Married with Undiagnosed ASD: Why Women Who Leave Lose Twice

Woman sitting on sofa, head in handsAuthor’s note: A caveat before we get into the substance of this article: couples counseling with a skilled therapist can greatly help couples in which one partner has the symptoms or diagnosis of autism spectrum (ASD)/high-functioning autism. This article describes the path followed by many women whose husbands are not diagnosed and who did not have successful couples counseling support to help them understand their differences. I write here about heterosexual married couples because these are the couples I see most frequently in my practice, where most often it is the man who exhibits the characteristics of ASD. This is not meant to imply only heterosexual couples face these issues or only men can have problematic ASD.

When a neurotypical woman is married to a man who has the behaviors associated with autism spectrum (ASD), several things typically occur. Over the course of her marriage, she experiences herself as gradually disappearing. In the place of her former self emerges a person she barely recognizes. She is so lonely. So hurt. So … angry. She feels isolated, as her social connections have gradually diminished. She feels misunderstood by everyone who knows her, so she has learned not to talk about her “problems.” She starts to feels crazy. She also feels guilty, because her husband is a good man.

This result can be seen in the following modified example from my psychotherapy practice:

A woman in her mid-50s came in for her first appointment. She seemed unsure of herself, eyes downcast, behaving as many women do when they first arrive. I recognized the familiar look of bewilderment, explained by others before her as wondering whether they are going to make sense when they begin to speak, of whether I will view them as whiners, or whether they may be wasting my time.

Before taking a seat, she handed me her curriculum vitae. Many pages long, it was heavy in my hand.

“This is who I used to be,” she said.

At a glance, I could see that among other things this woman had successfully argued a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Sinking into the chair in my office, however, she appeared too meek to look me in the eye as her tears began to form.

“I think my husband has Asperger’s. I don’t know, though. Maybe it’s me. Maybe there’s something wrong with me,” she said. “We have been married for 20 years. I don’t mean to say anything bad about him. He’s a good man. But I need a divorce. And my children think I’m a crazy person.”

Then the tears came in earnest.

“It’s such a relief to be here. People don’t believe me. I stopped talking about this a long time ago.”

I have seen this many times. On one occasion, a woman told me, “My husband has Asperger’s.” Then she began to cry, could not stop, seemed uncomfortable for not being able to compose herself, and left the office without uttering another word.

There are women who work with me for several months and can still feel blindsided when something comes up at home that they misinterpret from a neurotypical (NT) perspective instead of considering the implications of ASD. They continue to be surprised at the gap between themselves and their husbands. The pain they feel when they recognize this gap catches them like a stab to the stomach.

What has happened to these women? It’s difficult to see the process while it is going on, just as it is difficult to see the effects of water drops on granite minute by minute. But changes that are negligible day to day are incontrovertible over the long term. With time, granite that once held the characteristics of a unique natural form is visibly reduced to a smooth, monolithic surface.

What has happened to these women? It’s difficult to see the process while it is going on, just as it is difficult to see the effects of water drops on granite minute by minute. But changes that are negligible day to day are incontrovertible over the long term. With time, granite that once held the characteristics of a unique natural form is visibly reduced to a smooth, monolithic surface.

Instead of drops of water, women married to men on the spectrum are struck by pain from unrelenting moments of being reflected inaccurately in the place they look most often for reassurance: the eyes of their husbands. And over time, they begin to interpret what is reflected to them as a reliable representation. They try to alter their own perspective, their own aspirations, their hopes and dreams, to bring them into line so they are consistent with the way their husbands treat them. The lonely process of love and guilt and shame rips them apart.

It starts like this: a man on the spectrum (most often undiagnosed) marries a woman for all the qualities he admires, but once the wedding is over, those very qualities become the things that spark the most unsettling experiences for him. She is outgoing socially, has interesting things to talk about, and is engaged in intriguing professional activities. She is well-regarded, confident, and kind.

For her part, she finds his thoughtful attention and his stability comforting. She is also drawn to what she takes to be his reticence. She admires his ability to maintain his focus so intently and to be so successful in his work.

To a man on the spectrum, however, living with a person who has these qualities may be predictably uncomfortable. Where he seeks equilibrium in order to feel he understands the world around him, she seeks—and represents—novelty, as a result of the very curiosity that made her the woman he initially admired.

His constant anxiety related to living in what feels like an alien culture is soothed by predictability. This would be facilitated by the presence of a partner who complies with his view of reality. This is not because he sets out to manipulate her. It is because his fundamental concepts are threatened by hers. His anxiety grows with his fear of doing “something wrong” because he is never quite confident about what the “right thing to do” might be.

From her perspective, his thoughtful attention may have disappeared the very day of the wedding. He quickly became self-involved and aloof. The stability she admired slowly shows itself to be profound inflexibility. The reticence does not point to the underlying wisdom she assumed was present; she now sees that it comes from his not knowing what to do or say. And his inability to focus on her has come to mean she exists outside his field of interest, where he is apparently content to relegate her.

Mommy’s Birthday Doesn’t Matter

We can look at birthdays to explore the dynamics common to interactions between partners in an ASD/NT couple. When he does not acknowledge her birthday, and she asserts that his behavior has upset her, he may respond that he did not mean to upset her; therefore, she shouldn’t be upset. Or he might tell her that because birthdays come once year and everyone has them, they are no big deal and she should stop making such a big deal about them. Or he could tell her they celebrated her birthday last year. Or that birthdays are for children. In other words, he may hold her to the same idea regarding birthdays he holds himself. He may criticize her to the degree that her feelings about birthdays differ from his. He will miss her distress.

As a result, she doesn’t have the opportunity to celebrate her birthday, something which is generally understood as a common social convention in our culture. She also feels rejected by her husband over the belief her birthday is worth noting in the first place. She asks herself why such a little thing as a birthday seems so important to her. She wonders whether she is being juvenile, as he suggested. She sees he doesn’t care one way or another about celebrating his own birthday, after all.

She decides he is more mature than she is and attempts to comply with this idea of “maturity” by trying to ignore her own birthday. It doesn’t work. All her friends and family members mark their birthdays in some way. She sometimes has to explain to them why hers was overlooked. On occasion, she makes up stories about her birthday so people won’t feel sorry for her. She feels rejected, as well as foolish for being immature.

Overall, she is sad and lonely, still wondering why she can’t seem to make a point on her own behalf that she’d enjoy at least a card acknowledging her birthday, even though birthdays may not be important to him. But over time, she has learned further discussion is hopeless on a subject like this. She won’t say anything else about her birthday. She has learned such a conversation isn’t a discussion at all. It feels more like a pedantic correction of yet another one of her stupid ideas. And it will leave her upset, possibly in tears, with nowhere to go but inside.

She continues to celebrate his birthday. She makes certain the children’s birthdays are acknowledged and celebrated. She is now operating from the notion that her own birthday is a nonevent. It does not get mentioned because she does not bring it up. Her children, even though they are young, are noticing mommy’s birthday doesn’t matter, however. Daddy’s does. Theirs do. Mommy’s doesn’t. They do not understand it is Mommy herself—and without help from Daddy—who makes all the other birthdays happen. By complying with her husband’s view of things, however, in order to avoid the pain of being criticized about it once again, she has taught her own children that Mommy’s birthday doesn’t matter.

It is fair to wonder why a woman can’t decide to celebrate her own birthday on her own terms, regardless of what her husband thinks about it. In most cases, this would be a valid point. When ASD is present, though, the calculus is different. She can celebrate. She can bake a cake. She can buy herself flowers and even make reservations to go to dinner that evening. If she does, however, her husband’s attitude will be clear to her and to the children, whether he says anything with actual words or keeps his silence. It will be obvious to all concerned that he does not approve. He will comply to a minimum degree. He will participate begrudgingly. He will damn with faint praise. He will stonewall, which means he will say nothing at all, when she suggests (even mildly) that he participate. She has become accustomed to his stonewalling, which Dr. John Gottman, relationship expert, believes can kill a relationship because it denies communication and denies opportunity for the relationship to grow.

The Children Are Watching

The children are watching everything, interpreting it from their limited perspective and understanding. Mommy isn’t thinking of this at the time. She is not thinking the children learn how to treat their mother by observing the way their father treats her. She is operating on the assumption her children know her and love her and they see she is a good person. She is unaware that negative lifelong attitudes toward her are being formed in the young minds of the children she loves so dearly, and that these attitudes can come at her later to hurt her every bit as much as the behaviors she suffered from her husband, their father—the very behaviors that instilled these attitudes in the children in the first place. She is not thinking about the fact the children will likely remain unware they hold these subconscious notions regarding their mother, regarding how to treat her, regarding what she “deserves.” They watched how their father treated her. They learned. As adults, they may ignore their mother’s feelings and question her judgment, just the way Daddy does.

She is also unaware that in doing all the work and providing all the energy toward celebrating Daddy’s birthdays and the children’s birthdays, she is showing the children one more example of taking on both roles, Mommy and Daddy. She does it because it is important to her, for example, that the children’s birthdays are celebrated. She wants them to have fun. She wants them to have one special day a year that is all about them. She sees this as normal.

Daddy doesn’t agree, so he doesn’t participate.

Mommy does it all, from the planning to the present buying to the cake decorating, at home or at the bakery. She chats with all the parents who bring their own children to celebrate. She cleans up after the party. She is exhausted. She says so. Her husband may respond by saying, “Well, you’re the one who had to have this big party! You asked for it.” He may not help with the cleanup because, well, it was “her idea to have the party.”

The children are watching as Mommy cleans up and Daddy retreats to his study. If they get wild or misbehave, a distinct possibility after having the house full of friends and their tummies full of birthday cake and ice cream, it will be Mommy who has to enter the fray and settle things down. If she’s tired and feeling lonely and rejected by her husband, she is at her least resilient point, and she can snap unintentionally at the children. She looks like the bad guy, the parent who is “always angry.” This is how it may seem to small children.

The children are also susceptible to misunderstanding another basic fact they observe regularly. They see Mommy being strong. They see her as the one in charge of all the daily life of the family, and of all the extras (such as birthday parties, ballet lessons, soccer games, play dates), and they wonder where Daddy is. Because the reality of the situation is impenetrable and inaccessible to the children, they may create their own narratives. They may believe Daddy is a good man, yet Mommy seems to want to do everything. They determine this is because Mommy has pushed Daddy aside in order to control everything herself. Mommy doesn’t let Daddy help. Poor Daddy! Mommy is really mean.

Time to Make a Change

The years go by. The children go off to college, graduate, create their own lives. Mom couldn’t be more proud of the young people they have become. She decides she can no longer survive the relationship with her husband, however. It is not unusual for women to leave these marriages once the children are at least in high school, but often the marker is when they leave the house for college. This is not an easy decision for a woman. In fact, it is brutal. And it often makes no sense to anyone who is looking in at the marriage from the outside, including the couple’s children. She must give up everything in order to save her sanity. Yes, it has come to that.

This woman has lost a partner, lost a marriage. She has also lost her dreams, her hopes. She has lost her fundamental sense of who she is. She has to mourn these losses. She then has to heal. And she has to re-create herself.

The woman by this time may have few friends, few confidants. She has learned to refrain from discussing her marriage difficulties, because the friends she has have always seen her husband as such a “nice guy” and because he is undeniably a good provider. She stopped trying to talk about it because she got tired of hearing “all marriages have problems,” she is “expecting him to meet all her needs, which is impossible for any one person to do,” and she is “misinterpreting things.”

When she finally does go through a divorce, she discovers it will take her years to sort things out. She will think she is doing well immediately afterward because it feels so good to be free from the constant state of stress and criticism. This can be exhilarating. But gradually, she learns it is a phase. And it reveals a miscomprehension of how much healing she really has to do. During this time, before she reestablishes her new self, she may do things that seem rational and make decisions that seem logical. However, it is in looking back from a vantage point of several years after her divorce that she is likely to begin seeing just how separated from her true being she was during these years of healing, and of how much more healing she had to do, and still faces.

This woman has lost a partner, lost a marriage. She has also lost her dreams, her hopes. She has lost her fundamental sense of who she is. She has to mourn these losses. She then has to heal. And she has to re-create herself. It can take a decade or more to sort these things out and to become strong on her own. If she enters into a relationship with another man before she gets her bearings, she is likely to face additional confusion until the dust settles. This is not to be dismissed as the normal post-divorce phase of a woman’s life. It is an epic battle for reconstruction.

A No-Win Situation

By this time, the children see her differently. She is the woman who did not deserve to have birthday parties, remember. She is the woman who appeared to have pushed their father aside, so he was unable to be part of their daily lives. She appeared to have been the one who rejected him, and who instead of involving him in their lives, inserted her own agenda and goals. She is the one who spent all the money, because she had to manage everything and make all the decisions without her husband’s input. She is the one, most importantly, who broke up the family. Her selfishness caused the divorce, and the children were left to sort it all out.

Dad is the victim. Mom is the witch.

Mom has given her life to be both mother and father to the children because their father, on the autism spectrum but undiagnosed, was incapable of being involved emotionally and practically in the daily lives of their young family. Patterns were established. Mom continued to give. She finally left the marriage for her own sanity. She loses her marriage, her husband, her intact family. She appears to be the agent of the demise of the family, but she is not, because in running from abuse (regardless of the fact it was not necessarily intentional), she is running from a burning building in order to save her life. A fire set by intent, an accidental fire—what’s the difference to the person inside the house who must flee if she wants to live?

The woman loses again when she begins to understand her children treat her the way their father always treated her. They don’t respect her. They keep their distance. They blame her for everything they ever felt was wrong in the house when they were growing up.

The woman coming out of an ASD/NT marriage loses twice. She loses her husband and she loses when her children treat her the way their father treated her.

And to attempt to tell her story to her children is wrought with landmines invisible to her and unimaginable to the children. She feels she cannot convey the reality to them, regardless of her attempts. And even after all these years, she does not want to disparage their father, because she understands ASD is not his fault. She still treads carefully, even though he is unlikely to extend the same grace toward her. The children do not see this. Too much time has gone by. Too many patterns are set. They see only criticism of their father if she mentions she had to heal, or that she had to rediscover who she was after the divorce, or that she may have made decisions in the early years following the divorce that were not ultimately consistent with the person she now knows herself to be. She is, once again, judged and criticized—this time by the very children she exhausted herself to nurture.

If she is fortunate, she has found a good therapist along the way. She has had the opportunity to talk without feeling crazy. She has cried the bulk of her tears, though they still come when she thinks of her children, of how she loves them, of how unfair this has been to them, to her, to her former husband.

She has herself. She has friends. If she is fortunate, she has learned to re-create herself in such a way she has a career or an involvement in the community that allows her to experience herself in her competence and to be acknowledged by others as a person worthy of attention, worthy of friendship, even worthy of a birthday party.

Postscript: This article is a composite of what I have seen in my practice over the years among neurotypical women who have emerged from marriages with men who exhibit the behaviors consistent with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (formerly called Asperger’s syndrome, high functioning autism). As a psychotherapist, I work with ASD/NT couples. I work with individuals affected by ASD. I work with women who are or were married to men with ASD. My role can be described as that of an ASD/NT translator, essentially, and my goal is to help both partners understand the world as seen from the other. By writing this, I do not mean to disparage or judge anyone. This article reflects my experience as a therapist, and I offer it here in this form to help women understand that their experiences are valid as well as to help their friends and family members understand what these women have been struggling with—and what they may well continue to struggle with for some time to come.


  1. Gottman, J. (2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. New York, NY: Harmony Books.
  2. Silverman, S. (2015). NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. New York, NY: Avery Publishing.

© Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Dahlia

    April 20th, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    But I would think that all of this could somehow be different if you enter into the relationship with knowledge of a diagnosis?

  • concerned

    August 12th, 2017 at 2:42 PM

    No. It is not easier if you know because unless you are exposed to it on a regular basis and live with it you have no idea the frustration and loneliness that you experience. I choose not to let him control me. If I didn’t loathe divorce I would divorce him.

  • ruby

    October 21st, 2017 at 11:47 PM

    This is me and was me for more than 30 years of a 44 year marriage. I have been to hell and back. It describes in graphic detail everything that has happened to me and the resulting way my children see me. I could not win. Separated now for 3 years. Still trying to recover. Good to be free. Good days. Bad days. Thank you for excellent article.

  • Kathleen

    February 4th, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    This article has affected me so much. I am the woman being described. in the article. I feel like I am lost and in a dark bottomless hole. We got married late in life and moved away where we don’t know anyone. My husband is content to stay in this isolated island, and I am slowly dying each day. I used to be joyful and happy but now I am miserable and sad. Thank you for a lifeline today. I know what I need to do to get help.

  • KH

    August 4th, 2018 at 12:50 PM

    I also feel like the article is describing me, and I am feeling so lost. I’m 38 years old, we’ve been together for 8 years. I have a teenage son from my first marriage who lives with us half of the time, and he has started treating me like my AS spouse. I think this started long ago, but I’m seeing it now with open eyes. Feeling gutted and alone.

  • Lee

    September 26th, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    The same thing happened to me. My husband finally died after 36 years of marriage, and I was able to find a loving, responsive man, but my daughter has been rough with me over the years, like my husband was to me. I am still trying to find a life for myself even though I have been successful. I hardly do things for myself. I felt so isolated for so many years, living alone, far from my family. My husband discounted me over and over, wouldn’t acknowledge Mother’s day and never told me he loved me. But my new love believes me, listens to me, and tells me every day how proud he is of me to have been able to cope with so much. I feel so lucky.

  • Allison

    June 2nd, 2019 at 10:10 AM

    When I read this it made me cry because I am she…and I don’t recognise me any more. I am empty, lost and lonely, I have had the life of me sucked out and I am just a shell now. I’m trying to recover but it’s so hard because I’m so lost. Almost a year of therapy and am only just scratching the surface of all the pain.

  • natasha

    October 13th, 2019 at 1:10 PM

    It is so horrible. My husband has ADHD, recently diagnosed, I thought treatment would help, but it is still not enough, the selfishness is built in, the emotional withholding is pathological. I hate what a poor example of human behavior my husband is to my children. I would recommend, first off, I will be encouraging my four daughters to never marry a man who has any signs of ASD or ADHD, it a curse and women should not marry these types of men ever ever ever ever. They should be purged from the gene pool, they are a plague on society, untold woe and dysfunction, these people should be avoided. Second, give up on these men, maybe you can’t divorce, but separate yourself from them emotionally, find a job, find a lover, find outside activities, stop looking to these socially incompetent men for reassurance. Be civil, but call out this obnoxious toxic behavior outloud to your children. “Girls you realize your dad’s behavior is incorrect, not the way it should be, you father is incapable being a normal supportive husband , look to grandma and grandpa, their marriage is normal, she how Papa treat Mammy.” “Son you must be careful to actually love your future wife, talk to her, pay attention to her, care for her. Your father is mentally ill, do not behave like him. You must look to grandpa to understand how to treat a wife.” Don’t worry about your husband, giving any blowback, if he has ADHD he will lack the initiative to do anything. And he should be made to feel bad, maybe it will grow some empathy for how he has made you feel, but don’t count on it. Overall you need to fight this toxic behavior, get another man and show your children what it means to love and be loved. But most of all, the word needs to be spread, run away from neurotypical men, it never works out, they can never be fixed, don’t breed with them.

  • NP

    April 18th, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    I am a 43 year old BCaBA who has worked with ASD children for over 20 years. I am engaged to a 43 year old man, who, I believe whole-heartedly, has undiagnosed ASD. We have been cohabitating for 8 months and are raising six blended children together…(3 are mine and 3 are his. His 3 all have ASD Dx.) My life is so weird. He puts me and the kids first, always. Shows us all (by his actions alone) that we are very special to him and verbally tells us that he loves us. His work ethic is sound and typically follows a “good guy” routine. HOWEVER… His interests and activities are, without question, restrictive and repetitive. He doesn’t leave the house that he doesn’t call me from the store (or wherever he is going) to have me validate EXACTLY what his mission is. He cuddles me in his armpit every night, but our sexual encounters are…ridiculous. It’s like having sex with a child. There is no eye contact, no foreplay, no oral (for me…because he “doesn’t like that”)…when I do open my eyes mid-coitus, the look on his face (eyes wide open, staring off into God only knows where) leaves me traumatized. He bangs rough and hard then gets bored and stops. He has climaxed via intercourse with me a total of 6 times in a year. His eldest son is in counseling right now because he doesn’t think his dad loves him. (He says it…but there’s this invisible wall that he seems to have up around himself. My question is this….Is there hope for any kind of “normal” relationship? I am able to identify the ASD traits and make allowances for them…where, had this been any other man, I would have kicked him to the curb long time back. Can NT/AS marriages work? Is it possible???

  • Gayla

    April 18th, 2018 at 6:31 PM

    I’m trying to respond to the lady engaged to the man undiagnosed who counsels children with ASD. My ex-partner had similar sexual habits. He says he is now happy having his needs met with a new girlfriend who is also on the Asperger’s Spectrum. I taught him patiently how to be more responsive to me over 5.5 years but progress was very very slow and mostly unfulfilling intimacy resulted for me. In the last month when we got back together before he betrayed our relationship and began to communicate with the other woman, his sexual hangups seemed gone. It was the most fulfilling sex of our 5.5 years and he said again he wanted to marry me, was so grateful for everything I had done to stand by him, and how deeply he loved me. A day after making love with me he snuck out to have a call with her. I’m convinced that I certainly know too little about the people with ASD. I am sure I was with someone who covered up, who I thought was really loyal and came to discover wasn’t. I experienced a level of selfish behavior that shocked me in the end. I’m left wondering how I stayed with him. If you can’t get counseling with an ASD therapist, get out. And give yourself additional therapy on your own as well. If at all possible. The goodness of a partner on the Asperger’s Spectrum is very important and meaningful. I can’t ever put myself through the sexual desert it was for me ever again. It wasn’t worth it.

  • NP

    April 20th, 2018 at 5:51 AM

    To Gayla:
    I don’t believe mine will stray. He strayed on his former wife and lost everything. He has extremely devout religious commitment. With that said…Masterbation is part of his morning routine. He wakes, hugs me, we have our coffee, he carefully picks his clothes and folds them neatly and puts them in the bathroom. He poops and reads his newsfeed, watches pornography and ejaculates into the toilet, showers, dresses for work and we both leave the house for the day.
    This is Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
    I’ve adjusted my routine to bathing before bed at night because he monopolizes the bathroom in the morning. At first, he tried to hide the self-pleasuring, but I busted him (on purpose to break the ice) and encouraged him to be open and unabashed about it. Now he jokes about it, not realizing how much it hurts me. Now, if he were climaxing with me, this wouldn’t be an issue. He assures that I am fully satisfied…and I am, mostly. But I want that intimacy…and for him to finish.
    Also worth noting, he was single for a decade, so I believe he has conditioned himself to respond to himself. He also has MS and I often wonder if nerve endings are compromised. I am considering taking on an external lover…just to fill that void. Idk…

  • Lee

    September 26th, 2018 at 3:50 PM

    My husband had Asperger’s too. After he died, my grown son shared with me how he believes his father didn’t love him. I told my son that his Father did love him and didn’t mean to hurt him or me. We are both still trying to recover. My daughter has Asperger’s and her son, my grandson, shows signs of it too. It is a great tragedy that so many lives become altered because of this syndrome, and it’s silent. No one is aware of it except the family living it.

  • Jp

    September 27th, 2019 at 10:48 PM

    I’m a bcba 20 plus years too and this phenomenon is definitely real. Mine presents as OCPD ASD. Check out that… so that does not present or play “good guy” . This is negative and dark… miserly, short, petulant. Wish we could talk. Not sure how that could work through here… we think we can work around it and im starting to think i am playing with fire.

  • Candy

    December 28th, 2019 at 5:12 PM

    Following comments. Thank you

  • J. J.

    June 20th, 2018 at 11:07 PM

    It would be imperative that both people who are considering marriage know what they are coming into together. My husband of 45 years was “just quiet and nerdy “. Wrong. It took time to experience the difficulties that manifested later. Get help ASAP. It is a very lonely road being married to an Asperger husband. I missed my life.

  • Dana

    February 13th, 2020 at 5:17 PM

    I personally don’t think there is any way one could “know what they are getting into” in committing their life to an ASD partner. I found this article soon after I had filed for divorce after a 34-year marriage, and my personal therapist suggested during my first session with him that my husband might have ASD. It turns out that he was an expert in counseling wives of men with ASD. (What are the chances?!) I felt so blessed/lucky to have found such good help through the most difficult time in my life. This article is spot on. I sobbed when I read it, not only because it articulated so well what I had been finding difficult to convey to others, but also I grieved how screwed/up-a-creek/f*#%ked I was. I was not only grieving the loss of my marriage and my life and my hopes and dreams, but I was grieving the loss of my 5 children, who all seemed to see me as the devil and believe their father’s mischaracterizations of me. There are no words to describe the loneliness, the despair, the hurt, and the utter isolation of living in such a relationship. I seriously considered taking my own life. I felt used up and gone and could not imagine mustering any energy at all, let alone enough to do what it would take to get out of this relationship. And then after that, to create a new life. On that horrible night, sobbing in fetal position on the floor of my bedroom, I got up to take an anti anxiety drug, hoping it would help me stop crying. Then I took an ambien. I didn’t care that I was mixing them because I didn’t really care if I woke up. After blowing my nose for the 100th time and using some nasal spray so I could breathe, I sat on my bed and thought of all the reasons I didn’t need to be alive. I thought about how I couldn’t live with the emotional pain anymore. I was at the end of my life energy. I just didn’t have any more to give. And I had lost this war. Somewhere between having the thoughts of all the meds I had on hand and how I was sure I had enough to make my life end, my first ambien kicked in before I could get up to get the rest of them. Tears are in my eyes now as I write this, just remembering how devastated and lost I was.
    I also didn’t “believe” in divorce. I felt there was no way out. But now, four years divorced, I am going to say emphatically that whatever your beliefs are, getting away from these people is the only way to have a life. They are not capable of intimacy. Not capable of understanding you. Not capable of empathy. Not capable of chivalry. Not capable of supporting you. I would say, if you are in a relationship of any kind with someone with ASD, GET OUT. And if you are considering it, DON’T DO IT. If you are reading this, your house is probably already on fire. And if it isn’t and you continue, it will be soon.

    P.S. I’m sorry for the length of this post. I only intended to put in a couple of lines, and I have never made a comment on a board like this. But this all just came pouring out. As a survivor of this kind of abuse, I felt I needed to say something, hoping it will help someone out there who is in pain. Even after four years, I’m not out of the woods. But my life is peaceful and the constant toxicity is gone. I am grateful for that every day.

  • Robyn

    April 18th, 2020 at 1:37 PM

    I’ve been married almost 17 years. We met and married when we were older. He was kind and laughed at my jokes and good to my daughter who is also on the spectrum (not diagnosed until college) and challenging. We also have a teen who is developmentally delayed. I don’t even know where to begin. Money has been an issue since we bought a house. He’s not physically abusive. However, financially, socially and emotionally he’s in a league of his own. I used to joke he didn’t need a wife, but a mother. Can anyone relate? At 60+ his mother still “takes care of him.” I’ll admit to being petty and holding grudges. I can also be controlling, however when your married to someone like this how can you not be. He’s fearful a pack rat, a picky eater and hates change (ok; we all can relate to that). I wanted to replace our daughter’s bedroom furniture with a set I received from my mom (not new and no cost). Gave me such a hard time. I’ve never had access to his car (physically yes, not keys). Forget it if you are lost when driving or there is traffic, its a disaster. “Let’s go home.” You can’t touch anything that is his or get rid of anything, unless you are his mom. We have the same car insurance company but aren’t even on the same policy. We have a checking account; but I’ve never seen or written a check with both of our names on it. When I had a garage sale with a friend he went around and changed the prices. After we married the Price Club charge card was shared with his mom, not his wife. Shopping, we had separate Kohl’s accts. Were married! Shopping for food; separate carts or I’d pay for what I like and vice-versa. I can admit to buying to much food. I love to try new things, but it was always about the $. He purchased sneakers for her last Christmas. When gym started in school I told her to wear them. He said no he wanted to get a discount. They were a month old! Last year my engagement and wedding ring went missing after I took down a wedding photo and framed invitation. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I took them down so I could hang something else up. I just discovered the wedding album that was in my closet is missing? Coincidence? I don’t think so. The insurance company covered the claim for the rings though I don’t think they were taken by a stranger. Three separate checks were sent out and to this day I haven’t seen them. Coincidence? I don’t think so. He wants to split the check. They were my rings. I just want them back. I have two girls I can pass them on too. There is more. I’m always thinking that its me. Can anyone relate? He’s also very sensitive to smells and has heightened senses. Lastly, I never asked him about money, I didn’t marry him for that. When our relationship started to disintegrate he had his financial documents sent to his parents address. Is this normal behavior? Appreciate your thoughts. He just bought a new car, yet we never seem to have money.

  • Robyn

    April 18th, 2020 at 1:47 PM

    Nothing is more lonely. It affects everyone. Its an awful situation and one that is compounded by the fact that his family blames me when I admit I have my issues; but refuse to acknowledge his behavior.

  • Jamie

    July 9th, 2018 at 2:52 PM

    I am married to a man that changed right after the wedding. At first I thought he had fetal alcohol syndrome and then it became apparent that he has ASD. We have been married for 14 years and we are in our 50’s (second marriage for me) and we have a 6 and 9 yo. What I thought was maturity turned out to be faked and he lies or confabulates everything. He will argue over the color of water. The kids love him but I am doing everything and when I read this article my heart was pounding and racing like crazy. I cannot live with my children shunning me. They are my everything and the reason for remarrying. I have never read anything that resembled my life as much as this article and posts. What do I do to keep from ending up an empty shell, void of a life, and without the love of my children. I believe in a higher power and have been praying for change but it is not coming fast enough. Just last night he yelled at me in front of my daughter, who I was trying to get to go to sleep, over buying a rug. He blames all debt on me. Which is totally preposterous. I am rambling because this has caused a serious eruption of emotion.

  • JBEE

    July 15th, 2018 at 10:10 PM

    my “husband” has started this new one the past few months calling me Cheap, how insulting…. and a liar.
    finally I am renovating the apartment, I was about to say “the one thing I am good at” has me believing I am idiot, I have autoimmune hell problems or wouldn’t be gone, don’t have kids, but am sick. blood vessel problems. So what does he do, I fuss over renovating the apartment, finally just what I wanted, soothing. We insists on picking out lime green floors. Thank God for my guy friend who said stop it, buy what you want, end the nonsense. I am so worn down…. need support, a therapist who understand this hell, after a while can’t lay it on the few good friends I have left. Not a bad man, just a man who has chipped away at self esteem. The now calling me cheap, and I am starting to doubt myself. Enough. If someone constantly puts negative things about me/yourself in your head, time to stay away. The joke is he doesn’t care, need to do it. This life is a misery and and I am not a miserable person. Never was before.

  • The Team

    July 16th, 2018 at 7:32 AM

    Dear JBEE,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • Anonymous NT

    January 30th, 2019 at 6:36 PM

    Excellent article. I’ve never read anything that resonated so closely with me and my struggle … 24 years together with kids. Subconscious manipulation and control to avert the Aspergers anxiety has worn me down. I’ve read this and the comments 4 times thru for validation that I’m not crazy or selfish with my unhappiness (yes he means well) … thank you for this article.

  • Anne C.

    March 23rd, 2019 at 4:21 AM

    We have to stop searching deep in ourselves constantly for ways in which we MUST triggered all the weird responses that occur between us when we just want a normal life or one single straight forward chat ! therapists have shouted at me it’s not all your fault but I still can’t believe them
    Eye opening experience at age of 78 and after 55 years of hellisg marriage.
    We have had house fire then renovating builders had flooded it causing even more damage . Now nine months since and still not nearly back in .My husband is Paraplegic I am lone Carer for 35 years so he is in respite Care but supposed to be still with it while I am in rented flat as suitable accommodation couldn’t be found for us together with his level of disability
    For last nine months he has not shared the burden of trying to get house sorted out with multiple problems reluctant support from insurers and shoddy building work from their appointed builders etc plus keeping two buildings going with taxes heating etc
    Total refusal by my husband yesterday to come into our home to look at problems we might face with his access and state of disabled bathroom etc .He refused because of my neck strain that is making it difficult for mr to lift chair or even shopping.BUT I had already lifted chair out but I had broken the new rule he has set up which is I can’t lift .So I HAVE to always ask a passer by for help .But there wasn’t a passer by and I’m shy and worried about asking people in case they damage their backs.
    What we need is a van with hoist electric and he needs a power assisted wheelchair and slide board or hoist at home too .None of these will he use not even a strap in Care home to stop him falling off his chair and he has osteoporosis.
    As I said yesterday I feeel willing to tell people the mad world I am trying to exist in .
    I don’t know how but I think I am still SANE but so near mental break down !
    It’s not me it’s Aspergers or Narcissism isn’t it in my husband ! And my daughter at age 43 she cut us out of her life took my beloved grand children away tho we were so close and I cared for the eldest when she was in mental health care a year after his birth supporting her husband who was trying to cope with both of them and job with BBC in London too.
    Now 9 years since I was allowed to visit or support him and he is suffering from stress related auto immune problems too .How do you effectively speak out and escape but help others
    I am very articulate but frozen by my anxiety and empathetic feelings that stop me pointing the finger at others.
    Well I’ve been told so often it might be you even by my GP and frequently by husband it’s hard to believe say out loud IT REALLY REALLY isn’t I don’t have to take it any more

  • Kim M.

    March 22nd, 2019 at 3:27 AM

    People with ASD have a difficult time understanding the perspective of others, so they can tend to say insensitive things. Even when this is understood, it is still painful to be the target of insensitivity.

  • Jeanelle W

    September 18th, 2019 at 7:46 PM

    A little different. But knowing where issues come from and finding a comprise are very different. My husband and I are not nearly this severe, and yet, this article is difficult to read because so much of it hits home. The difference for us is that we have been in marriage consoling for about a year, and will continue for the foreseeable future. We understand that our issues are large enough that we need help, and an understanding ear. Family and friends will never get it. I know he doesn’t mean to put so much on me, but I also refuse to lose who I am in the lonely chaos of our lives. At times we wonder if we are compatible and if divorce is somewhat inevitable. But everyday we try. It is hard to figure out what meeting in the middle looks like. Communication and emotional understanding have improved greatly with therapy, but the “mommy does it all” “mommy takes it over” “mommy is tired and angry” issues are more difficult. Even when he tries to be involved my husband is overwhelmed by the unfamiliar, by insecurity, and by lack of emotional investment in the task. I am left disappointed and stressed when I swoop in to finish things last minute, and he is left angry at himself, guilty, defensive, and withdrawn.

  • Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC

    April 20th, 2016 at 12:13 PM

    Hello, Dahlia – yes, and with a diagnosis, good counseling support is very important because of the very nature of the differences between the two partners.

  • Haydee E. C.

    December 12th, 2018 at 8:27 AM

    I disagree about your recommendations Doctor, I am an engineer , I was married for 20 years with a man with Asperger Syndrome and I really believe there is no such thing like ” if you understand the differences between your husband ang yourself it is gonna make a change”. The best advice to your patients is run as fast as you can. I am a very smart woman, smarter than the average and I know what i´m talking about, I studied this problem for more than 15 years now , I gathered hundreds of experiences of women in latin America and very soon I´m gonna publish my book about it and I guess it´s gonna be a bomb and it´s not gonna be welcome for most of the therapist but I really believe It´s gonna help women who really need help. But I have to say that you wrote a very good article in here, very accurate in many aspects, I just disagree about the part I already mentioned. Sorry about my English It´s not my mother language. My book is gonna be published in Spanish but I guess translated in English.

  • Sarah Swenson

    December 12th, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Hello, Haydee – I understand your objection to remaining in a relationship which for you has run its course. This is a difficult partnership and there are no easy answers. For some neurodiverse couples, though, there is room for growth. A significant aspect of my work with neurodiverse couples is helping them understand what can change and what cannot, and helping them make their peace with that to the extent that they can. Then our work together begins, either as marriage counseling or as separation counseling. There is no perfect answer, only what each couple chooses. Best wishes to you with your book.

  • White L.

    December 12th, 2018 at 7:09 PM

    PLease post when your book is published in English

  • Sarah P.

    December 14th, 2018 at 1:25 AM

    Hi Haydee – I don’t agree with you that it is never appropriate to stay. My ex-husband is undiagnosed Aspergers and I left after 14 years, exhausted and ill with OTRS. I am now retraining as a therapist to work with women with OTRS, in the period after leaving, to help them adjust to singe life and to get well again. So my personal experience and my training lean heavily towards supporting leaving. But my father is also Aspergers and my mother stayed and I think that was the right choice for her. She is very conservative, doesn’t believe in divorce, believes fundamentally and with her whole being that a women should be subservient to a man, and has never worked in her life. A woman like that cannot just leave. So for her personally the best choice was to try to weave a life with him as he is, and to make her important relationships with her children and her friends. I used to blame her for not leaving, and think she was very weak for not leaving, but people can only do what they are capable of, and what Dr Swenson is doing is helping people for whom leaving may not be the best option, to be as happy as they can within their situation.

  • Sharon G

    September 25th, 2019 at 1:48 PM

    Sarah P- I left a year ago after the same period- 14 years together. I thought id done the hard part by going but the recovery from it all and the impact on the kids etc has been huge. Do you offer support online, in UK or USA? xx

  • Teresa

    April 20th, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    Is it possible to save a marriage under these circumstances? If intervention comes early enough?

  • Rachel F.

    July 21st, 2017 at 10:01 AM

    Wonderful article. SO well said. that is how it was for me, for years. Now, my husband is diagnosed and working very hard to save our marriage. I am getting healthy enough that I can identify my PTSD moments/weeks, when they’re triggered by ASD-type dismissals or gas-lighting. Whew! It’s been a long haul, but I always knew in my guts that i would love twice if I left. And also not heal my childhood ASD traumas. So…onward!

  • Rachel F.

    July 21st, 2017 at 10:25 AM

    “Lose” twice, that is!

  • Judy G.

    February 18th, 2018 at 8:51 AM

    So grateful for this. It’s a validation of my experience, which I could never articulate to anyone. After 22 years with an undiagnosed asp, I moved out of the family home. I truly believed I was not welcome there. In spite of the fact that he wanted me to stay, that was always accompanied by a resentment that I was around. That was 20 years ago, and I still refuse to be involved in a relationship–too much shame to ever consider again.
    Here was my perception: He was an exceptionally good man. He was also totally ‘unimpressed’ with me, and often wanted me to leave him alone. In fact, I came to the conclusion the only real gift I could give him was to leave him alone, and I chose to work late to give him this time without me, though it meant our children also lost that time with me. He drove one daughter to all her soccer games, but didn’t want me with him; today she blames me for not attending her games.. Then, when that 15-year-old daughter made it clear she also didn’t want me at home, it was too much. I felt a total failure. How could I go home every night ‘knowing’ two people didn’t want me there?
    Only through beginning to understand the Asp mind can I find any resolution.

  • Willow

    December 24th, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    This article has really struck a chord with me because I feel as though I am the woman in the post, absolutely everything from the birthdays to the effect on my only living child is what happened to me. I left him after 46 years together and 20 of those years were spent being excluded by him from his sudden bond with our teenage daughter. Latterly some of the weird things he did and said made me wonder if he was ASD. He was certainly emotionally abusive but nothing quite fit until I read this article. My daughter and he airbrushed me from their lives. I am sure that if he sees me as anything at all, it is as a surrogate for him ie it gave him HIS daughter. I am the mother of his two children but he cannot and will not see me as such. She is his, not mine. I have not seen or heard anything from her since I left five years ago. She ignores any cards or cheery emails I send her and, whilst he is polite (on the two occasions I’ve contacted him since I left), he will not tell me anything about her…………. as far as he’s concerned I’m nothing so have no right to know. The weirdest thing he said to me before I left (in a very genuine tone of voice was ‘After you die, do you want me to scatter your ashes ‘xyz place’ with K’s ashes. K is our daughter who died in early childhood and that was the first time in over 30 years he had even mentioned her. Totally weird and utterly mind-blowingly destructive.

  • Denise

    March 9th, 2018 at 6:18 PM

    The woman in the article is me, also w/o the divorce as of yet…please help

  • Mari

    April 20th, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    On the one hand, this is so very well written and detailed. Sad but more true than not. I can see some of this in my situaion. No birthday for Mom. Mom matters last. The kids learned this. That part isn’t aspergers maybe. Mom hasnt’ been number one to anyone in many many years. Mom is said to be stronger than some but Mom is alone way too much and Mom does not have living family anymore. And Dad is an OK provider but not like some. Mom learned to appreciate things that have nothing to do with money. To add to it, Mom has always been very honest and shy. A trait combo that has not worked for Mom, even though Mom filters more than most people do.. Any thoughts??

  • Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC

    April 20th, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    Hi, Teresa – Some couples have success with counseling when both partners are open to learning about and understanding the very real differences in the ways they experience the world. I work with many couples in which one partner has the traits or diagnosis of ASD.

  • Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC

    April 20th, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    Hello, Mari. It sounds as if you might want to consider codependence as a possibility for understanding the situation you describe. Sometimes, individuals give too much for this reason.

  • Alegria

    December 28th, 2019 at 11:45 PM

    Suggesting someone has co-dependence issues when there is no issue of drug and alcohol dependence seems like a huge stretch. Having attachment issues and ambiguous or weak boundaries is not the same as co-dependence which is when someone enables a person with an addiction to continue their habit rather than helping them quit and recover. They do this because it has a pay off for them by making them feel secure because while the individual in the partnership has an addiction they are helpless and won’t leave. Wanting to fuse with another person and being overly reliant on them to make you feel good is a boundary issue and likely a sign of fear of abandonment / holding wounds from abandonment trauma /not self loving enough etc. .

  • Sara

    April 20th, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    How often does someone with ASD actually want to acquire the skills and attitude that are needed to be in relationship? I say “actually” is because it is a lot of hard work to resolve relationship problems, even for people whose wiring inclines them toward relationship. I figure someone whose brain is geared away from relationship would not be interested.

  • Jill

    April 21st, 2016 at 7:19 AM

    I have thought for some time that this might be what’s going on with me and my partner of 15 years. As I read this article with wide eyes, I am even more sure now. Therapy probably isn’t an option for soooooo many reasons, including the cost. We don’t have children but I am stuck for other reasons. I moved to a completely different part of the U.S. with him after graduating 4.0 with an M.S. from a prestigious university. I haven’t been able to find a job though, probably due to both age discrimination (I am 55) and the effects of this relationship dynamic. I have never felt more isolated. I feel my identity dissolving more every day. I would leave and go back to where I came from but I would need a job waiting for me in order to support myself. I certainly have a history of supporting myself and being confidently independent, but I’ve lost so much of that ability since I moved here. I’ve gotta get out of here before the rest of it is gone. My intent was to live WITH him till I got on my feet and then live NEAR him. We both agreed on this but I can’t find a damn job and expenses are higher than I anticipated. What a mess I’ve gotten myself into.

  • Jill

    April 21st, 2016 at 7:31 AM

    P.S. About 7 years ago, my partner re-connected with and had a short affair with a woman who had a severe case of ASD. He said he was drawn to her. I thought it was curious but didn’t put two and two together. However, through the years I have suspected over and over (my B.A. Is in Psych) that he might fall somewhere on the spectrum. I feel like light bulbs are going off. I am completing a second master”s degree right now (a very rigorous fellowship) that’s eating up all my time. It’s paid for with a scholarship but I still wouldn’t/couldn’t just pick up and leave. Besides, he has supported me financially and given so much. I will feel so guilty if I leave him out here all alone.

  • Sophia

    May 4th, 2017 at 9:44 AM

    For me it’s been almost 35 years. Seems at times like a good marriage, but I am feeling small and unimportant and immature, like the article mentions. I need friends but so down on myself, I wouldn’t want to be around me. Almost left after 25th anniversary went largely unnoticed. And now 35 is coming up, feel like it’s just another non event to him. I was raised by a Narcissistic mother, always thought it was all my fault. Will look for counseling, but sometimes feel it’s too late at 56. He was my first love, very handsome, loyal, but we haven’t had sex for years. Thanks for the article.

  • Dory

    July 9th, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    For me it’s been 29 years. For our 25th he refused to do anything. I was rushed but not surprised.

  • Dory

    July 12th, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    Sorry that was supposed to say crushed.

  • Adriana

    October 14th, 2017 at 8:06 PM

    Hi Jill! After reading your post I realized my marriage is similar with yours. I looks like despite of having a wide background in psychology I feel weak in this situation. I feel stuck and a keep hoping that the things are getting better, What should I do? Thank you! P.S. I would love to talk with you if you don’t mind.

  • vett

    March 23rd, 2018 at 1:03 PM

    I have noticed that many of the wives suffering with their husband’s Asperger disease are therapists, counselors,psychologists themselves. It seems the asperger man senses a woman who has a great capacity for empathy and an understanding of NT minds. Such women I believe are more likely to blame themselves and/or at least try to figure out what is wrong never thinking of anything other than NT. At the same time being so knowledgeable in the workings of NT people makes it even more difficult to see the asperger husband for who he truly is , thus causing more confusion in the NT wife and giving the ASH more time to manipulate and control the NT wife. A few things in common of all of wives of AS is intelligence, kindness, tolerance,very social,and until they get married HAPPY. For I can tell you the ASH may not realize he has aspergers, but he most certainly knows he is not like everyone else, and although he feels “smarter” than the average NT, he also knows whatever it is that makes him different, also puts him at a disadvantage in life, and who he marries can help him smooth things in life along for him. It is extremely rare for the ASH to ever come forth and be honest with his NT wife about his “problem”. Unless it is discovered by someone else.

  • Lori

    April 21st, 2016 at 8:20 AM

    I am wondering how someone could go that far through life and have never had someone to tell that that look, something is off here and we need to see about getting you some help. I would just hope that I was far more attentive to my child than that although I know that at times things can be very subtle so I guess you just come to accept and believe that this is normal even though the person very much struggles with acceptance and fitting in.

  • TMG

    August 19th, 2016 at 8:56 PM

    I’ve thought this so many times. It actually makes me angry. Why am I the first person to actually confront his behaviors as not acceptable?? Too many people just walk away or look the other way. So for me to suggest ASD sounds absolutely ridiculous to him. He thinks I’m the only person who thinks there’s anything wrong….

  • Joan j.

    June 20th, 2018 at 10:54 PM

    I would love, no, I NEED to talk with you ASAP. I am drowning. Help me understand this. Thank you soooooo much.

  • Spring

    December 23rd, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    Yes, I did challenge my ex who had told me he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I read up on it and told him what I needed (as the books said) – he ignored it. A 6 months after we broke up, he came back, saying he liked the fact that I would refuse to accept some of his limitations and encouraged him to get therapy – that it made me the woman he wanted to spend his life with. However, after that break up I was much more centered and confident and he couldn’t get away with gaslighting, manipulations, false memories. He failed to show up for me even though I explained the situation to him before and told him what kind of support I needed. I called him out on it, saying I was disappointed at his response. Cue excuses, deflections, manipulation, punishment, portraying himself as a victim. I told him before that healthy communication was my boundary – we could try to understand eachothers’ needs and worlds in a respectful, open, calm manner. I was even open to him working up to it. But he didn’t get help and he was less and less eager to communicate beyond daily check-ins. So, I told him we would never go back to being a couple.

  • Nilsor

    June 20th, 2019 at 6:22 PM

    My best friend of twenty years is married to a man I believe to be an undiagnosed Aspie, he is also a dry alcoholic She has been unhappy in her marriage the whole time I have known her and swings from telling me about all his frustrating , controlling, hurtful behaviors to defending him. I only socialize with him for her as I love my friend and have always just tried to accept his difference. Recently things came to a head when they were obviously pissed at each other, but blamed me for upsetting him, I finally sent her some info on Aspergers and said it may be helpful for her. I wrote to him and told him in the most loving way I could, that I found having conversation with him difficult, and that he talks and does not listen, interrupts etc which may contribute to him feeling excluded, and that I knew he was not aware he was doing this. Now I have been told that I am causing the rift in their marriage, and lying and judging him, and have become the target for both of their displaced anger. (Easier to direct it outwards and blame others than look at their relationship) I have probably lost my best friend because of this honesty and trying to help. So the risk in doing this should not be taken lightly. I believe it is easier for my friend to join with him in making me the bad guy, than actually having to face up to the reality of her marriage. She returned the information I sent her re Aspergers and said thanks! not interested.
    I pray they will be able to both be happy one day, with or with out each other. And I miss my friend but realize there is nothing I can do now, except be there for her if she comes out of her denial and blaming, and is ready and strong enough to face it.

  • lisa

    August 21st, 2016 at 4:08 AM

    I have recently left my asd partner after 10 years. I felt resentment towards his dad who would witness his treatment towards me and the children and accept it. He of course is on the spectrum too. He did once say (then denied saying) that they always knew he was different. Mental health issues have been ignored for so many years. The symptoms are very subtle. My son is 9 and I am convinced he is affected too but not one professional will agree.

  • Diane M

    August 22nd, 2016 at 6:21 AM

    Hi Lisa, as a mom if you are concerned about your son, you are probably correct. When my son started school, the teachers said he might have ADHD. That was 25 years ago!!! My husband is an undiagnosed AS. and I believe my son is also. My son is now 29 and is still a big challenge . Go with your gut, I wish I had when my son was young, instead I let my ASH convince me there was nothing wrong!!!! I am dealing with two Aspie’s, father and son, , it can be hell on earth at times!!!! I believe if AS is diagnosed early, they might be able to modify their behavior and be more adaptable. I wish I knew then what I know now!!! I might have been able to help my son, I certainly would have communicated very differently with him, he is a good person, but very immature for his age, which causes him to make bad decisions.

  • Wife

    January 5th, 2017 at 7:07 PM

    That is a great question, Lori. Do you know how many times you can reach out to people for help and get ignored? A million. “Look, something is off here and we need to see about getting you some help…” Except that there is very little help available for adults married in a neurodiverse (one ASD and one NT) relationship. No one will listen. This is called Cassandra Syndrome, or Ongoing Relationship Trauma Syndrome (ORTS) because the neurotypical person suffers living in a relationship with someone who has serious limits in their ability to have a reciprocal relationship. People outside of the relationship can’t see it because the person with ASD runs scripts and has a persona outside of the home different from their home life. They can mask their symptoms and “pass” while with others, but it is often only when you live with someone day in and day out that it becomes obvious that there is something “off”. You can’t quite put your finger on it… I happen to be married to someone with ASD and I have a degree in psychology. It took me 13 years of marriage to finally put my finger on that never ending sense that something was “wrong”. You reach out to others for help. They think you’re being petty. You reach out again. They think he’s so amazing. Your concerns get ignored, so you try to make the best of things and work on having a good attitude. In the meantime, you end up exhausted ALL THE TIME. Extra bonus points for mother in laws that try to diagnose you with all manner of psychiatric disorders because they need someone to pin the blame on for their own inability to have meaningful, connected relationship with their son. Even as they ignore the history of their own failed marriage to their son’s father who also has ASD.

  • Diane

    January 6th, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    You have expressed it very well!! No one outside of the marriage can begin to understand the abuse that a NT suffers. I have been married 44 years to an AS just diagnosed last year. I knew something was off from the get go, but in 2014 it got so bad I had to research what was going on. It’s the daily devaluing of us as a spouse, the criticism, the neglect, not being heard, understood, the constant circular arguments. It starts subtly and increases over time to where I just stopped all communication, I realized I was not dealing with normal. The complete lack of an emotional connection over decades is enough to drive us mad!! Bottom line, an AS cannot give a NT spouse anywhere near what it takes for a healthy long term marriage. Intimacy stopped for me over 20 years ago, there was no intimacy, no emotional give and take, it became so routine and boring I just couldn’t take it anymore. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is any kind of joy in an AS/NT marriage, it’s impossible. If we stay married, it’s because of finances, children, grandchildren but never because it’s a good marriage.

