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Featured How to Help an Aspie Husband Cope in a Foreign Land? (while staying sane)

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by BlueSky Aozora, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Hello, I would like to ask on how to help my aspie husband cope, who just moved to my country (foreign languages) for a year. His country is a 1st-world country, while mine is a 2nd-world country. So many things lacking in my country compared to what he used to.

    I asked about your opinion in the following thread:
    If you are an Aspie in a Foreign Land. How do you cope??

    From the thread, I got to understand how devastating it feels to move to a foreign land. But how do I help him??

    I also don't know much about this area - just moved here half a year earlier than him, but I didn't go around much - I'm satisfied being at home. He's not - he'll be anxious if he does nothing at home, and he is not interested in doing any housework (sometimes only). He also have difficulties in making friends, and people here always speak native language that is foreign. He wants to speak to people who speaks his language, but doesn't go out to find those people. Even if I found somebody, I don't know if he's willing to go - depend on his mood or anxiety. He's always constantly anxious about his research paper - the anxiety doesn't stop.

    I feel so guilty seeing he's so depressed and isolated. I cant focus on my work, I'm lousy at housework too. I feel like I need to guide him through everything; but even I don't know everything, and don't have the energy/expertise to guide him.

    I think that somebody who is energetic, who likes to explore the world, and patience enough, can introduce him to many beautiful activities outside. That person might be able to pique his interest in doing that activity. Unfortunately, I don't know any interesting activity, and i'm indecisive - I feel like it's ok even if we don't have any activities.

    But the problem is, it seems he needs something and I'm the sole planner, the sole executor, the sole guidance, everything. And even if I plan, usually it doesn't make him feel interested. Maybe because I don't actually want to do that activity or go anywhere. I feel like I need to be stronger - plan everything, execute everything, drive him to the place, guide everything....

    But I cant force two or more people to become friends, right?? I don't even have anybody to introduce him to. How can I find friends for him?? Not everybody he will be comfortable with, right? And I don't know if I will get his cooperation. I don't even have friends (lol. Only colleagues. Which he doesn't want to get involved).

    I can help him converse a bit in our language, but not much. I feel he needs to go to classes. But he doesn't want to. And his anxiety about his research is so high. And unfortunately, in this place/country, nobody is expert or care enough who can help him.

    I feel like this place devaluate him. I feel so guilty and feel so bad for him. You might say we should move, but that's for the long-term plan. In the meantime, what should we do?

    I feel so desperate, so confused, so.. don't know how to help him. I know he's in more pain than me. Feel so helpless. Can somebody please help me calm down, help us, or any suggestion to help me to help him? Thank you so much!!
     
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  2. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi, BlueSky. I've never moved to a foreign country but I can imagine how isolating it must feel to not even speak the language. I think your idea of his taking language classes is a good start to helping him feel more integrated into the community, and that you should attend with him, if possible, even though you do speak the language so he will feel more comfortable in the classes. He might meet some other students who are new to the country, too, and get to know them. Perhaps you can find someone from his country to invite to dinner and serve food from his country that he is familiar with. It would be a small start and might lead to a true friendship.

    Can the two of you explore the local area together? Sometimes just getting outside to walk or bike can lift one's mood. Go to a museum together or pack a picnic lunch to share in a nice setting. Can you rent movies from his home country to watch at home? Or rent movies from the foreign country that have subtitles in his native language? I've found it helpful to watch movies or television shows in Spanish with English subtitles to improve my Spanish. We travel a lot to Mexico and my husband does not speak any Spanish so I have to do almost all of the communicating while we are there. He also uses a translation app on his cell phone so he can get by when I'm not present to interpret for him.

    You are kind to try to help him assimilate to his new home. He might benefit from joining this website, too.
    Good luck!
     
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  3. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Enjoying life and glad to be alive! V.I.P Member

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    A small step might be to hire a language tutor to come into your home once or twice a week.
    A man close to your husband’s age.
    For me, it’s the small things that help the most because there is less pressure on me to improve or be happy.
     
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  4. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    For housework, guide him in steps for just one thing here or there. Both of you should use the Internet to help out so that both of your self-sufficiencies can be built up more.
    If you have the money, hire a maid.

    Even though you don't like to leave, it is good to know about your surroundings too when you do need to look for something. Or, maybe if you want to be a good host, you should know some things about the area you live in. So, even if you don't like to get out, get out because it is important for both you and your husband. There have got to be things that you and him will like leaving the home- it doesn't have to be popular or well attended. It could even be a park or a store one shops at, or the public transportation system, for instance. . .
     
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  5. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Enjoying life and glad to be alive! V.I.P Member

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    *be sure to NOT hire a young beautiful maid though. No use in tempting a lonely man...
     
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  6. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    If you are to help him, the first thing is that he has to realise that he's got to help himself. That means being less passive and more proactive. He can't expect things to come to him, because they won't; he has to go out to do things, it takes an effort. Doing this means that he will have to accept being out of his comfort zone or overcome his anxiety as being a means to achieve what it is that he wants to achieve. You can help him by being there for him and helping him when he decides to go do something, but in the end it comes down to him..

