.

    I think aspies are very sensitive to pick up some tension, pick up anxiety from the others. They may not always articulate what it is, put the finger on what is wrong.

    As to projecting own expectations for the thoughts and feelings of others, that would depend a lot on personal experience, personal circumstances that shaped the way we think and feel about stuff, the priorities we put on one issue vs the other. People with very different experience would have very different perspective and priorities. This is described by a double empathy problem.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 5
  18. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    On the double empathy problem

    It is a theory of autism advanced by Dr Milton, which I think is particularly relevant to relationships.
    The double empathy problem | Network Autism

    I like the citation, the dissonance of outsider's observation vs the real lived experience:

    “...right from the start, from the time someone came up with the word ‘autism’, the condition has been judged from the outside, by its appearances, and not from the inside according to how it is experienced.”

    (Donna Williams, 1996, p.14).'

    From the NAS page on double empathy problem:

    'Whilst it is true that autistic people can struggle to process and understand the intentions of others within social interactions, when one listens to the accounts of autistic people, one could say such problems are in both directions. From the earliest written accounts of autistic people one can see numerous mentions of this lack of understanding from others. It is this issue of empathy problems between autistic and non-autistic people being mutual in character that led to the development of the ‘double empathy problem’ as a theory.
    ...

    'Simply put, the theory of the double empathy problem suggests that when people with very different experiences of the world interact with one another, they will struggle to empathise with each other. This is likely to be exacerbated through differences in language use and comprehension. ...

    'More recently research by Elizabeth Sheppard and team at the University of Nottingham, Brett Heasman at the London School of Economics, and Noah Sasson at the University of Texas at Dallas, have shown that in experimental conditions, non-autistic people struggled to read the emotions of autistic participants, or form negative first impressions of autistic people. Such evidence would suggest that the dominant psychological theories of autism are partial explanations at best.

    'According to the theory of the ‘double empathy problem’, these issues are not due to autistic cognition alone, but a breakdown in reciprocity and mutual understanding that can happen between people with very differing ways of experiencing the world. If one has ever experienced a conversation with someone who one does not share a first language with, or even an interest in the topic of a conversation, one may experience something similar (albeit probably briefly).

    This theory would also suggest that those with similar experiences are more likely to form connections and a level of understanding, which has ramifications in regard to autistic people being able to meet one another.

    'The theory has the potential to radically shift how we see autism and therefore autistic people. In doing so, there are also ramifications for practice and what one is trying to ‘intervene’ with. Attempts to reduce autistic ‘symptomology’ may not lead to increased wellbeing, and the lack of understanding and resultant stigma felt by autistic people in social environments can then impact upon mental health, employment, accessing education and services, and experiences of the criminal justice system. In short the downside of the double empathy problem is minorities being socially marginalised.'
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,748
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Karma:
    +11,171
    You had me at hello :)

    I think there is often a bias of the majority hidden within the tests that say we lack empathy.

    Often, those within hierarchical social groups (like most everybody) are used to just reading and accepting an ''authority' and thus mistakes become embedded as everyone joins in.
    Aspies perhaps can be more used to thinking for themselves (upsides and downsides to this)

    I think it is often 'social empathy' or even 'cu!tural empathy' that people expect us to show.
    So we act outside of the norm as often we have a culture of ' one'
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 3
  20. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    Absolutely, a lot of misunderstanding stems from the expectation that aspies should / would take exactly the same view, judgement / priority as the NT on the social cue or norm, or feeling or anything else. But aspies are seeing the situation differently, are approaching this situation from a very different perspective and their appraisal of the situation is different.

    Basically it is the issue of aspies disagreeing with the NT appraisal of the situation, reaching different conclusions, equally valid.

    The NT majority does not see and understand the rationale for aspies appraisal of the situation, but they do reject or ostracise the expression of it. It is also and often the issue of a minority group.

    Language is also a problem. It became a stereotype that people repeat without challenging the implications.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5