  • emily

    June 1st, 2017 at 4:36 PM

    I could not have said it better. And the mother in law statement is spot on. She is the one who I think also has an ASD. Two peas in a pod. My husband takes up for her and you cannot have a discussion about your relationship. He turns everything around on me and acts like I am attacking him. He turns every statement I make about him around back on me somehow. Very odd, I have never seen anyone so completely unable to see their own faults and quirks. It is exhausting as mine is very financially controlling too, so I feel like leaving the relationship is impossible.

  • Heather P.

    July 11th, 2017 at 12:25 PM

    I could have written what you said myself. Very similar situation. I’m exhausted with it all and just want to get to the point where our youngest two children are fully grown and then will evaluate what and where I want to be then.

  • Dory

    July 16th, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Diane I read your response and cried! You described my relationship as if you knew me. Thank you for explaining it.

  • Terri

    July 19th, 2017 at 1:52 PM

    One week ago today I ran into this article on Asperger’s all because someone told me that my ex husband told them that he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child. I was married to him for 30 years and never imagined what would become of our life together. I loved this man very much and thought I would be with him until the end of time but I could not take it anymore and after my daughter went to college I decided it was time to make a change. I didn’t want to come home from work. I didn’t know if he was going to be welcoming or ridiculing. I had given all I could give for so long and then one day I had an anxiety attack that frightened me terribly while my husband was indifferent.
    When I came across this article, I could not believe what I was reading; my story is in these writings; I too could have written it but I didn’t understand what was going on, I was going crazy. I have now been divorced for 5 years and continue to replay so many things in my head trying to understand. I too cried when I read Diane’s explanation. Today I am trying to recreate my life and define who I am; it has been an awful struggle but every day gets better and now I have an understanding. All week I have reviewed in my head all the many crazy things that didn’t make since but now I see it; thank you for opening my eyes, I may just survive after all. I wish you all the best.

  • Amy

    October 30th, 2017 at 5:19 AM

    Wife, thank you! So well put! Emily, I’m also dealing with severe financial abuse and we have 3 children of our own plus my 2 teenagers. He doesn’t understand why I complain that he only gives us 100 dollars a week for groceries. He has piles of money but refuses me to have access to his bank account. I’m getting close to a point where I can afford to kick him out or leave. People have no idea how abusive it can be being married to someone on the spectrum.

  • Johanna

    February 10th, 2018 at 4:19 AM

    Wife, my story is exactly like yours exept we have been married for 15 years. I have been working as a psychologist for 15 years and it was just a month ago that I realised my husband has Asbergers. How very enlighting and how stupid I feel not noticing earlier. Whole marriage has been such a struggle and I have continuously thought I must be crazy feeling like this. This article was very good. I see similarity to our situation, my husband when not knowing he has Asd, has even said that our children will hate their mother later. I will show this article to make him realise what is the underlying dynamic and how he has such a big role in it. (I am not englishspeaking person, sorry language mistakes!)

  • vett

    March 23rd, 2018 at 1:23 PM

    Wife: You are right on target. BULLS EYE with a whole lot left out . Who though of any AS wife could ever tell the whole story? Nobody would believe all of that happened and that …you are still there . What is it that the ASH knows how to break a person ? I do not go along with the current trendy group of wives who say they believe their ASH is completely innocent of any wrong doing. The ASH proves that he knows exactly what he is doing when he courts the NT showing kindness and empathy and everything he knows he needs to to get the NT to marry him. Then marries without a word , all the while knowing he is not like NT’s. And most likely the only things he does not understand or even care to ARE THE WEDDING VOWS THEY TAKE.

  • Ava

    October 25th, 2019 at 7:33 PM

    I stayed for 37 years, thinking that there was something wrong with me. Since leaving, I have enrolled in University, become fit, and socially unconstrained at last. His mother constantly “bad-mouths” me to anyone that may be in earshot. He has a girlfriend with whom he has close confidences and many common interests. (Thanks for sharing that with me…very sensitive of you”). I am nowhere near ready for another relationship which is a shame, as I would like to know what it is like not to live under a cloud. This article was a real aha moment for me. My children probably don’t fit the description though. It was my daughter who alerted me to the likelihood that her father has ASD. They tend to avoid him because of his emotional distance, and his inability to realise that not everyone is as fascinated by his limited interests as he himself is. I am luckier than many because my children are so supportive. The reason I gave for leaving seems pathetic…I couldn’t stand the scowls of contempt that he directed at me. Of course there was so much more, but in the end I couldn’t face the idea that my children would think it okay to be in a similar situation. I have been gone now for 5 years and still struggle with the emotional fallout.
    Thanks for a great article. It will change many lives (including mine).

  • Amy

    April 21st, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    Excellent article. An accurate representation of NT/AS relationships. What becomes more toxic is when the family of those with AS did not teach appropriate coping skills and basically abused the person with AS. (Even when diagnosed early) I know many women in AS/NT relationships who have at least one parent of their spouse obviously has AS and just couldn’t handle the meltdowns. Now the New family has an AS father with a written formula of “when you are overwhelmed you punish”. So then comes the choice for those with little kids: do you leave to show the kids a healthy way to live or do you stay to intervene between the kids and the father. Because as Long. as the abuse is not that bad(breaking things and furniture, posturing, yelling, driving recklessly), the most the husband has to do is take an anger management course to prove to the courts that shared custody should happen. Tough choices.

  • Kathy Marshack, Ph. D.

    August 21st, 2016 at 6:48 AM

    Thank you for your insightful article. I have written two books on the subject of partnering with an ASD mate, but in just a few pages you have captured the essence of this life. In particular the subtlety of the disrespect is important. I have lived all of my life with Aspies so my spirit was crushed when I was a child. It is not surprising that I married an Aspie and even adopted an Aspie child. Trying to free myself from this disrespect was futile until I understood who I was dealing with. I needed to leave the burning building, regardless of whether my Aspies intended the disrespect. It took twelve years to escape because of the hostility heaped on me. I managed to salvage some of the material things and my career, but lost my children. I haven’t seen the Aspie child (age 29) in eleven years. I haven’t seen the younger daughter and my grandson in three years. Both accuse me of being an angry, abusive, crazy person. . .just as their father has done. I guess I will never be forgiven for filing for divorce, even though he put us all through incredible grief. Thank you again for nailing the part about disrespect. No sense going through life seeking respect from those who cannot give it.

  • Sarah

    August 22nd, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    Thank you, Kathy. Your story is painful, like the stories of all the women who have taken the time to write here in this thread, and those of the women we work with in our psychotherapy practices. I believe that the diamond in the rough of such pain is that our personal experiences inform our work and help us support our clients with humility and depth. I just bought your book and look forward to reading it. Best wishes to you!

  • Joanna

    February 12th, 2017 at 11:52 PM

    Thank you Sarah for this well written article which so articulately describes so many of our experiences – and Kathy, for your website and books, which I have read over the past few years.

    I do believe that for many NT (male as well as females) with AS partners, there can be ways to stay in those relationships with degrees of success – but only once AS being ‘in the mix’ is recognised and acknowledged by both partners. I set up Different Together three years ago purely to help NT partners learn, understand and support one another in their relationships, including those that choose to leave.

    Thank you again for the article – I hope it’s ok to add a link to it on the Different Together site?

  • Sarah

    March 24th, 2018 at 7:19 AM

    Hi Vett
    I do not think in the courtship phase any AS person understands or intends to be a cunning entrapper with a view to cruelty once the woman is snared. The central issue is that they can experience empathy but it is cognitive empathy ( they know empathy is required in certain situations) but not affective empathy ( real fellow feeling). So they can be nice or kind whilst courting genuinely but they don’t understand how to implement these things on an ongoing emotionally intense basis. I have found that after divorce, the AS person, properly guided and with very clear boundaries, can be a decent friend and coparent again. They are not demons; they are just mind blind. I think it is very difficult to have this perspective from within marriage though – I loathed my AS husband when I was married to him but now I see him as an idiosyncratic but dear friend. I just don’t feel that AS/ NT marriage can ever work, because of the emotional nature of marriage, but I know there are people on this site and elsewhere who feel it does work for them.

  • Sarah

    March 24th, 2018 at 7:21 AM

    PS I don’t know why I am showing up as Sarah Swenson – I’m not – I am another Sarah!

  • vett

    March 24th, 2018 at 6:38 PM

    Hello Sarah
    Thank you so much for your reply. Yes I know he can be extremely good to others , it is one of the reasons I feel they KNOW they are not being good to their wives? I mean , that would almost be the same as saying aspergers makes them mind blind to their wives YET THEY KNOW what others need to be able to keep them in their life? No, I can’t buy that Sarah. The ONLY PEOPLE THEY ABUSE ARE THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN. I do not buy into because that is their only close people in their lives and they do not understand how to be. Or are incapable. NOW if they abused everyone in the same way I would say YES THEY DON’t understand. NO , if anyone be they NT, or aspie , knows they need to treat people they are not married to with kindness and respect if they want them to continue to be in their life ,then I know they knowingly abuse their wives and children. THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING….their super strong need to invalidate their wives and act as if they are the victims themselves I also believe is proof that they know what they are doing. I know why it is wives and children only as well, they think they are safe to do anything they want because they believe the wives are stuck with them. They can do anything they want because they are joined together legally, and will not leave, they think they have trapped their wife and in most cases they have. When they find out the wife is not trapped and she divorces, the ASH is famous in courts , as being shameless trouble makers and the judges KNOW THIS . Maybe not all judges but hopefully word will get around to all. I do not think that they EVER have the ability to feel as we do to anyone i know that many have learned to act as they know they should and so many many wives of aspies say the same thing ….in most cases their husband CHANGED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE MARRIAGE ….not in a time frame of any trying to still appear normal , IMMEDIATELY becoming themselves ,stopping the act of normalcy and becoming abusive …and many not even caring anymore what the now wife thinks feels or cares. Because they still PUT ON THEIR ACT FOR OTHERS . There are always exceptions i know this is not ever ASH but I do know it is the norm for ASH. And chances are if an aspie and NT do get along it is just coincidence that the NT likes and wants to do everything the aspie does. But I personally believe they have been stripped of something essential that I am just not smart enough to put my finger on , that the NT needs to leave. It is happening right now to tens of thousands of women all over the world. What I am saying is real and true , these women are not making this up.

  • Sarah

    March 26th, 2018 at 5:05 AM

    Sadly, my ex does not have any contact with me, he doesn’t even communicate with me about family matters. Nothing. It’s as though I have been totally wiped out, don’t exist, which I find sad, as I’d love the friendship that you have, Sarah. I never wanted him totally out of my life, after 40 years together, but that is what he has chosen.
    It seems to me that there is a wealth of material on this very long list of comments, the article has become a self-help site in its own right, with its combination of lived experience, often heart-rending, and comment based on scholarly study like yours. It would be good if somehow it could be collated under subject headings and turned into some sort of resource, but I suppose that would require the consent of all the contributors, and that would not be possible. It’s all worth trawling through though, for us Cassandras, who wondered what happened to wreck our lifes so much.
    I’m sometimes accused of living in the past, but is there a particular need among us to have explanations, rather than just to do the future-oriented work – which is necessary of course – when I am tired and weepy, which I do regularly even 5 years after the split, I find I get some kind of comfort from reading these conversations.

  • Cheryl

    April 21st, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    Yep, what a mess. That is what it is. I gave up on trying to find help. My panel is not ‘ working for me. I certainly do not want to give up but time needs to be spent elsewhere. I have 3 kids at home who need me.

  • Candice

    April 22nd, 2016 at 12:53 PM

    Why is the mother to blame if she is only searching for a way to make her life more enjoyable and liveable?

  • Amy

    April 22nd, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    Because she did what she thought she should do, filter and redirect the father’s behavior towards the children. Sometimes she does such a good job at this that the children see mostly what the mother wanted them to see: a bit of normalcy. The problem comes when the wife can’t take it anymore, that shielding the children from the truth comes back to bite her in that they didn’t see the father as that bad of a guy. This gets amplified when the mother says things like, “oh, it’s okay, I don’t really like to celebrate my birthday anyway.”

  • Maxine

    April 23rd, 2016 at 8:39 AM

    I wonder what the correlation is to these same relationship issues and a husband being raised by covert and overt narcissistic parents. I have experienced so many of these same types of scenarios. My husband is so aloof at at home. He’ll be in the room, but not “present” in the moment. He also worked so much when the children were young and resented they looked to me so much for care, nurturing, and love. He often remarks that they don’t respect him and has blamed me many times. His inability to overcome his past abusive parents does impact his relationship with his children. While he now knows his parents are narcs it isn’t any easier to accept their lack of parenting. We’re went no contact about 6 years ago. It hasn’t been an easy road for any of us. I am very expressive, open, and transparent. I tackle problems head-on. I’m not a pussy-footer by any means. Honestly, this is one of the things that attracted my husband to me. He despises his mother’s covert manipulation and his father’s overt abusive manipulation. I think he feared we would become them. I believe aT times the familiarity of them is what he wanted. He tried to suppress me, to warp me, to bend my will. He/they almost won. My health failed-my thyroid became hard as a rock and stopped functioning. Mentally I was on the edge of a cliff, getting ready to jump to my death with thoughts of suicide. My strength (God’s strength) was too great. I got help. I researched, I talked, and talked, and talked until I was sure my reality was indeed, “my reality”. After years of being denied, devalued, and then discarded, I finally woke up.

  • claire

    April 23rd, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    must be a difficult position to find oneself in

  • Marissa

    April 24th, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    from experience
    I can say
    that you spend so much of your time
    ensuring there are no blips for the other person
    that you start forgetting
    to take care of you

  • Ashley

    April 13th, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    Because their blips become your blips.

  • Cheryl

    April 24th, 2016 at 6:11 PM

    The blame is always there. I hated it for years. Sometimes I notice it less.The other thing that is horrendous is the he knows it all thing. He is right and does not ‘ let the family be right. It is a sickness to think you are always right. The said part is that so many times ihe is close to ignorant. Very very close minded. I can be very open minded. But I became too much of a people pleaser who gets walked on.

  • Vickie

    April 25th, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    I don’t know if my husband has Asperger, but we have very little communication, he is 63, all he wants to do is be on the Internet and read, till 3 or later in the morning, and doesn’t get up till a 11:00 or later. His side of the bed is so piled up with books, magazines, newspapers, he doesn’t want to throw anything away. The note stand is full of cards he gets from every restaurant, drs office, etc. and cups you get your drinks at stores from. He has over a thousand packages of pens that have never been used, a and continues to buy more. Can you tell me what this sounds like. Thank you.

  • The Team

    April 25th, 2016 at 2:20 PM

    Dear Vickie,

    The Team is not qualified to offer professional advice, but we do encourage you to reach out. If you would like to talk about this or any other concern with a mental health professional, feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • Paula

    September 28th, 2017 at 6:57 PM

    My husband and I have been married for 9 1/2 years. He is non affectionate unless I remind him, hoards things on his dresser/cabinet (his dad had about 30 boxes of pennies in his closet), he doesn’t make sense when he interacts with people–a constant know it all–I think he is just really unsure about what to say other than facts that he knows, constantly talks about food/menus and comparing/contrasting ingredients, is not interested in sex unless reminded and seems ingenuine in general. The craziest thing is if I bring any issues up; he goes to bed that night wrapped in his blankets like a cocoon and won’t talk about them. Once he stayed this way for an entire day. I have an uneasy feeling around him often (like I am not sure what to do w/myself when he is there—sometimes I fold my hands properly on my lap when he is around or at other times and I never used to do that–so weird) and need to get away–I just feel bad for our kids b/c they do love their dad. I make it known that I am important and my husband does recognize that. He is my biggest fan I must say, but I feel like he is like my aspie brother or something. I didn’t know he was so unsure of himself when I married him; I just thought he had some awkward moments. He is very handsome, great provider and he does try very hard to please me. I just don’t want to lose my self cause I can see how his mom is. She would be a different person if her husband wasn’t around (he is aspie too).

  • Leigh

    April 28th, 2016 at 8:01 AM

    But any of these are things that could potentially happen in any marriage!

  • SueC254

    August 18th, 2016 at 4:48 PM

    Leigh, no, sorry. The way things work in an AS/NT marriage is substantially different to how a NT/NT relationship works. There is no space to explain here, there are now many books on this topic. The AS partner literally cannot see the other person’s viewpoint at all; cannot read subtle emotions; cannot read non verbal communication; cannot resolve conflicts but instead seeks distance in order to maintain the status quo and the emotional distance they need. It’s very isolating and invisible to outsiders. AS men are very rule bound, very literal and follow scripts for social situations. They have limited capacity for a lot of things. Their special interest comes first and is constantly in their thoughts, it’s a kind of emotional selfishness. They can be quite cold and can’t see the effect they have on you at all, and none of it is intentional. It’s like being the victim on unintended abuse by emotional neglect. The NT gets into the habit of being in charge all the time in order to avoid fixing up all the stuff-ups, and the AS husband becomes “prompt dependent”, like a parent-child relationship. Also, most of these relationships end up being devoid of sex because the wife cannot cope with the mechanical form of sex that is all they get. AS men put in a lot of effort to woo you then when they have the prize the effort stops. Literally after the honeymoon, or even before. They see that marriage has benefits, but hey have no idea whatsoever as to what is required of them. Normal marriage couselling techniques do not work for AS/NT relationships because it requires insight into the other person’s feelings and experience. It requires specialist pyschologist’s training.

  • Diane M

    August 19th, 2016 at 5:20 AM

    Sue, you have said it in a way that I have tried to express, but couldn’t do it in such a very clear manner. It is exactly the way it is!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!

  • Sarah

    August 19th, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    Hello, Sue – your reply is very well expressed. I agree that this relationship can benefit tremendously from the help of a therapist who understands both sides of the relationship. It is imperative that the emotional life of the neurotypical spouse be honored and validated. It is precisely a matter of emotional abuse without intent to abuse. This is a key point to understand. However, the effects of this behavior, as you clearly understand, are real and the consequences to the NT spouse are real in terms of self-respect and mental health. Best regards to you.

  • Anna

    September 12th, 2016 at 2:23 PM

    It became apparent at the early days of my new relationship with a man (6 months) he probably has Aspergers. At first it was like a fairy tale romance. I had been single for over 10 years. He seemed so decent and gentle and attentive however I was still aware my intuition was on edge ? He recently has been off hand with me and displayed many of the behaviours mentioned by others here. We are in our early fifties. He was married 20 years now divorced 9 years but he has had couple of relationships before we became friends. Do I persevere or run as is advocated by many here? We still haven’t had full sex his choice. II felt hurt last weekend by his indifference and this weekend after further sarcasm and his off handedness I felt shocked & upset and now empty. Im feeling a little stronger now after back at work and live alone so not in his company. Thank you

  • Diane

    April 23rd, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    This is a very accurate assessment of the whole situation. I have lived this for 44 years!

  • Sandy

    June 29th, 2017 at 7:16 AM

    Dear Sue, I read your comments with interest and I was so relieved that I wasn’t imagining the life I know I was living (how powerful are AS). I hope you get his message as it is only this week that the penny dropped after another outburst of anger and then sending me to Coventry so to speak (this time only lasting 4 days, it has been known to last 6 months). Fortunately and unbelievably he sat and listened to me) I am at my lowest, I felt I could not do this anymore. I realised I was going down, I was not the person I started out to be, I had changed out of all recognition…. Lonely, confused, unloved, unappreciated and unconfident and getting worse each day… I have no contact now with 2 of my children, or my brothers and sisters, I’ve lost all my friends… I went on line to try and find out what was wrong with our relationship, and why my husband always got angry with me, usually when I up brought up things that touched a nerve with him, usually relationship problems… I knew also I took a risk because it normally would lead to another almighty row, with a torrent of verbal abuse. What I read a lot of reasoning but what hit me most was Aspergers, his personality traits ticked most of the boxes… I can’t believe after 51 years of marriage that there was a reason for the way he is … I’m so relieved, I thought I was losing my sanity. Life has been so different for me and I supposed for my 3 adult children, We as a family have missed out on so much.. I have kept going just by trying to maneuver around situations, and doing my best to keep my mouth shut and not say or do something that would make him erupt… many thanks to you all for all your personal stories

  • Paula

    September 28th, 2017 at 7:00 PM

    “Mechanical sex” hits the nail right on the head.

  • Han-Lin

    September 28th, 2017 at 10:55 PM

    One example I could think of is eating out with friends. A person with autism doesn’t feel more connected or closer to his friends or colleagues even though they’ve eaten out together many times. Family members might think the autistic person just made friends. That might be true for a non-autistic person. Maybe we should focus more on the quality rather than the quantity of the outings. This example is just friends but I guess it’s possible that an ASD/NT couple can spend time together and won’t increase connection for both people. I feel that removing the NT mask might improve connections because the body language will come from emotions rather than voluntary control of facial muscles.

  • Lisa H

    January 29th, 2018 at 3:57 AM

    I can’t believe how accurate your description is here Sue, thank you for that. I have been with my AS for 11 years he was diagnosed about 3 years ago but refuses to accept the diagnosis. We have a 3 year old and a 7 year old and I do worry about the impact of our challenging relationship on our children. I talk to the 7 year old about his father a fair bit and he knows his father is “different”. With our 3 year old, I try to surround her with lots of love and regularly talk to her to say that Daddy is busy but does love her etc as her father struggles to deal with her age and emotional outbursts/tantrums ( he spends very little time with the children and seems to find every day life with young children very hard). I know he is a good man and that is why I stay but I am starting to think it may work better if we live apart and try and have a relationship but my partner won’t even entertain the idea.

  • Lenore

    March 4th, 2018 at 8:51 PM

    Mechanical sex would have been an improvement over what we had. After the honeymoon, my husband started telling me to go to another part of the house and don’t talk to him. Then when bedtime came around, he would get in bed, but not before a lecture about how I needed to stay on my side of the bed and not touch him. Then he would scoot as close to the edge of his side as far as he could and put his back to me. I was not allowed to touch him or want to be intimate. Before our marriage blew up when I found out about some of his serious sex addictions 8 and a half years ago, I could count on 2 hands the times that he had actually initiated sex with me in our 24 year marriage. Since then, probably because I have been threatening to leave him, he has been more willing and actually hugs me in bed. So they can change if they want to badly enough.

  • Tina

    May 12th, 2016 at 2:30 PM

    This is my life story, 23 years with husband I guess I always knew something wasn’t right just couldn’t put my finger on it,this was a challenge to live with. But found out 3 years ago he has aspergers. Then a switch went off he is completely different. I have no family no friends, he bought house in the middle of the woods 8 years ago so can’t move. I need someone to talk to so bad. No therapist in area understands what I am going through. The loneliness is killing me, Almost 4 years of isolation. I have tried the internet to talk to people but just not the same when you need human contact If people just used the phone more.

  • Sarah Swenson

    June 10th, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    Hello, Tina: I understand your loneliness and frustration. Your location is not necessarily a barrier to getting help, though. In my case, for besides practicing as a licensed psychotherapist in my state of Washington, for example, I developed an international coaching practice to work with individuals who live elsewhere. We work online with video sessions and also on the telephone and via email. There are others like me who offer these services, and I am confident that you could find someone with whom you would like to work. You don’t have to go through this alone. I send you my best regards.

  • Holly

    April 17th, 2018 at 3:07 AM

    would love to talk

  • Amy

    May 14th, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    Tina, there is an awesome support group on I know that it is still online, but it is something. It is called ‘Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD’. It is run by Kathy Marshack, an amazing resource on NT/AS marriages. She actually hosts video conferences, some for free, some for low cost. I believe she will also meet via Skype for kind of a therapy session. Consider thinking about a few things you used to like to do before you were isolated, and pursue on of the things that involves meeting people somewhere near you. Even if it means you volunteer as a segway into forming connections with others.

  • Diane M.

    June 3rd, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    You might have been writing about my marriage, from beginning to the end. I have been married to an un-diagnosed Aperger for 43 long years, I decided in October 2014 I had had enough abuse, not only by my husband, but also,my sons. THIS IS MY STORY!!!

  • Diane M.

    June 4th, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    How do you begin to get help when the partner with AS sees absolutely nothing wrong with his behavior. How do I communicate with someone who only wants to be right, cannot take criticism, but can only communicate by dishing it out, sees everything in only black and white. It’s autism, he is wired that way. Is there something that will change that thinking?

  • Sarah Swenson

    June 10th, 2016 at 1:35 PM

    Hello, Diane: I hear this question – and I sense the inherent frustration – frequently from women who seek counseling in my office. Generally, my goal is to help my clients understand that they can learn a great deal about autism and about ways to consider interpersonal communication in light of ASD that might have an effect on conversational outcomes. I encourage them to discuss this with their husbands and, if it seems appropriate or likely to be helpful, to then suggest that they come in for some sessions as a couple. My role then is akin to that of a translator: I work to help each partner understand the perspective of the other, which is often masked in vocabulary, history, and emotion that has concretized over the years. This is an ongoing process that can help re-establish mutual respect that has most likely suffered as years of miscommunication have accrued. From this point, new ways of understanding each other can be possible. It is important to remember, though, that ASD is a neurological difference and not a psychological issue. Therefore, expectations for change must be seen in light of this framework.

  • Diane M

    August 19th, 2016 at 5:27 AM

    Sarah, you must not be married to an autistic man. You CANNOT have a meaningful discussion about anything personal. IMPOSSIBLE!!!!! They take everything as a criticism, as a personal attack. The only people who will understand what I am talking about is a women married to ASPERGER!!!! Trust me we have tried every which way to connect, will not happen. We can only either leave or accept that we live with little boys, not a real man!!!!

  • SueC254

    August 18th, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Many of us didn’t know about AS until after we were married. AS wasn’t in the textbooks until 2 years after my wedding. I believe that if I had been forewarned I would not have gone ahead. This article is absolutely accurate, and is my life story up to a point – I am still in the marriage, and have only survived this far because I have had access to an AS partners’ support group for over ten years. I really fear the loneliness ahead when my children leave home, and it will be even worse when my ASH retires – I don’t think I could stand him being at home all the time – he will do even less than he does now. Lately I have been thinking about how to get back my old self and my former interests whilst still in the marriage, and asserting myself more. As described in the article, it’s me who spends all the money (and gets blamed for it), maintains and improves the house because no-one else will do it! I feel like I am single anyway, but with my hands tied. I will be reinventing myself and if he doesn’t like it, then I will know to consider ending the marriage. I had a friend whose adult children turned against her as described in the article. They blamed her for everything and sided with their AS dad. Eventually they saw the truth and had started to reconcile but it was too late. My friend got a diagnosis of terminal cancer and died within months. She insisted that her husband not come to her funeral. She was still hurt and angry. She was my friend and shared a lot of wisdom about AS and I miss her. Ladies, life is short and you only get one shot at it.

  • Diane M

    August 19th, 2016 at 5:52 AM

    Thank you Sue for your honesty, only those men or women married to autism will ever understand the depth of pain inflicted over years, decades. It is subtle, like a slow drip of daily sucking the life out of us. It took me 40 years to figure out I was living with autism. I always knew there was something, but what as it!!!! Now for almost three years I have had to come to terms that this man never loved me, not in a way I thought I married for!!! Not in a meaningful, caring, sharing way. Autism is extremely SELFISH and one sided. It now all makes sense to me, he doesn’t even know me after 43 years. He can’t help the way he is, but it doesn’t change the fact that we whom are married to them suffer in silence, no understanding from the non AS/NT community!!! It’s like losing a little bit of oxygen daily!!!

  • Sarah

    August 19th, 2016 at 9:00 AM

    Hello, Diane – It is not my place here to discuss my personal experiences in my private life, as you can imagine. I will have to ask you to trust that I understand your frustration more than you might be able to imagine. I deeply understand the relationship between a person on the autism spectrum and a neurotypical person. I also know and I tell my clients that it is not possible to change a person on the spectrum. Instead, I advocate for education. This is always the goal in sessions with my couple clients. Such education about what it is like to be the other can be enlightening. It does not change anyone inherently, but it offers the possibilities for a more hopeful pathway toward future decisions regarding staying together or moving apart. There are no miracles, but their is relief and there is compassion. Facing the grief of lost dreams and crashed expectations then becomes the work of individual counseling, either in therapy or with your pastor or anyone else you can trust to offer sustenance through a grieving process. There are no simple answers, certainly. But there is hope for reducing pain and moving forward. I send you my sincere best wishes.

  • Becky

    August 19th, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    After many years of losing myself I had to put my foot down and just let him have his fit. He had some awareness that he was sucking me dry so at least there was that. I told him that none of this was up for debate. I had a right to my interests and pursuits. Sometimes these will make you feel badly but that doesn’t make them bad and they will continue. I am not an extension of you. I am my own person and from this point on will be my own person.

    It took about two years of struggle and repeating this for him to adapt. That’s OK. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    We engage is a sort of toddler like side by side play now. He does his thing. I do mine. He has learned that life is nicer when we can both talk about the things we enjoy. Right now I’m enjoying a very engaging hobby. There is a contest for my hobby coming up so I’m putting a lot of time in. To help me my husband has been fixing the meals for the last couple months. This isn’t entirely altruistic…he has a food special interest…however, it’s appreciated. It used to be he’d sulk if I didn’t fix a meal he wanted to eat.

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 19th, 2016 at 3:28 PM

    Hello, Becky – it sounds as if you and your husband are well on your way toward discovering a workable plan for staying together. In the future if you hit bumps, it might be worthy of consideration to enlist the help of a therapist who truly understands the AS/NT relationship in a way that comforts and supports you both. Best regards to you.

  • Becky

    August 22nd, 2016 at 1:40 PM

    Thanks Sarah. It was because of therapy that he was diagnosed in his mid 40’s. I told him to go, or else. Like I said, he had some awareness that he was sucking me dry and he agreed that he had issues to work through. When he was diagnosed it was such an eye opener, a relief in many ways.

    At that point he was open to change but change comes slow with Aspergers. Through therapy, boundaries on my part, and a low dose anti anxiety medication, we aren’t doing too badly.

    His last meltdown was over his health. I mentioned he has a food special interest. That has caused obesity, high blood pressure and pre-diabetic symptoms. I told him he was a walking heart attack and now it was time to lose weight. This was a three day bender for him but he processed and agreed he was unhealthy. I taught him how to use a weight loss app where you count calories. Once he learned that he could eat what he liked, not just rabbit food, as long as he budgeted it in, he’s done very well. He’s lost nearly 40 lbs. So he’s cooked meals and enjoyed that immensely.

  • Linda

    August 18th, 2016 at 7:44 PM

    This article so describes my life; in solo therapy because I thought I was going mad; the stress is overwhelming and I’ve decided not to talk about it anymore because , if you don’t walk in my shoes, you don’t understand😢

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 19th, 2016 at 3:16 PM

    Hello, Linda, many women in your position decide finally not to discuss the issues in their marriages with partners on the spectrum because as you describe, it is extremely difficult for others to understand if they are not familiar with the particular dynamics in the AS/NT partnership. However, you might find it helpful to work with a professional counselor who specializes in this area. It is asking a lot of yourself to hold this bottled up within you. Best wishes to you.

  • Jennifer F.

    August 19th, 2016 at 5:15 PM

    Linda.. I know how you feel…so hard when you can’t talk to someone..unless they are in the same situation…I live in Australia….and I joined a support group… many….of us….

  • Molly

    December 13th, 2016 at 7:14 AM

    Hi, what support group is that ? I need some help finding someone who understands and doesn’t just diagnose me with postnatal depression!

  • Diane M.

    August 21st, 2016 at 5:55 AM

    I hear you Linda, and so does every other man and women married to a partner on the spectrum. You cannot talk to your partner about it, he or she are a GREAT part of the problem !! You will only harm yourself more and become psychologically hurt! We call that circular arguments that go NOWHERE, he can’t hear you or see you. It mind blindness . But there are other forums that totally GET you, I sure do!!!!!!!!!! Seek help from outside your relationship !!! The best to you!

  • Jennifer E

    August 18th, 2016 at 11:07 PM

    For years I felt as though it was all my fault..not good enough, not smart enough…had a mastectomy/chemo…don’t look good enough…..I always cooked cleaned..took him on with HIS 3 girls..and I had 4 kids of my own..HE SAW what a great mum.cook/housekeeper I was…but ..then would slam /ridicule me for being so!! HAD to see a Psychologist..who has told me..THIS IS NOT MY FAULT….but….that little demon pops up every so often..makes you feel so unworthwhile…I can’t afford to go elsewhere..and this is my home..I travel alone…interstate…..but..when HIS family around…all MR NICE GUY…..”spew”” I told my in-laws about him..they have to know..( plus he is Diabetic Type 1) I have saved his bloody life so many times..BUT FORGETS all of that! PLUS he has Narcisstic personality disorder..ALL MY diagnosis!1 HE told me when we first met..tha the had ”strange ways” and I had to get used to them…I just thought it was any man’s ;;funny ways”” OHH NO…….PLEASE give me strength..please talk to me..

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 19th, 2016 at 3:17 PM

    Jennifer, you’re no doubt right when you say, “It isn’t my fault.” I hope you can find a trusted counselor who understands your situation to offer you support and guidance. Best wishes to you.

  • Rose

    August 19th, 2016 at 12:10 AM

    Wow – it felt like someone watched a movie if my life there. It’s terrible. After decades of marriage and a caring for a child with life threatening illness I find that AS husband has been involved in disgusting sexual activities with prostitutes and in groups. Of course he is gone but I can’t understand that behaviour in anyone AS or not. It’s almost like a psychopath. Surely that behaviour isn’t attributed to AS??? What I couldn’t understand is why AS is a licence to be a pig.

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 19th, 2016 at 3:18 PM

    Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard of this kind of sexual behavior from a husband on the spectrum. Oftentimes, it doesn’t mean to him what it means to the neurotypical spouse. Nontheless, it is experienced rightfully as a devastating betrayal. I hope you can find good counseling support. I wish you well.

  • Rose

    April 24th, 2017 at 2:09 AM

    a year after separation I am still angry because nothing is resolved. There has been no contact whatsoever and there is at last relief and peace in my home – but what I want to know – is WHY AS can just ‘get away’ with their behaviours and actions? There never seems to be any consequence for the hurt they cause – intentional or not…surely. otherwise intelligent people cannot be allowed to behave this way. The little counselling we did have was so softly softly on the AS partner it was almost validating the behaviour – I don’t get it!

  • Marion

    May 10th, 2017 at 10:55 PM

    Yes – devastating betrayal, when I was so very trusting – but he was eyed by other women and couldn’t say “no” or “I’m married” then married my friend – she married him….

  • Jen

    August 19th, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    This articles does describe me. My kids are 16 and 13 and have each pulled me aside and told me that their father treats me poorly. With those declarations, I feel I have more confidence to leave, with support and a different outcome to your article. It’s a chance I have to take. They see their father’s lack of involvement. They see how he stonewalls when things don’t go his way. They see their father for who he is. Am I lucky? I don’t know. But what else can I do than hope?

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 19th, 2016 at 3:24 PM

    Jen, you are fortunate. You might consider finding a skilled therapist for you and your children to work with on this. You could also consider bringing him with you to family sessions, if he is willing to pursue this. Oftentimes, the partner on the spectrum is not willing. You know your husband best and you know what he is likely to think of such a suggestion. If he is unwilling and you and the children pursue counseling together, it would be important that there is no sense of “ganging up on Dad” perceived by your husband. Best regards to you.

  • Marion

    May 10th, 2017 at 10:58 PM

    Great comment. At break-up, its too easy to delay this sort of therapy – so much else to do and consider, and then the children can feel neglected. Mine also saw dad’s ways, but were later persuaded to his thinking.

  • Diane

    April 24th, 2017 at 7:03 AM

    Hi Jen, I have found that therapy with an AS present is no good at all!! In my case it only served for my AS partner to find out more about me, he used it against me time and time again. Therapy has never helped him one iota, in an AS mind it’s always your fault, he has zero ability to see his behavior and the hurt and pain he causes. Therapy for you and your children could be beneficial in helping them see their fathers as having a serious disability. I feel sad for your children, but they seem aware and that is a good start. Let your AS wear his own behavior, never cover up for him, if you do you look like the one that has the problem. In my 44 years with my ASH, I found the only way it can be bearable is to make no excuses for him. I am sick and tired of the medical profession making this our problem. We give and give of ourselves with little in return emotionally.

  • Sarah Swenson

    December 31st, 2017 at 7:28 PM

    Diane, in order for couple counseling to be successful when one partner has autism, the therapist must understand both the autistic and the neurotypical experience; she must be skilled in holding each partner responsible while stopping blame and criticism; and she must be skilled in offering substantive new patterns of communication for both partners to practice. There is also a significant amount of psychoeducation involved. This is not the domain of all therapists because it is so specialized. In fact, there are not many therapists who work in this area at all, which is why so many couples, like you, have had frustrating experiences. However, please do not disparage the entire mental health profession. It is possible to find supportive counseling. When you are seeking counseling for this very specific partnership, be certain to ask your prospective therapist whether s/he has the training and skills required in order to work successfully with a neurodiverse couple.

  • Carol G.

    August 19th, 2016 at 3:21 PM

    Thank you for such a fabulous article Sarah and Good Therapy. I write about the AS/NT relationship too, having been in one myself. I run ASPIA in Sydney (Australia), a support group for partners of adults on the spectrum. I will be glad to pass your article on through our group etc. It was actually shared in a facebook group by one of our members. It will be of course extremely validating for partners, but also particularly helpful for those who are still trying to explain to their therapist, or others, what’s going on for them. I often say it is difficult to put words around what is not there, what is missing – because most people in society have assumptions about what is “normal” and taken for granted in any relationship at a basic level, and much of this just isn’t present, but we’ve no words to describe it. Thank you again. Carol G. OAM, ASPIA Inc (Australia).

  • The Team

    August 20th, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    Thank you Carol. We are so glad you enjoyed it!

    Wishing you the best,
    The Team

  • Carol

    April 23rd, 2017 at 3:26 PM

    Yes , but I need a divorce, have a meditation lawyer who will not grasp it. 35 years of marriage and business partner as well !

  • Sarah

    August 22nd, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Thank you, Carol. I’m happy if my words soothe a troubled soul in any way, and I am grateful to you for passing along my article in Australia. Thank you also for taking the time to write a note here. Best wishes to you in your work as well.

  • Rachel

    January 30th, 2018 at 9:55 PM

    It’s been awhile since your comment. Did you go through with the divorce? What was your experience with the mediation style divorce? I’m thinking because it is so very difficult to get people to understand what it is like to live and work with an AS, with all of the attendant blame as witnessed in these stories, I can imagine mediation would be difficult.

  • Sarah

    January 31st, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    Hi Carol – I divorced my Aspie through mediation and found it very helpful. You both meet with the mediator separately at first so I was able to explain to her that while I was certain he was Aspergers, it was something he did not accept. In this discussion I was able to make her understand that I need to support and hold him at the same time as I was divorcing him. And also that if he appeared rude and abrupt to her, this was why. She understood, and whilst she was very discreet about it, she was also calmly reassuring with him. So it was a good choice for us.

  • Ruth

    August 20th, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    This sadly was my experience over 20 years and 8 children. We finally divorced when the youngest two were 15. I lost everything. He was the wronged victim. I was the evil witch. Only my youngest two and my two oldest speak to me now. I am a grandma, but have never seen the baby, my daughter married and did not invite me. My other daughter graduated but I was not allowed to go. My mum died and I was blanked at her death bed by my daughters. My ex got everything I worked for, the house I bought, my children’s loyalty and his freedom while I continue looking after his two youngest ASD boys.

  • Diane M.

    August 21st, 2016 at 5:26 AM

    I am so sorry Ruth for the pain you are suffering . Autism, whether high functioning is a serious disability. Not for themselves, but for the families that are exposed to them day in and day out. Unfortunately all therapy and information is one sided. Until there is more exposure to the HARM they do we will suffer great consequences. The damage is done so slowly over such a long period of time!!!! THEY need to be exposed!!!! We the NT must tell our stories. If there was some kind of disease out there causing so much harm, it would make headline news, why not THIS disability!!!!

  • Sarah

    August 22nd, 2016 at 5:14 PM

    Diane, you make a very good point. Therapists who are not specialists in working with both the individual on the spectrum and the neurotypical partner can inadvertently appear to “side” with the partner on the spectrum, which becomes an additional source of anxiety and distress for the NT partner. Many couples have shared such disheartening previous counseling experiences with me. However, please do not give up hope. All therapy and information is truly not “one sided,” as you describe it. There are therapists whose life work derives from understanding both realities – AS and NT – and whose heart-felt goal is to help partners build new bridges. This is not possible, as you clearly describe, without strong therapeutic support. That is why in so many of my comments above I have advocated finding a therapist. It is very difficult otherwise to break the dysfunctional and often abusive long-term communication patterns which tend to concretize in AS/NT marriages even more so than they do in other marriages. In effective couple therapy, both partners have equal voices. Best regards to you.

  • mplo

    April 30th, 2019 at 5:20 PM

    This article, as well as all the comments following it, seems like a rather biased article that indicates an extremely poor understanding of ASD, generally. While there are people on the spectrum who do have severe problems functioning in life, there are also plenty of people on the spectrum who function extremely well, have regular jobs and/or vocations, do sports, and have even married, had children and stayed together. This article and the comments that follow it show nothing about the fact that there are people on the spectrum who are successful in life, have friends and a social life and families, have normal jobs, are tax payers and homeowners, have interests, and are very successful at what they do.

  • Chasity H.

    August 20th, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    My partner and I have two boys with asphergars. I read this artical and it’s totally what I go through with him. I feel crazy and alone. I don’t know what to do. I do everything and if I say something it’s my fault and he fights with me about it. What do u suggest. My boys are five and eight right now. It’s crazy at my house.


  • Diane M.

    August 21st, 2016 at 5:01 AM

    Hi Chasity, don’t make the same mistake I did, I put myself last in this marriage, just saying that word “marriage” makes me cringe, because it is so far from it. Your boys are still young, they are teachable. Let him wear his behavior, don’t EVER make excuses for him. Treat yourself with dignity and respect, he won’t !!!!! He can’t!!!! you do not exist for him other than a provider!!!! Show your boys you are VERY important, they must see that from you , it will not come from their father. Any bad behavior you husband does in front of the children call him on it in a non aggressive way, state it and disengage, walk away!!!!!

  • Jenny

    September 10th, 2016 at 4:12 AM

    Chasity, it does not get better. You have two boys with ASD, there is only so much stress and loneliness one human being can withstand. Your life is worth something and you have a right to be heard and to be loved and supported. Had I known this when I was your age I would have moved away from the stressors I could have walked away from and moved towards love and respect and kindness and support. It is the oxygen mask thing… can’t give something you aren’t getting yourself and there is only so much one person can take. Choose you at every opportunity you can. It is not selfish, you have a right to matter too.

  • Vivienne R.

    May 1st, 2019 at 2:53 PM

    Trying to reply to mplo, but there was no reply facility below that contribution. Mplo has totally misunderstood the purpose of this article, & merely parrots autism propaganda, totally ignoring the suffering behind closed doors of many spouses of these often outwardly successful people. I trust that there will be other replies that will explain fully & forcefully. At least it helps to remind those of us who are divorced what it was like having a person around who made no attempt to comprehend. Complete lack of empathy. This is not the place for you, Mplo, sorry, but what you have written is potentially very damaging to many who have described their experiences here & come for validation.

  • Dannie

    October 21st, 2019 at 4:09 PM

    Correct. Mplo missed the purpose of the article.

  • Vivienne

    August 22nd, 2016 at 11:00 PM

    I found this article very helpful. In the absence of a counsellor who understands couple relationships where the husband has AS, can you recommend anything to read that will help more. I have read many books but they only take you so far. My husband has a diagnosis.

  • Sarah

    August 24th, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    Hello, Vivienne, Thank you for your reply. If you’d like to email me through my profile, I’d be happy to respond. Best wishes to you.

  • Bethany

    December 27th, 2017 at 9:08 PM

    I am married to a man who has AS and have a teenage son also. Have been married 19 years but I want a divorce. We argue non stop. I try to help both of them socially but lately my husband gets angry at me… tells me he doesn’t care and says things to me he shouldn’t in feont of my kids. Im afraid if we divorce my children who are 12 and 16 will want to live with him. They see him as more “chill” even though he is a nervous wreck and messes things up and forgets things all of the time. I feel like I have a “man child”. At the age of 47 I feel as if he should be more mature. Unlike all other comments Im ashamed to say that I am the one who is more verbally agressive to him because he “doesn’t get things”!!

  • Melody

    August 23rd, 2016 at 7:20 AM

    I do think it helps to know that my hubby of 16 years is an Aspie, but it’s not always enough. He is undiagnosed, but it’s obvious. Two of our sons are also on the spectrum at varying degrees, and the third son will be evaluated soon. I often feel invisible. I handle everything for the boys: therapies, school, doctors, activities, money, car maintenance, mowing, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and I work part time. I do see a lot lack of respect from my sons, and I am afraid to try anything new anymore because I am tired of criticism. I am a shell of my former self and I do try to align myself with his ideals because it is easier. I don’t ever see myself wanting a divorce, but Autism does make for a culture shock, of sorts, for both partners. There really is a need for more books to be written on this subject. Your article hits the nail on the head.

  • Sarah

    August 24th, 2016 at 3:14 PM

    Hello, Melody – thank you for writing. “Culture shock” is often a pretty good metaphor for what you’re describing: each partner might feel dropped into a new country with no map, no cultural understanding, and no language skills. I hope you can find a way to voice your distress, either with a counselor or another professional who might understand and be able to offer you support. Regarding a book on this topic – I am in the middle of writing one, and I hope it will offer tools and comfort to anyone who reads it. Best to you.

  • Jenny

    September 9th, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    I cannot believe that my story is here in black and white and that the fact that it is makes it clear that this is not just my story but a never ending story of misery and lives lost. I lost everything being married to a man with ASD. My beautiful home with gardens I lovingly created, my dreams, my hopes, years and years and years of never being loved, never being heard, never mattering. But the final and most devastating loss of all was the slow realization of the fact that, just as you describe in this story, my children were lost too. Two have Aspergers themselves and barely know I am alive, let alone worth anything, and the other has been so hurt and so lost and has learned as you have described that I am not worth anything. It is not his fault, it was just the reality that formed his view of the world and of me. I am 54 years old and after 30 years of the worst misery I can describe, I now find every dream was utterly shattered. I would never, never have done this if a diagnosis had been available back then.

  • Sarah

    September 15th, 2016 at 8:12 AM

    Hello, Jenny – your note is so poignant. I send you my best wishes for healing and reclaiming those dreams which have languished for so long. I encourage you to note the resilience you are demonstrating by moving forward in your life. That is no small feat.

  • Pilgrim

    October 11th, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Jenny, I share a good few of these things, (especially garden, children), and feel so sorry for your situation. At our age, we cannot have this family-making experience again, and for it to become like this for you is so sad. It helps me to know that I am not alone in this experience, and hope that it does you too. I hope that in time, your children will come to appreciate and respond to the love you have for them. If not, I hope that you will arrive at some kind of peaceful situation, maybe a good new relationship with a man worthy of you, some kind of peace and quiet happiness. I’d love to know whether you have moved on (oh how they all want us to ‘move on’ – as if we aren’t trying!) to some better place than when you wrote this. I hope so, because I want to feel it is possible for me too.

  • Cara

    September 9th, 2016 at 11:58 PM

    Yep, this is me, right down to certain things that were said. My birthday was never ignored, because he has it in his automatic notifications on his smart phone. He always gets me something er other. But it always feels like an obligation. Often, when he gets me something that he feels is something I’ve mentioned before, he’ll pat himself on the back by saying, “See, I listen!” We both skipped our 19th anniversary this year. I knew he would forget, and I just didn’t feel like buying anything for it. The trouble is that reading the rest of your article, from the point where she leaves him, terrifies me. Our last daughter (we have three) is in high school now. I won’t deny I have wondered if when she leaves high school it might be time to move on. It makes me sad, and scares me, but sometimes just the idea that there might be someone out there that actually cares about me, that might put me first, that might want to share life instead of putting up road blocks and telling me why anything I dream of doing is “unrealistic”….but the idea that my children might turn on me is terrifying. My youngest daughter most likely has Aspergers as well, and she is often just like her father. I can imagine her blaming me for the end of the marriage. I’m not so sure that would be true for my oldest and middle daughters, who I have talked honestly with and confided in over the years about their father’s behavior. But my littlest one, I have protected her more from what was going on, and she is the most like him.

    Another thing is, how do you leave someone who has drained all the joy of life away from you, and killed your dreams, and made you into someone you don’t even recognize..but who is still kind and funny, and sometimes quite sweet? He does those things sometimes, but for multiple reasons there has been no sexual relationship for 15 years. When he discovered he had low testosterone, he had no interest in doing anything about it for 8 years. It tore me apart. He didn’t seem to care one bit that I was miserable, instead asking me why I couldn’t just accept him for how he was. No amount of logic from me did anything but get the silent treatment.

    But how do you leave someone when you still love them. I feel he and I are friends, and that’s all. And I feel strongly that my leaving him would really hurt him. He would say he couldn’t help being Aspergers and couldn’t help his testosterone levels. Maybe some of it, but not all.

    I’m so confused. 19 years of feeling like a sack of potatoes, and wondering what happened to who I used to be. I think I lack the faith in myself to even do anything about it now.

  • Sarah

    September 15th, 2016 at 8:15 AM

    Hello, Cara – this is the bind many find themselves in: painful recognition of their own sense of fading away with lost dreams and crushed hopes, while loving their partners and not wanting to leave. If both of you want to old on to the marriage, supportive counseling with a therapist skilled in understanding the interior lives of both partners can offer significant insights. I wish you well on your path.

  • Kf

    September 14th, 2016 at 10:56 AM

    This has been my life! Finally looked up and smelled the coffee and asked husband of 24 years to move out when he got physical with 13 year old son. What a waste of my life, having to comply with all his ways or he would rage, feel like my kids think I am the one to blame as he has such a martyrs way about him. He is so irresponsible, even tonight he was asking me to pick my son up as it is too much for him and too much for petrol! He picks him up twice a week, and drives 2 miles!! I said no, that I ferried them around 7 days a week and looked after them 24/7!!!! I wish I had woken up years ago but as a devout Christian I didn’t think leaving was an option, what an idiot and mug I have been. It is so good to read this to validate my experience, thank you !!

  • Sarah

    September 15th, 2016 at 8:18 AM

    Hello, KF – thank you for posting your note. Please don’t consider yourself “an idiot” for wanting your marriage to match your hopes and dreams. You did the best you could throughout those years, given what you knew then compared to what you know now. With time, perhaps you will see how resilient and loving and utterly competent you have always been, as evidenced by all the juggling you have done well for so many years. I wish you well in your discernment. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.

  • Anna

    September 14th, 2016 at 11:38 PM

    I made a spontaneous invite to go out for food after work as weather was beautiful. He agreed we went and then went aspie on me at the table ‘checked out’ daydreaming even though familiar restaurant and no others in the restaurant.! Hello where are you ? Realise no substance behind my handsome selfish man so do I just get used to having one sided conversations with myself?

  • Sarah

    September 15th, 2016 at 8:25 AM

    Hello, Anna – How frustrating for you! I wonder whether you have done much reading about Asperger’s. The reason I ask is that autistic behaviors which are not intended as selfish often appear that way due to problems related to understanding the emotional reality of another person (to the chagrin of the neurotypical partner) and the “checking out” you describe can often be a response to feeling anxious and overwhelmed by multiple stimuli, which could happen in places (such as the restaurant you describe) which may feel perfectly ordinary and otherwise pleasant to someone who is not on the spectrum. It is so complicated and often difficult to understand because the behaviors can be so hurtful, even if they are not intentional. Also, understanding these things doesn’t make the hurt go away on its own. Your pain is legitimate, as are your concerns. If your husband is amenable to such an idea, maybe reading about Asperger’s together could be helpful. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it backfires. Ideally, you could find a skilled therapist who understands you and understands your husband as well. Best regards to you.

