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Featured I think my partner of 8 years has undiagnosed ASD/PDA

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Artemis, Jul 13, 2019 at 11:09 PM.

  1. Artemis

    Artemis Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hello. I'm new here. I've read the forums many times during bad bouts with my partner, but today I finally decided I need to stop fooling myself and accept that this is real and that I need real help and perspective. My story and questions are intricate, so I think I'm going to post in a few different sections regarding different parts of my story. This post is not brief....but, this is where I am having the most difficulty.

    My partner of 8 years (this Tuesday, actually) and I fell in love hard and it started with passion and a sweet vulnerability; but we always had misunderstandings and moments where he would shut me out for days. While we were dating I had a higher title/salary than him, and I like being generous with those I love, so I used to always contribute more (or pay for all) of our outings or trips. But, always thought, one day I may need help, or be making less and that he would return that generosity.

    It wasn't until I was newly pregnant and we were moving in to a new place that he left me to handle the entire move by myself (there were movers of course, that I arranged and paid for), but still it was summer and over 100 degrees that day, I was exhausted from being pregnant, had to take the day off of work, and it was a long day and a lot of running around. He said he couldn't get out of work, and that sounded fake to me—he had only been freelancing with them sporadically for a few weeks. It seemed odd to me that he wouldn't want to be there to help me. That he wouldn't have requested that day off when he agreed to the work (the move date had been set for a while). When he finally came home from work, he made some comment about how tired he was from work and I got so upset we had a huge fight and he left and didn't come back to our new apartment until 3am, very drunk. I was left that evening to hang shower curtains, unpack essentials, make our bed, put away refrigerated items, etc. That night I was so bewildered by his actions I remember extensively googling his behavior and it clicking in my head for the first time that he may be on the spectrum.

    Since our son has been born things have only gotten worse. My partner lost even that bit of irregular work, and wasn't contributing to our household finances, so when my paid leave was up I had to go back to work (had always hoped to take a couple of months without pay, which could have worked out if he was earning anything at all). He stayed home with our son, and when our son was about 6 months old, I told him I needed him to go back to work (I manage all of our finances, too). We were starting to go into debt each month. I completed paperwork, lined up daycare, and he said he was looking, and I know he was—but nothing panned out. Last November he was offered a great full-time job, good pay, benefits, and a managerial title. He turned it down, said it wasn't the right fit. I was furious. But, he also complained about being the primary caregiver while I was at work. He was depressed / stressed and often zoned out on his special interest (art). We agreed our son needed stimulation, and that he needed to go into daycare part-time (3 days a week) for his benefit. The agreement was my husband could get part-time work to help financially. He never found part-time work and financially things only got worse for me.

    I recently took a far more demanding job, with far greater workload, in large part due to an increase in pay and more opportunity. Our son is now in daycare full-time (this past week was his first full week). And my partner is out of excuses—but not even trying to get a job and barely doing anything to even help out around the house. He spends most of his time pursuing intellectual interests; reads, posts on Instagram and visits museums and galleries. I am working my ass off, and somehow look up after 8 years and realize somehow I became responsible for everything. Most of the debt is in my name (he had non-existent credit when we met), the lease is in my name (I was the one with the job), I pay the bills, order the groceries, help with housework, ensure everyone in our friends / family get birthday cards and gifts from our family, buy all of our clothes, obviously help with our son whenever I'm home and as much as possible .....and there is nothing left for me. I've gained weight, developed hives, get on average 4.5 hours of sleep per night, and just generally feel like I'm about to crack.

    He always has excuses for everything and if I call him on needing help he says "here we go again".

    I finally found an article on Pathological Demand Avoidance(PDA), two nights ago, and everything clicked again. Except I have NO idea how to get through to him because he blames me and says I don't know how to help him. On top of all of this he treats me with contempt. I don't want to kick him out because I don't know where he would go, and because I'm heart-broken about how nasty our relationship is—I want to improve and work on our relationship, and I still love him very much. But, I've got nothing left in the tank.

    After all of this, I still love him dearly, I think he loves me (although, I'm very uncertain at the moment) and I don't know how to fix this. Is there ANY getting through to him??? I've tried EVERYTHING. If there is anyone who has any insight on PDA I would so greatly appreciate it. I can't find much on it, and all accounts I usually read of NT/ASD relationships people say what good providers their ASD spouses are.

    Again, so sorry this is so terribly long.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2019 at 12:55 AM
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  2. Isadoorian

    Isadoorian Well Known Chat Member, Welcomer of Newcomers V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the Forums! I hope you make new friends and enjoy your stay in the process! :)
     
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  3. Cazelle

    Cazelle Member

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    Hi Artemis, and welcome :).
    It sounds like you have a very unbalanced relationship and given the pressure you are under, I suggest that you consider professional help either through a doctor or a counsellor. If he is unwilling or unable to change and you are unable to continue on with how things are, you will need help to make things change or at least understand what is going on.
     