    I'm in a similar position, I am an Aspie living in a foreign country, and I know that what applies in my native country also applies here - if I want to get anything done and want to be independent, I need to be proactive and that means leaving my comfort zone. Having Asperger's and living in a foreign country is a double whammy of communication difficulties, but it was my decision to come here and now I must deal with it, I can either stay at home all day and do nothing, or get out and do something - I have a lot of communication difficulties, but learning the language helped a lot, as did a lot of resilience and determination to see myself through a lot of the challenges I face. I have learned to accept that I have these difficulties, and not beat myself up over them whenever things go wrong (daily), for the sake of my own sanity.
     
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  7. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mary. Thank you so much for your kind words, and so many useful suggestions. Not sure if I can do them.. I'll try!

    Oh, I didn't thought of attending the same class with him. Maybe I should try. Need to find affordable class (two languages - the one used at work, & another used in casual settings). And wonder whether he ever want to join - ok I just keep the contacts and when he wants to join, I can just introduce it to him.

    Although hard for me, but a nice idea. Our house has no complete furniture for serving guests and so messy - ok need to spend more time for this. I'm not even a good cook - I can buy something and serve instead (*sweat*). Or I can just bring my husband to that person's place - if my husband ever wants to go.

    The surroundings nearby in our place is bad for walks, but yes, we can drive to a park/museum - although he always complain that he wants to walk nearby (sadly, no place to walk nearby) and don't want to drive just to take a walk somewhere far. Maybe I must be prepared enough to go out for a picnic, and he'll come too. I'll try..!

    Movies from his home country - done. Foreign country with subtitles of his language - not yet. Will try to find. A very nice idea.

    You're so kind; don't you feel tired do all the communication, or translating everything in the conversation? And your husband is also so good, he takes the initiative. Mine doesn't recently, maybe he wants focuses on relaxing his anxiety.

    Thank you so much for your kind words, you're so kind!
     
  8. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Thank you BraidedPony, for the very nice suggestion.
    Why not I hire a private tutor, right?
    Coming to home - okay, I need to work on cleaning our home.. or at least I can invite both of them to the nearby stall that my husband usually frequents.


    I didn't think of this. Very nice!
    Sometimes, I think that if I pay somebody to be his 'friend', then that person will stop being 'friends' after we stopped the class. Or, nothing outside of class time.
    But hey, at least my husband will get knowledge/skill, and at least one other person to talk to.

    Now, where to find this perfect guy for my husband.. (lol)

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder; always forget about this.
    Less pressure to improve or be happy.... so important.
    I realized I imposed these on my husband; I should stop.

    If possible, would you mind sharing the little things that helped you?


     
  9. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Paloftoon, thank you very much for your suggestions :)

    Housework.. will try to do. Nowadays, I always feel exhausted after the tiring work week. Guiding him, really need step by step.. if we're not tired, I'll try. Didn't thought of using the Internet; nice idea.

    Hmm.. thought about it also. Actually the house is small, it's just i'm so lazy (lol).

    Haha you got me there. I will try to be more proactive. Mostly because here, we need to drive to get anywhere; not much in walking distance. But yes, I also want to know more.

    So, even if my husband doesn't want to go together with me, maybe I should go by myself to explore? So that I can introduce the surroundings to him later. But then, I feel guilty leaving him alone at home.

    If I don't want to feel guilty, I can only leave in weekends' mornings - usually he's gone to work (workaholic much, or because feel boring at home) while I'm napping (uh, what a lazy bum). I'll try to go out tomorrow if I'm ok.

    If there's a park in walking distance, that's heaven. Unfortunately none. But will try to find in nearby driving distance - so that we'll not be indecisive when we want to go out.

    Store - I like to take a walk in the shopping mall here, but he doesn't. Maybe because of sensory issue? If smaller store, not sure.. maybe we can find one. He wants to go to bookstore, unfortunately, the bookstores here doesn't have much contents compared to his country. Maybe we should drive more to go to an international bookstore.

    Public transportation system - I didn't thought of that. I myself enjoyed riding public transportation. My husband - hmmm... will try.

    Thank you for the useful suggestions.
     
  10. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Hahah this one of course, I'll be careful!! It's better to clean the house myself (lol)
     
  11. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Progster. Thank you so much again for your advice, this time too.
    What you said is very true.

    I wonder if the anxiety can be overcame? Recently, he's 24/7 in anxiety. About his research - he said after he finishes the paper, maybe the anxiety will go away.

    Being there for him & helping him.. simple but actually deep. This means I need to be prepared, instead of resting after the tiring week.

    You are very admirable. Hopefully my husband can be like you - or maybe i should not put pressure like this on him..? By the way, did you manage to overcome your anxiety/depression? Hope you're feeling great.

    This is wonderful and necessary.
    Thank you for the reminder, and the whole advice.
     
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  12. chocoholic

    chocoholic Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @BlueSky Aozora

    You could stop him maipulating you and tell him to accept responsibility for himself.
     
  13. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Time makes things more tolerable. And lots of support and love.
     
  14. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, chocoholic. Sometimes I wonder, if I'm worrying too much about him, when he doesn't ask me to even do these things.. but I feel he needs it..? What a control freak I am.