  • Anna

    September 18th, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    Thank you Sarah, I have spent the last few days reading some online articles, books and a couple of forums similar to yours re Asperger and am gaining of an understanding of what this relationship will entail! Many women on various on forums suggest run don’t look back! I am trying to empathise with how he feels constantly – no wonder the grumpiness is surfacing! We are obviously coming out of the new phase as now nine months in to our new relationship. The hurt in my gut is strong this weekend as he has been trying to multi task which is obviously a No no however i have tried to show understanding as he was uncharacteristically offhand and cool with me! I am not aware if he is diagnosed or aware so eventually I just said that ‘we seemed to be at cross purposes as he was speaking to me in a way that we are not used to in our new relationship’ I explained I love him being so ‘kind and gentle and the way we are in our bubble although I know it’s still new but that I really need us to stay being kind and supportive of each other’ I explained I feel our bubble is where things can be dealt with as a couple as still in our ‘togetherness’. I feel I understand why I need to protect myself with me time as now I’m home my own usual ‘ok ness’ in my gut is flat which I recognise is from feeling sad emotionally. Do I need to just keep reading about this condition? I have read I must not take things he says personally! How do I do this ? I agree it is like learning a new language but with the need for prirection around my heart and solar plexus! Would appreciate advice please thank you x

  • Kf

    September 15th, 2016 at 12:03 PM

    Thank you Sarah for your kind words. I am trying to be more positive every day and help the boys grow up as well adjusted as possible. Thanks for this site, it is comforting to have supportive and understanding people.

  • Marion

    September 15th, 2016 at 5:06 PM

    What a remarkable and affirming article – about the best since I became aware of this elephant in my family in mid 90’s when the topic and condition was raised in media, following which I attended Attwood conferences and joined FAAAS. I have lost twice, and its been monumental refinding myself after divorce 15years ago. My children commented on their father’s traits, were hurt by some of these, but struggle with my truth. My oldest son seems accepting, and remains loyal and loving, but his sister who studied humanities and is a counsellor, is estranged. By now, I wonder if I would worsten the situation, or throw light on it by sharing this article.Your thoughts? Dr Joshua Coleemn had also been a useful source.

  • Sarah

    September 15th, 2016 at 10:44 PM

    Hello, Marion – thank you! I am glad this article was affirming for you. One thing you might think about if you’re wondering about sharing it with your children is whether you think it might be prudent to present it to them as something that is particularly meaningful to you, something that you’d like them to read in order to understand you better. At the very least, they will be learning something about their mother. There is always the chance that they will see more than that, however, and consider how the whole picture relates to them, their mother, and their father. Children often have their own reasons for denying autism in their fathers. Sometimes they themselves are also on the spectrum; sometimes, it just feels too painful to look into the matter too carefully. I wish you well on your path toward healing.

  • Anonymous

    September 18th, 2016 at 3:03 AM

    The majority of behaviour described here sounds like my NT ex-partner of many years. Thank goodness there were no children involved. I wasn’t diagnosed when we first got together and had absolutely no idea, but it was he that originally suggested that I might be AS. He was extrovert, talkative, and a “larger than life” character, and in our private lives he used those characteristics as part of a broad pattern of bullying. He would want to talk and talk and talk, usually about nothing constructive, but would go from one topic to another endlessly for hours, to the point where I was completely exhausted and really needed to be alone with my thoughts for a bit to recharge my batteries, but he would insist on bombarding me with yak and asking my opinion about topics I knew too little about to have a conversation about. When all I could do was acknowledge politely he would get angry and say I wasn’t listening. He would use any devious means possible to deprive me of time to sit on my own and follow my special interests, which I found exhausting. He would demand tenderness and comfort from me when he was shouting at me and I was feeling frightened rather than loving. He would insist we did the household chores “together” although I worked a busy full time job and he was on benefits, and anyway it was his apartment. Everything was nitpicked and if I did the dishes he would do them again because I allegedly hadn’t done a good job because of my “attitude” towards the home and the relationship. I was terrified of driving but he made me do it and then yelled at me. He said I was a klutz, but flip-flopped between not letting me do things in case I messed up and angrily forcing me to do them to teach me how to be “practical”. Everything had to be done at break-neck speed; he was so impatient I think he would have flunked the marshmallow test. He accused me of making him fat because I needed “constant feeding” but I have to eat at regular times because of blood sugar issues, it’s not a ritual as he liked to frame it. He used to speak to me like a two year old. In the end I had to leave because the bullying was spilling over onto my family members, some of whom have similar AS traits to mine, and this used to get him riled up as if our wire-up job was somehow a personal attack on him. I can’t believe I spent nearly a decade of my life nursing a man with both physical and emotional issues, working a pay the bills job instead of developing my career and keeping my ambitions for higher education in abeyance while getting no support for my own ideas, interests and ambitions, and rarely any display of thanks. There are a lot of “poor me’s” here, but has anyone considered things from the other side of the story?

  • Liz M

    September 21st, 2016 at 12:35 AM

    Dear anonymous,
    Sounds to me like you are/were not dealing with a psychologically stable NT. Just because he isn’t AS certainly doesn’t preclude him from some other DSM diagnosis. There seems to me no doubt that you are suffering emotional and psychological abuse. Your partner is not healthy and you might need to consider running away, real fast, from this guy. I hope you haven’t begun to blame or hate yourself yet. So sorry. I hope Sarah has some good advice…. yours seems like a very damaging situation.

  • J C

    January 11th, 2018 at 5:21 AM

    This sounds like my son-in-law, but he is the one who is AS. “He would want to talk and talk and talk, usually about nothing constructive, but would go from one topic to another endlessly for hours, to the point where I was completely exhausted and really needed to be alone with my thoughts for a bit to recharge my batteries, but he would insist on bombarding me with yak and asking my opinion about topics I knew too little about to have a conversation about. When all I could do was acknowledge politely he would get angry and say I wasn’t listening. He would use any devious means possible to deprive me of time to sit on my own and follow my special interests, which I found exhausting. He would demand tenderness and comfort from me when he was shouting at me and I was feeling frightened rather than loving. He would insist we did the household chores “together” although I worked a busy full-time job and he was on benefits, and anyway it was his apartment. Everything was nitpicked and if I did the dishes he would do them again because I allegedly hadn’t done a good job because of my “attitude” towards the home and the relationship. I was terrified of driving but he made me do it and then yelled at me. He said I was a klutz, but flip-flopped between not letting me do things in case I messed up and angrily forcing me to do them to teach me how to be ‘practical’”. My daughter has post-traumatic stress according to the psychiatrist. Only it is not POST. How can I help?

  • Sarah

    September 28th, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    Dear Anonymous,
    In a word, yes. I consider the world from the point of view of the individual on the spectrum all the time in my work. In fact, if I have a personal mission it is this: to help couples and individuals understand that there are neurological differences between those on the autism spectrum and people who are considered to be neurotypical. These differences manifest most strongly in the intimate relationship, where the demands on the AS person are experienced as most complex and significant. Helping to build a bridge between these two ways of being in the world is my life work. Your story is heartbreaking to me because it exemplifies so strongly the price the AS person can pay when in relationship with a person who has no understanding whatsoever of the interior life of a person on the spectrum. Yes, it cuts both ways. There is pain in both sides when understanding of differences is lacking. Both partners are capable of excrutiatingly insensitive treatment of the other if they view differences as intentional behaviors designed to hurt or baffle the other. That said, there are often other complications at hand, since besides our neurologial status, we are a combination of many other factors, including our personal histories, our tempermants, our personalities, and our intelligence. This includes the possibility of mental health compromises, of course. Seeking counseling with a skilled therapist who understands both sides of the partnership can be a life-saving decision. I send you my best wishes for healing.

  • Pink nails

    October 15th, 2016 at 6:55 PM

    I do not want this for my life. I have 3 children 6 and under. The oldest has Aspergers and the middle sensory and anxiety issues. The only reasons I have for not divorcing at this point is fear of the stress as I am already completely overdrawn and that I do not trust my spouse with the children for any more than a couple hours. I feel that to save myself I would be leaving my children to deal with his invisible disabilities without my help and protection. Ug. I would not get full custody as he is a “good guy.” In the case of a divorce he would make it his next big projet to cause me problems.
    My mom had an empathy disorder (cluster B) and that led me to this relationship. I am so completely done dealing with zero empathy relationships. Life is too short. I remind my girls constantly to think of others hoping I can instill empathy into their neurology. Love matters. Love requires empathy.

  • Anonymous

    October 17th, 2016 at 9:06 AM

    Dear Pink Nails, I am sorry about your mother, but I was concerned about your comment that you wish to “instill empathy into their neurology” with regard to your daughters. I think I have a responsibility to set the record straight. You have admitted yourself there are sensory and anxiety issues, and you need to understand that those are the problem, NOT a lack of empathy. For us, other people’s emotions are like being at a Death Metal concert. There is already too much going on to process! If you then try and speak softly, it won’t be heard above the din. Rather than metaphorically grabbing us by the collar to get our attention, the solution is to move to a calm environment where our senses aren’t being overloaded. My family tried to go overboard with that whole “think of others” rhetoric. You know what? It was years before I learned that my needs were important too, and that sometimes I had to put myself first. Be careful of the messages you give someone who might be prone to taking you exactly at your word.

  • Marion

    February 9th, 2017 at 8:21 PM

    I wonder if modelling empathy is better than bashing their ears about others’ feelings? Of course everyone is on a different part of a spectrum – so degrees of awareness would vary? I have a son who displayed autistic/sensory issues when young, but is now giving hugs, not shrugging them off. He is very affectionate with his fiance. My heart sings, since he asked why we do these things when he was about 4 or 5years old, and it was a little painful watching him then mimicking – eventually giving crushing hugs, and now lovely gentle ones.

  • Vegan unicorn

    April 26th, 2018 at 7:52 PM

    Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you so much for explaining how others’ emotions actually feel to a person diagnosed w/ AS in such a concise & poignant way. I think I finally have a better understanding for both how it must feel & when to share my emotions w/ an AS partner (by making sure we’re both in an environment that helps relieve tension & anxiety).
    The few people (who are on the spectrum), who took the time to comment on this forum provided a lot of insight in a kind, patient & empathetic manner.
    Thank you so much again.

  • Penny

    January 29th, 2017 at 3:31 AM

    Sarah, I am interested to know what you and the other readers think about how you would deal with children and their exposure to their AS fathers behaviors? I suppose I am sheltering them and not making his behaviors seem odd to them – should I tell them as it is. For example, my husband has chronic snoring and this was going on through our relationship (his mother is the same and was diagnosed with sleep apnea). I eventually could not take it anymore so I said that he needed to get it sorted. His solution was to move to the spare room where he has remained since (1 year now). He has not mentioned it since – I suppose this is his solution for getting it sorted. My question is obviously the girls know he is in another room (they are 5 & 6) but I told them it was cause Daddy’s snoring is very bad – but should I be truthful with them and say ‘Daddy needs to go to the doctor to see if the doctor can fix his snoring’. I am thinking after reading your article that I am taking the blame for him refusing to do anything about it. This is just one example. Thank you!

  • Sarah

    February 8th, 2017 at 12:16 PM

    Hello, Penny – I wonder whether you might consider working with a counselor who can help you sort out these questions. It is complicated with young children who are watching everything and forming their own impressions and ideas about why mommy and daddy do things. I understand your desire to care for your children and offer them explanations that make sense and that are accurate. Their developmental stages and awareness are part of the formula for determing how best to do this. I send warm wishes to you in the hopes that you can find support.

  • Kara

    February 16th, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    You are the first, (I cannot say this more empthatically)… the FIRST person to sound like you have the capacity to actually help those in an NT/Aspie relationship. I value your insight and I truly wish I had chosen orders to Washington in lieu of Illinois, just so I could give one more chance to a therapist that could be that “translator” for my marriage. A translator that grasps both ends and has no stake in either side; THAT is what we really need the most if we want to see positive changes for the future. My husband and I have come incredibly far in our efforts to bridge the gaps, but there are still many gaps to overcome. 9/10 times, it is a translator we need in our midst to promote forward mobility. It is near-impossible in the beginning (and in general) for either side to hear the other person’s perspective because both are engulfed in emotional turmoil when words begin to spew from their mouths. It took years for me to find the means to begin shifting our spiraling marriage and it was certainly not through the assistance of a “licensed professional.” You bring a humbling sense that perhaps all hope (in the mental health profession) is not lost for Aspie/NT unions. It was incredibly obvious to me from the moment I began reading your words that you have lived in an NT/Aspie dynamic. Most therapists who claim to have the skill set to assist a grieving spouse either lack the personal experience to be of any help, or have a biased mindset against the Aspie (husband) because they have not be privy to successful bridge-construction themselves. I will be seeking your guidance in the future, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for giving me hope in a community I had turned my back on. Your “Life’s Work” is one of unimaginable value and I look forward to what’s to come. On a side note to those readers asking about their children and including them in the knowledge of AS and why mom & dad behave the way they do: I can only speak from the perspective of a mother who has an incredibly empathetic teenage daughter. She was barely 10-years old when John entered our life and had already suffered the loss of her own father to suicide, so I was very afraid of sharing what I knew of AS in the early days. I chose to not shield her from anything after I let the dust settle from the initial explosion of grief that followed my realization of what “I had gotten myself into” and what I “was up against.” I chose to not allow her to grow up worried about me or thinking her stepfather was a cruel man. I was terrified she would think less of me for remaining by his side, or adapt a subconscious belief that she should endure a seemingly abusive relationship because she had watched her mother suffer and stick it out in one. In the end, she was afforded the information that she deserved to know. She struggles with him still (as an older teenager), but she has a foundation of understanding through reading and open communication with myself that has enabled her to open her heart up and not take all of his behaviors personally. She has also opened that same heart up to those young Aspie children in her schooling; those who endure the very social alienation that often leads to our adult husband’s defensive hostility and poor coping skills in our marriages. While I still carry guilt for putting her through such a challenging childhood, in my heart, I know my daughter is a far more compassionate young woman now capable of identifying those with AS in her future interactions; from school to casual encounters, and likely in the profession she chooses as an adult. Considering HOW MANY individuals (I believe) have AS in our society, I strongly sense that my child is at a great advantage to navigating through interpersonal dynamics appropriately with those who often present the greatest challenges to NT individuals in life (from students, to teachers, to acquaintances, family members, or even random daily encounters with strangers). I believe she is better equipped to handle appropriate dialog with compassion in general now and that she will continue to grow as a leader and advocate for the neuro-diversity we all exist in. I don’t believe you are going to harm any child by being honest and kind in the way you openly communicate the dynamic they are already fully aware of in their home. They are not blind and they cannot be shielded (try as you might). Whether an AS child or NT… how can empowering them with the knowledge they need to navigate through their own life and future ever be a poor choice? Just my food for thought. Thank you again.

  • Dorothy

    May 23rd, 2017 at 8:46 AM

    Your thoughts resonated with me as I spent over 20 years with my Aspberger spouse and like others who knew separating was ultimately the only option, waited until our youngest went to college to file for divorce. My husband’s limitations were well known among myself and our kids and the emotional deprivation that life with him presented. Compounding his self absorption and alexithymia was his unwillingness to accept that anything was wrong with him and could be monosyllabic with little eye contact for days. If you and your kids tend towards the neuro typical, then you have to divorce in my opinion for the kids’ sake. It’s a terrible life model to witness in your home, especially where there is an audience of assorted family members. Our three kids seem bewildered, sad and angry about what happened but because I am the functional parent in the equation and am reliable, resourceful and able bodied, they understand who has their back and who has earned their respect. I do worry about alienation with them when they are older but I ultimately chose my mental health- my spouse had no interested in working on the relationship and cultivated a new community of peers as the marriage deteriorated. My ex seems engaged in his new existence and has little contact with any one in the family. I’m sure in his mind, he is giving us “space”. It’s been a huge slog to wrap my mind around what happened, and others’ comments on ideating suicide, the many mornings I felt utterly hopeless, even now, despite for better or for worse, my numerous accomplishments, I have to prop myself up to press forward because of the darkness that the marriage cultivated inside me due to the economic instability, neglect and lack of foreseeability that I experienced in my marriage.
    I do wish we had better information on the range of personality types concurrent in our society- particularly in the high functioning world. That psychology was a required subject in high school. That we all had mental health screening at the appropriate times in our development as kids to catch those who could benefit from help. I do think in my husband’s case, there was generational childhood neglect, he really was incapable of deep connection unless he was around animals or exercising. Us humans held little interest for him at the end of the day and life is too short to condemn myself to such an existance.

  • Sarah Swenson

    June 29th, 2017 at 5:14 PM

    Hello, Kara,
    Thank you for your words of support. I am glad you find my insights helpful. This is my life’s work and I view it as a calling. I send warm regards to you.

  • vett

    March 27th, 2018 at 7:57 PM

    Hello Sarah Swenson ,
    I live part time in wa. And I need to get out of this relationship. I am 64 and I never thought I would live a miserable , appreciated life. I mean If I had married the right person I see happiness over flowing. As it is now the aspie knows he is aspie , and selfish and a dishonest and a liar and more and he flat out does not care. I know forgiveness is a gift i give to myself but I do not believe i can forgive him . He has known much of the bad things he has done . And he does not care. I need help no matter what I do. I would like to start therapy with you if I could. Thank You for being here.

  • Sarah

    February 28th, 2017 at 8:16 AM

    This article is so spot-on. I grew up with an Aspie Dad and an NT mum and her behaviours were exactly like this. I spent my childhood being very internally scathing about her and adulating my Dad who I saw as clever and funny. Then in my 30s I married an Aspie guy myself. I am leaving him next month – the kids are 11, 9 and 3 but I finally can see clearly that the person I am, while I try to placate and contain their dad, is not the strong, capable, happy mum they deserve. This article made me feel very reassured because I feel, very strongly now, that waiting for another fifteen years or so until they all grow up, won’t be a good thing for any of us. I am a strong and capable career woman but at home I behave ‘in submission’ to keep the conflict at bay, and I know in time my kids and particularly my girls will regard that decision with the same contempt I regarded my own mother. And I also really, really want to break the cycle of marriage to Aspie men. I want my daughters to know the potential joy of an NT/NT union.

  • Dorothy

    May 23rd, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    Dear Sarah,
    Your comment reinforces why I finally left my spouse. I am the functioning NT partner and I couldn’t let my daughters and son bear witness any longer to a relationship where mom is ignored for the most part but runs circles around self absorbed dad to keep things going. I do think, despite the nuttiness of forging this new solo path, my kids have more respect for me because I chose myself, my health and my happiness.

  • Paula

    September 28th, 2017 at 7:37 PM

    If there is a way please get in touch with me. I am curious how you left your husband and what his reaction was. Mine I fear would be so hurt he would do something dramatic.

  • Alexis

    March 15th, 2017 at 2:09 PM

    Ignored, criticized, stonewalled for 15 years. I invested all of myself, my resources in him in our family only to lose everything because I trusted him. He had no concern for our family’s stability, wellbeing, basic needs. I finally left with the kids because he would not stop drinking, the obsessive video game playing, pornography, I had slowly lost myself became isolated and depressed literally left to save myself when I had no money left of my own, no home anymore because he forced me to short- sale it relocate for his career, give up my career, grad school, my home just to see our quality of life diminish. Family thought he was wonderful, counselors invalidated what I was going through. It took 5 years to divorce because he didn’t respond to paperwork and I was focused on survival as we became homeless because I no longer had a decent career and couldn’t rent a home. I used to own a home I worked hard to provide the down payment and every paycheck to pay more than my share of bills and all the logistics, responsibilities at home in addition to working. I bought and assembled furniture, did all the heavy lifting, spent my retirement, savings then my inheritance making things work bailing him out. Asked him one fathers day as he was immersed in his hobbies ignoring us “what does father’s day mean to you?” He answered, ” It’s my day”. After spending many hours and tens of thousands of dollars repairing his credit I asked why his score was so low when he has a family. He said he had “no use for that number”. What a waste of those years of my life what a waste of my children’s childhoods when we could have had a nice normal life he derailed my every attempt to create a stable normal life pulled the carpet out from under us and said “it doesn’t matter” when I voiced concerns over consequenses of his selfish decisions on my career, our quality of life, our finances, our basic needs being unmet as we all had to sacrifice to cater to him.

  • Leslie

    May 10th, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    To be honest being a recently diagnosed female married to a NT man, with 2 kids on the spectrum, I find most of this article and many of the responses to be one sided. Married to an autistic person? Bash them here. The message is, the autistic person isn’t really a person, but just someone to be dealt with and more than likely someone that is going to make your life hell. I didn’t read one sentence that showed any understanding of why the autistic person would behave how they did, just that they were being uncompromising or lashing out etc. And you NEED to understand that, because autistic men and women, have autistic kids, and as mothers, you do NOT want your kids to be in a situation where their wives are speaking about them with so little understanding and selfishness as has taken place here. If you’re married to someone with autism, or your kid is autistic, then yeah, you better have the fortitude to put in the time to learn everything you can, because the autistic person is dealing with anxiety and stress that you can never understand, and it comes out as them being uncompromising, or any other number of the bad qualities that were stated. My kids though? They have a ton of really great qualities, and as a mom, coming here today was a little soul crushing to think that this might be their future.

  • anonymous

    May 22nd, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    That shows maybe the level of empathy of the writer? I have this thought experiment, ‘Imagine’ you would meet an alien, Could you emphasize with this alien? Even if its brain was wired totally differently. Could you emulate this aliens thoughts. Can you you even decide who’s process of thought is the right one? If you would assume your train of thought is the one. Are you than somehow right? And emphatic? Do we understand the brain?

  • E.J.

    June 27th, 2018 at 8:20 PM

    What are you talking about?

  • Natalie

    May 22nd, 2017 at 3:38 PM

    I totally hear where you are coming from. I’m NT with ASD LTR & two kids. If I may: what you are perceiving as a lack of empathy in this thread is actually a deeply safe space that Sarah and commenters have created for NTs dealing with this intensely difficult situation and related Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Stress. Which is very significant to all facets of our health, capacity to live our lives, and to parent; and which many of us posting are only just realizing we are dealing with for the first time. So, BIG stuff here for sure, I’d say on the order of a death or divorce, emotionally. Which means that what you are seeing here are very normal NT expressions of, in some cases extreme, grief, anger, paralysis, outrage, overwhelming sadness and heartbreak. As mothers we all are complicated and emotionally nuanced, with deeply resilient hearts after going through all this: so we know how to to seek out this safe space to express something immense, with others who’ve been facing the same issues, and with professional support (bless you Sarah), while also at the same time, being able to reflect this new reality and deeply care for our children in the face of such an emergent situation, which we are clearly still processing & grappling with. Your perception of a lack of empathy is not what’s actually going on here at all. This is a space where people can empathize with each other over a unique and intensely painful experience, that our spouses are literally neurologically unable to experience in any shared way, or with shared reality. For some of us, this may be *the* most painful thing we’ve ever confronted. I do appreciate you chiming in, bc it helps me consider how the ASD father of my children may perceive my emerging pain about our (so far) undiagnosed relationship. And it also helps me consider more clearly how I want to frame this with our children. I hope this helps illuminate this thread better for you.

  • Sarah Swenson

    June 29th, 2017 at 5:22 PM

    Hello, Leslie,
    The goal of my writing and my pychotherapy practice is to honor both perspectives and world views – the neurotypical and the autistic. If you found this article to be one-sided, it may be because the focus is on the experience here of the neurotypical partner. Other articles I write include emphasis on the experience of the autistic partner. And all those who write comments here are expressing their views regarding their own experiences. I admire your efforts on behalf of your children. There are great advantages today to early support for children which were not available – or even conceptualized – when the autistic partners of those commenting here were coming of age.

  • Paula

    September 28th, 2017 at 7:45 PM

    Leslie, I think many of the women here are venting and you are right not thinking of the other side. I think of my husbands good qualities quite often because there are many. I love him dearly and regardless of how our relationship evolves he will always be one of my very best friend. He has helped me through some tough times with my mom and family and been a great listener. He is super bright and loves to read and talk about books. He is a hot dad too lemme tell ya! And sometimes when I am emotionally caught up in something he has more of a logical outlook, which I appreciate. So you’re kids aren’t doomed at all; esp because it seems they have a loving and nurturing mother. Who cares if you have Asbergers? I come from a highly dysfunctional home–we all battle something. Most of my girlfriends are on meds for anxiety, depression or something else. This is a big gripe fest on here. I think the women didn’t realize someone w/Asperger’s might read it.

  • Carol

    May 22nd, 2017 at 5:53 PM

    Too soft, have you read everything about Asperger’s, do you know the affects of his behavior for 35 years to his wife. I do not EXIST! Never have existed! Not one photo did he take of me! He is a photographer and has just used me for ideas. I have no record of my life and our photographic business together !

  • Dorothy

    May 23rd, 2017 at 10:03 AM

    Dear Carol,
    Your comment really resonated with me. I am a professional photographer and there are very few pictures of me with the kids but a ton of priceless images of him and them over the years. He is very able with the camera and it hurt how little interest he expressed about documenting me. Weird!!!! You have my most profound sympathies!!!!!

  • Julie S.

    June 28th, 2018 at 6:49 PM

    Hi Carol, Your post made a lot of sense to me! My AS husband of 44 yr, never took a single picture of me! Even at our wedding he had an alcoholic friend take the pictures for us. He paid him a bottle of rum which he consumed just before the wedding. Consequently, all pictures are or ladies legs! I was furious but nothing could be done about it as the day was long gone. But speed 44 yrs and while putting together a family photo album I realized that there were no pictures of me with the kids. What’s with that? Why would am AS want to expunge all evidence of me in their lives? Mind blowing!!! Without thinking, he’s thought of every way possible to make invisible in the marriage!

  • Natalie

    May 24th, 2017 at 1:01 PM

    Question: Does anyone here have insight on a tendency towards “urgency to repair” in ASD/NT relationships? I’ve been with my ASD guy for 25 years, just starting to wake up to the reality (he’s getting evaluated soon), and besides making all of the NUMEROUS pains & challenges of those years together make total sense, one thing I notice that seems especially important to my own emotional health, is that for all those years I’ve been the one to rush in and attempt to “fix” whatever seems off when there’s a conflict (which is often, for all the reasons above, as I’m beginning to finally realize). This urgency to repair, now not only seems toxic to me personally (in terms of its impact on my own self worth), but it also seems like yet another almost predictable response to being with an ASD spouse— there’s ‘no one there’ in the sense you expect there to be, and which I evidently was expecting there to be for more than two decades. No matter how hard to tried to repair, it was never going to get to that place of mutual emotional safety/intimacy and being seen/known. We did have a taste of that recently, after a near divorce when he realized he had not only me to lose, but any sort of effective co-parenting relationship, so he started employing active listening skills. But once we “got there-ish” it slid away within months, and I was back to being forced to reach out and engage and work my bum off to solicit any sort of closeness again. Always on his terms, when he was ready or available. (Don’t get me started on what happened when I needed a biopsy.)
    Anyway, I’d love input from folks on that “urgency to repair” if others have had that experience, or what any professionals would say about the impacts of that on my own health moving forward. BIG THANKS TO SARAH and everyone commenting here. Sarah: out of the dozens of articles I’ve read in the last few months, yours speaks most clearly and directly to what I didn’t even realize I’d been experiencing my entire adult life. I can’t thank you enough.

  • Lisa

    June 24th, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    hfASD/NT relationships summed up in one sentence: Soul crushing, malignant optimism.
    That’s all for today beautiful people,

  • Jonathan

    May 24th, 2017 at 8:57 PM

    Well said Natalie.
    My heart goes out to you NT women married to ASD men, seriously..
    I have been with my wife for 27 years, whilst I have been unexposed to so much overt abuse that I read that ASD men can dish out, the loneliness and isolation is crushing, brutal and unremitting. I don’t see the word ‘selfishness” used much in relation to Aspergers individuals but for me it is relevant. I suspect Aspies are selfish due to anxiety about their deficiencies. As a man I have had to endure much manipulation and control. I have had an ache in my heart (loneliness) for 27 years and am now reaching a point where I might have to consider leaving for relief?
    – Loved the article Sarah, very succinct.

  • Marion

    February 20th, 2019 at 7:46 PM

    Yes Jonathan – friends with ASD males do talk about selfishness, and I certainly experienced it – only seeing it in hindsight ! Due to my nature being far from entitled! When we split in 2001 after 33yrs, I was devastated at some of his unexpected behaviours and demands that were very selfish. Later, mum told me my dad though t my husband was selfish, constantly purchasing tools, while I was denied a decent sewing machine, tho I made clothing for the family. I financed him through full time Med School – career change – not a word of thanks. Mum’s sister was Aspie, very bright, but although selfish, its not seen as clearly – no one outside the family could see it. Go well.

  • Cassandra

    May 26th, 2017 at 4:40 AM

    Dear Sarah,
    Your article had me reading in tears as it resonates so painfully. I’m empathise hugely with all you NT’ women and the huge struggles you have faced or are still facing, whilst married to undiagnosed AS men.
    After 19 years together and 13 years as a “single parent” I started divorce proceedings 14 months ago to save my sanity as an individual and as a devoted mother to my now 12 and 14 yr old kids
    My struggle through the British legal system right now is to remain the primary carer of my kids and for my case to continue to be dimissed by magistrates as “just another high conflict divorce where the parents need to put aside their differences for the sake of the chidren”. The court cannot count on my kids expressing their true wishes and feelings as my son has Asperger’s so he sees the conflict as nothing to do with him as long as his needs are met. (I’ve always been the one to ensure they are met) and my daughter is emotionally torn apart by divided loyalties, (She knows deep down who has always been her primary carer, but her Dad has promised her a dog and a pony) His aim to have more than alternate weekends is simply to reduce my contact – it’s a blaming and punishing game, because I dared to divorce him when “he has done nothing wrong” Gaslighting was and still is a very familiar theme throughout all my years with him to the point that I constantly had to check with friends whether I was crazy of whether they too agree that his behaviour was vicious, controlling, lacking in empathy and inappropriate as a parent. (e.g. recently told my daughter he wouldn’t return the garden fork for us to continue our gardening project together, claiming it was his (even though he has no garden to dig in his rented property). Then a few minutes later he asked me for the loppers as he had to prune his tree !!!!” – Another time he returned the kids back to me late after going on a sponsored bike ride with his new partner (kids left behind with his elderly grandparents for the day) and asked if I wanted to sponsor him ?!!!!
    Mediation didn’t work because compromise is never on his agenda. I want to find myself again, to be the person I once was and to be that person for my kids but unless the court and the legals can understand me I’ve no hope of reducing contact to what would be best for the kids and regaining some degree of sanity. I just want to be free and sane enough to continue to be a devoted mother to my kids.
    Thanks to Sarah and anyone out there who is able to relate to any of this and add any words of support

  • Cassandra

    May 26th, 2017 at 4:44 AM

    correction: for my case NOT to continue to be dimissed by magistrates as “just another high conflict divorce where the parents need to put aside their differences for the sake of the chidren”.

  • Jonathan

    June 28th, 2017 at 12:57 PM

    Hi Cassandra,
    My heart goes out to you in this terrible “no win” situation you are in? I’m no lawyer, but perhaps in your custody battle, you could seek the written medical opinion of at least 2 psychiatrists who have high levels of understanding regarding Aspergers and your situation with a view to them being tendered as evidence for your custody hearings? It seems that you have to formally put “Aspergers” into the proceedings or you (and the kids) will get railroaded? (Will pray for you guys).
    Regards, Jonathan

  • Lili

    May 30th, 2017 at 4:07 AM

    Thanks first of all to to everyone who has commented here, no matter what your perspective or position, NT, aspie, non-labeled. I am a 48 year old type A alpha female who has just been told by my recently diagnosed husband of 2.5 years (diagnosed about a year ago) that he is “not in love with me anymore” and no longer wants to be married to me. Many, many other factor exist, I have a problem with alcohol, I am a mean drunk who has struggled for years (sucessfully sober for stretches of 3 to 5 years, yet within the past 3.5 year of our relationship I went to a place of weakness I’d never experienced with my own issues of alcohol abuse. I don’t blame him, and I’ve exposed him to as much pain and abuse (or more since I often would black out and not recall the horrible things I did and said) yet I’ve always been a highly functioning “ill” if I’m gonna call it that….I have always held a high paying, professional job, had a career, worked my butt off. We were married a little over two year ago and he was obsessed with me. Wanted to always be around me, highly affectionate, touchy, although had sexual performance issue which I have read relate to Asperpergers, yet I believe also relate to his lack of self esteem and extreme drug use that started in his teens. I am also 17 years his senior. Yes, add oil to fire right? I apologize if my language or direct communication is offensive to anyone reading this, yet I gotta get it out. I am by no means perfect. He and I were were really close, almost too close of “just friends” for the first year we knew each other and hung out because I resisted due to the age difference. I then went through probably the most challenging time in my life relating to custody of my only child who is now almost 15 and is really the love of my life and he “swooped”. He helped me through this time. He was solicitious, supportive, overly kind, basically took care of me and I’m a person who has never allowed a man to take care of me. I have alway made more $ than any man I’ve ever been with, basically “dumbed myself down” to make things work. I have two undergraduate degrees and two post-graduate degrees and I have alway been able to “BOUNCE BACK” and be that “strong womyn” (HA) that can say, OK, this is the universe kicking me (usually in direct reaction of my own actions – self knowledge, ah yes, to what we aspire) and now how will I fix and overcome this new challenge I’ve created for myself. Well this one was basically a dry gulch. And I have had a life where I was taught to never do harm but to protect myself and the only time I have ever physically attacked another human being with the first punch, etc. is when they are coming at me, i use my words and warn and then take them out first. Its the way of my world. Tangent, yes, yet HE is the first person who dry gulched ME and I had not idea for a few years. He was diagnosed with Aspergers approximately a year ago. Cognitive Behavior Therapy for him was prescribed by the Asperbers psychiatric specialist. He never went. Made appointment and never went. The psychiatrist also diagnosed him with Adult ADHD which I understand can go hand in hand and anxiety, etc. He was put on Adderall. And that was where if fell apart, at least for me. The adderal helped him and made him more confident and more fully functioning and seemed to help. Yet he has a history of addiction to opiates, other drugs you name it that started in his early teens (he’s only 32 now) and he pretty quickly started to abuse the adderall, taking double the dose, running out with over two weeks left until he could refill his prescription. And that was approx 6 months ago and that was when Dr. Jekyl / Mr Hyde appeared. I dealt with it until approx 4 weeks ago but I have a 14 year old daughter who he started to expose to the lunacy. I tried to get him to go to couples therapy. I expressed my concerns about his abuse of the adderal and soon after he got up one morning as we were discussing a constant issue I’ve had of him not doing his share of housework and starting projects (such as painting my daughters room, putting in new flooring, doing dishes part of the time…etc, etc., you get the idea….) and told me he “wasn’t in love with me anymore and wanted out” and proceeded to retire to our back studio garage, moved there and began drinking heavily, doing whippets and other drugs, blasting music and completely cutting not only myself and my daughter from his interactions but also his elderly father who lives in the separate apartment in the lovely victorian we lived in and overpays him to do the most basic caregiving for him. I feel like I’ve lost my train in this post and I apologize. I’m not really looking for help. I’m heartbroken, I moved myself and my daughter out 4 weeks ago and two days ago she made a serious suicide attempt. She has no relationship with her biological father. We will be OK. We are OK. I am heartbroken and bereft and I completely identify with much of what was written in this article. I am a strong, independent, highly educated, intelligent woman and the time with him broke me in a way that I’ve never experienced. I’m seeing a therapist and now my daughter will be too, thank goddess. We plan to move out of the area in 6 months so that we never have to see or hear from him again. Yet I still have love and empathy for him and am of course, still in the process of mourning the death of the relationship that I believed would be my last and the fact that I never knew him at all and I totally agree that Aspies often have no real empathy for others, are completely narcissistic and self-absorbed yet think they are the kindest, most giving peeps in the world Yet the crux is that the dark side, when it comes out, resents all that. Aaaaaagh…thanks to anyone who reads, is listening, I think really just posted this instead of journaling which is stupid yet life’s an illusion and no one get out alive, we just keep on going to the next adventure and keep on learning . Peace to all….

  • Ann S.

    June 2nd, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    That was a beautiful comment, very well written, and I love you to pieces for writing it. You are fierce.

  • meg

    June 7th, 2017 at 5:13 PM

    I am so sorry this is happening for you.

  • smist

    June 1st, 2017 at 7:18 PM

    I am living in this 24/7 and its very disheartening

  • Jennifer E F

    June 2nd, 2017 at 6:05 PM

    OHHH so much of this I certainly relate to..although I do nothave children to my husband..we are a joined family..I had my 4 kids and he had 3kids….His family..although they know he is a ‘little weird” think he is fine..cos h e talks to 2 boys think he is okay..but my2 daughters, one especially….does not like him….OH dear what a mess I am in. In the beginning, he begged me NOT to leave him; and my mother-in-law….used to apologise for him…and also begged me NOT to leave him….:( I am so lonely in this marriage…but too afraid to be ”literally’alone.

  • Joanna

    June 5th, 2017 at 6:13 AM

    Lili, you’ve been through so much. Well done for sharing it here. You and your daughter will be fine out of/the other side of this. I can tell that you are stronger than even you believe. A happier life awaits!

  • Ethel

    June 11th, 2017 at 12:30 AM

    Thank you for writing this. I have been married to an undiagnosed Asperger man for 22 years. We have a 19 year old son who WAS diagnosed at age 14. We are struggling right now and this article expresses exactly how I am feeling. I have gone to therapy, but never have thought about some of the things mentioned in your article. We are hitting some walls right now. He refuses to go to therapy and thinks he can “fix it” by DOING things. Working on the yard to make it look better, fixing the leaky faucet. I have begged and begged to just spend time together, go places, do things together. He says he will but it never happens. Everyone thinks he is “such a nice guy.” He is a good provider, a CPA, but he rarely gets me gifts for any holiday, says “Christmas is for the kids” so he doesn’t get me anything. He has no desire to see my perspective (or can’t) until I get upset and then he says I am over-reacting.
    I told him yesterday I wanted a separation. I AM the woman in your article. I was very successful in my job. I feel like I have lost my way, my sense of self, my drive to move forward and succeed. I am working, but my confidence is shattered. I need to find myself again. I don’t know how.

  • Marion

    July 21st, 2017 at 8:27 PM

    Hi – I do identify, having spent 33 years with HFA – paid for him to become doc after marriage – no thanks tho enabled his earning capacity. Lost in a very bizarre break-up, flirtatious behaviour broke trust multiple times until I left, and also lost two offspring who model on his modelling that I don’t count. What I wanted to say to those who receive no presents – of course its not their modus operandi in love – just DOING but not even for you, or saying its for you!! Check your love language, and understand your partner’s – it may help, instead of feeling crushed, minimised, forgotten.

    Good luck

  • beth

    June 27th, 2017 at 8:30 PM

    I am just really realizing that my husband of 24 years is undiagnosed Aspie. It has gotten very difficult to live with him. My son was disrespecting me calling me a bitch under his breath and my husband was standing there and basically said I antagonized him!! I do feel like I am losing my mind. The next day he told me the kids (18 & 14) are seeing my true colors. I was like what????? After I calmed down, I realized that he is right I am not the person that they see. I have been driven to being completely frustrated, isolated by him and lonely. I actually removed my wedding rings. I don’t think he will even notice. It is the end of the line for me. I realized he had an Uncle that did the same things to his wife. My mother in law used to say I don’t know why she is asking for a divorce she has everything. When you are married to a person with AS you have nothing but a lot of grief. I can’t even talk to him without him taking whatever I say personally when I just need to vent. I realize as I am typing this that he doesn’t like me venting either. He will say you just keep saying the same thing over and over and will get mad. He is silencing me. I do feel so alone. My parents are both gone I do have a very good friend that has an AS step son so she gets it and she listens. I am at my wits end.

  • Carol S

    June 28th, 2017 at 1:07 PM

    The lies, the hording, the disrespect for me as a person and co-owner in business and his stalling of our Divorce to cover up his stealing from our business, i.e. ME is so unnecessary. If I choose to go to court, all will be revealed. Plus I am in severe Dept from having to retain a lawyer. No common sense at all. Far better that he sorted it out 2years ago ! Married and abandoned for 35 years without any money since he left me in a coma 2009. Controlling me by money, all this time. Sick person!!

  • Carole

    July 9th, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    I was married to an aspie for 18 years. He lived in his own bubble unless I pull him out to spend some time with his kids. He was obsessed and still is by a new religion that he found. It came first before his kids and me. He had a picture of his God next to his computer at work. So much emotional stress, I went through a depression, feeling so lonely. I eventually realized that if I did not get out of the relationship, my health would deteriorate even more. I have 2 kids the oldest sees his dad as he is and he knows that he cannot receive emotional support from his dad. The youngest thinks that her dad is so smart and that he is the greatest. I am glad that I got divorced, it was a way of keeping me alive. Right now, I still have to deal with the way I perceive any potential future relationship with another man. I am still a bit angry,frustated… how does one create a new life with a new partner after being with an aspie for so long.

  • Female aspie

    July 17th, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    This article is fantastic except one thing – it is not the problem of AS/NT relationships. Female aspies are not like male aspies. The problems described above apply to Relationships where the male has aspergers – whether the woman is neurotypical or autistic. Having spent five years married to an AS man, I can guarantee that my aspergers doesn’t make his behaviours any less hurtful to me or any less damaging to the children.

  • Marion

    July 21st, 2017 at 8:45 PM

    Hi Female Aspie – Thanks – I find your comments illuminating. I guess another aspect of the original article could include a section on your experience – altho’ it is an article about women married to high functioning people with autism. Maybe you could offer something up to the resources about a Woman with AS married to a Male with AS . I get it that you will experience much in the relationship as any woman would. My understanding is also that many with AS do not struggle as much socially as males do?

  • Jonathan

    July 22nd, 2017 at 1:37 PM

    I would like to echo your thoughts Marion.
    I am married to a female (I strongly suspect) aspie and I have found that there is not much material out there to assist me with our difficulties. My wife is strongly resistant to seeking an assessment and loathes (think controlling behaviour) me attending an aspie spouse’ support group. On the other hand she has listened to my warning of potential separation and is trying hard (in her limited way) to be more loving towards me (which I appreciate). Just last night I read a news article that female AS might in fact be much more common than previously thought, it just doesn’t get noticed as much?
    I would appreciate any insights you could offer Female Aspie?

  • Sarah Swenson

    July 31st, 2017 at 6:30 AM

    Hello, Female Aspie,
    I appreciate your perspective. Besides working with couples in which one partner is autistic and the other is neurotypical , I also work with couples in which both partners are on the spectrum, and they also face these challenges, though they may express the differently.

  • Anonymous

    December 6th, 2019 at 9:39 AM

    Female aspie: I know a female aspie whose most closest family members and ex husband complain of her emotional detachment and incomprehension about problems they lived but she never experimented. Now she is in love with a self labeled aspie who says brutal things to her face and she seems to limite to accepting it as “logic observations”. Completely unable of empathy and respect for herself and others.

  • Han-Lin

    July 20th, 2017 at 10:01 PM

    I read that with autism, the brain is wired differently that it causes abnormal facial expressions such as smiling too broadly. To have a non-autistic version, “passing” is required. We have at least two neural circuits for our facial muscles. Acting non-autistic can also include stimming suppression and other ways of looking non-autistic. I guess “passing” continues into marriage. If not, the symptoms may be obvious enough that we don’t hear comments such as you don’t look autistic.
    From other articles about the same issue, there’s concerns that autistic husbands act superficial. Would it be better to put less effort into “passing”? At least their facial expressions won’t be superficial and mental resources are freed up. Amythest Schaber has a video about it. I still feel uncomfortable not “passing” because it might frighten people.

  • Han-Lin

    July 21st, 2017 at 1:26 PM

    “Passing” seems to be encouraged in even subtle ways such as hearing are you okay? or you don’t look autistic. I’m not comfortable smiling because there’s actually more than one kind. What if I unknowingly gave the wrong kind?

    I thought of putting less effort into it because it doesn’t seem that effective. Even AS and HFA are quite serious. In real life, mild autistics seem to struggle as much as those who are more severe such as difficulties finding jobs or getting married. They still have an 80 to 90 percent unemployment rate.

  • Marion

    July 21st, 2017 at 8:48 PM

    I may have missed the topic previously – but what is passing??

    Thanks, M

  • Han-Lin

    July 24th, 2017 at 2:07 PM

    For autistic people, “passing” means suppressing their autistic traits.
    Here’s a video about “passing” from Amythest Schaber.

  • Sarah Swenson

    July 31st, 2017 at 6:49 AM

    Hello, Han Lin – yes, I agree that there is much misunderstanding among the general public regarding autism. “Passing” is certainly not the term we use in therapy, however, nor is it the goal. Unemployment and underemployment, loss of jobs and broken relationships…these are topics that come up constantly among my cients. My goal with each of them is psychoeducation about autism, exploration of the unspoken social contracts nd expectations that surrround them, and supportive counseling. Thank you for your link.

  • Kathy

    August 7th, 2017 at 9:58 AM

    Sarah, this also describes my marriage of 26 years. I am so glad i came across this article because now I know I am not crazy and definitely not alone with what other women my age is experiencing. my son was just diagnose with AS earlier this year which triggered what is happening with my relationship with my husband. Yes, I agree the rest of the world outside the home thinks you are the bad one because he looks like the perfect husband. I have decided to proceed with a divorce – I need to finally breathe and find ‘me’ again. I lost me along the way. My son is quite fine with two degrees one being in Aeronautics – has decided to pursue a yachting for career. He can never be a pilot which was his first dream.

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 7th, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    Hello, Kathy – I’m glad to hear that my writing has been helpful to you. I send you my best regards as you go through your divorce. I know it’s difficult.

  • Sarah

    August 16th, 2017 at 2:48 AM

    Hi I can’t believe how similar this is to my marriage of 28years.. right down to the lack of birthday card and no recognition of our 25th wedding anniversary as mentioned by one of the commentators.
    It is a huge relief to know I am not alone as I often feel like I am going completely crazy. I finally left three months ago and found out about aspergers when my counsellor who happens to be a specialist in the area asked my whether I had ever considers he was on the spectrum. She explained about aspergers and then I started reading up about it. I had previously considered NPD as he gaslights alot. He had a heart attack last year out of the blue which appeared to exacerbate the AS traits he has exhibited for years. He has become increasingly critical, cruel, derogatory and controlling over the years although is highly functioning in his professional life. He has no empathy or understanding of the way he behaves or how it affects others. It has been extremely hard to leave my farm and animals and he has now said he doesn’t want to divide up assets even though I have explained that I need the money to start a business. Basically I was forced out of my home and have lost my marriage, income, animals and pets, my sense of identity and have to start again from scratch in my mid fifties. He blames me for absolutely everything including his heart attack, affair with my best friend ten years ago and for apparently using hom like a cash cow for years and spending all his insurance money. I am totally at fault in every way. Just how I am going to get through the legal separation, I don’t know but I know I am lucky to have my very experienced counsellor to support me and that I now know why he behaves like he does. I now also realise that my father and my husbands mother and also probably my eldest daughter who also has synaesthesia, are most likely on the spectrum.
    The huge relief to know why someone close to you is behaving like they are is worth its weight in gold.

  • Sarah Swenson

    September 2nd, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    Hello, Sarah – thank you for sharing your story. I’m very glad to know you have such supportive counseling. It can make all the difference. Warm regards to you.

  • hopeless husband

    September 4th, 2017 at 11:07 PM

    In many ways, this describes the marriage I have with my wife. We have been married 15 years and have three kids, all under 10. I was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s after my wife asked me to move out and give her space and I sought out some professional help (she has since asked me for a divorce). We’ve had some ups and downs, but I never realized how deep her pain was. The diagnoses is a blessing and a curse. It’s been amazing to reflect on my entire life through this lens of Asperger’s. I understand and can explain so many things that have eluded me for years. I am able to see direct links to certain behaviors. It’s a curse because I can’t help but think that if I had learned about this earlier, I could have changed before my wife checked out. There were so many things that I just never understood in my treatment of my wife and children. I knew I loved them and that I would do anything in the world for them, but there were times when I just didn’t understand what was going on. In many ways, I think my wife is suffering from PTSD as a result of my treatment of her. She calls it emotional abuse. In a way, I do agree, I have neglected her feelings a lot throughout our marriage. In other ways, I’m not so sure. I never meant to hurt her. I never intended to cause her pain. I wasn’t waking up in the morning thinking “you know, I’m NOT going to hug my wife today or hold her hand and I’m going to try to make some stupid off hand remark and make her cry”. It was never intentional and as soon as I noticed or someone pointed it out, I apologize and tried to make things right. Intent matters, doesn’t it? Not that any of it matters, intentional or not, it still hurts. A few years back, we had a big blowup and I started to make some real and significant changes. However, as she has related to me, she checked out when we had the big blowup and despite my best efforts has not been able to get back mentally into the relationship. She’s appreciative of what I’ve done, but the pain is just more than she can bear. It’s like she has PTSD and I caused it by treating her the way I did. Because I caused her pain, she can’t give her whole self to me (her words). I have been convinced that with a sincere effort at marriage counseling, we could overcome the issues we face and avoid the pain of divorce, but she doesn’t want to try anymore. (Though she did agree to meet with a couples therapist to help us sort out some communication issues as we move towards a divorce and co-parenting our children)

    I don’t know what to do. My wife and my family are my reasons for being in this world. Thinking of a life without them is causing me pain I’ve never felt before. I have a therapist who is helping me, but though I understand I don’t think I’ll ever lose this feeling of sorrow and shame. I wish I had known earlier. I wish therapists and counselors I had previously would have looked deeper. I wish I had not been so prideful as I met with people who were only trying to help. This current state of separation has been devastating and harmful to our children. I know that they will be forever changed because of the actions of their foolish and prideful parents.

    Despite all of that, I still am clinging onto slivers of hope where I see them. I have hope that as we meet with a couples counselor, we may be able to resolve some of our communication issues. I have hope because I know that she loves me and I love her. I have hope that she may listen to my advice and seek out a therapist who specializes in trauma/PTSD. I have hope that with the help I am receiving, I will be able to prove that the changes I made are real and substantial and that I am a new man.
    Of course, hoping beyond hope may be the final nail in my coffin. It may be that nothing works and I have simply lost my family because of who I am.

  • Daniel K.

    November 2nd, 2017 at 10:13 AM

    Advice is a dangerous thing to give, and you already have a therapist, however as someone who has never had a relationship much less a marriage and is on the spectrum I’ll give it a shot. Your post sounds a lot like the concepts that I go over in my addiction recovery meeting both yours AND your wife’s. So many addicts get wrapped up in themselves they don’t realize the real damage they inflict on those around them. While your not an addcit the damage done to your wife sounds similar. Look for a good support group for your wife if she is willing, not sure if you will find a “my husband has ASD” group but I’m sure you can find one for wife’s of addicts. Therapist’s are nice, but there is an emotional support that can only come from being around people that personally understand your pain that you can talk to face to face. It doesn’t rate high on my list naturally because of ASD, I prefer the therapist, but evidence shows that group therapy is effective.

  • A. I.

    April 26th, 2018 at 9:42 PM

    I was wondering if you’d be willing to give me some advice/ insight pertaining to improving
    communication w/ an AS partner. I understand that everyone is different (both people on the spectrum as well as the neurotypical individuals), however maybe you could offer some insight into the AS thinking process. Your post resonated with me.