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  4. Major Tom

    Major Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome!
     
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  5. Artemis

    Artemis Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank you all for the welcome, I really appreciate it.

    Cazelle, thank you for reading my long entry, your answer sounds simple and just about right. And I have spoken to someone and even got him to speak to someone last year. But, she wasn't covered by our insurance (finding most therapists who understand this aren't) and the amount of help we need, I am supposed to talk with her again next week, but can't afford many sessions with her. I don't know how to afford it. Last year, I just put it on credit cards and added to our debt because it seemed too important, but he's not really accepting this at all. When he feels in control he will acknowledge that he relates to being on the spectrum, but if I try and talk about it or use it in context of our relationship, he dismisses me or gets angry and says I'm blaming him for everything bad, and that he's appalled at how I won't take any responsibility. Which just sounds like projection.

    I guess I joined this forum in hopes of trying to understand where he is, how to help him. This is hard on me, but I'm the only one in his life who sees how much he is struggling, I don't think anyone else on Earth knows this side of him. I'm also terribly worried about him, his stress, his health. I truly want to do whatever is best for him, but continuing to enable him clearly didn't serve either of us very well.

    I keep getting stuck at: am I still just trying to relate to him in a way that I would with a NT? What am I doing wrong? It feels like he absolutely hates me, and it breaks my heart.
     
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  6. Rectify

    Rectify Active Member

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    Hi Artemis, I have never heard of PDA (beyond public displays of affection :p) I'm afraid. I hope you find some answers, advice and support here though.
    Welcome :)
     
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  7. Rectify

    Rectify Active Member

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    It's a great question. Our whole household dynamic changed for the better after one of my kids was diagnosed because I then learned a new way to parent. Prior to that I was attempted to do it the same way I'd learned and used on my others who were NT.
    But a professional would have to diagnose him.

    Have you discussed this possibility (asd) with him? If so, what did he say. Forgive me if I missed that info in your post.

    I noted your difficulty in paying for sessions but if you and he did want to look at diagnosis then my advice would be to find a specialist in autism.
     
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  8. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    Regardless of if he has Asperger's or not, I think you will have to leave him if you aren't willing to support his current lifestyle. This is probably the only way he will possibly learn that he has to make do with what he has and make some effort to make a respectable living. Could he do something like Lyft, Uber, Caviar, or Papermate? Is he giving you what you want physically? Is he doing a good job maintaining the home? Could you trust him to regulate your finances and update stuff appropriately (such as changing bank accounts for a higher interest rate and also changing the account number so that autopay reflects the changes) without you having to intervene too much? Or, is he trying to get a better education so that he can get a job in something he's more interested in in a way that doesn't affect your livelihood and your son's livelihood?

    At the very least, you could ask him to look for something to save up for investigating the possibility of a diagnosis for him. And, also ask him to get a job(s), even if he doesn't like it, in order to be able to save up. If he doesn't accept any of these things and even try, and you still stay with him, then you're saying that you're "okay" with putting up with this behavior. His lack of effort is a lack of love for you and your child.

    Consider reading this book: Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beattie
    https://www.amazon.com/Codependent-No-More-Controlling-Yourself/dp/0894864025

    Who turns down a full time job with benefits when you guys are apparently struggling to maintain a certain level/quality of lifestyle? You can't do everything you like per se. It's not like he or his family are supporting him, or at least not in a way that is helping out your life too. There is no obligation for his parents to help you, but at the same time, he should not be lacking effort on trying to get a job AND burdening you by not trying.

    Is there a likelihood that he will get more full time job offers? Since you're desperate, he should take the first thing he gets and at least stay or try to work there for 6 months to a year to bring in some money before (quitting and) looking for something else.


    As for him to find a place is his problem, not yours. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but this person does not love you for you. He just likes the current situation. If there is another woman who is attractive enough to him and also willing to support him, and if it wasn't for your son, do you think he would just leave you for another person?


    He probably has parents or some other close relatives. He could always move in with them. You can help him move out (unless you can't trust him physically.) If you want, you can help him find a place maybe, but let him be responsible for his own bills. Since he doesn't appreciate your efforts and if you continue to "feed on" them by contributing to his lifestyle and telling us about it, this is on you at this point. Either you continue the relationship as it is, or you work on making some changes to better your life and your son's life. You need to be a good role model for not just yourself, but your son too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 4:56 AM
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  9. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Put on your own life jacket first.

    You need to change how you treat YOU before you can help him.

    Relinquish as many responsibilities as you can,accept some things may get left.