    Yeah, maybe I need to rest :)
     
  15. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Major Tom. He also said the same thing - time will make it easier for him.

    I feel bad too, because he's been here for 1 year, but I didn't introduce him to beautiful places here.. maybe I need to get myself together and be more outgoing. (Actually I just want to rest..)

    Lots of support & love..
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Hope everything is going well on your side too.
     
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  16. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    The anxiety over his paper can only be resolved by his finishing the paper. So he should perhaps focus on that until he gets it done, then on everything else.

    Anxiety over social experiences or going to language classes can only be resolved by actually going, then having positive experiences/nothing going wrong. Then he may start to feel less anxious. But to do this, he still has to leave his comfort zone and overcome his initial anxiety. This might be achieved by his having a plan B or 'escape plan'. Join the language class, but ask if he can join on a trial basis, meaning that if it doesn't work out for him after the first session, he can stop. If he goes to a social event, having the option of going home early, if he doesn't like it or it isn't working out for him. If I knew which country you were living in, I or other forum member might be able to give you more useful, country-specific advice.

    Edit: Thanks. I wouldn't say that I was feeling great, but I no longer take medication for anxiety or depression.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
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  17. Sir Stig

    Sir Stig Active Member

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    The last months I have been able to do some housework, and it helps my mood and asthma very much. After I explained to my girlfriend that I need to have a system (what goes where) in order to get things done, it goes much better. It does not have to be my system, but we need to use the same system. Give it a try. Less decisions in routines saves mental capacity for improvements.

    Maybe getting the house tidy, takes away distractions, so it will be easier to work towards finishing his paper.

    If he decides to satisfy his social needs:
    I believe few things are better to overcome cultural differences by trying to speak the native language of where you stay. Even if you stumble, people seem to appreciate that you give it an effort. A language course can also be a good place to meet people. Or even online courses like Duolingo, to get the basics down. After a few sessions, enjoying a beverage at a local pub can work wonders. Trying outright and saying that you are practicing the language is a good opener. Many are curious by nature, so facilitating so that other can make contact can be a good way to avoid being rude and force ones company on people.

    Finding places for fellow hobbyists are also a place to get some of the social need covered. Even if one doesn't make friends, acquaintances are an alright substitute.

    Failing is not the end of the world. It's an opportunity to learn. That's what I keep repeating to myself. I am learning a lot, all of the time. If I have already failed at something, I try to accept that and not beat myself over it. The failure (not perfect) is punishment enough.

    Not thriving in a place is sad, so my advice is to either take steps to improve, or make a plan for moving and try to find ways to hold on until you are able. Just staying miserable is such a waste of time. I did that far too lang and far too many times. If depression is the cause, getting counceling, group therapy and/or medication may be the push that is needed to slowly turn the spiral from going downwards.

    I hope you find a strategy that works for the both of you.
     
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  18. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Your husband is waaaay too picky. He needs to find ways to adjust somehow. That's on him. You can only offer opportunities here and there, when you have the energy. Nothing wrong with going by yourself and making other friends. Certainly don't discount your husband, which I know you aren't, but you deserve time to do things you want to like and discover and to have friends too. He has to be able to trust you and let you grow yourself since he can't be there to experience those things with you. If he isn't, then you would have to question the relationship altogether. I don't get the sense it'd get to that point. Best wishes to you.
     
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  19. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Well, you might be able to find a young, beautiful, MALE maid/butler to clean the house. :D

    There's a lot in life to balance. You could focus on other things or like even just taking a break or reading maybe. Can't be all work and no play.
     
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  20. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think that learning the language needs to be the first step. If you can't afford the tutor, try online courses. There is this nice, free app called Duolingo (for a phone or through a browser) that has quite a lot of languages you can learn in an entertaining form. Maybe check if that language is there and start with simple alphabet/ basic phrases?

    Learning the language definitely helps to calm down the anxiety when you're outside home - you know what people are talking about, you can contact with them, ask for directions if you're lost - much potential out there.

    Outside, try creating a schedule that can be followed. Create plans for the time when you're in a traffic/waiting for transport to make it feel productive and not as frustratingly pointless. Maybe reading a book about a specific topic (you can get digital copies and read on your phone) or previously mentioned learning the language.

    Find things that are soothing for him. The first few years I spent in a foreign country I was anxious enough to always wear a pressurised vest, although these can be quite costly and hard to come by. Things I found helped where different ways for stimming (I like some textures, especially of tree bark and rocks, so I carry some with me to interact with in a stressful situation), so that the stimming wouldn't turn self-destructive (like biting fingers, scratching etc.). Check what exactly makes him calmer - headphones, sunglasses, specific clothes, scarves? Is there noise at nights - then earplugs or similar?

    Check his triggers - what makes him the most anxious/scared? Eliminate these if possible.

    These are the most important things to think of: the language, the schedule and the soothing. The rest, especially more interaction with other people, comes after, when the situation itself has calmed down. It can be really difficult, but if you do it well enough, it doesn't have to feel like hell or like you're a cornered animal with all the new and scary stuff around. Good luck to you and your husband!
     
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