  • The Team

    April 27th, 2018 at 6:29 AM

    Dear A.I.,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • NP

    April 27th, 2018 at 7:02 AM

    Dear A.I.
    While my current licensing prohibits me from engaging in psychotherapy, I can and will reply to you strictly from a “partner of an Aspie” perspective. It’s been my experience that identifying the issue (albeit with a diagnosis or deductive reasoning) is paramount in beginning to change how you communicate and interact with your aspie. Once I figured out exactly what I was dealing with, it made it epically easier to process his behaviors, lack of emotion and poor communication. (I honestly just thought he was being a jerk until I figured out what was really going on.) Communication is always going to be tricky with your aspie because they will hear what you’re saying, and at times will just stare at you like you’re not even there, if it’s an uncomfortable topic or something they wish not to discuss. I’ve found that breaking things down into smaller, more digestible points works best. Instead of asking things, I simply tell him, in very small, polite chunks, what it is that i want or need. It eases the stress on him and allows him to carefully weigh out what I am presenting him with, over-think it, then come back with his reply. Thankfully, mine has a big big desire to see that I am happy, so he usually gives me what i want…even if he doesn’t understand why i want it. This, is rare, tho, I think. My advice is to meet your aspie where they’re at. Mine responds best to text and email. I will take a problem or concern and break it down into very simple and manageable parts and write it to him in list form. He likes lists. I support each point on the list with a how or why, so he has it in front of him and doesn’t have to bother with theory of mind translation. For example, I will say something like… I need for you to kiss me on my forehead everyday because it makes me feel very safe and loved. or… I need for you to tell me that I am beautiful every night before we go to bed so that I can feel you are attracted to me. Now, he may not understand (and probably doesn’t understand) why in the world I need him to do these things….and he doesn’t have to…but his desire to make me happy drives him to make the effort to do them. Also, be very supportive of their restricted and repetitive interests and actions. Mine loves 90’s music and NASA….so I will often couple my requests with a youtube video of a 90’s song or an online article about outer space when I send my written requests. It puts him at ease and (I think) makes him more receptive to what I like or want. It’s a trial and error thing. Best idea is to step back and really evaluate your partner and break down your emotional needs into tiny parts and feed them one at a time. Always remember that your partner can’t help that his Limbic system is all jacked up. If they chose you, it’s for great reason, because they didn’t make that choice lightly. The love they have runs DEEP….they just don’t know quite how to show us…or why we need to be shown! ;) You got this! ~NP

  • L M

    May 6th, 2018 at 11:29 AM

    I am curious hopeless husband about how many “I’ve changed, I’m trying, I don’t mean to do these things, I promise I’ll be different, (and the worst one) I’m really sorry….” scenarios there were in your marriage before your wife ‘checked out’? I’m one that ‘checked out’ (you make it sound like your partner wasn’t trying!?) but only after 14 YEARS of these scenarios, empty promises that are forgotten the next day, I’m sorry, then another childish bout of arguments, then I’m sorry again and so on and so on…. so often I can’t stand hearing the word anymore from anyone. Oh and of course it’s me that’s not trying I’m giving up, I remember every detail of every argument, everything he did and said for 14 years, and now I’m checking out because I refuse to try? If I had remembered everything he did and said (which I, at the end, started to do) I wouldn’t have wasted 14 years of my life, I only wish he had remembered what I said 10 minutes earlier, all I got was sorry sorry sorry, I didn’t mean to forget what you said 10 minutes ago, I didn’t mean to walk out of the room while you were in mid-sentence, I didn’t mean to be grossly disloyal, I didn’t mean to follow you for hours repeating your every word like a 5 year old because I couldn’t come up with a good defense…… he may not have ‘intended’ anything, but he still destroyed everything I’d worked and hoped for. I’d say 14 years of it is a ‘pretty good stab at trying’. His best effort to try lasted 10 minutes. I lived a groundhog day in 10 minute intervals existence, after many years of that you stop believing, start moving, it’s too late.

  • Sarah

    September 30th, 2017 at 1:41 AM

    I just want to share my story which I hope will offer some hope to people on this site. I left my husband in April, after 14 years together and 3 children. I had been in full submission for 3 years, and had for years been regularly having panic attacks and fainting from stress. The months before leaving were brutal because he had become so controlling and we had no kind of communication any more at all, and I had to creep around arranging a lawyer and a flat for me and the children to move to and so on. The only thing that gave me the courage to do it is that I knew it was the end for me and I was going into a nervous breakdown. When I told him it was very difficult because he assumed that I was having a break with reality and was obsessed with getting me on anti-psychotics. We did two sessions of family therapy which was both pointless and destructive as his main drive was to get me back and get me onto the drugs. However six months later, we have arrived at a wonderful place. We decided to leave the children in the house and instead bird’s nest at the flat, and this has worked very well. We are now buying a flat and will continue this arrangement for ever – it is what he feels comfortable with and I am fine with it. After leaving, I was able to boundary behaviour that I found unacceptable and affirm behaviour that was acceptable and I became more and more assured in doing this. And as he learned my boundaries and also that I had clear expectations for his behaviour he has started to behave like a real partner – helping with household chores and crucially with childcare which he never saw as his job when it was just ‘kindness to me’ ( we both work full-time). Now agreed childcare is a structured set-down thing and he has agreed to that and has committed to it. As my anger and hopelessness faded, a real friendship has been forged between us. We eat with the children every evening before going our separate ways and, ironically, enjoy friendly evenings out together which we never did before when we were married. What I have found is that the business-like aspect of NT/ AS marriage which is so soul-destroying when you are seeking emotional connection, is a complete blessing when it comes to divorce. The AS person gets a shock initially but my experience is that because I was consistently kind and affectionate with my husband, it has actually come as a relief to him to have a harrowed and ill wife transform into a confident and happy coparent. And there is none of the agonised soul-searching that I imagine must happen when two NTs split. He is obviously happy now – he is always whistling, and he sees me as a confidant and friend, which I authentically am now without that being a pretence. I know that divorces isn’t the path for everyone, but I was so terrified to do it and I can honestly say it has been a very good experience overall.

  • Pilgrim

    October 11th, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    Dear Sarah,
    That’s a lovely story. I’m one of the people reading this article, a leaver, and your story just makes me wish I’d read the article earlier, in fact, found out about AS much earlier, and then I could have tried out some of the ways of coping with an AS spouse. So while I am glad that you have had this experience, it makes me, along with many others like me, very sad, because we were not believed enough at the right time to be able to get the help we needed, and so we face a life of loneliness now we are divorced, especially if we stuck at the marriage for many decades, then gave up in despair. How I wish I had known of websites like ‘Different Together’ and so on, which could have supported me and given me techniques of how to prevent the personal damage that comes from living with someone with AS.

  • Josie

    October 11th, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    I so appreciate finding this post, I’ve gone back and forth in my mind about staying or going. I recently found a book in the bargain section at my Barnes and Noble bookseller in Florida, that has helped me too. It’s called “Living Successfully with Screwed Up People” by Elizabeth R. Brown. Headline on the back says, “Why are the people I care about the ones who give me the most grief?” A lot of good coping skills, I deal with my narcissistic mother and Aspie husband. Learning it’s not always just me, or them, but how we react, and I can change myself, not them. Good luck and much love to you, in whatever stage you are in now.

  • Stacy

    October 2nd, 2017 at 5:06 AM

    Thank you so much for this blog. With very few exceptions, this is my marriage of 35 years. I am at a point where my husband has depression and is ready for a “change
    again. I am tired, lonely, tired of being his the responsible one. I am just weary. No matter what I do it is never enough and he never days thank you or boo. My children are in varying stages as they are spread out. The representation of how my children treat me or see me seems to be accurate, in general. Our daughter, first born, has AS and understands and is able to verbalize her struggles to me. I am so grateful for this relationship. She loves me dearly and resents her dad and how he has treated me, or not treated me. She knows the truth but she is in her 30’s.
    Anyway, thank you again for writing this. I am about to seek professional help so I can talk to someone who can help me find me and find my happy again.

  • JereDM

    October 5th, 2017 at 10:09 PM

    Thank you for bringing me clarity. I’ve been with my husband for 13 years and married for 10 years. When I first met him, I felt like he was the most intelligent man I’d ever met in my life. He was so intriguing and thT was so attractive to me. He was the first man I’d ever been with that did not have a roaming eye and was so logical, smart, successful and had his stuff together. He gave me so much intellectual attention and was always direct and honest which was a breath of fresh air. This was short lived after we married and moved in together. I had no idea what AS was and stayed for 10 years to this day thinking I was the problem. According to him I’m needy, dramatic and never do the right things. Even when I am ill I could have done something to prevent it but never took the right measurements. He has a very successful job and works from 6am to 7 pm at night and eats at the same time everyday and has a very organized life apart from me. I am the ” chaos” in his life. But he cannot live without me ( his words). I’ve done everything imaginable to better our marriage. When I say done everything, I mean all these years blaming myself for all that was wrong as I was always pointed in that direction. My husband has never told me I’m beautiful, sexy or complimented me in a endearing form. Please don’t take this wrong, He shows affection by holding my hands and hugging me once in a while. That comes from me having trained him after so many years I suppose. I live a very lonely isolated life with no friends. I simply cannot put myself in those shoes anymore because I cannot go through the humiliation I’ve been through in the past and frankly am tired of making excuses for his arrogant behavior. In all the years that I’ve been with my husband he has never formed a friendship with anyone but me and he is perfectly happy with the situation. I have pleaded, begged, cried and at one time fell in a deep depression where I played with the idea of suicide. I have not had sex with my husband yet this year and last year was twice. I can count on one hand how many times we have had the so call ” awkward mechanical sex” in the past 5 years. He does not connect with me in that way.i met him when he was 27 years old and he had never had a gf or sexual experience and therefore blamed it on that. He connects by holding hands and discussing his obsession with politics and I oblige because believe it or not I love him. He will always be there for me no matter what! He is the most loyal person you will ever meet and is committed for life. I’m 46 and gave up my entire life to be with him. I do not know who I am anymore because I’ve totally transformed myself to adapt to his lifestyle. I live 2000 miles away from family and keep in touch with them via video chats. I have no other support or connections. He feels therapy is waste of money and is unnecessary. He obsesses about retirement and savings and runs a tight ship. I’m strong but I’m unable to sustain.

    His family lives in another country and when I first met his mother ( wo was a nurse for 35 years), she told me that my husband had always been a difficult child and did not connect well to others and that she was happy he had met me. I thought nothing more that he was a stubborn personality.
    Last week we were sitting watching TV and he tells me jokingly that he believes that he may have a mild form of autism. AS to be exact because he has a hard time forming relations with his clients and has to work so hard to fake it.

    I was like WHAT??????????? I could not contain myself. I immediately ran to the office to research this so called AS and was so emotionally overwhelmed. I was relieved that maybe my husband wasn’t purposely an asshole!! I found comfort knowing that is was never intentional on his part. The criticism, emotional neglect and arrogance was not his fault???

    Now that I’ve had the time to reflect on this. I believe that he has always known and has withheld that information from me and I feeling betrayed, trapped and angry because I do not understand AS. I wish I had known and been given a choice. The years of suffering alone and crying myself to sleep most nights. Afraid of being myself under his watchful eye in fear of being corrected and disapproval. I life in one room and he lives in his office. We meet for breakfast and dinner and have pleasant conversations on topics of interest to him and carry on life roommates. I am unsure if I truly enjoy his company or have forced myself to make it that I believe this to survive. Once in a while he will show some deep affection like hugging and saying kind things and telling me that he loves me so deeply but the question is there. Are AS husbands truly capable or feeling love in that sense?? Is it a mask they put on?? I need to know for the sake of my future and sanity. I cannot leave this marriage without turning over ever rock.

  • Ludmila

    October 27th, 2017 at 2:46 PM

    You’re asking if they love. In my opinion not in the way NT people do. Definitely they “would take you out of the house on fire” (Temple Grandin’s words), but they cannot keep any form of emotional connection with a woman. It seems to be rather like mom-son relationship. However, they need us more than their mothers because we are their assistants and a kind of link with the outside world. Thanks to us they can survive and pretend to be normal.
    If you can, go away. If you can’t, remember you need 1. to have your own money 2. to have your own socializing 3.better not have children 4.have a sex out of the marriage from time to time to make your life a little more bearable. I have been with my aspie for 37 years now …

  • Аня И.

    April 27th, 2018 at 12:21 PM

    Was wondering if you’d be willing to talk to me & share your experience regarding your relationship w/ an AS partner.
    Im falling in love w/ someone w/ AS (he hasn’t revealed it to me yet, but the signs are clearly there, and I’m pretty sure he knows he has it).
    He’s one of the brightest/intelligent, kindest, honest & most brilliant individuals I’ve ever come across, who also happens to have an impeccable work ethic. We have a v strong connection, and have been close for several years now.
    However, reading all the testimonials on this forum is terrifying to say the least (especially as I’m pondering what our future together would look like. *I do not have any desire to have children).
    Your comment about the AS person being incapable of ‘feeling love’ (in a universally acknowledged way & traditionally understood sense) & engaging in a mutual emotional reciprocity resonated w/ me &, to be honest, scared me.
    I’ve read a lot of informative articles, listened to a ton of lectures, & now im finally reading about NTs & ASDs individual experiences, so that I can get the perspective from both sides. Talking to someone who has lived w/ a AS partner for many years might provide some clarity & insight, in addition to possibly providing mutual support over (some of the) shared experiences for both of us. Thanks again:)

  • Ditty

    April 22nd, 2019 at 8:37 AM

    I had arrange mariage. During engagement period i found my husband was different, would not look at my face initially ,look at 45 degres from face, will not call,only sms, would demand things lije he need specific car etc after marriage,while eating he sat witj back towards me , away from me, found he was very very slow in doing things,he takes hours to get ready, sometimes he mumbles without forming words saying he is tired, he took course far away and went on 3rd day of marriage.there was lack of sexual interest ,he claimed bcoz i gained wt from 58 to 64,i wore white bra was turn off. I saw he had 50 collections of porm beating and hitting with ropes on partner sadomasochism, he told me he like dominant females , he does sex with my clothes on, no empathy, care.i think i can hand no times we had sex in 7 was very painful he hurted me.i initially thought he was gay, then thought left me emotionaly draining. He was like a stone .i would councel him, speak to him and cry .he sat without any expressions .next day back to his normal self . He was a miser never buy 5hings. Exept costly cameras and he makes small torches. I paid for the food i ate wen we went out. I thought if we have children it would make us happy.only to be left alone with two small kids, during a childs delivery wen dr suggested emergency cs he being a doctor from private college asked if it could wait and do sx after 4days of his duty. I cried myself to sleep every day.was searchung why he doest love me, i was a petson whom i din know, i was unhappy and angry. After 7 years his cruel parents came back.i saw him packing bag , he left . now he has filed for divorce and custody of kids. He is mist cruel man i have seen. He has blocked me from all messengers. His paren5s are very rich snd have numerous court cases, tgey file cases against me just to depress me and torture me mentally and break me. His father broke my jewellery after marriage whike trying to fit into locker. Now they bad mouth me werever they can .hospitals were i work .all the doctors.that i gave false complaint.he had to go to jail etc.he cried. I have never seen a drop from his eye. Now they are fighti for my 5 and 3 year old whom he left at 3 and 1 year. They want to take my children. They are also spreading i have bipolar mood i un derstand i had cassandras was dr friend who told me after i read divorce papers all lies and fabricated.that this guy is autistic spectrum disorder with asperger schizoid traits. He is the most manipulative,unloving person i have met on earth.he has slso cheated lots of money from me that i was saving for childrens education. Each day new cases would plunge me into despair and unhappiness.i tried many people to tslk to him.i din understand aspergers.i miss him. He puts new cases on was this comments form all lovely ladies that pulled me out from my sadness to keep going.thank you

  • Ditty

    April 22nd, 2019 at 9:01 AM

    Yes they can break you. Wen u finally know tge parents knows he is asperger all along.they portray you as bad guy. And dont consider your childrens happiness. Now they want a bride with low intelligence. How asperger family can destroy your life and childrens. Children also show mild traits,facing issues at school learning problems.class teacher has asked to change them from school. And i land up with court case for not teaching children, telli i send them shabbily etc. While im taking them to speech therapist, kept tuitions at home, got her spects due to myopia. They test how much a woman can take in this life. All my messages telli his cousin sis to tell him to come for children evaluation at hospital.that is also written as complaint in court. He has destroyeed my medical carreer not allowing me to take leading im stuck with lab dept. Anyway a doctor saves lives and is empathetic.but i can tell u. I hate this disease that ruined my life.

  • Lizzie

    April 28th, 2018 at 2:40 AM

    Dear jereDM,
    So much of your experience resonates with me. However regarding your husband’s jokey disclosure that he may have a mild form of Autism, I think it was very brave and open of him to tell you that. I think it unlikely he would have been deliberately withholding such information from you all these years. He probably just didn’t know about it. My husband was diagnosed in his early fifties only four years ago and there must be so many people of his generation still undiagnosed. Most of us, whether NT or AS, assume that it is we ourselves who are ‘normal’, yet people with undiagnosed AS will also be baffled why they struggle with certain interactions. My husband had no clue about his own AS and we were married for almost 30 years when I learned about it and found a way to gently suggest it to him. I was fortunate that he accepted seeking a diagnosis and learning about the condition. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I believe that my own husband is very capable of feeling, giving and receiving genuine love. For me, it would be a terrible betrayal to seek sex outside of our marriage, as one contributor to this thread has suggested. It is very important for me to have a supportive friendship network, and interests of my own. Please see your husband as the individual he is. Continue to admire his good qualities if you can, and try to identify the areas of conflict which you may be able to work on together, especially as he recognises his AS.

  • Jess H

    October 6th, 2017 at 6:57 AM

    What can one do if their husband undiagnosed is really resistant to even considering he could had AS. I have suspected it for years and years. Some of this article feels like it was written about me and my marriage. He has no friends, but has 1000 on facebook, and says he does, he hates going to dinner parties, he has not made a single friend in the place we live (7 years) apart from my friends husband. He is socially awkward, and quiet in groups. Even when we are alone together, out for dinner he does not initiate conversation. Our therapist thinks he has ASD but he just disagrees, I have to spell out emotions for him, and give him instructions on what to do. He is highly highly anxious, and lives in his own mind, hardly present, but will then want ‘mechanical’ sex, which when I say no, he will say I need to see a sex therapist there is something wrong with me. When I tell him that for me to want sex the emotional climate in the relationship has to be right, he says there is nothing wrong, apart from with me, which I know is not true. I am a strong woman, I have a career, and I am confident and assertive with him, i will not tolerate his behavior, which means it often results in arguments, and then the silent treatment – which I quite enjoy because it feels like I am getting a break from him. I long for a relationship in which my husband can be a social being with, and enjoy things together. So frustrating. If I ever left, which I have thought about, he would make my life a financial misery, he sued an ex-partner for rent and bills over the 3 years they were living together, using a lawyer, shockingly he succeeded – I mean who does that?! Surely most people accept the end, experience the sadness, try to understand what went wrong, their own role in it, and then move on. He doesn’t seem to have a special interest, but it could be football which he is obsessed with. He gets so angry when i go out with freinds, I don’t know why, but I refuse to stop – I think it could be because it challenges his sense of self, me being a social person and him not. He never ever admits fault, like which human being can ‘never’ make a mistake, I tell you in his mind he is one of them. I was very uspet after a traumatic family death, and was crying, he was oblivious to me, when I tried to talk with him about he, he walked off, then eventually I asked him to say something to comfort me, he said I can’t because I don’t care about it like you do, so cutting. I have no idea what to do, on goes the pain of living in this situation. My heart goes out to all of you.

  • Win

    December 23rd, 2017 at 4:12 PM

    Jess – you have such good coping skills, and stick to your gun when yu respect and honour your personal needs. If things were toooo bad, you’d have left. Yes, all very similar in my relationship, and I did walk/was also betrayed. Your man will probably behave the way you expect o the financial front – so look at the positives, and live parallel as possible. If children are involved, you may lose double – I never thought it would happen, but I am now estranged from a daughter who has misconstrued everything. Even less than perfect relationships can lend energy to the partners. whereas living single reduces a certain strength in society, even if you are the gregarious one. All the best.

  • Sammy

    October 21st, 2017 at 8:26 PM

    I’m a female with ASD and can only warn you to stick to dating non-Aspies. We cannot change the way our beains work, any more than you can. In the long run ASD-NT relationships end in pain, if not worse.

  • Win

    December 23rd, 2017 at 4:12 PM

    WOW this is strength from you

  • Anymouse

    October 24th, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    I’m an Aspie but I’m a woman. I’m not that romantic I guess but I love celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. I know I miss some emotional things or get overly emotion so at times.

    I guess I’m why all my relationships have failed. The worst relationship I had was with an Aspie guy but the issue was he was too emotional and made a big deal out of every small thing.

    Guess I should break up with my current NT boyfriend before I ruin his life and swear off relationships.

  • Win

    December 23rd, 2017 at 4:14 PM

    My in-laws managed to stay together, acknowledging their differences and sleeping in separate bedrooms

  • Kathy

    December 24th, 2017 at 1:21 PM

    That is great if you can choose that life and be happy. But it is not a life for everyone. Living with AS spouse is not easy. The world do not know the difficulties you have to endure. It also wear on your emotions and eventually it will break you.

  • Win

    December 24th, 2017 at 6:17 PM

    I know that personally Kathy -and left 16yrs ago after 33 yrs of stonewalling and emotional loneliness etc etc. I knowmany people on the spectrum now, each situation is very different, yet the similarities abound, particularly in relationships. Many on the spectrum “cannot” be introspective.

  • Daisy

    November 29th, 2017 at 1:32 PM

    My dear, dear friends and companions on this literal soul-destroying journey. I have been married to two men with AS. Yes, TWO!!!! How could I make the same mistake twice? Well, I didn’t know what I was dealing with back then. I remember hearing about AS at school in the 70’s. Do you remember how someone with AS was described as wearing an anorak, standing on a railway station platform taking down the numbers of all the trains going by? I specifically remember thinking, “Oh well, I’m going to steer well clear of anyone fitting that description then”. But……..neither of my husbands did ‘fit’ that description. One week after the first marriage my then husband said to me, “We’re no longer lovers. We’re responsible adults now.” I thought, “What???” I was 23, and full of normal marital/spousal hopes and dreams. During the latter part of our 10 year marriage I had 3 affairs. No, I’m not proud of that at all. I’m a committed Christian. However, retrospectively I can see the need to go elsewhere was purely to fill the aching chasm within me that cried out for everything that previous commenters have referred to – the elements required to remain human. My husband now was my third affair from back then. We have since been married for 23 years and I am now 57. Yes, it does get much, much harder to deal with leaving at this pivotal age, when normally one would be expecting and hoping to be secure and ready for ones twilight years. But, no….one has to face the fact that you have to start over financially etc., as if you were 21 again. And do we have the same strength as that younger woman? Ha ha! Hmmm…..Nope.
    Over recent years I have endured multiple panic attacks per week – on the scale of PTSD. I have also had difficulty swallowing my food to the degree that I have often choked to near death on a daily basis, all due to anxiety. I have had tremors in my limbs, due to anxiety. I was prescribed 2mg Diazapam in 2014, which was increased to 5mg in 2015. The reason for the increase was due to a panic attack I endured on a train, the effects of which lasted 7 days. I can’t board trains anymore.
    The reason I am writing though is that last year (2016) I tried to leave my husband. I had planned my ‘escape’ two weeks prior and had the car packed with necessities for 2 days. Clothes, toilet paper, water, food, personal belongings. I won’t reiterate the reasons why in my particular situation because it’s all written in previous comments. I left quietly and calmly, whilst he watched on. Unfortunately, though, after driving for 10 minutes, I became very ill. It wasn’t a panic attack, rather it was something else that I didn’t understand as I had never experienced it before. To cut a long story short, I eventually had to phone my husband to come and get me. Even though I was ill I insisted on driving back, which I only managed because it was a lazy country road. When I walked up to the front door my whole body went into slow motion and my tears (again) were relentless. My husband did nothing. I had finally reached spiritual/mental/physical exhaustion and was having a nervous breakdown. I had another slightly lesser breakdown a few months later.
    Since then I have become stronger and I hope to leave, successfully this time, after Christmas, but this time I am making a more dedicated preparation for the event. I have employed a Life-Coach for this specific purpose. When I leave, I plan to have a job to go to and a flat or rented accommodation to live in – not to mention continued Life-Coaching support.
    I believe that, beyond everything that has been referred to above, we NTs all suffer from Institutionalization and THAT is why we struggle to leave these relationships, purely because our own identities have been drained dry and sub-consciously we KNOW it, and are freaked out at the thought of going it alone in just the same way as those people who struggled when they had spent decades in asylums and had to venture out into the normal world when all the asylums closed down in the 70s/80s. Please be sure, we the NTs are NOT mentally ill, but I believe we experience the very same effect. My husband also has Multiple Personality. This is something you guys need to read up on because the medics say it often goes hand-in-hand with AS. It might answer some more questions for you. Perhaps one day all of this will somehow reach the ears of government departments and assessments will be done on all to discover where they are on the spectrum. No, I’m not advocating any kind of arian structure. That is totally and utterly against my beliefs. However, both the AS and the NT need future protection from this insidious battle that destroys the lives of both, not to mention peripheral members of the family as aforementioned. I will NOT become involved with another man because clearly I cannot trust my instinct, although I would like to believe I’ve got this situation well and truly sussed now. Each of us is unique, therefore we need unique assistance, Spend time looking deeply within yourselves and you WILL arrive at the type of professional help that YOU need in order to move forward. For me, it was a Life-Coach. Prior to this my GP/Counsellors/Friends/Family Members had all failed me. You NEED to think outside the box. You NEED to think in terms of getting your body in training in an holistic way to make your decisions. Just as in preparing for any physical surgical operation one needs to prepare the body and the mind, it’s the same regarding preparing your whole self to leave this situation if that is what you choose to do. Get a grip and think hard. Do NOT allow yourselves to fade away. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself (I have personally found this unbelievably helpful – seriously, even when you are crying). Get the right people on board to help you see this through. God Bless.x

  • Kay

    July 25th, 2019 at 8:06 PM

    Hello Daisy , when I answered you last year i saw it today and thought ,wow i did not make myself clear. What I meant to say was …..
    I have had a second home that is not my husbands home . I have not always had it , if I had i may have been ok to get myself out of a nightmare situation. I do incredibly better when I am not near him. But i had been married and living with him most of our marriage and i believe i am damaged . I cannot seem to leave . I know there is no marriage ,i know it is not my fault but he knows what he does and i don’t have anything thing else to explain it , I think maybe if I did not have a second home I would have divorced long before he damaged me . I like to think I still will but I haven’t so far even though i know it would be the best thing for me . I hope your free and away from the nightmare !! lots of love and good thoughts to all …..

  • CJ

    January 29th, 2020 at 12:47 PM

    I read a comment from someone that said, “after 36 years he finally died…” I totally get that. I’m 31 years old and been married 1.5 yrs. My ASD husband and I dated for only 7 months before we got married. He openly said he was “aspergery”, but I didn’t see it until our wedding day. The day of our wedding he ignored me. He spent time with his friends who came out for the small courthouse wedding and paid little to no attention to me. At the reception dinner he sat on the other side of the table from me. I was heartbroken. He said he was entertaining our guests. From that day on, he was a different person: no touching, stay on your side of the couch, hugs that were only pats on the back. Immediately after I was locked in, he stopped showering regularly – every 7 days or so. He works from home so he has no reason to. He doesn’t care that I think it’s gross or bothers me or that I wake up in the night from his smell. I have a strong sex drive, but with his lack of showering I realize I now associate him as disgusting and don’t want to even think about it with him. So after his (maybe) weekly shower he will try to initiate (in the weirdest almost creepiest possible way by smiling like a little boy waiting for a cookie). I say I’m tired. I can’t just be expected to have sex whenever he decides its a good time to shower. I do everything for him. He has a good paying job, but I do everything else. He usually doesn’t know where he left his wallet or phone. He won’t cook for himself (he cooked for us during our dating phase). I came home the other day to him upset. When I ask what’s wrong, he said, “you do realize you’ve been gone all day and there’s nothing to eat here so I haven’t eaten today.” Bewildered I say, “there’s lots in the pantry…” I feel like his mother. I am his caretaker, but subjected to the emotional abuse. He convinced me I am a pathological liar at one point. He remembers everything I’ve ever said and just waits for me to say something that conflicts with something I said 2 years ago. He cannot fathom that someone’s tastes, interests or beliefs would evolve. I’m an ever-growing person and I will be learning and evolving until the day I die. So naturally he resents that he cannot predict my thoughts and behaviors which then makes me “a liar.”

    Wow, I came on here to say i found an amazing therapist who has me doing Vipassana/Mindful Meditation each day and the discovery of Gina Lake books has made a tremendous dent in my mental well-being. But boy am I riddled with anger, resentment and bitterness. I’ve almost left twice, but he does love me (he’s financially generous and obsessed with my health. His 2 ways of showing love. Unfortunately mine is affection) and I cannot support myself at my current job. My undiagnosed ASD mother-in-law is begging for grandkids, but I can never bring a child into this abuse. I plot my ways out, but then realize i love him and he loves me. One day it will be too much and I will leave. I just hope I leave soon enough so maybe I can have kids someday if I want them. Time is running out.

  • Elaina

    January 30th, 2020 at 8:55 AM

    CJ, you commented just yesterday. By any means possible do not have children with your ASD husband and leave as soon as possible so you can have a life and children with somebody else. I made a mistake of waiting for too long and was already 34 when we started thinkingvof kids. So my clock was ticking and I was at risk not having any children if I left. I always wanted several kids. So I pushed for a pregnancy, had a girl (thanks God not a boy who potentially could have been ASD or autistic too). Now at age of 38 I am finally divorcing my husband. It came to a point that I started questioning my sanity from all his gaslighting. Antidepressants weren’t helping. So I left. He is a monster during divorce. He told me he would make me bleed money on lawyers. He is fighting over everything. I was and am a higher earner and we are splitting custody 50/50. So I will miss 50% of my child’s childhood. It’s brutal. If I knew back 4-5 years ago what I know now about him, I would absolutely not connect myself with this person for the rest of my life via our daughter. Run as soon and as fast as you can. Find another job if you’re financially struggling, enlist help of your relatives, do as much as you can to get out of it. Good luck.

  • Lisa

    December 10th, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    It’s funny because I greatly relate to the female in the article, however I am the one on the spectrum and we also have a child who is more severely autistic. My husband has ADHD and our whole relationship we have had a struggle of him stonewalling when he doesn’t get his way. Most of my life I have been a pushover for lack of better words, I suppose “people-pleaser” works as well. I wasn’t diagnosed until after my child was, I thought there was no way she had ASD since many of her symptoms I saw as her learning traits from me. As difficult as it can be for me to feel confident out and about in the world I have always had partners that enjoy being out and about, and I came to rely on my partners greatly for doing things such as going to the Zoo, on a hike, etc. Not sure if it’s because of ADHD but if my husband is not interested in doing said activity he will not do it. Sometimes I would go alone, but with our child it can be extremely difficult to go alone, and I figure he would like to be involved. He’s become better but overall I still feel pretty alone when we go out. He is very social once we are out, social with every person we see, I try to admire this quality of his but overall it feels it does take away from what little time he is willing to spend with us as a family. Also I will get overwhelmed with sensory problems and he won’t pick up on it, even when I try to quietly tell him I’m trying to gather myself it turns into him loudly asking me “Why? What’s wrong NOW?!” He is the one person that kept convincing me to get diagnosed, (as my child’s teachers mentioned it I realized it was worth figuring out). Anyhow- I am the one that thinks holidays are important. Albeit I love to keep them short and sweet so we can do what is ideal to me- and hunker down just the three of us enjoying the holiday. All my life I have been used to celebrating every holiday and birthday as this is how my family has been. He is used to his family not doing much besides drinking much alcohol and the guys do their own thing while the women do theirs. His father was never interested in getting to know the children. My husband is trying to “be different” but he still lacks his own initiative, he is a good man overall and supports us so I can help our daughter, but he still barely understands melt downs and is there to spoil her when she is upset so he retreat back into his own world of games and whatever t.v. show he prefers (I swear if I start to get myself into a t.v. show he likes he moves on faster, and I don’t understand because if I like a show I will re-watch it every week for months and months). We have been talking about my desire for divorce for a long time, I feel so much more alone many times, more alone than I ever have felt in a relationship and we have been married for almost 6 years. I lost my job when we were dating years before that and wasn’t able to find more work during my pregnancy so I’ve been a stay at home mother for 6 years now, unemployed for almost 8. I have major problems with interviewing as it is because I don’t pick up on cues from strangers and I come off too odd. Now I have no recent experience whatsoever, I can’t yet find someone who can watch our child even with the jobs I could MAYBE get I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I definitely cannot return to school at this time. We get into arguments often about misunderstandings and frustrations over my wanting him to be engaged with our child and me. He is kind enough to agree that if we divorce he will still be paying for me to stay in our same place, to wait until our child is in school long enough and we can afford for her to get proper care so I can get on my own feet. But it seems pointless to divorce while barely anything would be different. We wouldn’t be dating other people at that point either- there’s no time and it would be odd explaining our situation, let alone not trusting anyone to see our child. He would be able to more easily move on anyhow because I would in theory get my own place and be the main caretaker. This turned into quite the rant. I just do agree it feels I’m going to lose out twice as much if we divorce at all yet I also feel that the litle progress made is showing me there isn’t hope for much more, I’d rather not waste my years hoping it will be better and I’d rather my child adjust sooner than later. She doesn’t see her father much now anyway and I feel her concept of us divorcing would be so little that it could help. I was only going to comment to say I’m the one with ASD (and our child) and he is “more NT” with only ADHD diagnosis but I did relate more to the woman whom is NT. Not all people with ASD are unfeeling distant creatures, I unfortunately feel my husband is that way many times, it’s from his upbringing mixed with the ADHD but I am actually very intense in relationships and NEED to KNOW we are connecting every day, and living life together otherwise what’s the point in being married?


  • Keigan

    December 23rd, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    The article is describing Casandra Syndrome (lack of emotional reciprocity) between the couple , the second loss is that the kids have poor examples to learn from.

  • Marti

    December 29th, 2017 at 4:55 AM

    Wow…….so much this. I have been grappling for years to try and understand what the heck is going on in my marriage and this is exactly it. I mean exactly. Though so miserably depressing. I feel like I am on a runaway mine car with no hope of escaping the catastrophic crash at the end. And our daughter is diagnosed as autistic as well so I have her to deal with two and I am exhausted and so drained and empty…..

  • Lizzie

    January 12th, 2018 at 5:21 AM

    Marti, I understand what you’re going through. I knew there was something different about my marriage and my husband’s behaviour but could not define exactly what was wrong. I have kept a diary of bizarre incidents between us in the belief that although I didn’t understand them at the time, one day I would look back and be able to make sense of it all. I was right! After almost 30 years of marriage, my husband was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, and so was our youngest son, then aged 23. It made a big difference knowing he wasn’t behaving the way he did, entirely by choice, or because he was bloody minded, but because of neurological differences. It was also affirming for me to know that it wasn’t my fault! In the earlier years of marriage I had tried to make things better, only to wear myself out in the process, trying to please someone who seemed unpleasable. Now I give myself permission not to try so hard. Some posts on this site tell you it will be terrible if you stay, but every situation is different. Every person with Asperger syndrome is different. Both my AS husband and son have empathy and are affectionate towards me. They both respect me and are grateful for the things I do for the family. There are misunderstandings and my husband nitpicks about details and seems incapable of seeing the bigger picture. He becomes overloaded when there is too much going on around him and becomes withdrawn and uncommunicative. He is bluntly outspoken in his opinions, which can be hurtful….I could go on…..! BUT he is able to apologise to me, and tries to learn not to repeat hurtful experiences. He embraced his diagnosis as part of his identity aged 52, and has done some further reading on his condition. He is a good provider, we’ ve always had an active sex life and he has a typically quirky sense of humour. Although it can be difficult for us to socialise with groups of people, I love being alone with him. He has so many good qualities that I was attracted to when I met him, and we share common interests. I am blessed to have many friends, and he is happy for me to spend time with them, even if I go to social gatherings without him. Being married to someone with Asperger Syndrome is not an inevitable disaster. If there is enough good in the marriage, it’s worth working to save it.

  • Win

    March 17th, 2018 at 3:52 PM

    What a good experience to share- no marriage is easy – or rarely. Min would have been more like yours had my hubby accepted the situation, or my experience of it. Instead I was blames and gas lighted. He married after the affair with my friend … so of course she understands from the start!!!!!

  • Win

    January 14th, 2018 at 1:38 AM

    Keep learning, reading and building your resilience and you will find the way

  • Josie

    December 30th, 2017 at 7:39 AM

    I relate very much to so many of these comments. I’m so tired after another Christmas with my aspie husband of 35 years, I’m now 56. More this year than ever, his lack of generosity and excess of pride comes through. A family tradition the white elephant gift exchange, and he was in charge of the gift, he dug around in our garage and found a spool of ribbon he thought would make a great gift for someone! I added some good chocolate to it but was embarrassed to wrap it. He argued it would be fine and somebody would love it! He didn’t see my niece’s look of disappointment when she opened the package. I took her aside and apologized and told her I’d make it up to her later, that he was in charge of the gift and I was sorry.
    I used to be a generous, giving person. Because of his controlling ways (which he denies constantly) I have become as stingy and lonely as him. I try to make friends on my own, but because my self esteem is so low, I only seem to get around people as messed up as me. We moved back to our home town 2 years ago, and I’ve found a few jobs, but because I have some physical issues, partly due to my weight, I can’t do as much physically as many jobs require, and I also am not a fast worker. He has not had a job in all that time and our savings are almost gone, the joke about “holding out for a management position” is true. He keeps telling me I need to get another job, but with my spirits so low, who’d hire me? I used to be creative and artsy, but just don’t believe I can do anything anymore. We are living on credit cards now, not sure how we’ll pay the rent next month, and if I could run away I would.
    I see my past behavior as rebelling from his control, I ate and spent more than I should have because he was always so controlling in those areas. Not the best way to react, but it’s what I did. He loves to remind me that he could have left me or taken control of the finances but didn’t, Lucky me!
    Sorry for my rambling, I’ve been wanting to respond for days and have so much to say and would also love to be with an Aspie Wives Club in my Florida town. God bless us all, I’m feeling sad about the future, and hoping things improve soon, for all of us, somehow.

  • Pilgrim

    December 31st, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    If you’ve been married for so long, I’d try to stay married – I got divorced at that stage, & it has been hell – trying to reconstruct a life, really difficult, even almost 5 years on. This time of year, I just feel as though there is someone missing – because there is. My grief is a lot worse than being married was, & I have no idea how to repair myself. Explore every avenue before you jump.

  • Josie

    January 1st, 2018 at 9:10 AM

    Thanks, Pilgrim. I think you’re right. Too much time has passed, I’m not strong enough to live alone, even though sometimes it feels like I do. I need to create a better separate life for myself within the marriage as it is. I think of cheating at times, but who’d have me? I feel so beaten down, though not physically, the wounds are deep. Some think we have a great marriage. I joined a CODA group, but would like feedback, and it’s not how the group works.

  • Pilgrim

    January 1st, 2018 at 11:19 AM

    Best of luck, Josie. Have you seen the ‘Delphi forums’ support group for spouses of AS people? You might find that joining that will give you the feedback and companionship you need. There’s one for divorced, one for still-married, & is based in the US. There’s also another group called Different-together’, for spouses of AS, I think based in the UK. On these sites, you can really have a rant, & not feel so alone in needing to. With best wishes, Pilgrim.

  • Josie

    January 10th, 2018 at 8:22 AM

    Thanks Pilgrim, I checked out the Delphi Forums, I didn’t know that platform was still around. It was helpful, thanks. I go back and forth, sometimes reading all this stuff takes me to a very sad, dark place of no hope. Other times it is good to not feel so alone.

  • Sarah

    January 12th, 2018 at 2:03 PM

    I left my Aspie husband in April last year, after wanting to leave for 3 years – we were together for 14 all together, and have 3 kids. Divorce is different with an Aspie – he was upset for a couple of months, but now everything has settled down and he’s very contented, and is enjoying dating again. He tells me all the ins and outs of whatever goes on in his social/ dating life and we have a genuinely close and affectionate friendship which is very different from the resentful pretence of the marriage. I have been seeing a lovely neurotypical man for a couple of months – a widower also with dependent children. He is extremely emotionally open and it was weird at the beginning after the deep silence of marriage with Aspergers to make the shift. He is a friend of my ex-husbands which helps as he accepts that I will always take care of my ex and he remains a priority of my life. But there is life after living with Aspergers, and for me it was terribly difficult to leave but has been such a happy time since leaving, particularly in getting well again and coming out of OTRS.

  • Lizzie

    January 13th, 2018 at 2:24 AM

    Sorry if this is a silly question, but what is OTRS?

  • Karen

    January 14th, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    Wow! I feel like I’ve been winded. I am from the UK and have been married for 10 years to my Canadian husband we are in our 50s and both have past failed marriages. I moved to Canada to be with him, and I am very lonely. I have managed to make some friends but the ones we had as a couple, he is fallen out with, so I visit friends alone. He doesn’t like anyone. This is a relief to read as I have my answer. My daughter was over visiting from Christmas and we talked and it was her that suggested he might be on the spectrum. Where to start learning to understand ….

  • Lizzie

    January 15th, 2018 at 12:31 AM

    Karen, there are loads of information websites to help understand the “triad of impairments” ie difficulties with social interaction, social communication and social imagination which affect people with Aspergers. There is an online test which you can do called the Autism Quotient or AQ test. If you score above a certain number it is an indication (not a diagnosis) of being on the autistic spectrum and can help towards seeking an official diagnosis. You could do the test yourself (purely as an excercise) then tell your husband about it and see if he is curious about taking it himself.

  • Joan C

    January 15th, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    Check out the book, ASPERGERS IN LOVE by Maine Aston, c. 2003, is the one I just started reading.

  • Claire C

    January 26th, 2018 at 12:54 PM

    I am dying inside,I had my first therepist session and I know I really have to leave now now for my own sanity.The grief I feel is immense the tears just don’t stop.I went through an early menopause bought on by a medical problem,it was the toughest most painful,saddest time ever. I had just had my fallopian tubes removed was wrongly diagnosed with iron and vitamin D and C deficiencies which in turn resulted in alopicia and lost a significant amount of hair so bald, menopausal,recent op to get over I was crying out for help/support from my partner of 8yrs at that time.He is an Aspie and he really turned on me….so much verbal abuse I wasn’t in a place to cope with it…I called him a bad swearword,he threw me out and has NEVER forgiven me…he went underground for months refused any contact whatsoever.I was barred from all contact his phone, email refused to answer door the lot….I lived in my shop alone.I made up new email addresses just to make contact plus phone boxes as it would be a new number constantly shot me down,on the rare occasion he allowed me to any time it was to berate me for calling him that fateful word.In his eyes I was old enough to behave myself I was unforgivable for not coping and making his life a misery…then one day months later all was forgiven I loved him desperately,I was mentally exhausted and the loneliness was cripplingly so I went back.That was 5yrs ago…he has since left me at least twice a year there on last being a week and a half ago as usual no warning back to total solitude from him…..The menopause wasn’t the only thing there were many others situations he couldn’t cope with but it all boils down to the name I called him which he never fails to bring up along with long berating speeches and he leaves me everytime anyway. All previous occasions he turns up with eventually with an obscene amount of flowers appologizes but few months on does it again….I haven’t seen or spoken to him this time booked my therepist and realize mentally im very distraught…it should be easy people think, to leave someone who is so verbally abusive and downright really isn’t,I love the sweet,kind,guy,I met I’m grieving badly we have done so many great things together and I absolutely knows he adores me…he just cannot accept he has difficulties blames me when he’s in meltdown if only there was solutions for us I have lived on eggshells for year’s my spark was fading it’s gone now completely…..I crave a cuddle some attention to feel loved back. I have to accept that even if comes around with the usual flowers and I’m sure he will when he’s ready,the verbal abuse is not acceptable for my own sake..I’ve been unhappy and unloved for years.

  • Kathy

    January 27th, 2018 at 7:17 AM

    Claire, I am so sorry to hear you have gone through so much. I think you will need to let this relationship go soon because from what you wrote it will never be what you want it to be. I too married a AS man he was strange in his responses but I never knew until last year my son was diagnosed then I knew his dad was the same. I am filing for a divorce because I know he cannot change his genetic make up only try to implement ways of handling himself in the world. It is hard for him to accept this and he has verbally abuse me and I went silent for the years of marriage in order not to cause conflict. However, I am silent no more and we conflict all the time. I have to make a decision for me. I agree with Linda, no one should treat you this way and you should not allow it. You deserve to have a normal relationship where you are loved and cared for the same way you would respond. I pray you will find the strength to make this decision. After 26 years of marriage, I have to walk away. It is not easy but it is now or never. Good luck to you and all the best.

  • Claire C

    January 27th, 2018 at 2:50 PM

    Kathy, thank you so much for your time,the response I’ve received is so reassuring,,I’ve cried so much today, perhaps ive really woken up to the sheer reality of my situation,I’m so tired, exhausted and cannot express enough how sad I am…it’s his birthday on Monday so feeling super sensitive.?..I’m a business woman who has been successful for 32yrs,ive got so much common sense in my everyday life and can live quite strongly and have lots of confidence…I know right from wrong.,he absolutely saddens me to the core , your right,,he will never grasp the true concept of what he has put me through,you are very brave in your own right with a little one in tow as well.I sincerely wish you well.,you lovely people have been an absolute god send.,I know for my own sanity enough is enough,,,,but it’s really not what I want.,at least with a Nt you are able to thrash it out.. just don’t get given that choice which is so vital….and frustrating.,,. still got my photo Linda xx it’s a double bearivement because you don’t want it but have no choice but to put up with it…. thank you everyone you have been amazing xxcc

  • White Linda

    January 26th, 2018 at 4:39 PM

    Would you allow a child of yours to be treated this way? Remember that deep inside you is your inner child who is looking for your love, forgiveness and protection. Find a photo of you when you were young and carefree. Look st that lovely innocent child-then answer the question…

  • Claire C

    January 27th, 2018 at 7:55 AM

    Dear White Linda,
    Thank you so much for your lovely kind words it means so much and that someone out there genuinely cares.Youre reply is so how feel inside I want desperately to go back to my previous fun loving happy self,your photo suggestion has really touched me.I found a photo and burst into tears realising I’m grieving for the loss of me.What a wonderful way to express it, I wouldn’t allow any person /animal to hurt as much as I am and yet I’m neglecting myself chronically,,,I’ve so much empathy it’s crazy I’ve been know to cry at the Rugrats!!
    You have given me a whole new angle to work with here.Already I feel a sense of relief that little girl needs saving. Can’t deny I not crying here,I wonder sometimes where they all come from …thank you again xx

  • Ludmila

    January 27th, 2018 at 3:19 PM

    Claire C, there are many of us who understand and support you. Step by step you’ll manage to free yourself. See your therapist regularly and visit this side to update us with the progress. I hug you and kiss you (x)

  • Amy

    January 26th, 2018 at 10:38 PM

    White Linda, you are so right! I would never allow my child to be treated this way. Although I recently ended things with my husband, your comment brings me inner peace. Thank you!

  • Claire C

    January 28th, 2018 at 12:10 PM

    Dear Ludmila,
    Thank you for your kind reply,I can’t wait to see my therepist on Wednesday,I just want all these sad feelings to go away.I cant seem to stop crying.I spoke to him last night he actually picked up i wanted to see if he would like to meet up for his birthday told me he didn’t care about his birthday and that I should
    go out meet my friends and to draw a line under it.. i asked why he bought me such lovely flowers just to leave me all over again..there is really no understanding/empathy at all just constant in his view of my “bad” behaviour and he promptly hung up….I was doing some more reading and realized I’m suffering from lack of touch which is not surprising,a real issue.I am truly grateful for being able to be so honest with people who understand total, strangers yet you have all given me so much support and kindness much more than anyone in my everyday life partly because I’ve never been this honest for his sake.Thank you everyone for your time, truly appreciated xxxxc just being sent a hug means so much xx

  • Jill

    January 31st, 2018 at 5:24 PM

    This is absolutely totally my story. What I need now is advise on healing. Please post a follow up with strategy for after the divorce.

  • Sarah Swenson

    February 1st, 2018 at 12:07 PM

    Hello, Jill – thank you for the suggestion. I will get to work on an article about strategies for healing after the divorce.

  • Sarah

    February 1st, 2018 at 9:38 AM

    Hope on the horizon.

    Dear everyone on the site – I know many of you are at the point where you know you have to get divorced and it seems so scary and such a hurdle. I was in this place a year ago, after 14 years of living with Aspergers, and finally left last April. But take heart, you can get out, and at some point you will also find and have sex with a neurotypical man, and it is absolutely mind-blowing. You forget when your only point of sexual contact is with Aspergers what sex with a nice neurotypical is like – stroking, being held, the repricosity and tenderness of it. And that is out there in the world once the hell of getting out is over.

  • Sarah Swenson

    February 1st, 2018 at 12:08 PM

    Sarah, I’m so glad to see your post! Yes, the possibilities are exciting once the hurdles are cleared and healing has taken its course.

  • Dorothy

    February 18th, 2018 at 11:26 AM

    I filed for divorce from my undiagnosed Aspie spouse in 2016 and we have been living apart for over a year- with our divorce final last summer. The other day my middle daughter (she’s 21) greeted her boyfriend at the door. “Hello, Missy..” he said to her. “..How was your day? In the over 20 years that I spent with my ex, I never heard him use a term of endearment around me. I became “Mother” but not one honey, darling, sweetheart or babe. I used lots of terms of endearment with him and our kids- but was never treated to this kind of affection. I asked him once why he never called me darling or babe- his response was that my name was “Dorothy” and that’s how it worked with him. (Ah the brutally honest Asperberger.) Now that we are divorced and I get to mull over everything that happened, the whole post-mortem thing we all N.T.’s do- there is virtually nothing I miss about the man except his good looks and even that stopped having meaning when I remember the sound of his voice with zero intonation and his dead eyes looking at me- it was like attending my own funeral during the last 5-6 years of our marriage. Life is too short to feel bereft on a daily basis of experiencing normal kindness and consideration from those with whom we share our lives.

  • Sarah

    February 19th, 2018 at 2:26 AM

    Hi Dorothy – this post about names actually made me laugh. My Aspie did come up with a nickname for me a month or so into the relationship ‘Chux.’ It didn’t relate to anything we ever discussed, and it became like an ominous label – Chux, do this, Chux do that, time for sex now, Chux. I used to feel it symbolised that my whole personality had been chucked. So I had this one nickname but it was actually suffocating and I hated it. My new NT boyfriend has about 10 different names he uses for me – he just swaps them around; darling, sweetheart, baby, Dr.P ( I have a PhD), and tends to finish most of what he says with these little endearments. I love it so much – it’s just so neurotypical.

  • Sarah

    February 19th, 2018 at 4:00 AM

    Dorothy, I have copied out your words ‘ Life is too short to feel bereft on a daily basis of experiencing normal kindness and consideration from those with whom we share our lives.’. I had 40 years with mine, & you mention ‘the whole post-mortem thing we NTs do’ – I’ve been doing that for 5 years, I don’t know whether it is entirely healthy of me, but I read sites like this a LOT to reassure myself that my own story really DID happen. Dead eyes & monotone voice – YES I had that. So I’m glad I continued to post-mortem enough to read what you have said. Such a positive attitude, I will try to adopt it, as I am still in a big state of mourning, as I didn’t know how to handle AS until after I was divorced, then discovered how much help I could have had, had I known of all the support etc too. So now, I’m thinking ‘We’d just have been getting a retirement home now..’ etc, and really mourning the life I curtailed. But maybe it was for the best, but so far, it doesn’t quite feel like it. But I have a nice new if unexciting man, kind, & I will try to take that attitude that you ended with. Just about to hand-write it out & display it in my cosy cottage to remind myself of the good things I now have & must concentrate on.