    Give him the chance to pick up the slack .
     
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  10. Cazelle

    Cazelle Member

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    What is his relationship like with other people? His family? Friends?

    Also, does he want help? It is very hard to help someone who doesn't really want to be helped.
     
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  11. Rexi

    Rexi owo uwu owo Weird&Unusual Atheist Science=<3

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    It sounds like he might be narcissistic given his inability to take responsibility for his mistakes and shift blame on you.

    His negative behavior isn't part of autism, that belongs to him.

    If you're exhausted why not stop trying to fix/help him, it's a mistake to try everything, it just makes things worse.

    I wish you could move on from him. Accepting this is doing no good to you or to him, and to your child either. You've spent all your time, energy and finances on him, Id say thats about all you can do. You owe him nothing. Spend this time with your child instead.

    I can think of the following setting: a man welcomming you home with a hug and things already being taken care of. Later on leaving for his job and letting you with your child. I know men who do this. If you want this, you need to work on making it happen for yourself. Seek for the man who is already able to work for a family and a wife, or has state support for his disability but still willing to do chores and share finances and care. Don't take a lousy man in hopes to change him. You aren't adopting a child.

    Disperse your codependency in other areas of your life, do small nice things for other people. They may have better reactions and express thankfulness.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 6:24 AM
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  12. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    I've read all your posts and the one thing I've not seen yet is anything that explains why you think his behaviour points to autism. Could you provide some details of what has directed your thoughts this way please? We'd like to be able to provide some support but at the moment we have little to go on that might suggest he could be on the spectrum.

    PDA is not a symptom of autism, it is a phenomenon caused by anxiety over demands not fully understood. Anxiety is very common amongst autistic people and therefore the incidence of PDA (or DAP - Demand Avoidance Phenomenon) is proportionate. It is not to be confused with laziness, narcissism or controlling behaviour.
     
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  13. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    This doesn’t necessarily read as autism to me, it does sound like a partner not pulling his weight.
     
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  14. GadAbout

    GadAbout Active Member

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    Your story sounds a lot like my first marriage. Eventually (20 years in!) I told him he was not and would never be my soulmate and I didn't love him any more. We divorced.

    I have wondered if he had autism, since our children do, but ultimately he was just perpetually immature.

    Even if your partner does have autism, you can't ever "fix" him. I hate to see you trying. You might be a great deal happier if you dump him before wasting any more of your life. I wish I had understood the reality much earlier.

    And you want to hear the topper? He told my kids that I always had to "have my own way" as if I was selfish. He was incapable of making a decision, so I had to make them, and then it was me having to have my own way. He defensively chipped away at my self esteem although I have many, many strengths.

    Best wishes to you, however you handle things.
     
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  15. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Let me tell you all a tale of demand avoidance. A very personal tale that I have told to researchers in the field and, I am told, is quite typical.

    As a 49 year old adult I still fit the profile for Demand Avoidance Phenomenon and I have known why for years. It is not a pathological need to avoid commitment or tasks. It is not contrarianism, it is a reaction hard boiled into my psyche from an early age.

    From when I was very young I was given orders by my family members, then by schools and I followed them. I sometimes misunderstood the instructions, which were occasionally very vague and seemed counter-intuitive to me, but I obeyed as best I could. I made mistakes and I would be punished severely for them. I grew up at a time when taking a slipper, a belt or a paddle and beating your child with it was still seen as acceptable, even in schools.

    This treatment led me to become extremely anxious whenever I was asked to do anything. I developed a habit, a coping tactic, of always asking for elaboration or explanation of anything I was unsure of, which was a great deal. If I couldn't understand why I was to do something I would prevaricate until I was given enough information or reassurance that I understood, so I would not be punished later for my failure to understand.

    Today, my need for full understanding would be termed "Demand Avoidance" whereas in reality it is merely a desire to understand the demands in order to prevent or mitigate unpleasant consequences. People who are unwilling to explain their demands or who don't even understand why they make them themselves will see my behaviour as obstructive and non-compliant. They prefer to blame my unwillingness to immediately comply on laziness or stubbornness rather than offer a reasonable explanation, or just admit that their motivations may in some cases be selfish.

    The dumb thing about all this is that sometimes the only explanation needed could be "because it would make me happy" but many people are unwilling even to say that. They prefer to bully and cajole.

    Autistic people are often not very good at understanding "unwritten rules" or hints and it is the cause not only of a great deal of our anxiety but also of the so-called demand avoidance we are frequently profiled with.

    Once I found myself threatened with being fired from my job for having told the truth to a customer in a situation, that "unwritten rules" dictated I should have lied in. The company refused to offer an explanation of why I should have lied, only that it was "common sense". I still don't understand why lying would have been the appropriate response and no explanation was forthcoming. I was not being difficult, I was confused. Had they explained I could have moved on with new knowledge.