  • Claire C

    February 2nd, 2018 at 2:01 PM

    Hello again, I thought I would share that I saw my therepist again and in all honesty chose well she has been very supportive with her quite direct views at times ,one being he’s actually been quite sadistic on many of his views and she has strongly agreed he does come across as an Aspie.I saw him midweek to walk the dogs it was awkward,I did my usual watched what I said and kept it light,on getting back he had bought me tea and even made me a sandwich!! He is a gifted musician and had two gigs this weekend I asked if I could go along on Friday he said I could but on no circumstance could I go on the Saturday gig “he needs his space” bearing in mind when were together I go to all gigs without question plus I found this particular band he’s joined my friends and social life too.
    I’ve been twice now to spiritual healers it has calmed me down alot and carried on being honest with two close friends.I rang him tonight and declined going to the gig said I was tired and he hadn’t called me anyway..same old typical response I was out of order etc told him did not ring to argue just a courtesy call to tell him I would not be going…and put phone down.Deep down wanted to do that.
    Sarah I read your post before I made that call that is exactly where I want to get back too,I was married before for 18yrs he was NT and yes we ran our course but we did have fun lots of laughing and just being silly… spontaneous too. I know what I want deep down and by being honest to you guys that really understand has totally made me understand!! This is no life I’ve come to realize I can offer him all the help I possibly can but he will never get me and I cannot never help in reality..we are wired so differently..Thank you everyone for being there I was distraught when I found this site so glad I did… to you all xxxxx

  • Anna

    February 18th, 2018 at 8:08 PM

    It was good for me to read all of these comments tonight. I had never heard of Aspergers until a friend mentioned it. I was trying to figure out what was going on with my husband. So much of what all of you have written fits me too. I am relieved to read it but am so confused about what to do or where to turn. I feel trapped – like a caged animal. I want to leave & probably will – soon. We have no children together so that is not a concern, but I do feel sad about this because he is a good man. I just can’t go on living this way any more.

  • Adriana

    February 19th, 2018 at 1:51 PM

    Hi Anna, I understand exactly what you mean. I am in the same situation.

  • Sarah Swenson

    February 19th, 2018 at 7:01 PM

    Hello, everyone – It saddens me to read all the pain in the comments here, yet I am encouraged by the loving support that is being offered. There is no easy answer to these issues, as everyone here knows. Good counseling support can help you. You are not alone in your struggles, as the comments here will attest. I send wishes for peace to all. Trust yourself.

  • Sarah

    February 20th, 2018 at 12:15 AM

    Anna my experience has been that there is significantly less grief and trauma when you leave an Aspergers relationship than a normal relationship for the Aspie, if you handle it with care and sensitivity. You need to explain exactly what has happened and more importantly what is going to happen, and you need, with boundaries, to give them security and care in the leaving period and the aftermath. But if they have a map of what is going on, and they understand you are still there for them, the turn-around period to readjusting is relatively quick. My ex-husband was very derailed for about six weeks but then he was fine by about four months, dating way before me and boasting on dating platforms about his friendly relationship with his ex-wife. When you have never really shared intimacy it is not so tough for them to move on, so long as consistency is offered.

  • Dorothy

    February 20th, 2018 at 9:13 AM

    When my marriage fell apart (which disintegrated over a period of years..) my ex left the building emotionally long before the truck pulled up to carry his possessions to his new abode. I, on the other hand, was dazed and saddened by what happened and fatigued by the long arc of disappointment and disillusion that was part of the end of our marital union. I do think the Aspie tends to do better after divorce because they haven’t been gas lit, they haven’t had their thoughts and feelings discounted and dismissed- no- the Aspie is off to their new prey having worn out their spouse who just couldn’t do it anymore. I do think there is PTSAD involved when you finally divorce your Aspie spouse- the accumulation of putting up with the emotional void takes an enormous toll. I am still amazed by my recovery from someone I haven’t had to live with in a year and just the sound of his voice, flattened because he knows it tears me up inside, gives me a stomach ache. I’m glad my ex is in the arms of another and maybe she and I will commiserate today- but as of now- I am delighted that he is no longer my problem- that he features small in the day to day lives of our children- and that someday- I will trust a man again because he proves himself worthy. But would I worry about “managing” the expectations of the Aspie future ex- not worth the time or energy unless you are involved in some strategic play in court over money, custody rights or property. My ex never played by my rules- nothing I will allow to ever happen again. Just sayin-

  • Sarah

    February 20th, 2018 at 11:47 AM

    Hi Dorothy – I think my situation was different from yours, in that I had 3 young children with him, the youngest of whom was only 3 when I left. So I have had to organise our ongoing lives with that in mind. Just practically he needed to be supported because he effectively became a father to the 3 kids at the age of 54, and it was very sudden and a shock. So he needed to learn how to share care ( he had always refused) and I had to support him in that learning curve, for my kids’ wellbeing.

  • Kelly L S.

    February 24th, 2018 at 10:47 PM

    My husband passed away six months ago…he was undiagnosed…i lived this article for 25 years…i’m heartbroken…I loved him so much. we tried to see a therapist and i broke down after the first few minutes because he was putting on such a masked show I knew it was not going to help…I’m only now learning things I wish we had known…it would have helped so much…now i’m the one who needs help!

  • Kelly L S.

    February 24th, 2018 at 10:48 PM

    *And today is my birthday!

  • Claire C

    February 26th, 2018 at 2:38 PM

    Dear Kelly,
    I’m so so sorry for you’re absolutely brutal situation,I’m absolutely devastated for you…they are so lovable but infuriating all at once..I feel cheated no end but also grateful that he is an Aspie….if he had had affairs etc I would be devestated..Its a lonely life with these guy’s…talk talk and talk it’s been a salvation for me….so glad I found this site painful but I’ve been last.wasnt mad after all!!!! I’m thinking of you and sending you lots of love please try and be strong easier said than done I know.Any loss Is appalling but loosing a partner is sadness beyond….cry let it out crying is so vital…and any birthdays,special days are always going to hurt massively.I and I’m pretty sure the lovely people on this valuable site have cried shed loads., does help…. please take care xxxxx

  • Sheri

    March 3rd, 2018 at 7:52 AM

    I have just read this article and it really sounds like my story. With the exception of the divorce, but I do feel as though I am staring down that path as well right now. I have a 21 year son with Aspergers that was diagnosed when he was 14 and a husband of 23 years that was diagnosed as being on the spectrum about 2 years ago. The birthday part of the article is so true. I never forget his or our sons but when it comes to mine it is not important or I feel as though I am pulling teeth to get them to recognize that it is important to me. This isn’t just limited to birthdays it is everything Christmas, Valentines anniversaries. I don’t think it has to be over the top. Some recognition that doesn’t require my poking and prodding. My husband is not only on the spectrum he also has severe depression and suicidal ideation . In the beginning I believed I couldn’t live without this man he was my whole world now I struggle to meet everyday with all the demands that it comes with. I feel as though I do everything from being a working professional to a mom of a son I love so very dearly but is 21 and on the spectrum and living at home with that not changing anytime soon if at all, a nurse, a counselor, a referee, a banker, a maid everything but a wife. I have a husband who really wanted to buy a house so we did but he does nothing to maintain it. he does not have the know how so we dish out more money to get someone in to do the things that I can not. Everything with in the 4 walls of our home is my responsibility and I am crumbling under the pressure of it all. He says just ask, leave me a note. I can barely make notes for myself let alone someone else. I feel as though I am living the life for 3 adults and somewhere in there I have gotten lost and just don’t matter to them anymore. I love my family and I want the best for them but the cost I do believe is going to be me and my sanity. There is no task that does not have my hand in it. We are barely able to make it financially due to our home and selling is not an option as my husband and son are unwilling to downsize their own belongings. It seems so simple to sell and move to an apartment but our belongings would never fit. My husband and I have had that discussion and he’s very unwilling to part or downsize anything that he holds important to him. I would cave and give in and get rid of family pictures heirlooms and my own clothes and dresser just so he could have more room for his books. I am not seen as a vital part of the family I am just expected to make things happen and fix any problem that comes up no matter the cost to me. I do not believe that they see there is any cost to me. The cost IS ME. I am loosing me. There is no one that I have that truly understand what it is that go through on a daily basis. I have become very good at hiding things and making things appear as though it is all perfect. Some people even say that we are the ”cutest couple ever” this is not what it actually is. That statement just means that I am good at creating a very perfect looking picture. My husband lives in la la land where is believes everything is fine. As soon as I mention that I am not ok then he gets this bewildered look on face and can not believe what I am saying. He brushes me off and because he can not see or understand why I am hurting then I just should not hurt. That hurts me even more. I suck it up so he won’t be bothered god knows I can not handle another major depressive incident and another trip to the psych ward for him. I have been there a couple times with him and I just can not do another! When I was young and just getting married this is not where I thought I would be. I don’t know where I thought I would be but this isn’t it. I love my husband and my son and there isn’t a thing in this world that I wouldn’t do for them. I just don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know how to make things better or more manageable. I just know that I want to stop feeling out of place in my own family and and maybe feel as though I actually matter.

  • Amy

    March 3rd, 2018 at 1:53 PM

    Aww, Sheri…I may not have a child on the spectrum, but my husband is. I recently threw him out. It just got to be too much for me. He also has severe depression and anxiety that has made him impossible to cope with. Also, he way he 8nteracts with the kids is very concerning to me. Anyway, you said you don’t know how to make things better or more manageable. I think you need to stop taking on all the responsibilities and burdens of your home and relationship. Demand him to go to marriage counseling and see if that helps. Don’t take no for an answer. Nothing is going to get any better if your husband doesn’t put in his end of the work. Best wishes to you.

  • vett

    April 30th, 2018 at 9:28 PM

    Oh Sherry
    I am heartbroken and concerned for you. You need at the very least a vacation just you unless you have a friend to go with. My aspie is not the same as yours as far as bdays and holidays but he has betrayed me in any and every way. I to be honest don’t understand how you can feel the love you do. Your a much better person than I am. I wish I had a magic solution for you I don’t know how old you are but i wish to high heaven I had left years ago. I am sixty four will be 65 this year. And I have no idea what it feels like having a husband. Because he never has been is not capable he cares for no one but himself and his brothers and dad. I missed out on what love feels like because I know now before we married it was an act . That is why I say that the aspies do know what they are doing . I know they don’t know by caring about us NO. But they do know because why would they act good until we marry them? Why do they treat anyone else well if they want them to stay in their lives? BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEIR ACTIONS ARE NOT RIGHT …and they just don’t care. NO GUILTY conscience as well. But like i told my husband after i found out he was aspie a few years ago….when he did something that hurt me and I was learning about Aspergers, and that he supposedly was innocent and did not know what he was doing was hurtful i thought BS. So I told my husband would you like it if i did …whatever it was that he did, and he says “well NO not at all” so i told him…”well then before you take any kind of action ask yourself if you would like it done to you…because MAYBE you can’t feel it but your brain has a memory and you remember from now on , don’t do anything to me that you would not like yourself” and now you have no excuse but it is not as if you did anyway. I have never asked for advice on how to more effectively live MISERABLE ….and I know many women do and that’s your business not mine . My aspie has at one time been so abusive i was clinically depressed . I did not know what was wrong but i knew it was him and i told him something I believe about all wives of aspies…you know what?? YOU have something very wrong with you but I AM THE ONE suffering from your illness . It was going to be 30 years before I hear of Aspergers but wow I was right on target. I am still wanting to leave but i’ve been able to live a partial normal because I have a place in another state. It is heaven , but I can’t be here all the time , but you will go crazy if you don’t get a break at least . I wish we would all run for our lives and try to get a little happiness before we die. Because aspies suck the life out of us in some way somehow and maybe they suck up all our power because they have none (i am certain that is my case) it has something to do with how horrible they make us feel that we are unable to escape. Sherry I wish you the best …of life and all things good and that goes for all of us !!


  • Daisy

    May 1st, 2018 at 6:54 AM

    Vett, I couldn’t have put it better myself. You have stated your experience very well indeed and it is a crime that this is the experience of thousands of women woldwide. I am working towards having my own place in the Autumn this year. I will live there for 6 months each year, and then return to the ‘marital’ home for the other 6 months. At least thi is the intention. My children have left home now and I am 58 years old. Maybe I won’t return after the first 6 months has gone. Who knows? I wondered how it had worked out for you getting your own place, Vett? Have you felt able to settle in living on yourowne after so many years of living with another? You see, I feel there is a touch of institutionalisation creeps up on us over the decades whilst these ‘husbands’ sap us of our very life-force. Will ne very interestd to hear your comments.

  • vett

    May 5th, 2018 at 9:53 PM

    Daisy ,
    Thank you so much for your kind words . I am grateful I have people to believe me now. I was never actually on my own since i was married but to have an escape to go to has been my saving grace or maybe I would have divorced and saved myself …I don’t know.
    I do have more to say but I will save it for now.
    Daisy your going to love your six months away and i AM SO VERY HAPPY FOR YOU !!! It makes me happy to know your getting away!!! You go and you do what you like and FLY TRY OUT THOSE WINGS YOU WILL LOVE IT!
    Thank You again Daisy,
    I had to redo this a couple times (I began to ramble and this was a novel) LOL…there is so much to this like i always was and still am under the dark cloud of the aspie. but i am trying to get away .

  • Linda W.

    March 3rd, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    Oh Sheri, hugs to you. I am in a second marriage to a 69 year old , in denial, Aspergers……and now he is aging and has health issues , currently not life threatening , but leave him isolating himself from activities, people and more and more foods that dont agree with him. I figured out , with the help of a friend , that he is Asperger ‘s.
    The comforting thing about this knowledge is that at least I now dont think Im going mad and I understand so much more of why things are so chaotic……hugs and more hugs Sheri. – you are not alone

  • Jonathan

    March 3rd, 2018 at 11:33 AM

    Hi Sheri,
    I’m so sorry for your hurt, I empthise with your situation. Things got so bad for me last year with elevated blood pressure and depression from my 28 year old marriage to my undiagnosed ASP wife (she was wholly resistant to the concept) that even my doctor and psychologist were pointing out to me that my wife’s (+ one of my daughters) condition was incurable and that I should consider separation, and I did!
    Now I am free (and newly divorced) and life has improved greatly. I still love my family, it helps greatly that my ex and I are determined to get on.
    Don’t extend yourself to the point where you have nothing left Sheri, it isn’t worth it.
    Chin up.

  • April

    March 15th, 2018 at 9:59 AM

    The article and all the comments are my exact words and the story of my life. I know a lot of the comments say that you have to find a counselor that is educated in this type of behavior. Where do we go? Who do we see? How do we find someone to help? In my heart, I have checked out of my marriage. But if there was some way to save it, I would like to try. My husband has not been diagnosed. Who can we go to, to get that figured out? Do we keep trying multiple places before someone understands what we are up against? I’m looking for all the help we can get.

  • Sarah Swenson MA LMHC

    March 16th, 2018 at 12:12 AM

    Hello, April. I’m glad my writing is meaningful to you yet I am sorry to hear of your distress. This is a specialized area of counseling and coaching. If you would like to work with me, for example, you may contact me through my Good Therapy profile. I send you warm regards.

  • Tammy

    March 24th, 2018 at 11:23 PM

    It breaks my heart to read this article.. and the other beautiful soils, who find themselves in this situation.. the loneliness inside an aspie relationship/marriage is far more painful then anyone not in one could’s like you are always looking at a distorted view of reality. One in which the previous you has been replaced with someone willing to take on the anxieties nd burdens of another person and this on top on your own. No love… No romance.. No sex… no passion… no laughter… no inside jokes… no quiet reflective moments.. it’s robotic, and cold… I have become his constant walking disappointment because I don’t do things the way he would, as he expects , when he expects.. a totally moody.. grumpy.. miserable person.. i didn’t marry that guy.. he showed up after the marriage.. another peron emerged from the person I thought I married. I’m sorry to all of you who live this.. I’m praying for you… it’s awful..

  • Amanda

    April 30th, 2018 at 10:19 AM

    Your comment made me cry. I know exactly how you feel. My husband wasn’t like he is now when we married. In fact I haven’t noticed any change until a year ago. He made a comment a year ago about my weight and it was all downhill from there. I suffer daily bc of the way he makes me feel. I feel like a disgusting cow bc I know he feels the same way but won’t come right out and say it. I’m honestly afraid to have a conversation with him bc it turns into an argument. I agree with him all the time just so a subject can be dropped. It’s a sad way to live and the anxiety I have is thru the roof!!

  • Sarah Swenson

    March 28th, 2018 at 8:45 AM

    Responding to Vett: I appreciate your comment indicating your interest in working with me. Please contact me directly through my profile if you would like more information. Thank you.

  • Gayla

    March 31st, 2018 at 10:38 PM

    HI Sarah, Your article really helped me! I was with a partner for 5.5 years. He mentioned at one point he thought he might be on the Asperger’s Spectrum but I did not put two and two together and research it. I assumed he’d do that on his own. Four years into it a friend pointed me to YouTube for videos and as I watched, I had a lot of ah has! He recognized himself within 5 minutes of watching the first video I showed him. He’s a gentle soul but had a lot of control issues, passive aggressiveness, blame, time and money management issues, and sex drive that was unappealing and challenging for me to navigate. We luckily had no children. I’m going to be 48 in 2 weeks and he’s now 42. He just found a partner who looks to me to be also on the Spectrum – they met through online dating while we were still living together and he leapt into full on love mode – then she backed away – we got back together and it was amazing – then he went back towards her and I made him move out til I could relocate. I’ve never found so much challenge in someone regarding boundaries, been this involved for this long in a marriage style live in relationship, and unable to leave – partially due to confusion, feelings of love for him and from him, and complete dysfunction. Should I see a therapist who works with ASD/AS in my recovery? I have really felt blamed for things I wasn’t doing, for things I’d already corrected, for things I deserved no blame for… and I want to understand what I did inside to let this happen to me and how to heal and enjoy a great life, and meet and marry a really healthy man who is a match for me. I’m also really stunned, angry, hurt by his new partner who gave her boundaries and violated them every single time, dated him while he was still living with me, and on and on… I wasn’t able to deal with such major violations of trust – are these things “normal” behaviors for Aspies?

  • Emma

    April 8th, 2018 at 10:14 AM

    It’s refreshing to read these comments, which very much sum up my marriage, too. I have a question which I’ve pondered over now, for some time, and I’d be interested to have any thoughts on this: If undiagnosed people are inflexible in their behaviours, and make home life so difficult for their partners, believing themselves to be always in the right, how is it that they know they need to have ‘scripts’ outside the home – and if they do recognise that they need to follow ‘script’ outside the home or relationship, how do they manage to come across as so NT – how can they suddenly switch these behaviours around so easily, and as they can do this so easily in company, why are they unable to continue it in private!! This really baffles me! Thanks.

  • Lizzie

    April 9th, 2018 at 12:47 AM

    Hi Emma,
    I wouldn’t say using “scripts” outside the home is something which comes easily to an AS person. I think they would recognise it as more of a necessity in order to function as most of society expects everyone to behave. Trying to act ‘normal’ requires a huge amount of energy for an AS person who must remember to suppress their natural responses and replace them with learned scripts, rather like learning a few carefully selected phrases of a foreign language which you don’t speak fluently. Most of us, whether AS or not, will adopt a persona which is suitable for work, parenting, business dealings etc. but in our closest relationships we want to drop our guard and just relax and be ourselves, rather like kicking off our work shoes and putting on comfortable slippers as soon as we are home. Outside the home, my own husband can only maintain his friendly ‘normal’ persona in company for an hour or two, before he retreats into himself and becomes uncommunicative, or physically gets up and leaves, sometimes without proper explanation which can be very embarrassing!

  • Gayla

    April 9th, 2018 at 3:52 AM

    Wow! I’m so glad you brought this up! My ex-partner ruined the life of his ex girlfriend before me. Everyone believes he was the greatest, hardest working guy who took such great care of her. She and I shared the same thing:. No one could believe he is the rigid person who suffers melt downs at home and who’s capacity for honoring boundaries is limited at best. How do other Aspies carry a script for the outside world and manage to function as well as they do?

  • April

    April 9th, 2018 at 6:28 AM

    Hi Emma and Gayla! I am wondering the same thing! My husband goes to an individual counselor and that counselor told him people on the spectrum can’t just shut off their “niceness” or the way they have conversations, as he feels my husband has reciprocal conversations with him, so he can’t be on the spectrum.
    His counselor also thinks he is a nice and hard working guy and that he has made a lot of changes over the last year seeing him as a counselor. I don’t see the changes at home. He is not nice and respectful to me and he lies a lot. His counselor has told me it is my fault for not hiding my feelings enough for him. How can no one else see or know what he and I deal with or go through at home? Is it true they do shut it off? Or not true at all?

  • Gayla

    April 9th, 2018 at 8:35 PM

    Hi Lizzy and April,
    I can say that my former only let me know how terrified he was in public gatherings, even with friends we knew, towards the end of our relationship. We went to a really lovely party like wake for a friend who had just passed and he did not really want to go but I nudged him to go and he did. He dropped his guard for a few moments and I was standing next to him, seeing how incredibly afraid, anxious, and over stimulated he was. I felt horrible that he had not really ever shown this to me before and that I had been so insensitive before that point. I can see clearly that I always put him in a box of being far more normal or NT than he ever was and I really missed and denied how anxious he really is. He also did an incredible job of covering over his anxiety. He’s now seeing a woman I believe is also on the spectrum and he began a relationship with her while we were still living together. He’d actually been trying to be with other women for some time. Because he was so poor at finding and getting with women in general and because living together normalized our issues and I had grown so dependent in the relationship, I just found a way to deal with his attempts. I do think that his getting into a relationship with someone who can relate from experience is likely a very healing thing for him, regardless of what happens. I had become a mother figure to him, even though I really did not want to become that at all. I worried about him and his well being when I needed to be worrying about my own! And I did – I had to throw a lot of dust up to manage the breakup and moving out and moving on and now, I’m looking at therapy that takes my insurance because I suffered – a LOT – but it’s not as intentional as it seemed. It’s just a royal screw up that someone who became a wonderful, gentle part of my life, has to deal with so much pain and lack of sense of self that he has to keep well hidden. I think of the good that therapy would have done had we know to work specifically with a specialized therapist who knows how to work with ASD and NT – or neurodiverse couples. We weren’t really “right” for each other, regardless… however, it could have been far more skillfully navigated. I tried very hard at times to be considerate and appreciative in getting things out on the table – but I was nasty at times – believing I had a right to protest the behavior. I think the hardest thing is really not knowing enough to know how to really look at things. I’d rather be able to be compassionate, clear, and kind – and that was impossible all the time because of what a ride through hell it was to go through so many things with him and have so much of my own self worth challenged by his differences due to ASD, his own unique background, and his refusal to work together with me on so many things. It’s a very big lesson and I’m still processing it. I recognize my pain, my PTSD, and his inability to be the better man I had thought he was all along and that I wanted and deserve.

  • Emma

    April 10th, 2018 at 1:53 AM

    Hi April – Sorry to hear about your difficulties. Is your husband’s counsellor trained to deal with AS issues, I wonder. I don’t think that a counsellor is in a position to make a diagnosis or judgement about AS – they certainly wouldn’t be able to do that professionally, here in the UK. This feels like an unhelpful counselling relationship. Please don’t ever think that any of this is your fault – it’s not.Maybe have a look at finding a supportive counsellor for yourself, if that’s possible – one with knowledge of supporting those with AS issues, or there partners…xx

  • Gayla

    April 20th, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    NP- I certainly cannot answer that for you and I hope you will find him to be lifelong loyal and committed. What I find super odd is that my former partner needed a release every single morning as well. He made his ejaculation my responsibility and it really was a major failure but there was a long list of incompatible circumstances, even though we loved each other. We fought A LOT! He gaslighted me (if you can call it that), failed to see his own actions as causing what he blamed me for, and was inept at handling money, drive himself to the point he needs to file for bankruptcy. He also spent a HUGE amount of time in the bathroom – morning and night. I find that very odd. He masturbated in his room (started sleeping on his own because he needed to go to bed at 8 or 9pm to wake up at 5am to have enough time to be in the bathroom in the morning before leaving for a 15 minute bike ride to work at 8am… He wanted me to be sexual with him in the mornings, which rarely worked for me unless we had time to really connect and before work was never that way. We loved to touch and cuddle a LOT. He was always in a state of arousal around me unless he masturbated. I assume men feel that way in general. I wanted a close and frequent sexual relationship but am much more into NT responsiveness and emotional sharing, need to make time for sex as I’m not interested in quick sex that uses the same very basic moves repeatedly… I loved sleeping with him and we fit together cuddling very, very well. He was very sweet but that was often surface – his deeper feelings were of resentment of things that were totally non sensical and not even my “fault” but based more on his behaviors. He was kind. He was giving. People were shocked when I said we broke up – they thought we were doing well – except for my inner circle who really knew what was going on and the multiple breakups and my anguish.
    I would not wish this experience on anyone – it’s heartbreaking! It’s traumatizing, too! I certainly could have used help with a trained, professional ASD therapist LONG before we found one – which was after he had already started seeing the other woman (who again, seems to be ASD as well). She began seeing him while we were still living together knowing we were still living together. Whatever the differences are btw NT and ASD, I look forward to learning more as I never want to date anyone with ASD again so I want to recognize it before I go down that road. I’m now seeing an EMDR trained therapist to unwind my PTSD from being with him – our fights were very difficult and his starting another relationship with someone else and thanking me for all I taught him and how that helped him in his new partnership was surreal. I should have been happy as a lark! But it was dehumanizing to have to deal with it all. He might be ASD – and that might explain everything. He’s still behaving like a total jerk, is untrustworthy, and certainly offers me no emotional safety. No good as a partner – a great learning experience… not what I want in a relationship and mate. I’m sure it was very difficult for him as well and his family stayed in denial that he is ASD – even to this day. A family of very odd people, to be sure. Likely, they have more members dealing with ASD and don’t want to face it. So, even though my experience was hell, I’m sure his was AND he had the responsibility to seek support in the ASD community – and again, I imagine that is yet another job, task, responsibility for the partners of the undiagnosed person/partner to deal with.
    I was at least stronger than his last partner of 6 years who really suffered and still does 8 years later after they broke up. She just hasn’t managed to come to the reality of what his ASD is and what it may have done to her.
    I’m a little sour grapes on the whole thing. If he hadn’t been financially controlling, I could have put my financial situation together and left him before this got out of hand. I’m fortunate now to be able to live with friends, recover, treat myself to therapy, and rebuild my life. The benefit of staying for 5.5 years is I made great friends and community and so those on the inside knew and have been very helpful – I luckily didn’t end up in the homeless shelter!

  • Amanda

    April 30th, 2018 at 10:00 AM

    Reading through these comments has left me in shock and in tears. Every single comment has hit so close to home for me. My husband is undiagnosed but has ALL of these signs from the daily masturbation, the awkward sex, to the refusal of acknowledging he’s wrong about something etc. He has to work certain jobs even if it’s **** pay and he can find a better job. He is completely cut off from ALL emotions other than self pleasure and anger. He is constantly looking for acceptance from his own family but never from me or the 3 sons we have. I am here bc yesterday was my breaking point. We had a huge fight in the parkung lot of a restaurant parking lot yesterday, simply bc I didn’t want to eat pizza for 75,000 time. That’s all he ever wants to eat and I cannot eat pizza due to my IBS. He is obsessed with ONE kind of food, ONE genre of movies, ONE genre of music etc. We married 5 years ago this November and its gotten so hard the last year. Every time i try to bring up how I feel he always turns it around on me and makes it my fault. He never takes responsibility for perceiving things wrong. His mother I believe also suffered from ASD and was told by doctors when my husband was young that they wanted him to be tested and medicated for ADHD etc and she refused to acknowledge anything was wrong with them. To this day her 2 son’s are perfect and everyone else is the problem never them. My husband has a twin brother who I also believe suffers from ASD and his wife left him after 5 years. She said she felt alone in her marriage and not appreciated and I now see what she was talking about. My children have gotten to the point where they don’t want to go in public with my husband and they don’t want to ask him for anything and they dread seeing him come home. When I tell him this he simply says they can get over it. He masturbates to porn and when I asked him to stop he agreed to then continued to masturbate and lied about it. He doesnt knoe that i knoe he does it bc confronting him would get us nowhere bc he would come up with a ******** excuse and make me feel guilty for even attempting to question it. He stays home while me and my boys go fishing, hiking, visiting family etc. He doesnt care to join us bc he doesnt like that type of stuff he says. Im to a point in my marriage where i dont want to communicate at all anymore, and i feel like sex is more of a duty than for pleasure. Most women on this thread waited until after the kids were grown to leave and I figure that’s what I’ll do. I love him very much but its driving me mad and im so depressed these days. I can’t even find a therapist close by to help. I feel like just giving up.

  • The Team

    April 30th, 2018 at 11:09 AM

    Hello Amanda. Thank you so much for visiting If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! You can do one of the following immediately:

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY)

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can assist people in a wide variety of situations, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers Lifeline Crisis Chat for online crisis support at Some of the reasons to call are listed below:

    • Call to speak with someone who cares;
    • Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself
    • Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area
    • Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about

    If you are experiencing domestic violence, or looking for resources or information, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) (TTY: 1−800−787−3224) You can also reach an advocate using their private chat services 7:00AM-2:00AM (CST) on Some of the reasons to call are listed below:

    • Call if you think you may be experiencing emotional, sexual, or physical abuse
    • Call for resources about safety within an abusive relationship or while trying to leave one
    • Call for resources about safety and recovery after an abusive relationship has ended
    • Call if you are afraid you may be abusing someone and want help changing your behavior

    If you or someone you care about has experienced sexual assault, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1—800—656—HOPE (4673). You can also use the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at for live anonymous chat based support. Some of the reasons to call are listed below:

    • Call to talk through what happened with a nonjudgmental staff member
    • Call for a referral to a local crisis center or health facility
    • Call for resources about recovering from sexual assault
    • Call for information about medical or legal concerns

  • L M

    May 3rd, 2018 at 11:06 AM

    Amanda, how this resonates…. I made the fatal mistake of asking a question in our regular restaurant recently. It turned out to be the last straw. My undiagnosed AS partner and I are working on a farmhouse we’ve decided to sell instead of move into. The amount of work is potentially enormous so we need to discuss how far we’re willing to take it since I’ve been working on it full time for 10 years while he worked a regular job. I am mid 50’s and can’t be climbing onto roofs and hauling boulders like I use 10 years ago. The question I asked was how much he wanted to sell it for, and that was it, it was a ‘ludicrous question’ (?) Dinner was ruined, by the time we got home it was the ‘follow me’ scenario around the garden screaming at me that I had interrogated him pointing my finger in his face saying quote unquote “…what do you want for it give me a figure right now…don’t avoid the question why are you avoiding the question what are you trying to hide I can see it you’re hiding something you better answer me right now….” I swear this is not exaggeration, all I said was “how much do you want to get for it?” It’s a pretty important question considering what we’re working on. I have diagnosed him with AVPD, asked him to see a psychologist/therapist in the past to address his sexual deviancy, masochistic tendencies and avoidance issues but until this I hadn’t considered ASD. It was this meltdown that sent me finally looking for my own health/support, as I am a shadow of what I used to be after 15 years of it. I have a PhD, am social, used to be happy, not anymore. He has systematically taken everything from me, he bought the farmhouse without consulting me because he thought I might take a job in Canada where my family is after my PhD viva… I’m not kidding he bought it WHILE I was getting my PhD. It was to ‘keep me here’ obviously touched a nerve when I asked him what he wanted to sell it for….My partner is an expert actor, liar, and generally selfish a****** that goes to great abusive lengths with me now that he’s wasted my working years and thinks I can’t/won’t leave him. He is mistaken, because we never make changes unless it’s too uncomfortable to stay the same, and I just passed that marker. I’m going home penniless, lost my beautiful home and a garden I worked a decade on to an uncertain future at my age. I am deflated but anything is better than this, I’d rather be lying in a ditch, at least I can look up at the stars. My advice to all of you is leave now, fast, don’t look back you are only delaying the inevitable….

  • Amanda N.

    May 7th, 2018 at 5:28 AM

    Atleast your husband waited to get home to blow up. We never even made it in the restaurant! He was flailing his arms about and blowing up while everyone was staring at us. There were ppl stopping in the middle of the street to stare and our 3 son’s were so embarrassed that they walked off and sat on a curb. It went on for 20 minutes. All bc I said I would have a tea while him and the boys ate pizza bc I didnt want any. We ended up going home where he ordered a pizza for himself and me and the boys ate soup and salad. Our children won’t leave in the same car with us anymore. They want to stay with my granny on the weekends bc they know he will be home. I have to have surgery in July and the boys are going to stay with my granny for 10 days so they don’t have to deal with him. The only thing that gives me solice is knowing he will be out of town working monday-friday.

  • Ed

    May 5th, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    Should I thank you, as an ASD male, married for 26 years, for creating a stereotype of myself, as an uncaring monster? I spent every waking moment trying to meet my wife’s needs, understanding that there is a deficit that I cannot completely comprehend. I do my human best to put my comfort zone and shell behind me, because least I can be aware that a parter needs more than an income provider and babysitter – but this may be the most damning and discouraging thing that an ASD husband can possibly read. I now suppose I must self-identify as a monster and live in a cage so those I love can be happy.

  • L M

    May 6th, 2018 at 8:03 AM

    Why don’t you AS partners make your own blog, there’s plenty of help out there for you….. not for us. My relationship was built on lies and acting and deceit, if he’d told me things would have been different. It’s the fact that you know you’ve got a problem, you keep it secret (very well at first) and then you destroy someone else’s chances at happiness regardless…. thanks a lot….

  • Kay

    July 25th, 2019 at 7:37 PM

    Short and exactly how it is in a nutshell. Thank you L M Thank you !
    I know from where you speak . I am sorry you are suffering. I am glad you are reaching out as I am as well. To try and save women’s and children’s lives from Asperger men.

  • Sarah Swenson

    May 6th, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    Ed, due to the large number of comments on this thread, I cannot tell whether you are responding to my article or to the comments that follow it. I assure you it is not my intent to portray anyone as a “monster.” My article is based on years of working with neurodiverse couples, and with couples in which the likely-to-be-autistic partner refuses to consider an evaluation. However, this does not mean your life, or anyone else’s particular experience, must align with the article, nor does it mean one partner is right and the other is wrong. There are no monsters here. It means the challenges are real, and generally speaking it is best to address and understand them in order to build a kind and loving relationship. It appears from your comment that you are already aware of this and that distinguishes you from the partners described in the article and in the subsequent comments.

  • MomOf2

    May 18th, 2018 at 8:58 AM

    Sam, you are among the better few. My husband denies that anything is wrong with him and gets very defensive. Even his mom. His mom developed a defense mechanism of putting the blame on me for not being a helpful and supportive wife. I can tell she’s been in denial all her life and saw me as the perfect, loving and accommodating wife to mask and cover for any shortcomings in her son. In a sense; take on her role as mother so she could be free…. but that’s a story for another day… Regardless of what may be …. If my husband was open to receiving help, we would be in a totally different place. But his Mom ensures him that he is perfectly fine. I’m the crazy person, the bad wife, the bad mom and I’m even undeserving of her son……… No luck for me over here, I’ll tell ya!

  • Ed

    May 5th, 2018 at 2:10 PM

    The comments prove that I have no hope despite being a loving husband and father. I have nothing left – It’s sad that I’ve been diagnosed, tried, and have a wife who says she is committed and loves me very much. But if this is what I do to her, and evidently I’m too stupid to figure it out. I need to end and be forgotten. You are all very convincing.

  • Lizzie

    May 6th, 2018 at 1:21 AM

    Dear Ed,
    My ASD husband and I were married for almost thirty years before he was diagnosed, and I love him dearly. I too am quite dismayed by what I have read in this thread, because although we have had problems, they are nothing like the descriptions here.
    I believe the experiences of these women, but I know that not all ASD men are the same, just as all neurotypical men are not the same. Some are kind, decent and hardworking, while others are not.
    I hope you and your wife can work on issues which affect your own relationship only.
    I have considered unsubscribing from these updates, because I find them so distressing, but it also makes me grateful that my own husband is kind, loving and works hard at our marriage.

  • Amy

    May 6th, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    Lizzie, it’s called being on the spectrum for a reason. Some with autism are more extreme than others. I’m glad your husband happens to be a decent man, mine isn’t.

    Ed, I’m sorry that you chose to read the wrong article including very real and common experiences living in the trenches of a go-nowhere, do all the work kind with no benefit kind of marriage. Good for both you and Lizzie. I for one got duped into believing the man I married knows and understands what marriage is all about. I’ve wasted the best years of my life on a man who fooled me.

  • Sarah Swenson

    May 6th, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    Ed, it is imperative that you not take anyone else’s story as reflective of your own. The comments regarding this article are from women whose lives are different from yours and from that of your wife. No one here is disparaging anyone – autistic or neurotypcal. Individuals are sharing their own experiences, just as you have shared yours. As I often assure neurotypical couples with whom I work, “If you have met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” The same can be said of neurodiverse couples. Please be gentle with yourself and value your efforts and conscientiousness.

  • Lizzie

    May 8th, 2018 at 9:14 AM

    Dear Sarah, sadly I have read so many disparaging comments here from women who have written off ALL men with ASD, not just their own partners. It is very disparaging for a contributor to write that ALL men with ASD destroy women’s lives etc. This is simply not true. I can understand how a woman may feel her own life has been destroyed, but it is wrong to tar all men with Asperger Syndrome with the same brush. I live with two Asperger men, my husband and our adult son. They are both lovely in their own way and I have been able to keep my own identity.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    May 8th, 2018 at 10:24 AM

    This comment is in response to Lizzie: you make a good point, and it is one I make frequently as well. Of course not every person on the autism spectrum can be described in the same way! However, to partners in pain, sometimes expressing themselves takes a very negative tone from anger, confusion, and distress. I suggest taking each comment about as an indication if the writer’s own views rather than as a meaningful indictment of “all individuals on the autism spectrum.”

  • vett

    May 6th, 2018 at 4:03 PM

    Oh and ED….I can tell when someone is trying to make people feel a little guilty?? And your quite transparent. It makes me wonder are you the good guy you say? If you are I am sure your wife would be happy to tell how great you are. I am not saying your not telling the truth, but I have been manipulated enough to know when a person is going for the guilt. I have been abused so badly no matter how good anyone was it would not change my situation and I WANT THE TRUTH ABOUT ASPIES TO BE KNOWN TO THE WHOLE WORLD …because you if your being honest ARE AN EXCEPTION , and all women NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ASPERGER’S AND HOW BADLY, HOW SOUL KILLING a man with Aspergers is to his wife. I promise you if you had the smallest idea what we have been through you would not even want to say anything …except I am sorry ..I am not like that but if others are I am sorry. And i will never ever feel guilty for EXPOSING ASPERGER’ MEN EVER ….there are hundreds of thousands of womens lives that have been destroyed by Asperger men …if your that different there is a strong chance your doc does not know what he is talking about …doctors are not gods they make mistakes ever day.
    Be cool ,

  • Josie

    May 7th, 2018 at 9:01 AM

    Thanks vett for saying what I was thinking. I started to respond but stopped because I was at first feeling sorry for Ed. Sometimes it seems the Aspie Husband gets to play the victim. I’ve been married for 36 years this summer, and it’s been a challenge, but my husband isn’t nearly as far on the spectrum as some we read about here. So even though I do feel I’ve lost some of myself, I’m in it for now.

  • L M

    May 8th, 2018 at 3:51 AM

    Vett, I am so on your side with this one, my partner can only see what the consequences are for him, I am so familiar with this guilt trip “….I suppose I should just jump off a cliff and make the world a better place then….” scenario. I also find it fascinating that we all seem to use the same words to describe what they’ve done to us…’lost’, ‘alone’, and ‘destroyed’. It is destroyed. Our chances of happiness are destroyed, our chances of ever trusting someone again are destroyed, we are alone, we are lost, he IS A MONSTER, but it’s nothing compared to what we’ve done to him because we’ve made him feel like he should jump off a cliff to make the world a better place…… how nasty are we how selfish and self-consumed and unfeeling we must be to do such a thing. You’re right Vett, every woman needs to know. If only I’d known, it would have saved 14 years of my life and more because even afterwards it continues to haunt and I know for a fact I am not the person I used to be because of him. Frankly, the world would be a better place if he jumped off a cliff. Ed you don’t fool me for a second, if you you really cared about your wife you wouldn’t be here whinging about how hard done by you are.

  • The Team

    May 7th, 2018 at 10:26 AM

    Dear Ed,

    Thank you for your comment. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about self-harm at additional information about what to do in a crisis at

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Gayla

    May 5th, 2018 at 9:30 PM

    Ed, I urge you to seek a therapist trained in ASD. You sound like you have a lot going for you!!! Remember everyone here is speaking about a relationship with someone who is undiagnosed and not in therapy. Don’t give up on yourself. My ex-partner found someone who seems perfect for him and I have heard couples who are neurodiverse who do therapeutic couples work with a trained therapist are able to do quite well. My ex-partner and I were too different for therapy to even matter for us and if we’d been a better match, therapy would have been ideal for us. Your love matters a lot to your wife who is committed to you. I would have been crushed had my ex-partner ended his life or suffered… Beyond belief! Take care of yourself and take the right next steps. You’ll be grateful you did!

  • Sarah Swenson

    May 6th, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Hello, Gayla – thank you for your comment regarding counseling. I will be offering a two-hour web conference for therapists on Good Therapy on the topic of working with neurodiverse couples in June. Unfortunately, though the need is great, at the present time there are not many therapists trained to work with neurodiverse couples, so finding one can be challenging. However, like you, I encourage seeking such counseilng support for anyone in a neurodiverse partnership.

  • Pilgrim

    May 6th, 2018 at 4:04 AM

    Don’t be daft, Ed! You are one of the good ones – willing to look at yourself, maybe even adapt -no, stay, just ask her from time to time if she is ok with you, listen to her, love her. Many of us are envious of your wife, that you are willing to be diagnosed, willing to talk. Big hug!

  • vett

    May 6th, 2018 at 3:48 PM

    Ed , I don’t mean every Aspie, but I do mean most but there are always exceptions . If you are one and have been able to get over the hurdles and difficulties of Asperger.s I salute you! I am not afraid to say the truth and if you were not an exception I would tell you yes do your wife a favor and please let her go. But if your not your not , and you should know you are a beautiful exception if your being honest , that is for sure .
    CARRY ON ED ….AND don’t leave your wife unless she wants you too !!!

  • Sarah

    May 9th, 2018 at 1:13 AM

    I think it is very easy when you are still in the marriage or freshly out of it to see the Aspie as a monster because the reality is that Aspie’s attitudes towards their wives can be very cruel. My experience is that I loathed my Aspie husband and I often fantasised that something bad would happen to him so I could escape. But now, a year after separating, it is so much better and I am fond of him and we get on well. It took very stern and continuous policing of boundaries to get him to slowly come to see me as a separate person, not under his control and not subject to his will, but he did get there and we have a much kinder and more friendly divorce relationship now that many neurotypical divorced parents.

  • MomOf2

    May 18th, 2018 at 8:33 AM

    Thank you for sharing this. I am a mom of 2 girls. The first is 3 years and the second is 8 months. I’ve been married to for 5 years now. After years of watching my husband going in and out of jobs and losing interest in one thing to start another, I went online for comfort and to find a support group. I was tired of working 2-3 jobs because I had to accommodate his actions. Either he was getting fired or he was quitting so I was always compensating so we would not get evicted from our home… then i learned of aspergers and everything clicked! I was always the bad guy… I was selfish because I wasn’t allowing him follow his dream of starting a new venture ( a new venture every year or so). I was an unsupportive wife (though I worked 2 jobs)… Putting me down when we are socializing; making himself look like the provider while I sit in my little corner in exhaustion. No time to nurture new born baby because I had to return to work only a week after giving birth. I have been labelled a bad mom for not staying home with my child… but it was either that or my children would not have a roof over their head. It goes on and on and on…. And did i mention that in my 5 years of marriage, I gained 40 lbs and I look 10 years older? Going to work and people telling you how “tired” or “fat” you look?
    -This is not what I want my children to see. I do not want them to grow up thinking its okay for a woman to be treated like this. I think its better to train them while they are young. Its time to do what is best for me and the children. I want to be me again. Happy and free. Thanks for reading my rant, guys ;-)

  • Julie

    June 11th, 2018 at 2:54 PM

    I have been married to an Aspie for 44yrs. When I met him I thought he was naive and very immature for his age. The innocence attracted me. The first 8 years were great, then along came baby! He became much more selfish and self absorbed. He switched jobs at random. He pulled away from me and even began insulting me when he had an audience. I tried and tried to please him. Tried to be more like him. Tried to be sexier, maybe he’d fall in love with me again. It was hard. I noticed I was on a cycle: about every 6 weeks I’d collapse in tears at being so ignored and handled curtly. I tried to make things right for the kids so that they were oblivious to what I was going through. This, however, backfired just like your article states. They’re grown and gone. I never see or hear from my daughter: no Mothers’ Day card, no birthday card, they’ve both turned atheist like their dad so that means nothing for Christmas. My husband was handling all our financial affairs because, “He’s so good with numbers”! I let him do it thinking he would take care of us into retirement. My daughter (who’s probably an Aspie herself) can never keep a job, She’s 37 and right now is on a job for just over a year- the longest by far of any job she’s held. In the past when she quit or got fired she’d just go back to school and get another degree. Husband said that was fine bc he loved school when he was in college, too. We paid much of her tuition each time and now paying student loans. Hubby says that’s what parents do. I had the audacity to disagree. I did some nosing around and discovered he’d dipped quite heavily into out IRAs and 401s. I was an at home mom, home schooled right up to college so that was both of our nest egg. I got angry. Asked him what he thought we were going to live on, and I wanted the money divided evenly immediately. With that he decided that we should get divorced. We went to a mediator, got things separated then he packed up to go to live with our daughter. I’m left rather shocked and broke. I never thought his naivete would let him just walk out on me and not care how I survived. Right now I’m in deep depression, crying a lot. I’m a shell of a person with no sense of what my life was about or what or how to make it to a future. He killed most me all those years and just let him. I can’t find a therapist who is experienced with Aspergers and their spouses. Can anyone on here give me some leads to a therapist even via telephone. I’m really desparate. He’s been gone 6 months and I’m pretty much the same as the day he walked out.

  • The Team

    June 12th, 2018 at 8:12 AM

    Hi, Julie. Thank you for visiting If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here:

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. Alternatively, you are welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! Information about what to do in a crisis is available here:

  • Sarah Swenson

    June 12th, 2018 at 9:59 AM

    Hello, Julie – It always saddens me when this article is so meaningful to someone. I hope it helps guide you to finding good counseling support for yourself. If you’re interested in working with me, my website and contact information are available on my profile. I send warm wishes to you as you navigate this path.

  • Vivienne

    June 12th, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    Oh dear, Julie’s experience does contain many aspects familiar to aspie wives & ex’s like myself. The way they can just walk away without seeming to care about our continuing welfare seems to be a common feature. In my case, it was like the cycle in the marriage writ large, & i still feel as though i’m waiting for him to soften, many years on, which is an aspect of ‘trauma bonding’. THEY walk away, apparently not needing us in any way, while WE are left reeling, wondering what our lives were and are about. I wonder whether there is an explanation for their ability to dump us? Are they in great pain as a result? I do hope not. But it is very painful for us who are left behind.

  • Dorothy

    June 12th, 2018 at 12:22 PM

    Dear Julie,
    You have my utter sympathy and as you are in the early months of trying to process what happened to you, this will be a very hard chapter from which I know you will emerge wiser and happier than you imagine possible. Life inside marriage to an aspie can be such an emotional wasteland that you can’t even begin to understand the stress you have been through all the years together of twisting in to pretzel to try to make the marriage work. Decompressing from what happened takes time. You will probably cry more than you want, are freaked out often, have a lot of anxiety (that’s been my experience after getting out of our 22 year partnership.) and regret over the years lost. If you are having a hard time finding a therapist familiar with Aspie/NT relationship outcomes, find a therapist you like because the neglect you felt and his lack of being financial responsibility are really spousal abuse at the end of the day and is not okay.
    My divorce was final last August (I got him to move out late the prior year) and I am still in the throes of all the craziness he brought in our lives. Now that he is gone I am the recipient of radio silence from him as long as he gets his check from me every month (which only lasts one more year) and yes, I had to pay him to leave. So, I got the house which needs plenty of upkeep and repairs (also our 3 kids’ family home who at 25, 22 and 20 benefit from this base), and had to take all marital debt He got his freedom (I made him take the one true family member for whom he felt undying devotion- the dog) and it’s pretty likely he and I will never really talk again. They are a strange lot- remind yourself of that and be kind to yourself. You deserve it!!!!

  • Claire c

    June 12th, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    Hello again…..I did have another breakdown….and just read previous comment his ability to leave me whenever he chose was devastating and left me for days/weeks on in…….and acted as if he didn’t even know me…..I’ve just been diagnosed with Cassandra syndrome……I want out more than ever now but as stupid as it sounds still love and worry about him….I’m a mess….but I really need to go through with it now I absolutely long to be touched and feel special..the tears are relentless as is the pain my self esteem is shot to the core….and yet somehow I still no right from amazes me how me of being of reasonable intelligence allow myself and him to dominate me so badly…..suppose one thing I’ve learnt is that hopefully if I ever meet another aspie again I will run so fast in the other direction Usain Bolt will have nothing on me…..I’ve been out of his company again usual stuff just pushed me out again….but it is so hard you say to yourself never again and yet somehow I always go back….but Cassandra syndrome is something else I sort of feel thankful that someone out there got and understood m very real pain…….someone qualified that knows the truth of how I truly feel….someone a. while back wrote a comment on how she moved on and eventually found a loving NT partner and she described how amazing it was to be touched and loved and listened too again……I would love that too eventually secretly I always have ….I really wanted it to be him still do……..but slowly I am learning he cannot change…..I’m 51 now ………he’s not here anyway how can you be with someone who’s invisible and simply behaves that he hates me anyway… new diagnosis and therapist is what I needed….hopefully one day I will find the happiness that we all deserve……lots of love to all of us..xxxxx

  • The Team

    June 12th, 2018 at 3:11 PM

    Hi, Claire. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here:

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. Alternatively, you are welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! Information about what to do in a crisis is available here:

  • D

    June 21st, 2018 at 6:57 PM

    Reading so much here, my mind was blown the other day when the phycologist I’ve been seeing suggested my husband of 30 years is probably ASD, something I didn’t know enough about to even consider. I’m a nurse but medical/cardiac so fit the profile of caring empathetic etc. Have spent so much energy either covering up his behaviour, excusing his behaviour and being the only person willing to confront him that his behaviour is unacceptable. As with so many, good provider and faithful, acknowledged birthdays but totally ignored Mothers day. Am grateful that I have managed to preserve my relationship with my sons who have been as miss treated as I have but do see mild symptoms in my youngest son, and my eldest married an ASD woman, now separated after only four years. My mind is exploding as I have used my anger to protect myself up until now and now I am feeling that I need to consider empathy and compassion as he does have his good points but they are getting harder and harder to see. Have had too many friends tell me that he is a good man etc etc etc, but I have felt myself diminishing particularly more so over the last few years and my dad died 18mths ago which really sent me into a spiral. I haven’t felt truely happy in a long time and rarely laugh out loud – for so many years he would frown on an display of my emotion, happy sad whatever and ‘too much’ and to ‘settle down’. Now I rarely express emotion. This really came home a few weeks ago when having lunch with friends and one of them commented that they had finally got me to have a good laugh. I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the concept that this is all happening and I’ve sent away for a few books on the subject. For the last few years I have naturally inclined toward living my own life, I go out on my own or with girlfriends as he just wont do anything and I have no intention of losing my mind by not doing the things I enjoy. He will come with me if I chose to invite him but he has not initiated anything in a long time. He also got a redundancy nearly three years ago (also had major issues at work – but was in a government job that they couldn’t fire him unless he pretty much committed fraud or murder) and revelled in not working for 18months and now is basically yelling at me because he now can’t find work. Just feeling overwhelmed and mind blown at the moment. Have tried to/wanted to leave several times over the last 30years but never had the courage and always felt guilty that he ‘really wasn’t that bad’!!!!!!!!! Also didn’t feel I would have really had the support of most friends, not sure that really matters anymore though. Just in a total flux, he has done a couple of things recently that have had huge impact on me and is currently ‘visiting’ with his brother – unfortunately just for the weekend.

  • April

    June 27th, 2018 at 8:05 PM

    I have been married to an AS for 31 years. My daughter received an AS diagnosis in 2011. Had no idea until then. So far, I see in these posts abuse, in the form of outburst; control; and moodiness. When I married my husband; three days later, on an expensive honeymoon, he began screaming at me at the top of his lungs, and shunning me. He also became very controlling. I dated him for a year-and-a-half and thought we had worked through some smaller things. He continued to threaten me physically, punch walls, and hold me down during fights. His family treated me horrible. I was so embarrassed and didn’t know how to handle the abuse and manipulation. I was 26 and he was 29 and both professionals. The yo-yo behavior continued and my anger and outbursts rose. After 14 years I finally called the police. He shaped up after that, but the bad attitudes and outbursts continued. We retired and built a house. During this time the outburst got better. After the House was finished outburst and rudeness began at a level I hadn’t seen in a while. I have had enough and we are getting a divorce. I still feel that all websites don’t address how much of this is Aspergers, how much is total abuse? My children have expressed their upset with our arguments, throughout their lives. My son blames me and even says he never saw his father be anything but kind and isn’t speaking to me. My daughter is more neutral. They are 24 and 20. My mother had AS and was abusive.

  • Julie S.

    June 28th, 2018 at 5:43 PM

    I’m no guru of AS but from what I’ve read, the AS person is seldom physically violent (though, I suppose there exceptions to every theory), My husband, while torturing me for 44yr, it was always of the mental and emotional choice of weapons for him. Sounds to me like there is something other than the AS going on here. I suppose AS people are as susceptible as any of us the other mental disorders. I’m glad to hear that you are no longer with him but the loss is still painful, beyond explanation. My daughter shows every indication of being AS as welll, never talks to me. My son, however, while still talking to me and loving me thinks I am the crazy one. Just last night I was thinking about this and I realized that this is their Dad I’m in conflict with. I even encouraged that when things were crazy I’d always tell them their Dad loved them, that they were lucky to have such a good Dad. While I didn’t believe even as I spoke I felt it was my duty to make sure that they loved their Dad. I now reap the consequences of my lying to them. They both love him and see me as the crazy one. I’m sorry it is that way but there is nothing I can do about it now. They are ages 36 and 33 and have a lot yet to learn about life. If my kids love him to his grave that will be fine, I’ll accept my lot in life and make the best of it! You know the saying: God never promised us it would be easy (or fair).. He promised it would be worthy. Take care, follow your gut and stay away from your personal source of angst.

  • Rita

    July 12th, 2018 at 9:23 PM

    Wow- this is phenomenal, and hits home in so many ways. As one other commenter mentioned, finding the money for therapy is next to impossible, not to mention time, and the incredibly daunting process of finding an available therapist who really UNDERSTAND these issues. In fact, the only thing I can think of that would begin to validate me and get me back on track to being the person I (thought) I was, is if I could find a support group of spouses/women who share these experiences.

  • The Team

    July 13th, 2018 at 6:37 AM

    Hello, Rita! Thank you for your comment. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. On the results page, you may select additional search criteria to locate therapists who accept your insurance or offer a sliding scale fee structure.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. Alternatively, you are welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

  • F

    July 25th, 2018 at 4:51 AM

    This article is my life. Has been my life for 8 years. Married for 4 of those and now have a 2 years old. As much as all of this hurts me so much to read knowing thing will never change for me it is the children part I need help with. My son is only two and although I wanted more children – can anyone advise whether it makes more sense to leave now, whilst he has no idea what is happening as opposed to staying and trying to make it all work only to end up leaving in the future and my son hating me as described above. I know how selfish it all sounds. But I have been selfless for years and am struggling going forward knowing I will never be able to have the kind of relationship I originally envisaged. Although, I think I knew deep down I never would I just pretended to myself that there was always hope and things might change over time.
    The thought of living like this for the rest of my life makes me so sad and honestly I feel sort of hopeless. I can get by. I can pretend but who will that benefit. I hate the thought of leaving him alone, I know he wouldn’t cope well or have another relationship as it’s been mentioned before. His brother also committed suicide when he was young and he has had such thoughts briefly in the past so my is also that in leaving it could spiral. I have no idea what to do for the best. For me, for him or for our son.

  • Sarah Swenson

    July 25th, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    I am sorry to hear of your distress. I heartily recommend counseling with someone who specializes in understanding neurodiverse couples. There are not many of us but it is worth searching for this particular kind of counseling support, because it it imperative that your responses and feelings be honored as reasonable and neither dismisssed nor pathologized. If you are interested in working with me, please contact me through the link on my profile. I send best wishes to you in this discernment.

  • Amy

    July 25th, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    Please know that you are in no way responsible for your husband’s state of mind. It’s not your responsibilty to police his feelings so he doesn’t commit suicide. If you can, try and see if therapy with a qualified professional might help your situation improve. Lay out your expectations in black and white. I feel such pity for all of us victims of autism. It is epidemic and we and our children are the ones paying the price while the one who isn’t neurotypical gets a pass out political correctness. Sorry for hat rant. Like most other commenters here, I am angry at how grossly my husband misrepresented himself. I am just disgusted. If he’s not willing to go to therapy, you mght consider your options bfore your child develops any learned behaviors. I’m so sorry to read another victim’s story.

  • Elaina

    October 29th, 2019 at 9:24 PM

    F, how have you been since you posted in 2018? I have a small daughter too and also was thinking if leaving him when she still won’t remember is better as opposed to after high school. While pregnant I painfully realized that I will be bringing a child into such a dysfunctional relationship and started feeling guilty even before she was born. I consulted therapists, talked to my daughter’s daycare provider for her professional opinion, contemplated on and on and finally decided to divorce while she is still 3.5yo. I only can hope that it will be alright by her one day. I hope she will understand. I feel sad that she will be growing up alone. I always wanted more than one child but now relieved that I’m having a daughter. Girls are at lower risk of being on the spectrum. I hope she is not. Too soon to tell.

  • Sarah

    July 25th, 2018 at 11:16 AM

    Hi F

    I can only tell you my own experience for what it is worth. I realised that I desperately wanted to leave when my youngest child was 22 months. But my initial plan was to try and deal with it until she finished high school. I only managed 18 months after that before I left but I got really ill in that time – basically developed ORTS and very bad mental health. So, for me, it was not a good idea to make it last once I knew it couldn’t last. Pretending to everyone when you have acknowledged the truth to yourself is very harsh. On the upside though I did leave eventually and I am so happy now. I have a good, workable, completely truthful life and for the last seven months have been with a lovely, kind , sensitive man. Also my relationship with my ex is lovely. I thought I hated him by the time I left but once I didn’t have to submit to the controlling behaviour and all the lying was over I found I could be fond of him and appreciative him as he is, and as the father of my 3 kids. But I was only able to get to that point by spending eight months in therapy with a therapist who routinely works with Aspergers. It helped me to understand how my trauma had built up, and how to get better. I wish you luck. But I was terribly unhappy and I am very contented now so life can work out. Oh, the other thing is that I did not think it was possible my ex could ever have a new partner but he does. I haven’t met her yet but it’s been going on for a couple of months and he is always whistling and saying she is nice. So holding thumbs!

  • Julie

    July 25th, 2018 at 1:18 PM

    Yes, it is hard to think of yet another sister being emotionally brought down by another Aspie. Mine has been gone 7 months now. The first 4-6 months I just wondered if I could survive alone in this world. Thing is, I had life plans brfore I met him. Things that the person I am now could never imagine! When I consider all that I’ve lost, given up over the last 44 years to love him, care for him, be his tutor in the real world, I know that there is more inside of me than I can see or feel right now. I was a strong, intelligent, determined woman. She’s still inside me. Yeah, she been beaten up, beaten down and left for dead. But after 7 months and buckets of tears and even more wine, I’m beginning to see a tiny light in my heart. A flicker of the “me ” that was. She can be resurrected! I know that it will be more time before I recover the all of the pre-trauma self. But I’ve seen the tiny flicker, but it was like the Aurora Borealis for what it did to me emotionally. There’s hope! Honest to goodness “hope”. I’m going to make it, I will! You need to decide how long you want to wait before you start your recovery. I’m 66 yo and I know I waited too long. My two kids have gone the way of putting the blame on me because I didn’t make my stand 30 years ago! Through most of my married life no one knew or heard of Aspergers. You have the benefit of more knowledge in the field (though not tons of it!). Seriously read the other posts here and see how long you want/can put off the inevitable. My prayers will be with you. Keep in touch and share your journey. Julie

  • Gayla

    July 27th, 2018 at 10:21 PM

    You indeed face a difficult choice and I completely understand why you care so much. I highly encourage working with a trained therapist. It will help you sort through your own feelings and heal and deal. I believe you will learn skills for creating an easy relationship with your partner as you separate. My former partner now has a devoted new girlfriend and they are deeply in love and supptrained therapist and orting each other. You will find your partner as well. Everything can work out beautifully. Just connect with a quality take things one day at a time until things have resolved. He can have a good life and so can you. I never felt anyone would want my ex but she really did and she’s very suited to him. And him to her. Honor yourself and your son.

  • Kim

    July 29th, 2018 at 9:01 PM

    My husband and I have been married for a little over a year. I’m sure that he has undiagnosed ASD, my son is on the spectrum so I know some of the symptoms. My sister is a SPED teacher and has been teaching full SPED classes for over 12 years, she just visited us for 2 weeks and she also agrees. I’m struggling so badly right now. This is my 2nd marriage, I was a single mom for 8 years raising my 2 kids. We’re having major issues in our marriage, communication wise and I was diagnosed with cancer and just had brain surgery. He just doesn’t get it, and I don’t know that he has the capacity to. I know that it’s not his fault. I can’t see how our marriage can possibly survive, I’m not one to believe in divorce, but I don’t want my kids to be negatively impacted by this marriage either. Any suggestions? For those of you who stuck out marriages for decades do you regret it? My oncologist gave me a prognosis of 20 years…I don’t want to spend whatever I have left living like this.

  • Joanna

    July 25th, 2019 at 2:53 PM

    Yes, I regret. I regret that I did not leave few years ago. I was not strong enough. Now I am over a year after divorce and I am learning my new me again. I have ups and downs but I do not believe that staying in a marriage with aspie is a good and healthy thing.

  • Kay

    July 25th, 2019 at 7:19 PM

    Oh Yes , I regret that I did not literally run for my life and my children’s live’s. As one woman has said she does not believe being married to an aspie is healthy. I have to say that is understated. You think your Asperger husband is not aware of how he affects you? I ask you to ask yourself if you truly believe that? Be completely honest you are the one that matters here . I know it is much easier to pretend they are innocent in their abuse to us. It makes it easier to stick around, like if only you could make them understand.
    They do understand . He did not have any of this bad treatment or behavior before you married, correct? Of course not , or you would not have married him , he knows this very well or he would not have had his mask on to trick you before marriage.
    There are many things an aspie does not know however. One is he has no idea what a conscience feels like , not when he treats you bad or does anything against you. I know it feels like you have married your enemy and you have . He doesn’t even know why himself , that is just the way it is . I think that it is many things but they most all are square pegs in round holes .They desperately want to be like us , accepted as ourselves and liked. But They are misfits and they have always known it. most have been picked on for being the oddball and this builds much resentment for our kind ,the NT.
    Another thing that adds us to be the enemy , they will do anything to avoid a confrontation aspies HATE confrontation. As the wife of an aspie you well know they bring about the very reasons confrontations are necessary, but they twist the situation around on us and tell themselves… yes she is like all the others now she is wanting to argue , I wont argue but she WILL PAY FOR THIS and the cycle begins . They don’t ever tell us what they are unhappy about they just set out to make us as unhappy and to pay for our crime of being OK, and normal .Something they want to be but do not know they just can’t . They have a different brain that makes them completely different from us and we must pay !
    Your children are also watching you be abused by way of disrespect ,ignoring ,if not even like in my case saying terrible things about me to my children. All the while im being a great mom and protecting them as much as possible , right? NO WRONG very wrong , children learn what they live and they are living that you do not deserve love or respect and they will not love or respect you just like dad and thy will be miserable adults because they are likely to pair up with an uncaring unloving person just like you did. All of these things happened to me …im old now and so very sorry for wasting my life and teaching my kids how to get by in a miserable marriage . This is the same story you will hear over and over. Do you want to be close to seventy years old , lonely , hubby still the same, no love from the kids and who can even blame them? No seeing the grand-kids . You think about this because it could be the story of your own life.
    Get out while you still can there are thousands upon thousands just like me.

  • meg

    August 5th, 2018 at 11:29 AM


  • Anonymous_NI

    August 13th, 2018 at 9:29 AM

    I can not believe this site! I can finally breathe again! Thank you all I thought I was going crazy and felt so alone!!. I had been with a man for 1 1/2 (not long compared to decades long marriages I know). We met in our late 30’s (both 38) and moved in together after a year together. 6 months later we are separating. We fight constantly in circular arguments. It is the same script. I say “you did/said something to me that upset me”. His says “I did not”, we argue, I get upset and start to yell or get really angry. He then turns it around on me -“You’re insecure, you’re toxic etc”. And then HE.SHUTS.DOWN. for days, weeks on end. I say “hey, you’re stonewalling me is causing me distress, abuse etc”, He then is emotionally overwhelmed, angry at me, I cry for attention, he looks at me like I’m an alien and goes right back into his shell. Wash.Rinse.Repeat. There is so much to recount for a 1 1/2 relationship but he basically took no responsibility for his actions – almost as if in his mind he is incapable of hurting people.! None of his past gf’s ever said anything to him so I’m the first and naturally the bad one. He NEEDS to be right. If pains if to admit he is wrong. He has no idea how to socialize with new people, so it is masked as shy-ness. He has little self regulation – he follows his own self interests ALL THE TIME, and NEEDS routine or else he is lost. He suffers from anxiety and depression. Every counselor thus far has focused only his needs for “emotionally safety”. He paints a great victimized picture with me (the extroverted gf) is too demanding, clingly etc (I assure you I may be demanding emotionally for a NT person its fine but for a AS no, but I am not clingly) and he the introverted, shy guy is being “attacked”. All these counselors feed into his sense of entitlement and fantasy world and make me the culprit. Only one came close to helping us. She focused on childhood trauma and abuse (we both suffered from) but he was not able to process emotions of the events and how is behavior affects me. He can intellectualize it but not process it to make changes. Communication needs to be superficial for us to get along. He NEEDS calm and predictability or all is lost and I am NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE ANY SORT OF NEGATIVE COMMENT towards him-if I do, it was all over. When I am emotionally dead inside, he comes out of his shell more, otherwise I’m walking of minefields and he can not connect. His emotional “safety” is all he strives for, always to the detriment of my sanity. He is obsessed with Latin music (though he is not Latin -White Canadian) and for X-mas bought me a pair of dancing latin shoes…I wore them once ( I am also not latin). He obsession excludes other forms of culture (I am Nigerian Canadian) but he is not able to see what he does. After our last counseling session, the therapist encouraged him to feel his feelings. He did so and realized that he does not want to be with me! That he can’t take this anymore -it’s too emotionally draining when I ask him to show up in an emotionally transparent and full way – that means taking responsibility for one’s action. He says he’s tried and now he’s drained (and he did try, he wen to counselors and read books etc -BUT ONLY FROM A NT PERSPECTIVE, they only validated his experiences no one clued in to give him and us specialized counseling for AS/NT dynamics so it just kept re-injuring the wound). So he broke up with me. I am still living in the apartment as I can not afford to move out. I live in Toronto, ON rent is high. We stay in separate rooms and I believe this feeds into his ideal of a perfect relationship- emotionally distant but still physically close and full of civilness. At first people thought I was crazy and being a witch. My ex is the typically “Nice Guy”, everyone loves him! He can do no wrong. If anyone has a problem with him it is the woman’s fault. He even looks like Clark Kent. He is very affable and kind so everyone loves him and the counselors (I feel) vilify me or at the least invalidate my experience. In the beginning he charmed me to the point I thought I was the one, but the second I pointed out some “irregularities” troubles began. He is INCAPABLE of really seeing any wrong doing on his part. I asked if there was autism in his family and he said no. It was his sister who told me that all the siblings (three of them including her) are HSF. He has said he knows he is different but he has never been diagnosed before and will not go for fear of losing his own self image of having all together. He even blamed me for not being able to finish his PhD!! (he’s been doing it for 11 years now. I met him in the last year and a half of it but its my fault). In the beginning we talked of having children. He was on board, we even tried a few times. My fertility issues came up and we went to doctor’s, I had surgeries etc. But in the end he said he would not be ready to parent with me (I am due for IVF in November – its now August) and after that came the end of us….I have lost so much in so little time; my love, my home and my dream of future with this person. My now-clued in friends say “Good riddance” and “imagine having a life/children with this person”. I know that but I feel this immense sense of loss and bewilderment. He feels that the dynamic was with just us and that he can find another partner with whom he can have a stable relationship with. I have been blamed, emotionally abandoned by him, made to feel crazy, made to feel like a bully and all around like a failure. I feel like I’m living out a movie of someone else’s life……how do I get on with my life and how do I stop feeling so crappy about his actions……I still miss him and us (when we were able to be healthy) and I still love him too….does that make me in fact crazy?
    Please any thoughts or help?

  • Anonymous_NI

    August 13th, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    If I may also add….(sorry, but I didn’t know that other women do through this so I am so relieved, overwhelmed and gutted by this).
    He is wickedly smart and before put me down for not taking my PhD as seriously as he does (mind you 2 years in vs 11 years), He was/is immensely loving and caring when engaged, almost like a puppy but when he gets disconnected….like Jennifer Garner said ‘ts like the sun goes away’. I am still baffled at how he can sleep in separate rooms of the house we shared literally 1 week ago!!! , decorated and brought love into….he can just carry on with his day as if all is well and nothing ever happened? Are these the emotions of a normal 40 year old man? I feel that he feels enpowered and entitled now. The therapist encouraged him to take back his emotional safe space and place, as if I am a demon (IMAGO – I am his father) and he has done that. He feels he is doing me a favor by letting me stay with him until I find a place, cause he still cares about me etc. I am trying by the finances of this city are too high….I feel guilty shamed, jealous, frustrated and ultimately….so tired. I thought about ending it all cause I was sooo lost in my feelings…I legitimately thought there was something wrong with me and at my age I’ll never have my happy ending……this feels so low and so bad…..I don’t know what to do. Literally. EVERY.DAY.IS. A.CHALLENGE to make it through.

  • The Team

    August 13th, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Thank you for visiting the GoodTherapy blog and for sharing your comment. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here:

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    If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! Information about what to do in a crisis is available here:

  • Sara

    September 28th, 2018 at 1:33 PM

    I married AS man 13 years ago with a full knowledge he had AS. I didn’t see any problems in the future because his behavior didn’t match what I read about AS. The man I married was social, outspoken, liked to make jokes, had friends, good at expressing his thoughts, charismatic, sweet, clever, outgoing, etc. He is still that way to other people except to me and to our children. He masked his normal (smug, short temper, controlling, arrogant, belittling, withdrawn) behavior and seemed NT. Over the years, I have slowly come to realise the full depth of his calculated deception. He even causally confessed, in a smug way, how he told me some calculated lies in the beginning to gain my trust and to win me over. He deliberately changed himself to match what I was looking for in a man and told he wanted same things in the future as I did. Already in the beginning of our marriage, I started to feel lonely, used, and neglected. I kept making excuses in my mind for his actions hoping things would get better and change over time. He wears a mask at work and everywhere else. I feel trapped as a stay-at-home mom homeschooling three of our 4 children (ages 2 ½, 6,7,9) with no personal income and no support system. He’s always right and I’m always wrong. I do everything, while he does nothing except earn income. He never apologises. He never spends time with our children and lashes out at them after spending more than few minutes in their presence (although he really wanted to have as many children as possible and promised to be a hands-on dad). Always puts himself and his feelings first, has no sympathy or empathy for other and rarely keeps his promises. Our children see their dad as very lazy, funny yet aggressive, yelling and unpredictable man who has no time or interest in them (he plays interactive online games around the clock except when he’s at work). I am, however, finally started to find my way out of the deep black hole of depression that was filled with sadness, loneliness and confusion. I have started to see some light ahead with the help of our four wonderful children who bring me joy and laughter each day. I want their future to be free from yelling, being ignored, aggression and that is why I’m planning on divorcing him. If the past repeats itself, he will be a distant dad to our children as he has been to his firstborn son who is now 25 year old. I have finally started to forgive myself for not listening my inner voice when it was warning me not to get involved in this relationship. I wanted to believe in what I heard, not what I saw and felt. I fell in love with the illusion he created of himself and when that wore off, all there was left was my guilt of hoping to escape. I have a small distant dream that maybe someday I will meet someone who loves me with his whole being, who would never want to hurt me and be completely honest man who’s words I wouldn’t have to doubt every time he would open his mouth. If that never happens, I’m fine with that. As long as I can gain back the love and respect for myself, and pure joy of being alive, my cup is full.

  • Stefanie

    November 26th, 2018 at 4:04 AM

    Hello Sara,
    I have just discovered that my husband suffers from Asperger’s just like his mother.
    I will tell that story later.
    For now I would like to tell you, Sara, that I think your husband does not suffer from Asperger’s but from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The meanness and the weird scheming you are describing might be too much for an ordinary Asperger’s.
    I think you should check that out because NPD people can be really awful and even dangerous. They will trick you into believing it is all your fault (they are often extremely charming with the outside world and most people will believe them) and if it comes to the worst they might assault you in a physical way.
    I am from Europe and in France there is quite an advanced comprehension about Narcissistic people, I have read a couple of French books on that topic.
    I wish you all the best in dealing with your husband but even if you get a divorce watch out!
    Narcissistic people are really, really dangerous whereas my husband seems just not to be functioning in an ordinary manner like a clock which is broken and refuses to show the time correctly.
    Good luck!

  • Sara S.

    December 13th, 2018 at 6:43 AM

    Hi Stefanie,

    Thank you for taking time to reply. I have actually been wondering for a while if my husband is actually Narcissist instead AS. This same Website has an article “Narcissism or Asperger’s? How to Tell the Difference”. I read it and thought that my husband ticked boxes for narcissistic person, not AS. What makes this situation even more confusing is that my husband, his mother, sister and two of his brothers participated in a research study conducted by a large, established University in Europe about twenty years ago whether or not they all had AS. My husband, his mother and one of his brothers were diagnosed of having AS. My husband’s mother is just like my husband thinking that she’s better, smarter and more talented than most people, tells lies which suit her purposes, can manipulate peoples perception of her by acting like a victim or be very charming to get her way etc. They believe that people and circumstances in life have been against them and therefore hindered them from success they should have had. His grandfather (mothers father) was had some of the same traits. His brother, who was also diagnosed, is an introvert, shy, hardly can keep eye contact while having a conversation etc. If my husband and his mother are narcissist instead AS, that means they were wrongly diagnosed years ago and it has served some purpose in their life to have that diagnosis. I have never felt that my husband is one dimensional or “living in his own world” kind of a person. Over the years, I have noticed that he can change his behavior when he wants to. In the beginning, while we lived in our native country, my husbands behavior was somewhat more consistent with AS but over the years as we have lived in two foreign countries his behavior has changed a lot, especially while living in the US. This year he told me that he changes the way he speaks according to whom he speaks to. If he talks to someone who uses more complex sentence structures and words, he’s aim is to match that speaking pattern so that he appears equal to them (also the other way around). One of his brothers does the same (not the one who was diagnosed with AS). He plays interactive online games around the clock even on workdays, which makes him very aggressive and competitive when he plays alone but when he plays with someone else online he’s very social, talkative, and witty. He can switch on and off just like that. All he does these days is sleep, work, and play online . Now that I’m already one foot out of the door, he has become nice, kind, attentive almost submissive in his behavior which before would have made me feel that I’m being too hard on my expectations of him and would have changed my mind about leaving.
    If you have any more thoughts on the matter, I would love to hear them as I don’t have anyone to talk about this subject.

  • Jamie

    December 14th, 2018 at 11:37 AM

    Sara, your husband, in my opinion is a narcissist. My first husband was and even after 18 years of divorce I still have scars and wounds that won’t heal. The I went and married a man that seemed like a breathe of fresh air after my first husband. I took his black and white view of the world as naive and expected that it would change with experience. Silly Silly Me. For 14 years I have been trying to get him into therapy and looks like he finally will. He comes to my therapy appointments sometimes and I find that I am brutally honest in my assessment of him and his faults. He always needs to sleep for about 14 hours after I have blasted him. I am just beyond frustrated that no one can seem to get that he does not have the skills to communicate, connect, be present, and emotionally connect. I long to sit on the sofa and talk the night away. Discuss dreams and aspirations. I love to listen and am more than willing but there is only silence. I feel guilty if I leave this man as he world would be flipped upside down because he incapable of understanding the depth of loneliness I feel. We have two very young children and when I get frustrated they get scared that we are going to divorce. I have never threatened but you can’t stop kids from having an imagination. I don’t believe my husband could handle moving or being alone. He has never been alone in his entire life and has lived in the same house for over 40 years. I don’t know where I am going with this but finding and getting the help you need is not easy. Leaving is not easy and staying is not weakness. Surrendering is winning when battling drugs and alcohol, and wonder if same holds true in these types of marriages. I really got off track. Sara, no one can tell you to stay or leave but you can rest assured that as long as you have one foot out the door your husband is going to play the nice card. If he successfully sucks you back in he will revert as sure as the sun will rise. I didn’t take the time to work through what had happened to me emotionally and believe that contributes to how I am dealing with life now. You are not crazy, you do not owe anyone anything. You owe it to yourself to at least take a break and see how it feels. Good luck and God bless. Life is hard enough and even harder when you feel alone and unsupported.

  • Spring

    December 23rd, 2018 at 12:33 PM

    Sara, I am sorry this is happening to you. Others said it right, as soon as you give him a feeling of you’re back in, he will go back to old behavior. My aspie came back once after breaking up, telling me he is different. I went along and waited to see what happens when he starts to feel comfortable. At the beginning he agreed to anything -therapy yes, social and emotional skills training, was considerate, kind, connecting … after he felt the relationship was on track, it went back to same old – unable to consider my feeling, idea of connection is very superficial connects, stonewalling, blaming, punishing in conflict.I really don’t think it’s deliberate, it’s a reaction to feeling more comfortable and masking less, but it can hurt an NT. I left at the end because I couldn’t take the ever longer silent treatments.

  • Sara S

    January 7th, 2019 at 7:32 AM

    Spring, you’re absolutely right. I know that his kindness and submissive behavior is just to serve his agenda. It has nothing to do with me. I think that my husband might be a Covert Narcissist. I also think that I have few very close family members who are CN as well. I have made so many excuses in my head for my husbands behavior over the years because I thought he cannot help his condition. He himself have used AS as an excuse why his is lacking emotional response or feelings in some situations. I don’t know if he actually believes himself he has AS or he’s deliberately lying about it. In any event, I’m ready to leave and I think he feels it. I’m using “Gray Rock Method” right now so I can distance myself from him. I wish I had realised sooner that he might not be AS. Both conditions are given either at birth or in early childhood and cannot be changed but at least with AS what you see is what you get, not constant lies and mind games that come with CN. Now I know why I have been on the edge all the time in his presence the same way as I’m with my mom and my sister. I feel emotionally drained every time I spend time with any of them which most likely makes me a codependent. Now that I know what is, it is easier to focus on what’s next. I hope this new year will be better for all of us. Whether we stay or leave, we all have to remember that we have only one life to live. How we live that life is our choice. Namaste.

  • White Linda

    December 15th, 2018 at 10:27 PM

    Oh my goodness; there are so many NT words😢

    I contemplate that my Aspie could make love to my mind as I would find that infinitely attractive; instead my experience is stonewalling and silence.

    Please tell me that it can be better because this barren desert of an existence is emotionally parching and robs one of life’s joy.

    It is SUCH an effort to rise above and at the same time so infinitely sad as I grieve with and for my partner who knows not what grief he sows….

  • Jamie

    December 16th, 2018 at 7:14 PM

    Beautifully sad words.

  • Sarah P

    December 27th, 2018 at 2:20 AM

    But Linda when you have a neurotypical relationship again after the Aspergers years it is so, so beautiful. I was struck with wonder and awe at what sex is between two committed and loving neurotypicals – I had forgotten the utter sweetness of it, the nourishment and care and sense of joy. Even now two years after leaving my Aspie ex and after a year with my boyfriend I still am often tearful after sex because it is such a gift, and in the Aspie relationship it was such a trial and I hated it so much.

  • Anonymous_NI

    December 23rd, 2018 at 6:13 PM

    My ASD ex was the deepest love I have known and my god the most painful. I wonder if it is possible to grieve such an ending…I wonder if is right to grieve such a love that can make you question everything you thought you knew – if the world is even round anymore? I have been told by an ASD therapist that despite all the therapy and behavioral strategies…I will never get true closure….cause he will never truly understand what his part was….to go through life and hurt others in such a way and yet they will get closure….it can almost rob you of…..something….almost. .

  • Julie S.

    December 24th, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    They Rob us the very deepest place in our heart.

  • Anna

    February 20th, 2019 at 12:26 AM

    I have been sitting and reading with tears in my eyes. I believe my husband is an undiagnosed AS. So many of these stories could be my own. I was a single mother with 3 daughters when I met him. I had just ended a marriage that was physically and mentally abusive and he seemed so lovely and caring. While he was a lot younger than me, I marvelled at how he seemed to have such an old head on young shoulders, how mature he seemed. When we married he was praised for being willing to take on the girls and be involved in all the school and church committees and fundraisers. He was a ‘hands off’ father with the girls and I believed that it was because their own father was still involved with them. Then we had a son together and his parenting style was still not to engage fully with his son. He was always too busy. Alarm bells started to go off in my head. Our son was diagnosed AS at age nine and his therapist asked my husband if he had ever been assessed. I did not realise at the time how telling a comment that was. He refused to read any literature about AS or even acknowledge the special needs of our son. He seemed to put his head in the sand. He began to hone in on what he saw as faults in our son, he did not keep his room tidy, he did not do his homework, he did not take on tasks around the house without being told etc. Before long his only interactions with our son was routinely criticising him. It didn’t occur to him to give praise or affection. Despite all this I loved him and thought that my previous life had been a lot worse.
    My husband frequently made major life decisions without consultation, such as getting a vasectomy, buying a new home whilst I was in hospital, and changing purchase contracts. He could not see why I could possibly be upset as he “did it for me”.( a constant theme in our marriage). He constantly accused me of changing my mind, insisting that we had agreed on something that he acted on. I began to doubt my own ability to make decisions, so much so that it affected my work and my confidence. I began to second guess and doubt myself.
    He developed rules around our sex life until it became non existent years ago and could not see why I was hurt that there was no intimacy. He actually suggested that I might need to find a surrogate for sex but to please ensure that he didn’t find out about it as he would have to leave me (I did not).
    He is extremely intelligent and ambitiousness and gathers a huge circle of work colleagues around him and lives for the rewards and praise that his achievements at work give him. His obsession with work meant that he refused to take holidays with the family, or once the children left home, with me. He frequently travelled for work for varying periods of time. He did this without concern for what needed to happen at home whilst he was away and despite working and studying myself and juggling the needs of four children I did what had to be done. When he did take work leave he would chose a project and immerse himself in it completely to the exclusion of all else. On the surface, we were a busy couple, raising a family together and he was a great dad, working so hard for his family.
    Behind the scenes he literally walked away from conversations that he found uncomfortable so that differences of opinions were never resolved. On at least a half dozen occasions he packed a bag and stood at the door , threatening to leave ” because he was not appreciated”. He was constantly exhausted from the long hours he put in at work and slept till the afternoons on weekends and then went to the study to work again. I listened for hours as he talked in minute detail about something he was doing at work but did not receive the same in return. He would be furious if I went out with my friends as it meant that I might not be home when he chose to come home, in fact he threatened to leave because I was not home one evening when he came home early to surprise me and take me out for dinner. I had gone out for a drink with workmates as he was never home till late.
    He controlled the finances and and spent uncontrollably, until he was no longer able to pay bills and could no longer juggle numerous credit cards that I was not even aware of. He didn’t want to tell me because “he was a proud man”. We were almost bankrupt. I took control of the finances at this point and dragged us back from edge despite him threatening to leave again. That threat broke me and I told him that he could pack and go. It was the first time I had not backed down. He begged me to allow him to stay. Despite all this I loved him and thought that my previous life had been a lot worse.
    We went to marriage counselling where he continually stated that all was well and when the counsellor asked what we wanted of each other I asked for more connection and a return to intimacy, he asked that I continue to support him and not be angry with him. After 6 weeks he cancelled the counselling and said that he felt that we were in a good place. When I asked for further counselling as there was more we needed to address and still no intimacy he accused me of changing my mind again and walked away. Despite all this I loved him and thought that my previous life had been a lot worse.
    Then he made another massive life decision. .. Whilst on one of his many overseas trips he was offered a job in that country and told me about it over the phone. By the time he came home he had signed a contract for two years and was leaving within weeks and he didn’t think I would like living in the country he was going to and I had just started a new job. He was doing this for me to get us out of our financial mess. Of course I was devastated but he justified it by saying we had talked about it and that he had always said that he would like to work overseas. He insisted that it was purely a ‘financial decision’ and he would absolutely be back at the end of the contract. He could not comprehend that it was a decision that involved feelings and emotions. The few phone calls I did get were from the office and all about how well he was doing and how indispensable he was to the company. He didn’t ask about life here for the family or me and when I did start to share he would continue to work and I could hear the keys tapping. While he was away I realised how little I actually seemed to matter to him. He did not appear to miss me. He had maids to wash, iron and clean for him and ate all his meals out. He took up activities that he had refused to participate in with me( not his fault, he was lonely and his colleagues had invited him..How could I feel slighted by that?) I should not be surprised that his contract was extended. He came home for Christmas, Birthdays and special occasions but did not engage with any of the children or grandchildren which left everyone questioning why he bothered to come home. He invited me to visit him on a couple of occasions but slept in another room, saying that he thought I would be more comfortable as it was so hot. He invited me to visit last year and told me that he wanted a divorce, coldly and matter of factually, saying that he didn’t feel any chemistry with me. No discussion or prelude to the statement, but when I arrived home shattered and upset he called to say that he had not meant to say he wanted a divorce and could we please talk. There was little discussion over the next few months, just a brief text once in a while as he was invested in a new project. He came home for the next round of birthdays and on my birthday announced that he had decided he did want a divorce. He told family and friends that “we had agreed to separate”. I have spent the last 3 years in therapy after I had a breakdown at work due to the stress and uncertainty of recent years and at 60 had to give up a well paying career to allow myself to heal my lost and broken self. My children, including my son, have all stepped forward to tell me that they did not feel loved by him but just another accessory to show what a successful life he had. Friends, including his, have stepped forward to say that they has always wondered if he was AS.
    There are many ways to break a person and living with an AS spouse is just one of them.

  • Sarah Swenson

    February 20th, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you are taking the time to heal and rejuvenate and that your children are sharing their experiences with you. I know how difficult this is and I send you love and warm wishes as you continue to navigate this path.

  • Somebody

    February 21st, 2019 at 12:57 PM

    This is the most informative article I have ever read. I so wish that I could have had this information years ago. The woman described is me. Exactly and precisely me. We were married 43 years. My problem right now is trying to figure out who I am and how to go forward. I literally have no idea. Thank you for writing this article. You have clarified so many things to me that just didn’t make sense.

  • Julie

    February 22nd, 2019 at 9:59 AM

    I read this article a couple of years ago. I readily identified with it as well. I was married to him for 44 years. I’ve been divorced only a few months. I feel like I’m breathing fresh air now but I’m still suffering from the years spent with him. My kids are a mess, but no one knew what it was for so long.

  • Linda

    February 22nd, 2019 at 2:34 PM

    My story is so very similar; he came across of kind caring and sensitive which is is for others. I am his emotional punching bag and he also “ walks away from discussions he finds uncomfortable “( he calls them Dr. Phil sessions) . After 25 years of this and only truly understanding what I am up against in the last three years, I am ready to leave. Just one month ago I left for a week because I needed a break from the circular arguments and constantly being disregarded and feeling like his mama. I am not going to rush this but take the time to fully process the consequences and what my next life might look like…….I am reading a book now “ The Courage to be Disliked “. I fully attest to the fact that my good little codependent self very likely has contributed to the bizarre situation I find my self in. I am in a marriage in name only; no intimacy for 10.5 years; no sense of connection; very few shared experiences – I now travel by myself or with girlfriends…….and for quite awhile I truly lost my fun loving, spontaneous, loving, kind and intensely curious self…….working on regaining lost ground but I have to separate my self from him; it really is so very true that the worst kind of loneliness is sitting in a room with someone and feeling lonely because he says nothing. Oh and I had to take control of our finances after he lost a ton…….life is too short…….

  • Annie

    February 28th, 2019 at 3:25 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story, Linda. It’s uncanny how similar my experience has been to yours. I relate to the “circular arguments” (crazy making cycles), my husband’s walking away from discussions that don’t make him feel good, me feeling like his mama, the lack of intimacy going on 6 or 7 years (we’ve only had a handful of sexual encounters in 20 years. It’s a miracle that two wonderful boys have come out of them). I celebrate the fact that you’ve been able to walk away.
    Thank you, Dr. Swenson, for bringing to light what so many women suffer through alone. I’ve been with my husband for almost 20 years (five and a half years long distance and married, going on 14 years) and denied the reality of my experience for the first 19 years. I have completely lost a sense of who I am, and in my children’s eyes have become an irritable and angry woman (I was once a cheerful, free-spirited, easy going person) We went through years and years of counseling, which not only didn’t help but in most cases pushed me deeper into loneliness and darkness. Our last counselor diagnosed me with PTSD and referred me for EMDR therapy; however, being the primary breadwinner as a school teacher, I didn’t have the time or the finances to sustain therapy. After years of praying, begging, crying, screaming for my husband to please find alternate work (he insisted for 18-19 years that he was working as a musician and “doing the best that he can” and that if I wanted him to find a different job or line of work, that I’d have to do it for him. Each time that I found him leads or derived creative ideas for him to branch out, he wouldn’t follow through) Even friends who are gifted and skilled MFTs seem to have grown weary my situation and say that they don’t see him acting the way that I so vainly try to describe. We have two young children, and he absolutely refuses to separate (I’m getting better at not falling into his guilt and manipulation traps). I can’t imagine going through the divorce process alone (my family has told me directly that I’m a terrible person for even bringing up the idea, and my mother said that she would break ties with me). I’m desperate for professional help but don’t know where to begin. I’ve looked through Psychology Today’s list but the therapists that I’ve contacted are not taking new clients, and I’m scared that we’ll end up with yet another therapist who doesn’t know how to do work with an ASD/NT couple. Please help! I live in Los Angeles county and would appreciate any referrals or leads. Thank you so much in advance.

  • The Team

    March 1st, 2019 at 1:24 PM

    Dear Annie,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, you can start finding therapists in your area by entering your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page:

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. If you need help finding a therapist, you are welcome to call us. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112.

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy Team

  • Somebody

    March 1st, 2019 at 2:13 PM

    I had a similar situation with my mom. I know how terrible that feels. Would you ever do the same thing to your boys or a girl if you had a daughter? I know I wouldn’t. I started giving myself the credit and understanding that I would give my children. I don’t know why parents decide not to support their children, especially their daughters – I might not ever know. I do know that if you buy into the thinking that it is all your fault and he is just “a good guy” you will be stuck forever.

  • Annie

    March 1st, 2019 at 3:22 PM

    Thank you for leaving this comment. I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but I feel like I’m dying. This site and thread has been a life-line.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    March 1st, 2019 at 3:38 PM

    Hello, Annie – I’m glad my writing resonates with you though I am sorry to hear of your distress. I realize it is difficult to find therapists who work with neurodiverse couples. This is why I work to train therapists to support this population. If you’re intersted in working with me through the auspices of my coaching practice, you’re welcome to contact me through my profile here on I work online with individuals and couples around the world. I send warm regards to you as you navigate this path.

  • Elena

    March 23rd, 2019 at 11:38 PM

    Annie, please stay sane and please don’t let yourself die. I’ve been in the relationship with my Asperger husband for 9 years, married for 8. Not as long as you. We have a 2.5 year old daughter who is already acting confused by him and the difference in attention I give vs him. I had postpartum depression or I thought I had but it didn’t seem to really go away and get better. Last summer I started feeling very fatigued and now can officially say that I have chronic fatigue because it hasn’t lifted despite me taking thyroid meds. I just started taking antidepressants. I see myself in the majority of comments and absolutely refuse to take this path for many more years to come. I’m 37, have a good job that would sustain me and my child in overpriced San Francisco Bay Area. So that helps but I always had in mind to have a career to cover my bases in case my marriage turns like my parents’ (I started suspecting that my father is also on the spectrum). Anyways, literally today was when I made a decision to divorce him. As good as he describes himself, he is the poison to me and possibly to our daughter. I wish I could help you somehow. I have limited financial resources since our accounts are joint and super transparent. But I can offer some emotional support. I get it from my therapist. Let me know if you need a friendly ear. This misery should not be our life and definitely not of our children. Take care! Sending you lots of support!

  • Annie

    March 24th, 2019 at 9:18 PM

    Elena, Thank you for your kinds words and support. I wish you and your daughter strength and courage as you take this big step. I am so grateful for the community of women, including you who have bravely and transparently shared their stories here and have extended support and hope to the rest of us.

  • This Wife

    March 19th, 2019 at 2:47 PM

    This article is my life. Exactly my life except for the fact that mom is poignantly aware of the attitude the children (now teenagers) have developed toward her. She tried to talk to her husband about the dynamic and how it is playing out, despite her attempts to have it go differently than outlined in the article with the kids. The additional ‘fun’ in all this is that we have a step-family situation which brings another layer of complication. I get to watch my husband do things for his ex (now that she is not his wife and is “other people” who must see him as the nice guy) that he won’t do for me (since I am no longer “other people” and there’s no facade to keep up).

  • Sarah

    March 21st, 2019 at 3:13 AM

    Hi This Wife – as the former wife, now ex of an Aspie, I don’t think your husband’s ex will have forgotten what it is like to be married to an Aspie, or see him simply as a ‘nice guy.’ There is a lot of work around boundarying and resetting the relationship when you leave an Aspie – it doesn’t take 5 minutes for them to start to see you as a person and treat you well – for me it took about 18 months of constant and careful boundary setting. But divorce after living with an Aspie is a wonderful blessing and does change everything – I am fond of my Aspie ex now and appreciate him whereas when I was married to him I hated him and hated our life. I do worry about his girlfriend now and I hope she’s okay but she has to travel her own journey like I did.

  • Johnnie S. D.

    April 9th, 2019 at 6:19 AM

    I have been trying to discover what was “wrong” with my husband now deceased since were married and this article and comments are so accurate for me. I entered into marriage so happy and before long there were things I could not understand. Since my husband died I am still hurting over what I called his meanness but yet he was loving too. Thank you for this article, I will be looking for a counselor to help me. One child especially blamed me for the father’s issues. On top of his Asperger he came from an extremely disfunctional family with mental and alcohol issues.

  • Kathleen

    April 10th, 2019 at 7:54 PM

    I dated my guy in high school, but just went out a few times. He was my first sexual encounter, me 17, and he was 19. I left home and went off to college, and we lost touch, but I always thought of him. A bit nerdy and clumsy, artsy, and a tad shy until he started drinking. Then a totally different person, but at that age, I was too after a few. I married another, had 3 kids, and recently went through a divorce. I looked him up via social media, and he responded. He is a truck driver, very charming, and scripted on what to say , I felt. Anyways, I decided to meet up with him after all this time as he said he had thought of me several times over the years and would love to get together. The first meeting was electrifying (we are both in our fifties) and we could not get enough of each other. Real intense. After just a short time, he came to stay with me. It has been 1 1/2 years. He is out of town right now, and I just read an article on Asperger’s the other day and am freaking out. He totally fits this mold. He has “habits”, like wringing his hands, twirling his hair in the same spot every time, and I have seen him rocking sometimes. He colors in those adult coloring books for hours and hours with his music playing and the TV on mute. I feel like a prisoner sometimes, as it leaves only going in the bedroom, shutting the door and reading as the only thing I can do. No sense in watching TV, can’t hear anything over his music (which is all about truck driving) I tried coloring with him, but can only manage about 1/2 hour before I am bored. I have asked him to listen to the music and color when I am at work and to interact with me, but only lasts a day or two. Now, I have lost my job and we are moving to the city where he used to work and he is going back to work. He will never entertain the idea that he has this disorder. He also drinks way too much, but I gotta say, he is more sociable and attentive when he starts drinking. Problem is, I love this guy, and now that I am absolutely sure he is an Aspie, I am a bit scared. I am not ready to ditch him, but need help on trying to approach him with this. One thing i forgot to mention, is that he cannot read a word, so reading about it is not an answer. He is extremely defensive and argumentative. I am the complete opposite, I am very social, have 7 girlfriends from Hugh School that talk and get together regularly. He cannot remember any of their names, and could not care less.. We have been living together for a year. He has already lost interest in sex. I thought it was me because I have gained about 20 lbs in the last year, but now know it is just this. Explains so much…Glad I found out early so
    i can watch for the changes in myself and be sure to take care of myself first ! Back to the gym and back on a good diet for me. Both of which he says are stupid !

  • Baardmannetje

    April 29th, 2019 at 3:36 AM

    I am the ASD side of the marriage and read this blog and all the comments. They make me ashamed of myself and convinced me that my NT wife’s only option is to ask for divorce. I never intended to cause this harm. I am so sorry for all of you, what I read is all so true.

  • Kathy

    April 29th, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    I am so sorry you read this but I know what I have gone thru with my 26 year marriage. I tried to make it work but I did not know what I was dealing with. I pray for my ex husband because I know he meant no harm. But the conflict and loneliness get to you after so many years. God bless you and may you your wife find a place where both can be happy. Married or not. I am happy and my children has accepted and understand my decision.

  • Sarah

    April 29th, 2019 at 12:29 PM

    Baardmannetjie – you should not be ashamed of yourself. You recognise that ASD behaviour can be difficult on spouses and that puts you apart from the men this site is talking about. The women on this site are hurt by men who won’t acknowledge their behaviour or their ASD. I don’t believe that when there is a real conversation about ASD that divorce is inevitable. I only got divorced when I realised that my husband could never accept or see the harm he was causing. If he had been willing to acknowledge his ASD and work with an appropriately trained therapists like Sarah, staying might have been an option.

  • Jamie P.

    May 2nd, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    Dear MPLO, I glean from your comment that you have been formally diagnosed. Each of us are sharing our personal story and if you pay close attention, no one has stated that those on the spectrum are unsuccessful, lonely, sperm/egg donors. This group of NT’s are married to people we love deeply and at the same time are frustrated with the casual dismissal of our feelings, our loneliness, our despair. ASD’s make most everything about themselves, which you have demonstrated by your callous remarks. We NT’s know that ASD’s actions are not intentionally malicious but that doesn’t take away the sting. If you are truly as wonderful and sensitive as you believe, you will apologize for your knee jerk reaction, and not visit this site again.

  • Joan C.

    May 7th, 2019 at 8:05 AM

    Jamie P, that response was perfect, thanks for writing so eloquently exactly what many of us were, no doubt, thinking.

  • Ian M.

    May 10th, 2019 at 9:46 AM

    I both appreciate and have issues with this article. The description of the difficulties NT partners have with their ASD companions seem to me to stem mostly from a very common mistake NTs make. NTs assume everyone is an NT. They assume the behaviour in which they would engage is the behaviour in which everyone engages. ASD people offer a clear counter-example.
    Your article even makes this explicit : “The reticence does not point to the underlying wisdom she assumed was present; she now sees that it comes from his not knowing what to do or say.” The mistake here was the assumption (as it usually is).
    In the birthday example, why is the NT partner making a point of celebrating Daddy’s birthday? He doesn’t care about birthdays. The asymmetry between how the mother’s birthday and father’s birthday are viewed by the children exists only because the mother continues to celebrate the father’s birthday, even though he doesn’t care.
    My issue with the article is that it gives tacit approval to this NT approach. Rather than treat her ASD partner like an individual, the NT partner has assumed he conforms to some broad social standard (despite having no evidence of that), and his failure to live up to those expectations causes her considerable angst.
    If, however, the NT partner hadn’t made those assumptions, and instead gotten to know her husband rather than expecting him to be like everyone else, they wouldn’t be in this situation.
    I’m a parent, and I’m autistic, and I see a lot of myself in this article. I don’t like parties; I will not attend them, even if they’re in my house. I did spend years begrudgingly participating, but I eventually worked up the courage to refuse. But I was never asked; it was simply assumed I wanted to meet people and make new friends.
    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but NTs routinely draw conclusions as if it is. If I don’t stand up and state my objection clearly (and often – apparently saying something once isn’t good enough), my objection is assumed not to exist. That’s terrible reasoning, and it’s not predictable.
    The only difference between me and the man in your article is that I have been diagnosed, but I don’t tell anyone, because I don’t think it matters. The label assigned to me doesn’t change who I am.
    Each person you meet is different. Each person you meet is individual. Assuming a person will conform to some generic standard of normalcy is offensive to me, and requiring a label to prevent that assumption even moreso.

  • Vivienne R.

    May 10th, 2019 at 3:09 PM

    The label isn’t meant to change anything, least of all you, Ian. It is an indication to help people like myself understand why you do not conform to majority social norms, and so help us relate better with you, and also to give us NTs information so that we can avoid getting entangled with you in a romantic way, were you available, if we wish to have relationships with NTs only. This article is about the suffering caused by ASD partners mainly of the undiagnosed kind, i imagine, some of whom behave in what would normally be considered an “abusive” way, were it not that we bend over backwards to make allowances for your differences. Please have the humility to understand that many women walked unknowingly into marriage with people with ASD, and it has cost them dearly in ways you clearly can not understand. Please try again to understand the SUFFERING that these women have experienced, do not hide your diagnosis, it IS relevant, it IS helpful. Best of luck to you.

  • Sarah

    May 10th, 2019 at 3:13 PM

    Ian I appreciate your perspective. But this article is not ‘giving tacit approval to the NT approach.’ It is throwing a lifeline to women who may be becoming suicidal in their loneliness and despair. So many resources around NT/ AS couples counsel the NT to be submissive and pretend she isn’t in pain. Sarah’s work is incredible. If it makes you angry or frustrated just step away from it – you don’t have to engage with it. The truth is that NT expect an NT perspective because they need an NT perspective. Sarah is the bridge across that need if you make the choice to stay with your AS partner. Don’t slate her work – it is so important and too rare.