    If none of the above sounds plausible to you in the context of your partner @Artemis then I think that PDA/DAP is not likely to be what you are dealing with. If you are explaining the circumstances fully and being honest about your true feelings (all of them, not just the socially acceptable ones) and he is abjectly refusing to budge, then you are likely dealing with a wholly different phenomenon.
     
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  16. Rexi

    Rexi owo uwu owo Weird&Unusual Atheist Science=<3

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    I think most companies nowadays focus on product advertising and sales rather than the right thing for the right person. My mom gets constantly lied to when she refuses to take her glasses with her and read stuff, so staff always fools her they have what shes looking for but it's actually not it [e.g. house deodorant instead of moth repellant].

    I think not making sales is part of why I wasnt kept and also it gets much harder in a natural med store to make sales to people because they need to be careful about what they take and not everything works so you cant really stuff anything down the person's throat especially if they are already ill, unless you're a narcissist. Thats why some stores hire psychopaths and sociopaths or people who do well at sales and they earn a lot and are kept in position for a long time while honest souls are discarded because the boss doesn't earn off of them. Sad but true, it's all about money.
     
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  17. Artemis

    Artemis Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    He has several friends, but distant ones—meaning when he talks to them it's surface. I don't know how much he lets people in. He has had a turbulent relationship with his mother, after his father died he shut her out for an entire year. He also stopped talking to his sister at this time because he expected her to drop her life on the West Coast (career, home, etc) to move back to NY. At the time I thought that was really inconsiderate and not fair to be angry at her for that, but we had recently started dating (about 8 months after his father passed) and I didn't know her or their relationship.

    He says he wants help, but he doesn't tell me how to help him and only criticizes me saying I'm an awful partner because I don't know what he needs or how to help. Then when things die down he'll say he's grateful for all I do and that it's not me, it's him. But, still no action really happens, no steps taken. That's our pattern. Tension > Fight > Silence > Normalcy > Love > Repeat.
     
  18. Artemis

    Artemis Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    When we first started dating he told me he thought he may have Aspergers, he said it casually and with such normalcy, and I was so in love, it didn't matter—in my eyes then, it was like, well, if you have Aspergers then I guess I have a thing for guys with Aspergers. He was (is) brilliant, funny, has an amazing memory, great taste, highly intellectual, and prefers to spend quiet time at home instead of going out watching sports, or drinking at bars.

    It wasn't until that moving day that I realized it, looked it up, read the symptoms and thought ****...it may not all apply but the mind-blindness, hatred for bright lights (always leaves our apartment pretty dim, wears sunglasses indoors in public, etc), anger at schedule changes, and obsessive interest in art seemed like he just had to be. We've since discussed and he says himself he is on the spectrum. I found a great therapist who specializes in ASD and she gave us both a quiz for an informal diagnosis and we were supposed to rate each other. I definitely have some female traits as well. But, I was raised in a family with a mildly ASD mother, and an ASD brother.

    My partner seems content (i guess?) knowing he's on the spectrum, and I don't think he cares about therapy, he says he does but does nothing about it. He just wants his life to be easier.
     
  19. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Journaling? For him, I mean. If he's a "statistics" kind of aspie, show him an article that says it's healthy to monitor your feelings regularly, there's plenty out there. Write down his "chores" in a checklist, which sounds like more work for you but if it works it's actually less. Become a little more aspie yourself by observing out loud (in that neutral tone we're so famous for) what his feelings seem to be. It might not work right away, but it could make him feel more connected. (We do hear tone, although we tend to consider it less significant than the words. Researchers don't always know what they're talking about.)

    I find that the more I understand about autism, the better do I understand neurotypicals. It makes sense since our condition is analyzed through the lens of NT-ness, so I get to see what question they ask themselves when trying to understand us. What I'm trying to say is, he may not understand your neurotype that much better than you understand his, maybe less since you have grown up around some but not in an alienating way, and no one has ever bothered to explain NTs to him.
     
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  20. Artemis

    Artemis Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Just replied to Rectify re: this. The PDA or DAP thing is new to me. I found it because the lack of responsibility for finances or work or life is staggering. And yes, admittedly, I don't know that much about any of this, and didn't think PDA was a symptom of Aspergers, just that it is apparently a sub-set of it, and that those with that 'type' of Aspergers (ASD?) usually are able to appear much more social and charming.

    Honestly, I don't know what is going on, but based on reading about bi-polar disorder, narcissism, and generally researching anything I can to understand him ASD made the most sense, plus, since he has told me several times that he relates to this, I take his word on it.
     
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