  • Cassandra

    May 11th, 2019 at 6:56 AM

    Dear Ian M,
    While I do appreciate the tone of your comments, I think you are missing one glaring and important fact, that we , including you, live in an NT world. We are socialized in an NT world, we work, live, interact within an NT framework, so no, why should any of us on this site consider that the person we are engaging with would be such a deviation from NT behavior. If one were to look at the distribution of developmental and cognitive abilities in a population, there is an average that most of the population adhere to, that average is what constitutes our everyday social interactions, that average is how most of the world understands itself. Outside of that is where the “deviations” come into being. So when we operate from the dominant framework of behavioral and developmental operations, how exactly are we to blame. You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s the equivalent of you being asked to name and operate by a standard that you may not even have known existed. Now, should there be more awareness? ABSOLUTELY! Not even just for informative’s sake but also to warn people of what to expect should they wish to engage with an ASD person for a romantic relationship. I will say, that while everyone is an individual, there are some characteristics that ASD people exhibit (ask any therapist) and your gaslighting and blaming the people on this site is very characteristic of ASD folks. The inability to assume responsibility for actions that offend others but always quick to point out when they are offended is an old hat that we’ve already worn….we know how this story ends….. See, Ian, many of us have lived or engaged with ASD behavior long enough to identify when someone wants to exhibit their inability to engage in fruitful and progressive dialogue. but instead wants to shift blame and act as if they’ve done nothing wrong. Your brain functions differently than others, yet you wont’ tell ppl, possibly leading them on a fool’s errand trying to decipher and understand the best way to engage with you or meet you halfway in order lessen negative feelings in the interaction. If you are offended then by all means please leave this site and start your own site and gaslight there until your hearts content, trust me I can safely bet that many would not be offended in the slightest, but I am sorry my dear, your attempts at attention seeking and victim blaming and shaming have no place here. Please feel free to move on…many of us are moving on from folks like you.

  • Ian M.

    May 13th, 2019 at 10:21 AM

    In a relationship between two people, neither holds a majority position.
    I shan’t trouble you further.

  • Nilsor

    June 21st, 2019 at 2:49 PM

    “If, however, the NT partner hadn’t made those assumptions, and instead gotten to know her husband rather than expecting him to be like everyone else, they wouldn’t be in this situation”
    Ian M, This statement of your’s is a typical blame shifting move. The NT partner got to know the false self presented. They are not responsible for not being aware this self was a lie. If an NA partner can present for any length of time as an NT, it shows they know exactly what is hoped for and desired in a partner, and relationship, and just how to behave, other wise they never could have fooled their partner. It’s common experience for partners of NA’s that this false self falls away once the goal is achieved- that goal being marriage quite often. They have what they want so there is no need to keep up the pretense anymore. This behavior and others discussed by NT’s on this site are also very common in people with Intimacy Anorexia, and NPD. The same scenario plays out, falling for what the person presents as their true self, only to find out later it was a lie.

  • Daisy

    May 11th, 2019 at 6:29 AM

    I am NT and my marriage is in its 25th year. I agree with your stance. However, you refer to something that is very key here and that is the question of getting to know one another before committment in marriage is made. Unfortunately, the AS partner does his/her very best to conform to NT normalcy in order to have the relationship continue. The differences are hidden. Yes, as NTs we may pick up on the odd quirk but we are not psychiatrists and we determine the odd quirk is just that; a quirk. However, it belies something far greater deep within the AS individual that we do not have access to until the committment in marriage, for example, is made. I knew my husband for two and a half years before we married. We were engaged for the last year. All was well. Yes, there was the odd quirk, but nothing to write home about. After one week of marriage my husband said to me, “We are no longer lovers. We are now just responsible people.” Yes, I was aghast. So, as time played out, and still plays out, he wanted me as a sexual partner. Nothing more. Now he is, quite rightly as you say, entitled to take that stance on relationships in life but before marriage he made it clear to me that his approach to marriage would be that of an NT (not that had a clue what AS or NT meant at that time. My husband’s interests drift to other women. On one occasion I asked him if he could see himself having a relationship with ‘N’. He said”, Well, she’s got a hole hasn’t she?” This, by default, means that I am his ‘hole’. I’ll leave it to your imagination to recognize was my husband was referring to. I am sure you will understand this dehumanizes me. This is the problem here. All the NT woman and men who have commented on this article have become less than human because of the relationship we are in. It has left us in tatters. If the mask had been taken off before committment there are very few of us would have moved forward into it. Perhaps if you were to discover the sheer number of outlets there are, online and elsewhere in the real world, for NTs who are receiving medical treatment in order to exist in NT/AS relationships you would see that this is, indeed a very, very real problem. There is nothing wrong with being AS. There is nothing wrong with being NT. What IS wrong, is that teenagers and people in their early 20s do not have access to the VERY important information that the success rate of AS/NT relationships is extremely low, and the reasons why. I wish you well.

  • Kay

    July 25th, 2019 at 10:51 PM

    Daisy ….
    OMG, Dear I think you may be one of the few women who have had it worse than me. Now It is doable for me because there is no more pretense , i leave when I want do what I want mostly . I will stay unless he reverts to old horrible abuses or in new and any ways makes me unhappy.
    I know that he has not changed , no way but he has the same feelings he has just been wearing his mask from before the marriage.
    I have made another life and now i have two partial unfulfilled lives. Because ive not been free. I have been in first a prison made by him and his lies and abuse and now by myself , because I am a coward, a complete coward. I dont like being that . But as crazy as this sounds i am at a place in my life where I have made up my mind i am going to be happy .
    I know something is wrong with me because I stay and I don’t truly believe I am a coward. I do believe something is wrong because being married to him is proof that something is very wrong. but for now it is what it is and i am still going to get a divorce same as i was over thirty years ago . I was completely alone , he turned everyone against me , friends and family both deserted me i had a break down and had a deep depression , both i had to literally fight for my life and sanity. today I am ok . Maybe a bit slower and a back to match the rest of my life , but some kind of change has come over me Daisy and I KNOW i am going to be happy. I am happy now right where I am so I can only go up from here !. I don’t even know you but I know you deserve so so so much more than him human should have to deal with that . maybe we could help each other , that would be great . keep me informed here . Take care and KNOW HOW BAD HE IS and that you can get away .

  • Robin

    June 21st, 2019 at 11:52 AM

    You just wrote my past, my present, and most likely my future.

  • Jean

    June 26th, 2019 at 4:44 PM

    no comment-just want to be notified of new comments on this thread.

  • Somebody

    July 26th, 2019 at 9:04 PM

    Also no comment but wish to be notified of new comments.

  • Laurie

    August 14th, 2019 at 10:22 PM

    I feel much the same way and my story is similar. However, I’m the autistic one and he’s NT. Some of the comments on here are just gross generalizations about autistic people and are actually very hurtful. It’s been my experience (with autistic friends and boyfriends) that we feel deeply and are more affected by emotion than most NTs, and much more than we let on. We fear if others knew exactly how sensitive we were, they would take advantage and manipulate us (and that fear comes directly from previous experience). Many of us do have walls up – that’s what we learned we needed to do to survive. It makes me so sad that no one really sees us. We’re just people with a different operating system than most. Please stop thinking of us as monsters.

  • Somebody

    August 18th, 2019 at 6:15 PM

    I have not seen any comments calling all autistic people monsters.
    You say you are “more effected by emotion than most NT’s and much more than we let on” And that you fear being known. And you are so sad that people don’t see you. How can we “see” you if you won’t show us? How can you blame us for not understanding when you do not express yourself. I assume that struggling with expressing yourself is part of your disease but if you hide that you have a disease (see Ian above) or your disease is unknown how are people with any operating system suppose to evaluate the situation? Furthermore and most importantly why aren’t you asking or even considering how this affects the NT???

  • Rob

    August 19th, 2019 at 8:43 AM

    Well, one reason to keep quiet is to avoid people telling us we have a disease when we more aptly have a different functioning brain. Personally I have this beautiful world view where I don’t see race or gender, just people; and I certainly don’t want a “cure” for that. I often I speak so directly that the listener is offended as well so i’ve Been conditioned to keep quiet.

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 19th, 2019 at 2:23 PM

    This comment is for Rob: Rob, I am sorry that so many are not educated about autism. You’re right. It is not mental illness. It is not a disease. It is a result of neurological differences between what we call the neurotypical brain and the autistic brain. I can understand why you might grow weary of explaining this. Please know that there are professionals who do understand this difference and who agree with you. I’m one of them. -Sarah

  • Somebody

    August 20th, 2019 at 12:34 AM

    While reviewing my comment I saw that I called “your operating system “(your preference) a disease. This was a mistake. I apologize. I am also sorry that I caused you pain. That was never my intention.
    My only point was that when you are in a relationship you have an obligation to be honest and transparent. It is unfair and causes an enormous amount of pain when anyone is intentionally dishonest in a relationship.

  • Rob

    August 20th, 2019 at 12:16 PM

    Thanks Sarah and Somebody for acknowledgement and apology. I can’t speak for all on the spectrum but I can say I’m definitely as honest as they come. The thing that I think some mistake for dishonesty is that when I was single I had so much quiet time in which I could daydream, think about future interactions with people and have this balance of personal recharging time and time with people. When we move in with people and the number of interactions with our partners increases by 1000% it changes our balance. It’s not something I consciously thought of prior to any relationship, but something I only recognized as a pattern after many, many years. What’s terribly hard is trying to get some of the personal time back and not have our partner feel rejected. It’s such a struggle for both sides of the relationship and reading how much our NT partners are hurting in these comments I have to say it’s hard to just not pick up and leave because I think my wife would be happier in the long run…
    I think if the NT partners asked their ND partner what their life was like when single they might mention similar traits to mine. A single CD on repeat for week’s straight as I’m obsessing over learning each musical part in it, music playing all of the time, sometimes staying awake until 4am working on a project that I’m motivated for. I forget how hard it is to give up that freedom and then after time in a relationship you feel like a little bit of your soul is taken away bit by bit and then you become completely lost.
    My point is that I would imagine a very small percentage, if any, are truly dishonest but instead an overly optimistic person happily in love who thinks they found someone who will give them peace and happiness forever without taking into full account our own eccentricities. This is probably largely the case where one partner is undiagnosed until sometime in the relationship…

  • Spring

    August 22nd, 2019 at 7:35 AM

    Hi Rob,
    thank you for your explanation and sharing your experience. It’s really giving a lot of insight into your world. I do wish all our (ex and current) AS partners would be able to explain their life the same way and openly listen to the NT perspective – it might make the struggle of both partners a bit easier. I can really relate to what you’re saying about losing personal space and freedom to do what you want – I would say, so do NTs. I know I did. It also makes me understand a bit more why my ex reacted a certain way to our activities and plans when we were living together. The eagerness and excitement unchecked is understandable, but you are right, it fosters lack of trust. Say for the sake of argument that the NT proposes to take weekend camping trip to the forest. The AS eagerly agrees and is excited to do it. The plan is made, equipment bought/rented, they set off. Late, because for an unknown reason the AS partner was really slow getting ready, but still saying they are excited to go. As you’re getting closer to the hike, the AS is starting to act agitated. Still saying all is fine. They get quiet and unresponsive and the NT starts to worry if it’s something they did. They ask and the answer is no. Half way through the hike, the AS reveals they’re afraid of wildlife and strongly allergic to ant bites. The whole experience is making them wildly uncomfortable and it’s dangerous for them. They took no precautions to prevent ant bites and don’t have antihistamines or Epi-pen with to deal with the potential reaction. The only acceptable solution is to double back, effectively ruining the whole trip. It’s not lying or intentional dishonesty. It’s as you said excitement to share an experience with the love interest. But it still means that the NT can’t really trust what the AS is saying and that is the beginning of the end for a mutually rewarding relationship.
    Communication and sharing is key, like you are doing here. I am very appreciative of the fact you’re communicating with us and explaining how you perceive the world. Thank you again.

  • Chrissie

    August 17th, 2019 at 9:49 PM

    My past, my present, and my all too painfull future in print. I’m spiralling.

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 19th, 2019 at 8:10 AM

    Hello, Chrissie, I hope you can find support while you are navigating these challenges because your own well-being is so important. I understand how difficult it is and send you warm regards. -Sarah

  • Jamie

    August 20th, 2019 at 11:16 AM

    Hello again, after reading through all of the comments I think I agree to disagree about AS emotions. It is true that AS’s feel deeply but it often appears irrational. For instance, last night my husband put some spaghetti noodles on every plate (for me and our two children) while I was serving meatballs. I accidentally put meatballs on my plate which I won’t eat since I am a vegan. So, I politely asked him to switch plates with me so that I could have the meatless plate of noodles. He was angered by the request and said no, that I need to be more careful. I explained that it wasn’t personal and that I wasn’t paying attention. To be clear we do not use designated plates, it was the plate on the table where he had planned to sit and it was the last plate served. Since I have been dealing with this for almost 16 years my patience and understanding is worn thin and I demanded an explanation. He said I needed to be more thoughtful. Of course, my thin patience and hot temper got the best of me and I let him have it right in front of the kids. Being berated didn’t phase him, but the mistake of putting meatballs on my plate angered him. A Mom of four in our neighborhood, who I tried to befriend, bullied our 6 yo son about bed wetting. I told her that we could no longer be friends because too many established boundaries had been crossed and I am not allowing abusive people near my children (the irony is not lost on me). Despite my pleas, my husband feels that I am over reacting and continues to hang out with the family and take my kids for visits. I demanded that he seek counseling or I am out. He went to counseling for a short time and the counselor told him that I have every right to be angry and to remove the source of perceived danger, especially since this was not the first boundary. He thinks we are both ridiculous. For clarity, I have seen a counselor regularly since I realized there was a significant difference in how each of us processes the world. Unfortunately, what I describe and the other people here describe is the reality. Another example, my husband and his mother still hold a grudge against his confirmation leader because he took an extra year to be confirmed. This was 40 years ago and my husband didn’t do the work, but somehow it is his leaders fault. I don’t even want to try anymore. I have to do all of the parenting, to the point where he walks in the door and tells me who needs to be punished, why, and how. First of all, telling me what to do has never worked for anyone. I respect authority, but as my spouse your are my partner which for me is a collaborative relationship. My husband, college grad, doesn’t even know what collaborative means, nor does he know what being a christian means. Ridiculous since he was trained to be a christian. When he tries to discipline it is a calamity of errors, as he tries to mimic me, but chooses the most inappropriate circumstances. Then I have to do clean up. Please know, that I know, that I am not without faults and defects of character. I am slow to trigger and want to come to agreements, but when agreements cannot be met or there is consistent lack of respect for agreements made, I lose my ever loving mind. My AS cries watching ‘under cover boss’, and laughs at us for crying during ‘a dogs purpose’. His way is the only correct way, his view is the only view, there is no gray. I am the source of his jokes when in public but if I say anything remotely embarrassing the shit hits the fan. He wants to cuddle, but cuddling to him means laying on me like a child. He wants sex but acts like a 14 year old with stupid one liners. He still watches wrestling at 54 yo. and doesn’t like anything where listening to dialogue is important. I feel like he is emotionally, spiritually, and ethically void and he is alright with me feeling that way. As far as he is concerned everyone likes him and I am the one with the problem. Our children just think he is silly and my husband doesn’t understand why that is a problem for me. I apologize for my rant, but I cannot believe that an NT and an AS can have an equally meaningful relationship. I have debated hiring a professional hugger so that I can have human contact outside of my children. I have even contemplated an affair, but my beliefs keep me from pursuing. My husband laughs at the idea that someone would find me attractive. When men stare at me, he asks me why. My goodtherapy friends please keep me in your thoughts in prayers as I figure out my circumstance. Even though I am struggling, and my family struggles, my children do not. They love him unconditionally, but then again he is the one who buys them what they want, goes out for a second dinner because they don’t want what we have prepared, and takes them to amusement events where he can look at his phone while they play. I am none of those things.

  • Antoine

    August 22nd, 2019 at 7:08 AM

    Hi Sarah,
    I read this article to better understand my wife who wants to get divorce after 5 years of communal life. I am undiagnosed, but most likely asperger (or something related). Understanding that I did hurt her feelings on a regular basis I too agree that divorce is the best option for her to enjoy the rest of her life.
    From now on, knowing all that about asperger and relationship (and hurting the one I love), I wonder how I could ever engage myself in a relationship in the futur.
    Do you have any idea (or related articles) if a relation ASD/ASD works generally better than a ASD/NT relation?

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    September 20th, 2019 at 6:06 PM

    Hello, Antoine, Have you read the book called The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch? You might find it of interest because it is the journey of an autistic man as he struggles to develop effective communication with his wife and to understand as well as he can her emotional needs. I also suggest counseilng for yourself to guide you in understanding what Asperger’s is and how it shows up in your life, and what you can do manage daily life in this very neurotypical world. Warm wishes to you. You’re welcome to review my websites where there is a great deal of additional information. You can find them on my profile here on

  • Sad Mam Uk

    September 15th, 2019 at 1:19 AM

    For 25 years, I have constantly forgiven him and moved on from all that he does and says. He may have sympathy, empathy and feelings but he can’t express them in any meaningful way. Therefor the end result for me as his partner is always the same – feelings of loneliness, feeling uncared for and when I need him he always abandons me.
    Yes, it’s not his fault, I understand that his brain is “wired differently” but again that STILL leaves me in the same position. Regardless of “fault” it appears that it’s me who is lonely, it’s me who is sad and depressed. He seems to always be happy! It sounds great, but it’s not as nothing seems to negatively impact him. His mother passed away a few months ago and he didn’t cry a single tear, he hasn’t visited her grave and he doesn’t speak about her. It’s as if she never existed to him. The only time I see any emotion from him apart from happiness, is if a person cries or is upset. If I or the children cry then bizarrely he shows the emotion of anger. For example, if one of out children falls and has a cut, he will insist that they are “fine”. He can’t offer any cuddles, he can’t offer any reassurance. He just say “you are fine” and then if they don’t stop crying he seems to turn angry. He might even laugh at them, so I will tell him to leave the room.
    I hurt myself badly last week, I fell and landed on my knee. I was in a lot of pain, had cuts, swelling, painkillers, couldn’t go to work as I couldn’t walk. His response to this was to shut the door of my bedroom and leave me there. Then the next day he went to watch football without making me food, without making sure if I was alright. He literally was going to leave me in the house totally alone while he went to watch football! Yet, I couldn’t walk!
    I had to contact my father to come and help me as I became distraught at his coldness and total lack of care. When I told him my father was on the way down to look after me. He then completely CHANGED his way of thinking and SUDDENLY he said that he would take me to hospital to be checked out, what did I need he would get it/do it. This SHOWS ME that he must have a sense of knowing what he does is wrong, otherwise why did he change his behaviour as soon as he found out that I had contacted my father for help?
    When my father came through the door I burst into tears of relief, I shouted out that I was starving as I couldn’t make food and he had made me nothing. That I was in pain as he hadn’t got me my painkillers. My father, sorted it all out, got me food, got me painkillers and sat with me all afternoon to make sure I wasn’t alone.
    When he came back from football (it’s his special interest) he didn’t ask how I was, didn’t ask if I needed anything and as soon as my father left he was “on at me”. Telling me how it was all MY FAULT, how I never helped him ever so why would he help me”. I started to get upset, saying why didn’t he say these things in front of my father? Why wait until I’m alone to speak to me like this? I told him that he was a coward to treat me in this way. But he can’t SEE or HEAR me. His only interest appears to be himself, he says things that are untrue and things that don’t make sense. Yet, he appears to actually believe what he says. For example, I’m the one that was left totally alone and uncared for when I can’t even walk due to my knee injury, yet he shouts at me that I’m “abusing him”. It makes no sense for him to think that way and there is no point in me saying anything as he can’t HEAR me. He just goes on 10 minute non stop rant about how I have wronged him!!! But the things he speaks about might have occurred 20 years ago, they have nothing to do with the situation we are in now.
    I’m tired of him and his bizarre behaviour, his inability to be able to see any aspect of life from anyone else’s point of view except his own is very sad. I didn’t realise how far on the spectrum he is as even faced with me in agony and being unable to walk and me crying for his help. He is able to completely ignore the scene in front of him and continue with meeting his own wants and needs of going to football.
    I have finally realised that he doesn’t care about me in the slightest. In his own mind he believes that he actually loves me. Yet, he is unable to put my needs first under any circumstances and when I’m upset he cannot offer any reassurance only anger by telling me “it’s my fault”. It’s difficult enough to go through life without living with someone who you KNOW will turn their back on you if you need them and then will actually BLAME you for the pain you are in.
    It makes absolutely no difference to me why he behaves in this way as for me the outcome is the SAME – a sad, lonely life.
    Later on in the evening, I explained to our children why I got so upset – I said that because of my knee I was in pain and couldn’t look after myself. So dad should have stayed with me and taken me to the hospital and made me food and given me painkillers and if he couldn’t do it then he should have contacted my parents. But that even if a person enjoys something like going to watch football, if a person you care about or love is hurt o4 in any sort of pain then you shouldn’t go as you should make sure they are ok. That’s why my father (your grandfather) stayed with me and took care of me because I was in pain and needed to be looked after.
    I thought it was important to explain it to my two children as I realise now that they could be in danger of thinking his cold and selfish behaviour is “normal”. Later on in the evening I phoned my parents and told them EVERYTHING, how he constantly takes money from my bag without asking, how he constantly uses my debit and credit card to withdraw hundreds of pounds that he never pays back (yet he earns MORE than me). How he tells me that it’s NOT stealing to do this as he pays the bills, so he hasn’t got enough money. Yet I pay as many bills as he does, I have sat down and shown him how much free money he has to spend on himself each month, I have asked him to just let me know if he takes money from my account. But EVERY month he steals from me. Any money I have I have to hide or he will take it. Birthday money give to me by my parents he took it all, Christmas money, he took it all. Again, it’s never paid back and he has no remorse or embarrassment about stealing from me. When confronted he says it’s NOT stealing. The list is way TOOOOOOOOOO long to even go through all the things he does/says and that’s without his bizarre and non sensical view on relationships. For example he has NORMALISED that we sleep in separate bedrooms. When I try to speak to him about this and how it makes me feel alone, he responds by telling me it’s NORMAL after being together so long. So then I point out but I’m only 42 years old! Why do you believe that I’m going to continue in a relationship like this? His response – here you go again wanting to argue with me, why don’t you just shut up and go to bed. You see, he just wants me to always just LEAVE HIM ALONE. I realise now that I’m constantly ALONE. I haven’t got a partner, that’s why my dad had to look after me when I hurt my knee, that’s why I have to look after everyone’s needs alone because I AM ALONE. There is no need for me to be scared anymore of being alone as without realising it (until now) I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ALONE WITH HIM. I can’t rely upon him for anything, I can’t even rely upon him not to steal from me, I can’t even expect him not to laugh at me or the children if we cry!! My mother has early on stage dementia (she is only 60), yet when she becomes ill I won’t want to contact my partner as I KNOW he will make things WORSE. He won’t be able to show sympathy and understanding, I mean he appears unmoved by his own mother’s death. I don’t understand why it has taken me so long to realise that he isn’t going to change because he cannot SEE me, he cannot HEAR me and my feelings don’t exist to him.
    Today I told him that I had said EVERYTHING to my parents and that it was over and I wanted him to leave. After two children and 25 years together his response to this earth shattering news was – no emotion, no facial expressions, just “ok” and off he went with his clothes. It literally has NO EMOTIONAL EFFECT on him.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    September 20th, 2019 at 6:01 PM

    Dear Sad Mam, I am so sorry to hear of the distress you describe in your comment. I understand how years of undiagnosed autism can wear down a marriage and how painful it can be for the neurotypical partner to feel so deeply lonely. I send my best wishes to you as you navigate your new path and rebuild your confidence. Be gentle with yourself and remember to hold yourself in compassion as you go through these changes. Warmly, Sarah

  • Jake

    September 24th, 2019 at 5:35 PM

    Your view that people on the spectrum are all a certain way is beyond offensive. You’re increasing the presence of stereotypes and stigmas by insisting that the people with Aspergers that you deal with are somehow the only kind that exist, when in reality some Autistic people possess high Emotional Intelligence and have learned how to communicate, but they’re in happy relationships and happen to just not to need your concealing. I’m on the spectrum, and I am more emotionally intelligent than the majority of people I meet. Aspergers is an imbalance in components of intelligence. My ability to perceive patterns allows me to analyze micro shifts in body language in order to interpret the way a person is feeling, and my sensory sensitivity allows me to feel and relate to emotions more intensely than a lot of people. I’m what some would call an Empath. Nothing like the blanket statements that you make about everyone of the spectrum.
    Could you please in the future specify that you are talking specifically about traits that aren’t universal to all people on the spectrum and instead of trying to warn woman about the dangers of dating people on the Spectrum, just warn them of red flags that a person with or without Aspergers might possess.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    September 25th, 2019 at 10:32 AM

    Hello, Jake – Just as your comment refects your own experience, it is important to remember that each comment here represents another person’s valid reflection of his or her own experience as well. In working with autistic individuals and neurodiverse couples, I often remind my clients: If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Comments here are not a judgment of you, nor can they be because no one here knows you personally. I send warm regards to you.

  • Rob

    September 25th, 2019 at 3:52 PM

    Hi Jake – Fellow diagnosed spectrum guy here who just wanted to say your thoughts on the matter resemble mine. I too had come here for a perspective but it felt more like I was getting placed in a bucket that I didn’t resemble. What is described here are traits of an OCD narcissist and the implication that those descriptors match all people on the spectrum certainly is a bit offensive.

  • Spring

    September 27th, 2019 at 4:47 AM

    Hi Jake,
    thank you for sharing your perspective. I can completely imagine that reading all these statements of partners who are deeply wounded by their aspie spouses can be uncomfortable and disheartening. And if you are one of the people who indeed has a very happy marriage (not just from your side, but your wife’s as well), then I am very very happy for you and I offer my sincere congratulations to both of you. It’s wonderful to know that such a pairing can work. As you’ve seen here, most of the posters have had mental health and soul-destroying experiences, me included.
    I don’t know what exactly you call “concealing” – my interpretation is that trying to mask your emotions for the sake of others. See, that’s where the crux of emotional intelligence comes in for me. EI is not only about recognizing and communicating own emotions, but it is also recognizing and understanding emotions of others and our own impact on that. Many of us have seen our partners express their emotions and recognize ours, but not respond in a constructive way (if at all) and that is where most of the comments are coming from. I also believe that emotional intelligence is not like IQ where you either have it or not. For me, EQ is relational: it’s not only about reading others emotions and expressing your own, but also how you can control your own emotions and how you influence the emotions of others. For instance, making someone cry for being honest about your feelings is not high EQ. Knowing that someone is sensitive about an issue, or hurt, or frustrated, or tired, … and adapting your message in a way that helps them manage their situation and feel as good as posible is in my book a sign of high EQ. I am not making a judgment about you here as I don’t know you. I am simply stating an example.
    You are also right, not all aspies are one way or the other and people tend to generalize from a sample of one. Many of the partners of the people on the forum though share similar traits and this place is an invaluable space where NT partners can come for validation that they are not crazy, needy, controlling, … as we most of us have heard our aspie partners say. So, it is not literally “all aspies do x or y”, but rather “the one(s) I know do x or y”, though it sometimes is written that way.

    My aspie has an uncanny ability to feel emotions and an amazing capability of reading micro-expressions just as you are stating. In a way, he was emotionally intelligent, just as you describe yourself to be. If he wanted, he could be super attentive to the emotions of others, once he figured out what he wanted to say and if he was calm, he could communicate them to an extent as well. But even if he would recognize how I felt, he would rarely give me what I needed or address it productively. “If you are angry with me, then just break up and go.” is not the productive way of resolving conflict. “I saw how distant you were after I accused you of X and I didn’t know how to get you to stop that” – that conversation didn’t happen until I broke down and cried after spending an evening having him clearly expressing emotions of anger and disappointment about everything but what he was frustrated about without allowing for any interjection. He didn’t recognize that the only thing he needed to say was something that came after all the screaming at me and telling me to leave.
    Again, I am happy that your partner and you are not in that situation and I hope that aside from frustration of feeling like you are being pushed into a box you don’t fit in, you will be able to use some of the things said in the forum to strengthen your relationship. Good luck.

  • Somebody

    September 27th, 2019 at 4:31 PM

    I also have a real problem with labels/diagnosis. They can be very dangerous. People tend to judge the person with the label and often attach qualities they have read to be part of that diagnosis whether they are true or not. The labeled individual can also question him/herself about what is perceived about the diagnosis and worse, start to define themselves by this label. However, all diagnoses and corresponding labels are, by definition, generalizations of like qualities. I would guess that very few people process all of the qualities listed about any diagnosis. I would also guess that the conversations here would be very different if AS were in the majority. I wish all people would stop making assumptions and judgments about others no matter who they are and as I have seen happen here. We all do that based on our experience. We can only base our thoughts on what we have experienced. But this is where a label can be a really good thing. It can bring awareness to people who really care and who really want to understand. It can challenge our assumptions about other people. it Is ONLY a beginning.

  • Autistic guy

    October 29th, 2019 at 4:20 AM

    I’m certain that there are many autistic people who are nothing like the example given in the article, and I understand your motivation to try to appear different from those who are like the example, but please show some respect.

    These people’s lives have been greatly harmed by the actions of people like me that weren’t even aware of it. I am now aware of that, and because I do genuinely care about other people I can take steps to stop it in the future.

  • Jamie

    September 25th, 2019 at 8:53 AM

    Jake, this site is not for you. This is a space for those of us who are dealing with very real and very painful relationships. If you have superior EI then you would know that already. Your defensiveness and ability to the turn the table tells me a lot about your character traits that are identifiable as ‘on the spectrum’. So, could you please go to a space where Aspies can find support and allow us the freedom to share our experiences. Thank you.

  • Annoynomous

    September 25th, 2019 at 9:54 AM

    I second that motion! Thank you Jamie!

  • Rachael

    September 25th, 2019 at 10:14 AM

    I think Jake has every right to ask that we keep in mind that not everyone with autism spectrum disorders acts this way. Certainly there are some who do and these are bad warning signs, but the implication that all autistic men act this way is uncomfortable at best and outright hateful toward autistic persons at worst. Jake isn’t saying that no one is allowed to be upset at their autistic husbands for acting this way, but only that we should keep in mind that autistic people are not automatically like this.

  • Nobody

    October 2nd, 2019 at 11:06 AM

    Something to keep in mind on this subject is that very often people with AS actually don’t have the ability to see their own behavior, much less how it affects others. That is why they invalidate us or get defensive and try to control what we are allowed to say. This is exactly why we have to have separate groups. We all know every person with autism is different but that doesn’t invalidate our experiences or mean we can’t talk about them. And if Jake were really such an empathic person he would understand that.

  • Autistic guy

    October 29th, 2019 at 6:23 AM

    The person named Nobody is correct. I often have trouble seeing how my own behavior affects others, even if I do genuinely care about them. I’m taking steps to consciously modify and monitor my own behavior to serve others, instead of hurting them.

    There’s nothing wrong with understanding that my disability affects how I perceive myself and others in certain ways, and taking that into account. The article may seem to portray a negative depiction of people with autism, but it doesn’t. It shows how our own behavior can affect others in ways that we didn’t intend, and that even if we didn’t mean to do something bad, we have an obligation to make up for it regardless.

    That may seem unfair, but whether we mean to do something or not doesn’t change how other people feel about it. The concept that we may have to make up for things that we didn’t intend is something I didn’t understand for a while, but I’m glad that I do now.

    Here is some advice for my fellow autistic people:

    If someone is upset at you, consider why they may be upset. Take the example in the article, that you’re in a relationship, and you forgot her birthday. Instead of thinking that since you didn’t mean it, you shouldn’t feel sorry for it, think that you could have noted it down somewhere or memorized it, and that she still feels upset about it regardless of your intentions.

    Everyone makes mistakes, but they don’t want to. Mistakes are almost always accidental, and you shouldn’t berate yourself about any mistakes you make, but you should still respond to them and learn from them.

  • Dorothy

    September 26th, 2019 at 8:36 AM

    I will likely never know what is the exact diagnosis for my ex husband whose flatness and self absorption took a huge toll on myself and our kids. I do know that in my darkest hours, discovering this forum and reading the posts and comments brought me the understanding my experience was not unique to me, was not as a result of vast deficiencies and shortcomings in myself and our kids, and brought me some much needed clarity that I was likely facing an insurmountable hurdle given that my ex thought I was the one who needed help and would not consider working on the marriage. When reciprocity, accountability and vulnerability have little existence in your marriage you owe it to yourself to save yourself and your kids from further harm. Maybe the comments that sting serve a purpose to explore deeper if you are willing or able to see how interactions and intentions create outcomes that affect all involved deeply and sometimes have long lasting consequences that require a lot of courage and faith to resolve.

  • Marion

    October 4th, 2019 at 12:12 PM

    Hi Dorothy
    It could be my story that you’ve written. The initial article here is one of the best and should be part of Counsellor training. People outside my marriage could not believe my situation – married to high functioning person on the spectrum. It wrought havoc with family relationships, particularly my children. I joined FAAAS which is also invaluable with info and support, going back three decades. The best antidote is to believe in yourself, using all the information out there on well-being – mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, nutritional etc

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    October 22nd, 2019 at 8:53 AM

    Hello, Marion, Thank you for your kind remark. I do offer training to other therapists on this topic because, unfortunately, our academic training and most often also our clinical training as well both lack even exposure to the ideas I expressed in this article, as you pointed out.

  • Dolores

    October 13th, 2019 at 2:52 PM

    When I began reading this article, it seemed like I had finally found someone talking about my life and thought that I could send this to my children in hopes that they would understand what I had gone through. Unfortunately, by basing the entire unhealthy dynamic on celebrating (or not), the writer lost the ability to appeal to a much bigger audience. My husband always bought me birthday cards and celebrated my birthday. So if that is the case, based on this article, all is well. Please reconsider writing it and using multiple possible examples rather than making to so limiting in scope. Yes, we get the drift of what you are saying but by being so specific in your article you lost the chance to make this helpful to a broader audience, including the family of the wife.

  • Sarah Swenson

    October 22nd, 2019 at 8:50 AM

    Hello, Dolores, Thank you for your comment. You’re right. No one example works for every situation. It is my hope that the larger point (which is that things important to a person on the spectrum are likely to get more of his/her attention than things that are not) is meaningful, nonetheless. Warm regards to you.

  • Olivia

    October 19th, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    Thank you for this article. For the first time in over a decade, I am feeling hope. I forgot what that felt like. I was with my undiagnosed partner for 18 years, and over the course of that relationship have slowly lost who I am, have been on antidepressants, and would have ended my life if it wasn’t for having a daughter who needs me. Last week, a psychologist told me she thinks my daughter is on the spectrum….I though it was her dyslexia and sensory issues that made her a bit quirky. But the realization that her dad is on the spectrum has led me to this article, which completely depicts our relationship and how I lived my life and how I got to be this empty shell of a woman that I am right now. For the first time, I feel hope that I can rebuild my life…now that I have a better understanding of what actually happened. I am feeling another feeling that I haven’t felt in a very long time….gratitude…gratitude for this article and the therapist who wrote it.

  • Sarah Swenson

    October 22nd, 2019 at 8:48 AM

    Hello, Olivia – thank you for your comment. I am deeply touched that my writing is so meaningful to you. I send warm wishes to you as you move through this transition. -Sarah

  • Autistic guy

    October 28th, 2019 at 6:23 PM

    This article was quite humbling to read, in a good way. I am young, but I see some of my own behaviours reflected in the text.

    The idea that my own actions could cause other people harm in any way horrifies me. The fact that I might not realize that harm horrifies me more.

    I do want to enter a relationship eventually. When I do, I will make sure that both of us know about the condition.

    I will make sure that they are happy, and if I don’t know how to do it, I will ask them.

    When they are upset over something like a forgotten birthday, I will remind myself that even if I didn’t mean to, I could have tried harder to remember, and they have a good reason to be upset regardless.

    I will use every ounce of my willpower to ensure that any relationship I enter will never turn as sour as the example in the article.

    Thank you for making me more aware of how what I say and do may hurt people, even by accident. I will make sure that it does not happen.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    October 29th, 2019 at 10:40 AM

    Hello, Autistic Guy – thank you for your heartful comment. I hope you did not read my article a an indictment of autitistic individuals. Also, as I always repeat, “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” My reason for writing this was to describe a common set of experiences women tell me about in my work with them as a therapist and to offer some support and guidance. If you are mindful of some of these issues in advance, and you can find a way to discuss them pre-emptively with your partner, you will likely be able to avoid some of the pain described above, both for yourself and for your partner. I have a feeing your insights will be very helpful to you as you move forward with a relationship. Again, thank you for taking the time to comment. I send my best wishes to you.

  • Elaina

    October 29th, 2019 at 2:17 PM

    I commented here before but would like to share some new experience that I have had. I read many articles and books on ASD and NT relationships. My husband and I went to several therapists for couples and individual counseling. He still doesn’t get the main factors driving me away from him. By now (we’ve been married for 9 years and have a 3.5 year old daughter) the damage of ASD mentality has been so devastating and seeing no glimpse of hope of any insight on his part that I finally heavyheartedly decided to divorce and move out. He blames me for everything and I always owe him something. He stripped me of my money (took 100% of our joint money then returned a little), kept most expensive and convenient furniture and appliances, paid up for 4 months of rent (rent in my area is $3600 a month) out of our joint savings at the time when I already rented my own place… Now I started questioning his ASD diagnosis. Maybe he is also a narcissist. Regardless, I am still happy to part with him and not be in the same space. I am happy to pay him off only to go away and not destroy my personality and life any further. This shows you how heavy of a load on a regular NT can ASD partner be. At times it’s simply too heavy to carry. I am so grateful for the articles like this. It helped me understand and accept a concept of inability of ASD to see what he does and in his case inability to change… to NEVER change. That was the hardest to accept. I kept hoping. Ladies ans NT gents, drop any hope. If the desire to change does not originate in ASD then it will not happen. Do not and I repeat do not hope for any better situation. Run for your life or you will have nothing left of it. Good luck!


    October 29th, 2019 at 3:23 PM

    21 years – no change, no awareness of need. I am the one who changed. Accomodating his personality disorder has left us with no real couple friends, no affection, no care for me or my needs, (I am invisable), no encouragement, no conversations – just lectures and criticism.
    I still can’t understand why I had to go through this. Why didnt I trust myself?

  • Curtis

    November 5th, 2019 at 2:21 AM

    Wow this brought me to tears. I am the possible aspergers husband who has un knowingly hardened my wifes heart and damaged her very core for the last 5 yers of marriage. :( I wouldn’t compare myself exactly to this guy in the story, but somewhat close. If only I knew my problem and was able to research to make change in myself I would have done so long ago even before marriage. We have been married for 6 years, two kids. I want to save my marriage and keep the fire alive. She has told me how much I have hurt her and I want to heal what I have done. We have been doing seminars and research and I have recognised my issues and over the last year have healed myself somewhat too. Tony Attwood seminar has been very helpful for both of us to understand each other better. I love my wife and kids and wish I never hurt her like I have.

  • Mary

    November 10th, 2019 at 1:44 PM

    Sharing our personal experiences of dealing with an AS partner is like a breath of fresh air. It brings us out of the darkness and into the light . We have found our voices and can now know that we are healthy, happy, social vivacious individuals. After 35 years of personally dealing with a spouse, mother in law and step son with, AS I can say that it is a very sad and lonely illness for all involved.
    For me the most difficult part is living with those who exhibit: flat affect, no spontaneity, lack of empathy, little or no sexuality, constant routine, social & physical awkwardness and lack of energy or curiosity for interest in life itself.
    Sex with my AS partner is so unemotional and without feeling. It is unbearable and empty. Because of this, I have been in a sexless marriage for the majority of 35 years. The relationship is like living with a room mate who rambles around the house and has limited interests, no social network, no hobbies and talks about the same topics over and over. It is an invisible illness that takes all involved as prisioners. Together we can find the courage and strength to escape to a new life in which we were meant to live all along. May you achieve peace.

  • sharon

    November 13th, 2019 at 7:01 PM


  • Jim

    November 23rd, 2019 at 8:06 AM

    It’s sad to hear so many women are suffering due to their husbands having ASD. I do have ASD, and I believe my wife is suffering due to my disorder. Our minds just don’t work like nyuro-typical. We definitely need extra effort to fit in to the society and have a successful marriage. Although every ASD is different, if you have any question about how our minds work, I’ll try to answer here.

  • Dannie

    November 25th, 2019 at 7:23 AM

    Jim, Do you recognize similarities from the scenarios mentioned to your own relationship? Have you ever asked your wife if she has difficulties with your ASD? Has she ever broke down crying telling you she has had it? Only to tell her, “You sure do seem to cry a lot now…”.

  • Jim

    November 26th, 2019 at 4:20 AM

    I do see some similarities. She did break down crying telling me she had enough with my f ing ASD. I wasn’t happy to hear that, but I knew it was true. Once we realize who we are, we can try to “act” certain ways to make improve our lives, although not being able to act and be too hones is how we are.

  • Dannie

    November 26th, 2019 at 10:17 AM

    Jim, Do you find it a struggle to “act” the way to keep the peace? Do you find her breaking down frequently to remind you about certain aspect that are still the same? Do you have any issues with her focusing on the negative? Do you provide her with things that she could do to help you stay focused/on track? Pardon me, if I am being too nosey. I am curious as to see if an ASD/NT relationship is truly manageable or if it is inevitably doomed from the eyes of the ASD.

  • Jim

    November 26th, 2019 at 2:24 PM

    I do struggle from time to time to act, but it’s like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get. I may never be NT, but I can get to a point where I can get by. And yes, my wife does break down sometimes with frustration that I am still the same s*** and will never change.
    “Do you provide her with things that she could do to help you stay focused/on track?” I’m not sure what this means.
    Any relationship can end up in divorce, even when ASD is not involved. The unfortunate thing about marrying ASD for NT is that often times NT marries ASD not knowing ASD has ASD. Heck, sometimes ASD doesn’t even know that he has ASD. That was the case with me. I found out about it years after we got married. Ironically, finding out about it made the relationship worse in a way because now I felt like I got permission to be me and don’t have to act anymore. “You want me to go to your friend’s house? Sorry, I got ASD and don’t enjoy small talk, so I’ll stay home.”
    In a way, people with ASD are perfect husbands if women have some problems with basic needs. Not having enough money, security, stability and such. For those women, ASD men may look attractive. After they get married and things are stabilized, then women will realize that they made a mistake. My wife thinks so, and it hurts my feeling. Yes, we do have feelings.
    If you have a husband with a bad leg and walk slow, you know you have to walk slow also. You can see it. You don’t get mad and tell him why is he walking so slow. We basically have a mental disability. You just can’t see it. It’s really not fair to get mad at us, but I recognize that we have to make whatever the effort we can make on our end to make the relationship smooth because, at the end of the day, I’m the one with a problem, not my wife.

  • JUDY

    November 25th, 2019 at 11:13 PM

    My husband who has left me for 7 months because of his new found mistress is back, We have been married for 14 years with 3 beautiful kids.

  • Somebody

    November 28th, 2019 at 2:56 PM

    I just wanted to say thank you on this Thanksgiving for all of the people who have written in here whether you are NT or ASD. I am very grateful to you all. I came here trying to understand people I love very much. I knew very little. You have given me many other resources that have been enlightening and supportive. All relationships have challenges and we have extra challenges. But it is heartbreaking to not understand what is going on and why. I blamed myself for things that neither of us caused. Understanding changes everything.

  • Deborah

    December 1st, 2019 at 12:54 PM

    I liked this but not the birthday analogy. It is not appropriate to my situation, it is not specific enough, not exact enough to help me show him how I feel He’d just say, ‘but I do get you a card?’ I need an exact example relevant to our life to help me articulate how he makes me feel, every day, all day.
    I need out so badly

  • ITB

    February 5th, 2020 at 1:20 PM

    Deborah, I totally understand the need to have exactly the same situation to show your spouse or he/she won’t get it. I have that same frustration. (Fortunately or unfortunately for me that birthday analogy is *exactly* applicable to my life.) I said something recently to my husband about being worried about my son. He said some unhelpful and non-emotional things. So I asked how he would feel if it was his son (I have a stepson the same age as my son). My husband said “but that isn’t happening to my son.” I really needed some empathy so I asked him to pretend the same thing was happening to his son and imagine what that would feel like. He just kept repeating “but that isn’t happening to my son.” I gave up.
    It’s almost like we need an article where we are allowed to customize the example given, it inserts it, and we can get a print out with the thing we need to be able to make the connection for our spouse.

  • Sarah

    February 6th, 2020 at 1:13 AM

    Deborah, when you do get out eventually my experience has been that divorce with an Aspie is quite a beautiful, inspiring experience. Life goes from being utterly chaotic to being very organised and hopeful. The main thing is to go through the process with care and love for your Aspie ex and make sure he has a very, clear grounded map of the stages of the divorce and how your bond will work as afterwards ( especially if you have kids).

  • Charley

    December 8th, 2019 at 10:47 PM

    Wow. I married two men with suspected ASD. I have kids with both. I left the first. The first ex has completely alienated my older two boys from me. The Second tried to take the younger two. I am so broken by them. I feel like it says more about me that I am attracted to this kind of guy. No more relationships for me. I’m out :(

  • Nemo

    January 29th, 2020 at 2:32 AM

    Do NT partners of a spouse on the spectrum incur a form of PTSD from the psychological trauma outside of the physical abuse? Ie: forgetfulness, agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashback, fear, severe anxiety, mistrust, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, loneliness, insomnia, nightmares, emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts.

  • Sarah Swenson

    March 11th, 2020 at 10:47 AM

    Hello, Nemo – I often encounter what we call complex PTSD in the partners of individuals on the spectrum. This is a form of PTSD related to the experience of ongoing trauma. It is important to distinguish that this is abuse without the intent to abuse in most neurodiverse relationships and as such it must be counseled very carefully and with understanding of neurodiversity.

  • Deni

    March 10th, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    This article was very interesting…
    In our situation, we are the opposite. I am VERY likely on the spectrum. I have only begun to discover this over the past year. My husband is NT, but with PTSD from serving overseas. We are both Christians and are committed to making our marriage work. I see myself in a lot of this, we have 3 kids who are still young (8 through 13 years old). We are seeking help in NB Canada. We are pretty good, and my passion is luckly, learning about myself and others (body language, social cues, etc… It’s always been facinating, even as a child. So I can see things, but I don’t understand the ‘whys’…
    It was overwhelming and humbling to read this, not to mention a bit scary. I find as a female in the role, that I am a bit more sensitive to my NT husband, his wants and needs, and knowing it has to be balanced. I enjoy looking up solutions and stories of others who have worked through it.
    He is currently getting help with his PTSD and has come a LONG way over the 15 years we have been married. I have come a long way too.
    I would love to see more about ND women with a NT husband. (oh, and I am pretty sure my dad is ND, and my mom is NT… they are still together, but live a quiet life)…

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    March 11th, 2020 at 10:52 AM

    Hello, Deni – thank you for your comments. You’re right to note that the experience for a woman on the spectrum can be quite different from that of a man. Also, there is not a lot of literature about the woman’s experience. Thank you for your suggestion. I will write an article on the topic for Good Therapy. Warm regards to you.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    March 11th, 2020 at 11:03 AM

    It occurred to me that readers of this article might also want to read this one which I wrote recently in support of women in relationships with men on the autistm spectrum:

  • Melinda

    March 14th, 2020 at 7:17 PM

    this is my entire 27 yr relationship. I feel sick to my stomach. He has made me feel like it is me the whole time… that Bday part.. just hits me to my core

  • Sam

    April 4th, 2020 at 5:31 AM

    Dear everyone,

    Finding this blog and other blogs online has been very helpful. I’m still very confused and hurt about my recent break up from someone with AS and I’ve written him a letter which I don’t want to send him as I don’t think it will add anything or help but I hope sharing it on here will give me some catharsis/closure and help me move on.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences and for supporting each other.

    Dear X,
    The main thing I long for in a partner is that we understand and accept each other and can support each other emotionally. When I tried to talk to you about some of my negative emotions (e.g. when I told you about my depression and suicidal thoughts a few years ago, and about my stress before my exams, and my anxiety about going to work with covid patients) I did not receive in reply the reassurance and comfort that I need. You either didn’t say anything, or suddenly started to send very short, cold and formal text messages. I guess the way you responded made sense to you (eg you felt I wanted to be left alone before my exam because I initially said I didn’t want to fight before my exams. I know this situation was extra confusing because I had blown up about you not being supportive enough, which was childish and wrong of me, but though I can rationally somewhat understand your response, emotionally it doesn’t make sense to me. And I don’t understand the reason for the lack of response when I mentioned my depression, or covid anxiety). I felt like I opened up and showed vulnerability and was rebuffed and ignored. I’d rather be alone than put myself through the pain of trying to reach out and connect and being rebuffed and rejected. Also, I don’t know what you actually liked about me, if anything. I feel like maybe it was just the fact that I liked you.

    I’m sorry that in the past I texted you that if I’m too much effort for you I could just find someone else. That was unnecessary, tactless and hurtful and I shouldn’t have said it. Aside from anything, it’s very possible that I may not find someone else, in which case I’ll be sad but so be it. It’s much better for me to be alone than in a relationship that makes me or the other person unhappy.

    Anyway, I’ve spent many, many hours thinking about you, and missing you, and trying to make sense of what happened between us. It’s been very confusing and made me very sad. I suspect you may have gone through a similar process.

    I was trying to avoid suggesting this again as I didn’t want to upset or offend you and make you hate me but it’s too late for that to matter now: I do suspect you might have high functioning autism and that might go some way to explaining the issues between us. I wonder if reading up about it might help you make sense of what may be a very confusing world for people with autism, and blame yourself less, and it may be helpful in anticipating and avoiding the same issues in future relationships, especially if they are with other people like myself who are neurotypical.

    I’ve tried to see the world through your eyes but I failed. Here’s my attempt: My mind is made up of a million pieces that you could try to understand, and though you might be able to start to understand each individual piece rationally, I don’t think you could understand the whole, general me. And those million pieces that make me up are constantly and unpredictably changing anyway. It’s like you would try to learn the language I speak but I keep changing the language every five minutes, adding new words and unexpected grammar and double meanings and how could you or anyone deal with that? How would you not go completely mad? It isn’t your fault! And though I would try my best to constantly remember and understand that it’s not your fault, at times I wouldn’t be able to keep it in mind and I would blame you and yell at you. And then I would feel bad that you hurt me, and bad for yelling and making you feel bad because I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.

    Please don’t contact me again. I think I will always want more from you than is fair to expect, and I will always be hurt when I don’t get it. I’m sorry I said I would be here for you when you need me. I’m not a good, understanding, selfless or kind enough person to be there for you.

    I really do wish you all the best for the future.


  • Marion

    April 6th, 2020 at 6:29 PM

    Sam, you’re probably really on to “it”. Its not that he’s not into you – its the high functioning.
    I suggest you read and then give this nice man “Be Different” – Adventures of a Free – Range Aspergian. with practical advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers, by John Elder Robinson – a high functioning individual who “found ” himself when finally being diagnised at 40years

    I am so like the woman in this original article. Been on my own 20 years after 33 together, both professional people.

  • Joan

    April 7th, 2020 at 4:33 AM

    Wonderful letter, you saved a lot of time and heartache in your life. I have been with my husband over40 years and for decades I blamed myself for everything wrong in me and our relationship. Good luck in moving on and finding what you need.

  • S

    April 20th, 2020 at 1:54 PM

    Hi Sam, your letter makes my eyes moist. Thank you so much for fighting Covid-19 in the front line for all of us. Please look after yourself in this most difficult time. Loads of love!xxx

  • Robyn

    April 20th, 2020 at 11:02 PM

    I’m glad I found this article and the posts. I know my behavior hasn’t always been exemplary but with a spouse and daughter with ASD my daily life is a difficult. Now stuck in the house with them during this pandemic I have to fight for snatches of peace. Why is it that we feel, act and look crazy. Again, always questioning myself.

  • Lisa

    May 1st, 2020 at 5:01 AM

    This was such a good article, thank you so much for writing this. I am a daughter of a father with autism and this article describes both by father and mother perfectly. I struggle with finding good articles or research on how an autistic parent can effect a child, because for me it has been, and still is, a huge challenge.
    For the child’s perspective I would like to add this: I admit that I have been hard on my mom. Even though I see her struggles and I have been the one to confront her that my father was treating her badly and helped her get out of this situation. My mom is extremely insecure (which may be common for women who stay in a marriage like this for such a long time). Her inability to deal with her own emotions, combined with my fathers inability to recognize emotions, made me into a child and adult that had to raise themselves. Yes, my mom made me the best birthday parties, I was never short of anything like that. But I have never felt safe emotionally, there was never any space for me. She was either occupied with my fathers ridiculous requests, or too scared to be doing anything wrong, so that if I was sad, she would blame herself for my sadness, instead of consoling me. I learned to shut up a long time ago, and only as an adult now with the help of a therapist am I trying to find space where I can be myself.

    I guess what I want to say is; if the child blames the mother, it’s not always because they are sticking up to their father. Sometimes it’s because they felt like their mother wasn’t sticking up for them (the child). Or because the mother, in a different way from the father, was emotionally unavailable to their child, despite giving the best parties.

    Lastly, a piece of advice from a childs perspective, if there are mothers out here who are still in family situations like this: please don’t try to hide who your husband/the father really is. Don’t pretend that he organized the party with you, that he helped you with the household, etc. For a long time I felt a lot of guilt for not liking my father because my mother always told me he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Take your children seriously and let them form honest emotions about their parents, give them a chance to be not OK with it sometimes. If you repress it, the child will learn to do so too.

  • Anna A.

    May 2nd, 2020 at 11:06 PM

    Ms. Swenson,
    Thank you so much for your amazing article. Reading through the comments left me heartbroken as I know the struggle so many of us women have. I would like to encourage you to PLEASE write a book, include some of these stories so that we know we are not alone. I struggled for 10 years wondering what was wrong with me and wondered why my life changed so much literally the day after I got married. Luckily, I was able to find a therapist that gently and over time gave me the information I needed to finally figure out that it wasn’t me. During that time of discovery, I searched for information, read everything I could find about NT/AS relationships, but information was limited. I really needed to know that I wasn’t alone. So please, write a book, even if it’s a compilation of comments from this article. I would be happy to help. With that said I would like to offer just a couple of things that I have found helpful for me.
    1. They mean well, but it will never change. The lack of empathy, not being able to read you, even though you have been together for years, not understanding why you are so angry, even though you told him why, not remembering that you hate carnations and only like roses, it will never change. You will never feel like the most important person in your AS partner’s life.
    2. If you are seeing a therapist that dismisses anything you feeling, or tells you that “most men act that way” or that you seem to be resentful for the wrong reasons – Please remember that there are good therapists and some that are not so good. Find a new therapist if they are not understanding your situation. Not many do.
    Thanks again for the wonderful article that was “our story” – it’s so nice to know that I am not alone.
    Anna A.

  • Janie

    May 19th, 2020 at 3:44 PM

    Hi All. I have shared this fantastic piece with my daughters and BFFs. It has hit a chord with me and actually made rethink the big D. I do feel that I must separate in the least. I have lost so much of my footloose fancy free girl, loving life and all. No music, no hugs, no passion, no search for what’s around the corner, no conversation, no dance in the rain etc.. I see myself in every aspect of this post, minus the children. He came in after my 2 children were born, somehow I missed the damage encountered for my youngest daughter. Thank the Lord she is a fighter and a survivor, but not without some issues in her adult life. My oldest never was on the receiving end of the cold stares, judgment, and dismissive attitude. Sad thing is, is how much I love this man. He has made the decision to be “unhappy”. refuses counseling, which helped us greatly 3 years ago. Been together 27 years. I hope a separation will inspire him to search for happiness and peace with or without us. He has 2 step grandchildren that idolize him, he barely acknowledges their existence. My heart is so sad, he has no idea, none. Thank you all of you for sharing your stories! I agree a book good would be amazing for those headed into the abyss.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    May 20th, 2020 at 12:47 AM

    Hello, Janie – I’m glad to know my writing is meaningful to you and I send good wishes to you and your daughters.

  • Rich

    May 21st, 2020 at 10:49 AM

    Being in a relationship with a partner with ASD can be a frustrating, lonely experience. Even if you were someone who knew nothing about ASD, reading these comments would make that abundantly clear. It’s almost impossible for anyone outside of the relationship to understand the hopelessness, loneliness, and depression that an ASD partner experiences. Reading these comments instills hopelessness for all of us who are in an Aspie-NT relationship. I am an Aspie partner who has worked for years to repair a relationship that has been damaged by ASD (actually, much of the damage was also done by negativity in the marriage, but ASD is also to blame). I just want to point out that it is not completely hopeless. The first comment asked ‘But I would think that all of this could somehow be different if you enter into the relationship with knowledge of a diagnosis?’ I was saddened to see that the first reply to that question was ‘No.’ Because that is absolutely not true. There are many happy aspie-NT couples. And a diagnosis *is* helpful. But only if both partners do something about it. What good is a diagnosis of high blood pressure if you don’t take your medicine, follow a strict diet, and follow the doctor’s directions? ASD requires both partners to do something about it though, not just the aspie. There are many happy aspie-NT couples, and if you want to find out what they are doing, look up ‘Alan and Sakura’ on YouTube or Instagram, or google David & Kim Finch, or look up ‘So I Married an Asphole’ on YouTube. Or order one of the books written by someone in a happy ND-NT relationship – there are a good number of them. Is it easy? Absolutely not. But there are plenty of couples who have proven that it is absolutely possible for an ND-NT relationship to work if you *both* work at it.

  • Rich

    May 21st, 2020 at 10:52 AM

    Ooops. I should clarify my comment – I *have* ASD. I am not a partner of someone with ASD.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    May 21st, 2020 at 4:11 PM

    Hello, Rich – thank you for your thoughtful comments. I agree with you completely that neurodiverse couples can grow together and prosper. That’s why my entire clinical practice is focused on helping neurodiverse couples do just that, and that’s why I write articles such as this one in order to help explain both sides of some of the challenges. Warm wishes to you.

  • Patrick

    May 29th, 2020 at 9:44 PM

    As I am the undiagnosed aspie spouse I am glad I read this. My wife showed me this to try to get me to understand and to try to help our relationship. It has helped open my eyes to what I am doing wrong; however, I feel lost and depressed because I don’t have many resources to explain how things look through my eyes. I wish there was some way to explain why things happen the way they do from an aspie’s point of view, maybe it would help connect some of the dots … like when my spouse rejects me for trying to comfort her, then I am afraid to try again. How somedays everything I say seems to make her more angry, so I don’t say anything. The negative confrontation is what kills it, it isn’t when she is mad, it is whenshe is mad, I try to help and it just gets worse. It tells my brain “Well, you better not do that again..” when in turn maybe it was just a one off incident and the next time she wants me to comfort her, but I don’t because now I am afraid to. I am literally afraid to touch my wife when I know she wants it because I no longer know what to expect… If I am wrong I am making it worse. It really does bother me, I want to help but am at time terrified to do so. Yes, it is not a stable situation so it is very difficult for me. It really is a double edge sword and what is really awful is how it is not anyone’s fault. I was born the way I am – I shouldn’t expect anyone to understand me. I am sorry to anyone who has had to endure our lack of understanding and while I know you tried your best, we as aspies also have a hard time, even if we don’t show it. Many of us had to mask how we are because we wanted to fit in and have a life. I desire the social interaction with friends and others.. I just don’t know how to do it the way you do.
    The takeaway is that I know you are going through a difficult time. Often we are too and have no way to articulate it. I do have feelings, often intense, I want you to be happy, but I am also a person too, I think differently and don’t know how to fill in the gap to satisfy you without making it worse…

  • Rosey

    July 22nd, 2020 at 2:51 PM

    I am both angry and relieved, finally discovering what was wrong with my idiot of an ex-husband. I always thought there was something off about him, from the start. For one, he seemed to push for a serious relationship much sooner than I felt comfortable doing. I also always felt that his phony religious parents were hiding something from me. And I was right. For years, I believed he was a closet drug addict. Now, I see he had something else going on and no doubt his parents knew. He was born less than a year after his older brother and I’ve read that can be the cause of Autism. He also had a brother who was Autistic and Epileptic, with a possibly Autistic son. He was always very immature for his age, in spite of looking 10yrs older and seemed to be getting more and more immature, with each passing year. After we got married, he was greedy, cheap, violent, obsessive, lied constantly and was very irresponsible. AND HIS PARENTS KNEW ALL OF THIS. Yet, when our marriage ended (after 6.5yrs of pure Hell for me), his mother blamed ME and said that it was because I wasn’t closer to her!! Yeah, try working 13 days in a row, for all those years, to pay for everything and spend your only day off cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and then wanting to call your m.i.l. up and tell her how happily married you are. All the while, her leech of a son was out drinking, running to strip clubs, picking up prostitutes and squandering money playing golf or various other hobbies, while I was working like a pack mule, for nothing. I was filled with so much resentment towards my in-laws, I could barely stand them. We had barely met and his mother was already pushing for us to get married–no doubt, that she wanted to get rid of the violent, lying, good-for-nothing idiot. It seemed to me, that his father was WAAAAYYY too happy at our wedding–almost giddy. Of course, when we split up, he lied to his parents and told them that *I* was the one who physically attacked HIM and wasted money! Naturally they believed him, even though they knew differently. At least I didn’t have any kids with him, I knew I’d be the one paying for everything and doing all the work. His stupid parents were always hinting around about me having one, but I hated their son way too much and was waiting for an opportunity to get rid of him. I knew I had to wait until he landed a decent job and started strutting around like a bigshot, which is exactly what he did. Such an arrogant creep. He never would’ve amounted to anything without me, but of course, not one word of gratitude. EVER. One thing that still bothers me, many years later, is that he told me when we were getting divorced, that when we met he KNEW he could get away with treating me badly. That makes me think, that this affliction has a lot of manipulation and willful actions involved with it, it’s not something they cannot control. He knew that screaming, punching holes in walls and acting like a lunatic would terrify me. Or it did at first. Then I became bitter and angry, as the years passed and sickened by the sight of him. We never went anywhere together, because he’d always embarrass me in public and scream at me like a 2yr old, all the way home. His stupid father called me constantly, begging me to give his idiot son another chance and I am so glad that I refused. I knew I made a mistake on our wedding nite, when the maniac started screaming at me and pounding on the steering wheel of my car, I thought for sure we were going to get into an accident. I will always remember that nite and hate his guts, for ruining what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. All due to his selfish, nasty, immature behavior. I had a very stressful childhood. My mother was always screaming at me and threatening me, too. I am seriously wondering, how common is it, for those of us who got saddled with these type of husbands, to have had a similar experience growing up? I have always felt, that my mother conditioned me to allow myself to be victimized. I was never allowed to stand up for myself. And truly believe there is a link. I never remarried or even had the desire to. After what I went thru, being tricked into such a damaging and toxic situation, I knew I could never trust anyone ever again on that level.
    *Sorry about the double spacing, don’t know how that happened.

  • Willow

    July 23rd, 2020 at 9:25 AM

    In answer to Rosey’s question : “I am seriously wondering, how common is it, for those of us who got saddled with these type of husbands, to have had a similar experience growing up? ”
    I would say that it is VERY common but doesn’t always have to be if we learn to see red all the flags that are there. I married my dominating mother. I was a timid little mouse who had never known love, hugs or affection. I CRAVED love. And worse, I had no life experience and no one to talk to about anything. I was 17 when I met my husband and 18 when I married him. My sister also married a very ‘odd man’ (whose brother is, we are sure, on the spectrum and whose son, from his first wife, has been diagnosed as Autistic). She met him at 16, married at 18 and had her first child at 20. Her husband was ten years older than her – 26 to her 16 when they met and already divorced with two kids. After I left home to be with my boyfriend/husband, my sister who was only 11 at the time, was so traumatised that I’d left, she went deaf for 6 months and no one ever told me until she did five years ago! My mother was beyond ‘odd’. After I left home she went from totally domineering to someone who took literally to her bed. My dad was an absolute enabler. When she took to her bed he looked after her like an invalid for the rest of her life but he did finally step up for my sister, he had to, my 11 year old sister was going home from school to a mother permanently in bed and not interested. When we speak of our upbringing we speak of two very different experiences. But we married men who constantly used our backgrounds against us as in “You’re not going to treat me like your mother treated your father”. And that’s why I KNOW that our upbringing sets us up to succeed or fail. – my mother’s mother was mentally ill and finally diagnosed as schizophrenic in old age so she didn’t have much of a childhood either. And, my husband’s mother was manic depressive, always attempting suicide and finally succeeded in taking her life a year after we married. His sister hung herself four days after his mother’s suicide.

  • Ziggy

    July 23rd, 2020 at 10:24 AM

    i wish i had not read this article :( i am on the autism spectrum, with a dollop of adhd on the side, and my marriage with my possibily autistic husband isnt working out. To be sure, its hard work and i feel as though i am doing all the emotional labour but to read toxic comments like ‘autistic men and those with adhd SHOULD BE PURGED FROM THE GENE POOL’ .. this makes me sick to my heart. Not saying i dont believe the stories here – they are heart rending – just an observation that im pretty sure there are dysfunctional marriages within wholly neurotypical marriages too. Also not excusing behaviours and saying ‘oh well, you know they are autistic what do you expect’ – asd/adhd is not and should not be a get out of jail card for rotten behaviour. Did you know the instances of suicide or suicidal ideation is way higher in the autistic population. i hate hate hate the idea that there are people out there who would rather people like me were expunged from the gene pool. there are terms for ideas like that – eugenics, and genocide being a couple of them.

  • Willow

    July 24th, 2020 at 7:57 AM

    Hello Ziggy, I’m really sorry you have had to read such awful comments from ignorant, vindictive people. I’ve not seen any of the comments you’ve referred to – I find it hard to find responses on here for some reason. However I have posted comments. I have no idea whether my husband is autistic or not, I just feel that some of his (many) statements during arguments (that he engineered) made it seem as though he might be because they were so odd, almost as though he knew he had to react in some way but he had only a wonky default to rely on. Other than that, he was almost certainly narcissistic, although that is only what I’ve concluded from his black and white approach to life and his ‘I am never wrong’ stance. As for the gene pool…………. I’m pretty relieved that my alienated daughter has never wanted children because the odds were well and truly stacked against her on both sides of the family! She had two mentally ill grandmothers and a diagnosed schizophrenic great grandmother. My husband’s mother (mentally ill) committed suicide after we married and his sister hung herself four days later. Not to mention that we lost our first child to a very rare, inherited, degenerative metabolic disease that left her like a floppy rag doll unable to do anything but smile when her fringe was blown. There is no way I would have given up my handicapped child but in view of all the past horrors running through both sides of the family………. well, I’m glad I’ll never be a grandma!

  • Notesy

    July 25th, 2020 at 6:16 PM

    I would like to respond to Rich who has so many positive things to say about NT/ND relationships. I would hope that everyone would want to be diagnosed so that they don’t miss the many opportunities and strategies that are available to ND people. But even if the ND does not want to deal with their diversity, it can be very important just for the NT. When I ask my ND friend if they like my dress and they respond “it is red”, It seems offensive. I might have hurt feeling. I might get angry at ND. I might think ND doesn’t care about me. But if I understand that ND’s brain works differently so that they take things in a literal way and thought nothing negative about me, we can go forward in a positive way. The truth is that most NT/ND relationships do not work. Honesty and trust are basic components of all relationships. Both people have the right to know from the beginning the truth.

  • ApparentAspiHole

    July 28th, 2020 at 8:42 AM

    In response to Patrick and Rich, knowing that you are going in a situation where a mental issue exists doesn’t make things easier. It might remove some of the _surprises_ but it doesn’t lessen any of the damage from any arguments. Dealing with someone that has a mental health issue is draining, and even worse when that other person can’t see how their behavior is abnormal and emotionally damaging, and this applies to both sides of the situation. As someone on the spectrum I frequently find myself in situations where I cannot be right just because I disagree and I must at be at fault because I am the one that is emotionally detached. God forbid that I suggest the possibility that some situation might be the result of her mental illness as that seems to be a valid excuse for a whole new set of fights.
    I find myself in Patrick’s position more often than I deserve. Nothing I say seems to make anything better, yet somehow saying nothing is worse. You get accused of not being there emotionally, yet get pushed away when you reach out. She is able to walk out of an argument because she “needs time” but I am required to stay there and be verbally abused and once she is done she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. Then it ends with a similar admonishment of “don’t do that again” like I’m some child that needs to be disciplined.
    You end up having to walk on eggshells simply to try to be able to communicate effectively and can’t address problems without things devolving into fights without her bringing up items from my past while I do not bring up her past issues (including seeking sexual activities outside of the relationship more than once).
    Perhaps the other advice offered above is most helpful, that maybe it is best to avoid both people like me and her. People that are mentally ill might not fully appreciate the extensive burden they place upon their loved ones, especially when they can’t appreciate the view from their partner’s side. No one, healthy or not, deserves that.

  • David

    July 30th, 2020 at 12:31 AM

    Do not just try to ignore it, if you are experiencing this, find help ASAP.

  • Miriam

    August 5th, 2020 at 8:36 AM

    I was shocked to read this blog post because it describes my life so well. I thought I was crazy or genuinely had an anger problem (his reasoning for our years of conflict), that my situation was unique. After 30 years of marriage I finally have validation of my feelings and experience. Thank you, Susan.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    August 7th, 2020 at 8:43 AM

    Hello, Miriam – I’m glad you found my writing helpful and elucidating. Best wishes to you.

  • Sheena

    August 19th, 2020 at 10:44 AM

    Wow. Reading these comments has made me realize that I am not crazy for wanting to leave a “good” guy. My husband of three years is a “nice” guy who goes to work reliably, doesn’t drink or smoke, and makes good money. This is a second marriage for both of us and we are in our 40s. As great as he looks on paper and as envious as my friends are with how our relationship appears externally, he’s just checking things off a list, and he is not interested in me as a person, at all.

    When we were dating, it was a fantasy romance. He courted me the old fashioned way, would ask me out on dates very formally, and I thought his organization, seriousness, and focus on me were good traits. I ignored the small voices telling me that *something* was missing from our connection, because he was supposedly doing everything right. I now know exactly what was missing – the art of real conversation, human connection, and empathy from the person you care about.

    The MINUTE we got married, the focus on me stopped, and he focused on work and himself. The date nights ended, and if I asked for a date night, he’d yell at me, criticize me, and tell me to get out of his house. I’d cry silently over his meanness towards me, and I was completely ignored. I’d tell him that his lack of response to my emotions and lack of interest in my life was very hurtful, and he’d just stand there. I’d try to break my emotions down in simple terms that he could understand. He would hear it, but he never could relate to it. He’d get extremely mad at me over simple stuff, like my daughter from my first marriage going to bed at 10:04pm instead of 10pm. He told me that he doesn’t approve with the way I parent her – I’m too friendly and casual. He resents that I am warm and happy with people – so much so that he goes through my friend lists and tells me to delete people he sees me chatting with “too much”. Despite his lack of real connection with me he is insanely jealous and controlling – even telling me that I couldn’t have any unmarried girlfriends “because he doesn’t believe in that”. He is obsessed with rules, schedules, and routines. He would work all day (12+ hours, 6 days a week, his choice) and not call or check on me once. I’d ask for little calls during the day, he’d launch into a monologue about how he was too busy to send me even one text. Sex became mechanical. I’d ask for more foreplay, more mental stimulation, more emotional connection, which he took to fix by robotically asking me “How was your day” when he got in bed. I’d try to be my normal happy bubbly self when telling him about my day, but he wasn’t interested in how my day was, at all. He’d stare at me blankly or give a canned response. On the rare occasion that I can get him to go out to a nice restaurant, there’s no conversation, and he’s even called my interests stupid. Most of the time he just finds a TV or a wall to stare at when we go out. He took me out to dinner for my birthday last year to a sushi place, I was so excited to have a night out, but once we were seated he barely looked at me or talked to me, he just stared at the TV in the bar. We literally have nothing real to say anymore. I’m reluctant to even begin to talk, because he’s not listening anyway, and he’s not talking because he’s in his head.

    I enrolled in nursing school, and the entire first semester he didn’t even know what days I went to school or what my schedule was like. He wasn’t interested. I’d try to talk to him about it, he’d sometimes go through the motions of listening, but he really wasn’t. He’s in his own world, and the only thing he enjoys doing is listening to podcasts, talking about what the best TV shows are, and criticizing everything, and insisting his way of living life is the correct way. He’s embarrassed me in public with his open, cold-blooded criticism of things I was doing or wanted to do.

    I told him last night that this wasn’t working. I’m OK with it.

  • C

    September 21st, 2020 at 5:41 AM

    Hoping to learn more – posting to subscribe to future comments. I have learned a great deal reading here. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their experience/insights – both NT and AS. I appreciate the chance to better understand my spouse and myself, as well as the dynamics in our family. Many puzzle pieces began to make more sense as I was reading, and I’m grateful.

  • Rich

    October 27th, 2020 at 2:08 PM

    In reply to @ApparentAspiHole, and as a fellow Aspie, I think you bring up a good point. You said it’s emotionally draining “when that other person can’t see how their behavior is abnormal.” And I think this is key. I mentioned that getting a diagnosis *is* helpful for an Aspie-NT relationship. And some Aspies and/or partners don’t change the way they look at things after receiving a diagnosis. So for them, a diagnosis is not at all helpful. But most people do change their attitude with a diagnosis. The Aspie starts to realize how much emotional distress they have caused their partner. And the partner starts to realize that the Aspie isn’t just being an jerk. That lack of reciprocity, flexibility, and understanding is an actual inherited psychological condition and not at all the Aspie’s fault. So both partners begin to have more understanding for each other. Not always – sometimes the Aspie is SO inflexible, or the partner is SO resentful, that they won’t have enough empathy to increase understanding. Note that a partner’s resentment can cause a severe lack of empathy – it’s not just the Aspie that might lack empathy. Does a diagnosis cure autism or resolve conflicts? Of course not. But it does lead to greater understanding which does help the relationship. I’m talking only about an autism diagnosis – not any other mental or emotional issues. I don’t know enough to speak to them. I can definitely relate to walking on eggshells and being pushed away – as an *Aspie* – not an Aspie partner.
    @Patrick I really enjoyed reading your comments and I can really relate.
    @Sarah thanks for taking the time to read and reply to my comment! I keep going back to this article time and time again – not because I enjoy reading it – it’s definitely tough, even painful to read. Although I have almost never missed my wife’s birthday, I understand that there are other areas where she has felt unappreciated. But it helps me understand my wife’s loneliness and frustration. Best wishes to you and those you work with.

  • C

    October 29th, 2020 at 9:47 AM

    @Rich – Thank you for your thoughtful, well-expressed comments. I appreciate the insights you offered. I’m glad you spoke up to share your experience because it’s helpful to others. At least for me, more understanding leads to a more workable, enjoyable relationship. Anyway – it was good to hear what you had to say. Thanks!

  • JM

    December 1st, 2020 at 9:32 PM

    The author may have the best intentions in the world, but unfortunately this article reads like just another “oh honey we know he’s awful and you’re miserable but he can’t help it and IT’S YOUR JOB TO BE KIND even when doing so hurts you in the process”. It reminds me of so many other articles. Written in 1950 by the catholic church. In the present day however, reality is more noticeable: this woman is in an unhappy, unfulfilling, and increasingly abusive relationship.

    So what does this therapist recommend when the wife is unhappy, unfulfilled and having her own mental health slowly ground down to dust? Oh gosh, she is not allowed to focus on securing her own mental health and safety in the presence of abuse. Nope, not allowed. Women aren’t allowed to focus on their own mental health as long as there is a man in need somewhere, anywhere on the planet. Instead the wife is encouraged to set aside her own needs in order to be kind kind KIND to male bodied people. It’s her job after all, we all know women are morally obligated to stick with unresponsive and abusive men, and to manage his emotions, his life and his health for him. Screw that. WHAT A LOUSY THERAPIST. LEAVE HIM. And enjoy the rest of your life without such numbskulls in it.

  • Sarah Swenson

    December 2nd, 2020 at 11:26 AM

    Hello, JM – thank you for taking the time to comment on my article. Unfortunately, I’m afraid you misinterpreted it. The neurodiverse relationship is unique, and considerations for both partners must be acknowledged within the framework of the differences between them. It’s not as simple as your comment might suggest.

  • Soko

    December 2nd, 2020 at 4:14 PM

    Ms. Swenson,
    Your article hardly addresses the complexities of any relationship but especially a ND/NT relationship! JM was responding to Your article. The truth is that a NT person will always have great challenges in a relationship with a ND person that go beyond typical challenges of a NT/NT relationship. Your article does not highlight the perspective of the ND person and JM was responding in kind. It would be so much more helpful if you could share your information with everyone instead of criticizing.

  • JM

    December 4th, 2020 at 6:02 AM

    Thank you for replying Sarah, and also very brave and considerate to post my original comment! Only after clicking send did I realize it was far too “attacky” on you personally, and for that I apologize. But really, what is too complicated for me to understand? It is expected and predictable that men suffering with autism would have more difficulty with relationships, particularly with a spouse — that part is very easy to understand. But what is not understandable, after delineating how incredibly damaging and insidiously abusive this relationship can be for the women involved, is when the article then goes on to suggest all the ways women should continue to support such insidiously toxic men. Leave abusive partners, is the recommended advice nowadays. I’m wondering why this article encourages the exact opposite of the recommended advice? Why is there no discussion regarding criteria or guidelines indicating when leaving an abusive situation is the better option for the victim? Apologies for being so blunt but something more is needed here than just telling anyone who objects that we “don’t understand”.

    The line frequently used by accidental apologists for abusers is “oh but helping them be better people helps us all”. How exactly? The problem with some disorders is that there is no cure and no treatment which truly removes the desire to offend/the ability to care. It is like expecting someone with non-existent nerve endings in their arms to pick up a baby bird without crushing it. But I have known quite a few people with autism and none of them behaved with the level of toxicity described in this article. The people in the article, appear to just be cruel-hearted individuals, PLUS in addition they may have autism or some other disorder. Misdiagnosis does happen from time to time. Psychopathy could be described as a lack of empathy plus cruelty — wouldn’t they much rather be diagnosed as “being on the spectrum” of autism instead of labeled a psychopath?

    Whatever the answer to that question, my primary purpose for replying again is to emphasis how a historically oppressed demographic is being encouraged once again to be good little girls by staying with their abuser, no matter how damaging for them it may be. Has anyone in a professional capacity done any research to exclude sexism from being a factor when encouraging women to stay in toxic relationships?

  • Tracy

    December 7th, 2020 at 2:09 PM

    Came upon this article last night & cried all night. Unbelievable to see myself in the words…and so afraid to alienate myself from kids as I am sure to be the crazy one. Every evening ends in an argument & every morning it is as if everything is fine. It makes me feel immature, overly reactive & crazy that I can’t make sense of anything! I am the only person who is “losing” it & the kids will blame me for our pending divorce unfortunately.

  • Tracy

    December 7th, 2020 at 2:13 PM

    You have completely missed the mark on this article….

  • Dorothy

    December 8th, 2020 at 8:41 AM

    Dear Tracy,
    As someone who divorced her Aspberger spouse (he was undiagnosed, felt he was completely fine and in no need of therapy) in 2017, I sympathize with your plight. I would encourage you to focus less on your kids during these difficult times but focus on yourself and your sanity. Maybe your kids will blame you but hopefully they will come to appreciate the incredible stress being in your unhappy marriage placed on you and that in choosing yourself you are ultimately setting a positive example of choosing the difficult path of formally ending the marriage because your marriage does not meet your needs. My kids were ultimately grateful that I divorced their dad because they saw that he and I were not happy to be together. No kid wants to see their parents divorce but they also want to live where there is harmony and mutual respect. Hugs to you and keep the faith!!

  • Marieclaire

    December 23rd, 2020 at 11:10 PM

    Dear All…
    My best friend has been married to Aspie and I have a second hand experience in such relationship. Thirty something years of pain, isolation, neglect and not rarely emotional abuse of all kinds, with some periods of love bombing especially when he saw that she has had enough and was ready to leave him. That constant circle of abuse and reconciliation with smaller and smaller circumference, with less and less of good days and more of the silent treatment and isolation. That clearly visible pattern of less and less effort to keep the marriage together, throwing just enough crumbs of care to give an illusion of caring and pretend game of making promises to make up for all the pain and bright future ahead that never materialized. As soon as the wife was calmed, pacified and groomed to stay and behave, wife who was always loving, kind and forgiving, kept hungry for love and attention, was easy to get hooked on false promises. He became expert actor and mastered the game of false promises to perfection, she was forgiving and always struggling between leaving and forgiving and trying again because she so wanted to be loved, to feel loved and appreciated, but that was not really the goal for him, he only wanted to keep her BELIEVING he will have something to give her but he had really nothing to offer.
    Witnessing this over the years was very painful. It was never my job to judge or to advise but to listen and to support my poor emotionally exhausted and soul worn friend. I was not in that marriage, I was not in similar marriage and so I never felt it is my place to speak like I knew. I respected her choices and her struggle and never judged her choice to keep sticking around despite all the abuse and neglect. I saw she tired to work on the marriage and although I thought it was hopeless and life wasting experience, once children are involved and the mom tried to keep it together who I was to judge that. I tried to help her to swim through that river of sewage and it was not my job to tell her to get out unless she would choose to do so. It was her life, her choice.
    Years were passing and many did before she realized what happened. She realized that
    Nothing got better
    Everything got wrose
    It all got to the point when she was treated like trash and her needs were never met nor considered
    She was completly pushed away
    Completly isolated and lonely in the marriage
    She lost love of her children over struggles with the father
    The were too much like their father so they saw things the way he saw them and so she was completly at loss
    The children forgot all the love and care she gave them and how he never recognized them till they were all big
    and required no care, this is when he stepped in with his crumbs of attention for them they also longed for and
    at the very little price of pushing mother away they felt they are gaining the recognition and love of their father
    It was way too late that she realized that the biggest mistake she ever made, next to never marrying person without heart who had purely contractual view of the marriage, who married to have a servant, a slave and to mother and raise his children without much if any effort on his side, was not to leave him when the kids were little.
    The whole sacrifice she made for kids, forgo her pain and her hopes and keep sticking around with him for the sake of the children turned against her in no time. If she left when kids were little, even if they were little mirrors of him, would have much less contact with him, would be less groomed to hate mom, less role model how to ignore, neglect other persons needs and how to get away with the crime of not loving the one he promised to love and cherish even if he got all that she promised him. In sickness in health.
    They even learned that when he is sick she would tend him, but when she was sick, he would be angry and rude because it was NOT his place to tend a sick wife or kids. After all the years of seeing how to mistreat the mom, the kids were prepped and ready to
    continue once left the nest. That truly seem the mistake she made. While she would still get an alimony from him, she would not have to deal with his heartless behavior. He would be forced to pay weather he wanted or not as if he would refuse, he would face a legal system that impose a father to support the children and it is his problem where he gets the money from.

    Leaving him when she was in her early 30’s would give her chance to find a new love and new life. Staying with him, left her old, warn, used, abused, distrustful and no more attractive to many guys who seek younger ladies. When she looked around at some 58..
    she saw that the only guys she could date if lucky would be as old as her or older.. so no more chance for love and happy relationship with a 35ish someone, because they would not give her time of the day. She lost all this chance for her happiness, all those great looking, young strong guys were out of the picture. Should she leave him then, this would be her pool of potential guys.
    How much love, how much companionship and intimacy she lost that will never come back? All those years when she was not good enough for him? This is the price she paid, she paid with her life and her chance for happiness.
    What if she would find another guy who would love her and then the marriage would eventually fade out? Still seems like win considering that her marriage never really took of and was DOA, comparing to that, any relationship that would be loving even for some time would be a total win. She always felt that her marriage was like a car with all flat tires that had him behind the wheel, all kids in all seats and she was behind the car pushing it all the endless trip. Once at the finish line, she was left to her own devices while they merrily marched together into the horizon without ever looking back.
    I am not an expert on Asperger Husbands but what I saw was heart breaking. I learned a little since to know that while indeed the spectrum means exactly that, that they differ somewhat, it also seems that the difference is mostly about how many and how deep of other features they carry. If an Aspie is also a strong Narcissist, that is most painful as they not only care nothing but also go off their way to hurt and abuse for their pleasure of making someone suffer. There are some Aspies so it seems who are quiet and on a kinder side but even they are very hard to stay with because just the fact that a husband does not hurt a wife emotionally or physically does not make marriage happy. It is all about a relationship where two people need to see the other person and their needs and need to always aspire to fulfil them. My own mother used to say “a marriage in which only one person is happy is not a happy marriage”, Per this token, many Aspies husbands are happy in the marriage while wife suffers. Of course they are happy because their needs are met but to the point. Nobody or most nobody can endlessly sacrifice their own needs and expect nothing in return. Not many people can see how they not only take take and take all their lives but give nothing in return, and then, like this is not enough, they also cancel all the hard work and dedication of the wife. Like they did nothing and like they don’t deserve any recognition. This is a spiritual death for a person who struggled all their lives, worked their bottom off, raised kids practically without a partner only to be discarded as an emotional trash and a burden. This is the reward one can surely expect if one gets married to someone who start showing indifference, starts isolating emotionally and stone walling and also refuse to fulfil partner’s needs. There is nothing ahead, but pain and regret. It is relatively simple to tell apart a great or good or even okay husband from an extremely self centered, self absorbed, isolating person who lives in their own world and care noting about others. This is the kind of Aspie I am talking about, if there are others who are different, who strive to keep the relationship and try to understand what is wrong and how to fix it..
    who hear the cry of their spouses and listen to their legitimate demand for reciprocity in the marriage, those people are not in the same bag. They are there, they can be found in the therapist offices, they can be found reading books and trying to make an effort.
    They must love their wives and their families enough to try and make the effort. This is a small group but they do exist. It all starts and ends with their efforts to try to meet the other persons need that they often are not able to recognize on their own because they are not equipped to do so, they see the world differently and they need help and guidance. God bless their hearts.
    The worse kind is the kind that sees nothing, cares nothing and yet you can’t leave them because you constantly hope they will see the light. No wonder, that the wives often leave them late in their lives when they grew tired and exhausted of the loneliness, they much rather want to stay alive and be alone then lonely in the marriage. At least after being slaves and nannies and teachers and housekeepers all their lives, they get out before they became the old age nurse for their abusive and neglectful husband so it is not all lost.

  • Rosey

    December 24th, 2020 at 8:45 AM

    WOW. I still say, that certain women were raised in a way, to be taken advantage of and victimized. I know I was. And certain Aspies are savvy enough to identify those types and that’s whom they chose to get involved with. A women with high self-esteem, who has been raised to value herself, probably (I don’t know for certain, as I wasn’t fortunate enough) doesn’t fall for the lies, manipulation, abuse, infantile violent temper tantrums and neglect.

  • Tracy

    December 24th, 2020 at 9:47 AM

    My particular situation with my husband is exhausting because he doesn’t hold grudges or even considers the argument from the night before and is chipper in the morning. It makes me feel crazy inside and seriously insane. If we reflect on the argument, it has been rewritten by his memory & I feel crazy….again.

  • Jon

    January 3rd, 2021 at 4:47 PM

    Why are there no letters from men married to women on the spectrum?

  • Bella

    January 7th, 2021 at 2:23 AM

    But IF: Women Who Leave Lose Twice
    Then what is the alternative? Should women described in the article reconsider and stay? Who would benefit, who would loose then?

  • Sarah Swenson

    January 7th, 2021 at 8:57 AM

    The entire focus of my therapy practice is helping couples determine alternatives to divorce through increased understanding of their differences and learning more effective communication strategies. This article is written about women who have not had the advantage of supportive counseing and struggled on their own to make sense of their marriages.

  • A.N.

    January 19th, 2021 at 7:27 PM

    Does the same thing happen to the woman if she’s the one with undiagnosed autism and her husband is NT? Women are far more likely to go undiagnosed.

  • GretchenC

    February 9th, 2021 at 8:57 AM

    This article has really propelled me to seek separation, if not divorce. We have been married for nearly 24 years, have two kids ages 19 and 21; they are both still living at home due to the pandemic. And neither one of them shows me any respect – they ignore my requests for help around the house, make fun of me, think I am being controlling and OCD. Meanwhile, their rooms are DISASTERS, their shared car looks like a hoarder’s car, they leave dishes in the sink, eat in their rooms… My husband doesn’t do anything about it, and doesn’t support me. He is very successful and respected at work, very very smart. I am lonely in my marriage, have been for years. We have tried marriage counseling for almost 6 years, and nothing has really changed. I finally said enough is enough and stopped going to marriage counseling. He said “you can’t do that” to which I said, well, I am, and you can continue to see the therapist on your own. This is typical of him – he tells me what I can and can’t do, tells me that how I feel is not really how I feel. Looking back, the signs were all there. When I broke my ankle about 12 years ago, he felt sorry for himself because he would have to do more stuff around the house and with the kids; he even started training for a 50 mile run. He never greets me when I walk in the house. Can barely make eye contact – even when it’s on facetime or zoom. He is sarcastic. But from the outside, he looks like a great husband and father. Sex is terrible – it’s like he’s a kid in a candy store, very immature; there’s no emotional connection. He has trouble following conversations, and will just blurt out random comments, and expect me to be interested. And unfortunately, he has trained me well, because I will feign interest.
    So I told him that this is not working, and he looked at me with disgust and rolled his eyes. And went to bed. To be fair, I have good days and bad days, and when things are ok then I think “it’s not that bad… you can do this,” and then give him signs of hope. Then the next day, something will happen where I am not listened to or made fun of or ignored, and then I lose it. I didn’t use to be an angry person, but I find myself being so angry all the time.
    I am making plans to leave. I haven’t told my kids. I know that they will most likely blame me, see their father as the victim. This makes me the most sad and heartbroken – to think that I may lose my kids. But at the same time, I haven’t really had a relationship with them in several years.

  • Tracy

    February 9th, 2021 at 2:34 PM

    I feel for you!! Your situation is similar to mine!

  • Rose

    February 11th, 2021 at 1:04 PM

    So sad to read this. I hope you can mend your relationship with your children.
    Why do we make so many allowances for people who treat us so badly? I understand it’s often not intentional but behaviours can be learned.

  • Sadder than sad

    February 11th, 2021 at 3:19 PM

    I don’t know how I got here? It’s been a very slow but continuous process into being dragged into a most peculiar way of living! I think it’s because I met him when I was so young (only 16 years old, so had nothing to compare him against). Then I guess that I kind of started making excuses for him, like “he is young and immature he will grow up” or I would even blame it on his equally odd father. But now I realise that his “odd” father is also probably what use to be called Asperger’s and that my husband cannot see how “odd” his father is because my husband also has Aspergers. I do not need anyone to tell me that it’s not my fault as I know this! I do not need pity as I know he is “crazy”. I do not care that he doesn’t do the things he does on purpose, that’s of no use to me! The outcome is always the same I am the one that feels the pain and hurt. He does not weep a single tear EVER, he does not even have his sleep disturbed by being upset or worried about any other human being. He “cares” but not enough to let me speak without talking over me, not enough to EVER say sorry about anything as nothing and I mean nothing is ever his fault, not enough to ever give a compliment as he prefers to make jokes at my expense, not enough to ever hold my hand, not enough to cuddle me with out being asked, not enough to organise anything at all for me, not enough to take onboard anything I say. The list is endless. I am truly trapped, our children adore this over grown infant and he would not think twice about hurting our children in anger against me. For example, the last time I sat him down in a quiet room to calmly tell him that I believed it was best for both of us (obviously I mean ME and the kids! But I have to pacify this crazy person) if we separated and that he could see the kids any time, take what ever he wanted/needed but that it was best we separate as the arguments are just not stopping and it’s better to be friends and stop the arguing. What did my crazed Aspergers husband do? Well he calmly walked away and walked up to our two young children and told them “your mother does not love you”!!!!!! Honestly, this is how crazy our life has become because he is aspi. Seeing is believing! His inability to understand any kind of emotion or to understand that other people exist is just crazy! He told me yesterday how he has never left our family down! He actually believes what he saying! Even though he cheated on me when I was pregnant, constantly takes money from my purse will use my credit cards, is an alcoholic (says his eyes are yellow because he is tired) he lies and lies and when caught out in his often ridiculous lies, well he just lies some more. So that in the end that lies become so extreme and so silly that I just have to walk away as it becomes bizarre. He also does not seem to suffer from such emotions as shame, embarrassment or feeling scared. If I do not hide away my credit card then he will take it, use it and I don’t mean for £10-£20 but for HUNDREDS of pounds! And when I read the credit card statement and find out that he has stolen from me, when he is confronted there is no shame, no embarrassment at stealing, no he tells me that he needed money and I have been “nasty” to him so he took my credit card and used it. He never offers to repay me and does not show any emotion at all that shows any kind remorse. As everything, everything is my fault. But I know it’s not and I know he is a nutter, I don’t really care why he does it or what “condition” or “syndrome” or “damage” he has, I honestly do not care. The outcome is always the same! He is perfectly fine, his needs are ALWAYS met and me and the children have to live with this crazy person who “pretends” to care for us but can steal from us no problem at all. And guess what? This aspi is a deputy headteacher!! His uncaring and unfeeling nature comes across to the pupils and parents as if he is “kidding around” but it is no joke! He actually means what he says! For example, a child drew a photograph of him and wrote a story about him and asked him if he would like to see it and his aspi reply to the young pupil was “no”. When I pointed out to him that the kid must have been crestfallen, he laughed and said I’m not interested. He gets away with it as he is thought of as a “joker” but he is not kidding!! He is intelligent, so passed his A levels, degree and teaching qualification. Although when he did his teaching qualification his tutor gave him a terrible reference and yet the first school he applied to STILL gave him a job!! They even told him about the terrible reference, yet STILL gave him the job!! He always, always, always lands on his feet! And now he is deputy head in a church school! So he gives whole school assembly’s on not stealing, cheating etc and yet does ALL of those things. But if anything at all is brought up by me about his behaviour then he starts telling me what an evil, horrible, manipulative person I am because I raised my voice! I mean it is so crazy that it’s funny! But when he SCREAMS and I ask him to stop shouting his response is “I am not shouting”. When I ask him to stop ranting, his response is “I am not ranting”. When I calmly try to speak about how “we” can improve things, he lists all of the things that he believes I have done wrong, one of these really, really bad things that I do wrong is phoning him on his mobile in work (during his break or lunch time). Apparently me phoning his mobile is just pure evil! His behaviour is getting worse as he is getting older. He is 45 years old now and I’m not even sure if he has any sense of reality anymore. His eye contact is either uncomfortably intense or no eye contact at all and attempting to talk through walls as he thinks nothing wrong in trying to start a conversation while standing in a different room from me! If I disagree with anything or God forbid make the massive mistake of saying something is his fault then he literally “bolts” out of the house and drives off and leaves me and the kids alone in the house while he drives to his fathers house and switches off his mobile, so I cannot contact him and the next day he acts as if nothing happened. He has “normalised” walking out routinely on us and spending the night in his fathers house. He never says sorry, cannot and does not offer any explanation for his bizarre behaviour and 100% believes I have greatly wronged him at times he even calls me “abusive”. But he cannot explain what I have done or said that is “abusive”. He has even threatened to go to the police about me because I asked him to pay me back the money he had taken from my credit card. My life is bizarre because of this aspi. He cannot keep still, he is constantly stimming and does the most bizarre movements that I cannot even explain but movements that “normal” people as adults just don’t do. Even the gait of his walk is odd with his arms down by his side not moving and the stomping of his feet and his expressionless face. He never seems to get excited or upset or emotional about anything at all, he is basically a robot. Every day he tells me what time he got up, lists the things he has done and then announces to me when he is going to bed. When I ask why he feels the need to tell me these things he says it’s for me to know ALL that he does, because he does EVERYTHING and guess what? Yes, that’s right I do nothing! I cannot be bothered to “remind him” that I work full time, that I also take care of the children’s food, wash their clothes, iron their clothes, talk to them, clean the house, do all the shopping, organise every important event such as any birthdays Christmas, holidays etc Yet he is absolutely convinced I do nothing and he does EVERYTHING. Now and again he will then say that he cares for me (ha ha hahah) and when I ask him in what way do you care for me? He says well it’s because I bring you coffee in bed. So that’s the sum total of my marriage, I get coffee brought to me in bed so he cares! Never mind he steals, abandoned us and drives away 3-4 times a week even in lockdown! Tell kids I don’t love them, blames me for everything, calls me abusive, is cold, ruthless and without any conscience. None of it matters Cos he brings me coffee in bed! Pity for him, I need to be MORE giving, MORE understanding, MORE loving. Hmmm No! I’m totally done! I’m saving my money, I’m making plans, this idiot is going to be left high and dry and I do not care at all what the hell is wrong with him, I do not care if it is his fault or not, none of it matters to me. I REFUSE to live such a cold, crazy life with this aspi, see you later alligator Cos mama is gone!

  • Marilyn

    February 13th, 2021 at 9:55 AM

    Sadder than Sad
    I’m so sorry. I’ve often thought my husband was autistic, a lot of the things you described your husband doing is exactly what my husband did though he wasn’t quite so extreme as yours. Mine threatened to take my daughter off me me not long after our first child died aged five – at the time, in the early 80s father’s rights protests were at their full height and I’m pretty sure he was influenced by what he saw in the news on TV (he often ‘copied’ others views). I stayed with my husband (in a pretty empty marriage though there were some good times, all on his terms) because I knew by the time my daughter was 15 that if I ever left him she would choose him and shun me for good (I know now that it was parental alienation). I left him and walked away six years ago today. My daughter hasn’t replied to anything I sent her for over six years (other than one long, hate filled email where she protected her father and made him out to be the victim – of me) and I cannot see anything ever changing. I trod on eggshells for the whole of my marriage (I married him when I was 18) and it still wasn’t good enough.
    When I told him I was leaving him he said “Good, I won’t have to share her with you anymore”. He then went on to ask me if I wanted him to scatter my ashes at the place where we’d scattered our first child’s ashes (the place that he never again went to, and the daughter that he never again spoke of) I was stunned beyond belief and asked him why on earth I’d want him to do that. His answer? “Because I care about you”

  • Claudia

    February 13th, 2021 at 5:59 PM

    I totally understand your situation … my husband was similar & guess what … I started dating another guy (a friend of my husband who died last year) but I am realizing that he, too, is an Aspie. What the heck? As I started to realize how similar this guy is to my ex I broke things off. I seem to have some kind of radar that draws me to this kind of man. At least I caught myself this time! Taking some time off …

  • Linda

    February 22nd, 2021 at 1:18 AM

    I feel like I’ve been fighting against losing myself for the past 10 years. It only recently occurred to me that I don’t argue with anyone else- except my husband. He treats me like I’m an idiot, and that I have never contributed much to the family… because he is a professional anyone beneath that level of career is automatically placed into a lower class of intelligence, as I am constantly reminded with lines such as “You don’t understand” or “If it hasn’t been scientifically proven, then it doesn’t exist” or “I don’t know what you do or don’t understand.” Even in front of his peers he would put me down, change my words to make me sound like a dope. He is obsessed with a career that has never happened and will never happen, always fighting for a level of monetary and work success that he will not reach, probably because he is on the spectrum, yet undiagnosed. I just want to be happy with what we have, his constant stress about reaching a certain level has eaten away at all of us, including our two girls. He has been to a psychologist a number of times and each time he comes back worse than before always wanting to be a “victim” – it’s all about everyone hurting him, but he never acknowledges the nasty comments he makes, never apologizes and never changes his behaviour…EVER! It’s Groundhog day, every day. I’m bored and I’m lonely and I was expecting more out of life than this. I turned 50 two months ago and I wept in the car because I wondered how I managed to ruin my life by marrying the wrong person. Now my girls don’t want relationships with men, because they don’t like the way their father treats me. This article and the comments at least has made me realise that I’m not alone.

  • Debra

    March 7th, 2021 at 9:47 AM

    Thank you for this post! It describes what I lived almost exactly in my past marriage. It offers great clarity and understanding. I spent years trying to hold this marriage together and understand this person. I found it impossible. I couldn’t understand why after delivering our daughter, his only concern was about getting to work on time? This is just one example of the many times I felt the lonely isolation and hurt, in what should have been a relationship and family unit. It is abuse; in a rare form because you don’t see it coming and destroying you bit by bit, but it does. I gave up after thirty years when I decided to take back my life no matter what. I did go to a therapist to help me get through the divorce. I was certain I couldn’t escape on my own. The kicker is I didn’t know who I was running away from until I read this case history and recognized the behaviors and actions. Boom, spot on!

  • The List

    March 9th, 2021 at 5:20 PM

    He pointed out to me today the “list” he has on his mobile phone. This “list” gives the dates/times that I have raised my voice and/or cried. But this “list” is read out to me by him to prove how abusive and unreasonable I am. His way of “thinking” is that every time I cry or raise my voice it means I am abusing him. He is completely intolerant of me showing any kind of hurt feelings or upset. I am not allowed to be upset or hurt by his behaviour. If I cry he tells me how he has done nothing wrong. If I try to then speak to attempt to explain why I am crying or upset he will say something like “well I don’t care about you” and this as you can imagine causes me more upset and so he repeats the same words “I don’t care about you”. He then will say “I have done nothing to you” and then finally he will say “I did not mean to hurt you”. Then he adds the date/time to his “list”. Mind you he keeps no tally/list on how many times per week he upsets me or our children. He keeps no tally/list on how many times he has been caught out lying per week. It is so bad that today I have stopped speaking to him. As any conversation is painful, he misunderstands what I say and is unable to stay on track when speaking about anything at all. He gets very muddled and confused and even forgets what he has said. He makes no sense, it’s difficult to speak to him as he cannot take turns speaking and he jumps from one topic to the next and the next and the next. Until I no longer know what he is even talking about. He will tell me that I must only speak about the here and now and not bring up anything in the past. Then in his very next sentence he will say “six years ago you did ….. to me”. He has “rules” that I must follow if I want to speak (I can only speak about things he says I can, I am not allowed to talk about the past, if he asks me a question the only answer he will accept is the answer he says is acceptable and if I do not give him the answer he is looking for then he says I am not answering him or he calls me a liar, he will not answer text messages). But he can do and say as he pleases and if I get upset then it’s added to his “list”.

  • Ballerina

    March 12th, 2021 at 4:28 PM

    Sensory issues! adapting to society that is 2nd nature, adapting to times that are second nature… Dont forget Autism is likey mixture of species hence similar traits, both pshycal and mental/emotional, so try to look at things from their perspective, youse ur NT strenght and AD logic and u have a powerful combo” afterall Autism shaped half of the world, if it wasnt for them we all still be in caves just socialising. remember that! Social is not their natural trait, please take this into consideration, so u can misunderstand them;

    If u loved these men so much u married them and for a long time then maybe they did something right and u maybe expect too much, perhaps after 20 odd years marriages are suppose to be the way they are? maybe it has nothing to do with Autism.

    Like I said my marriage to my Aspie Husband is fantastic, hes social, intelligent, logic, manly, does kick boxing, is great with humour, fantastic in bed trust me on this, is a good looker i.e Brad Pitt lookalike but with slighltly browner hair, same height if not taller, very sponatanious and so am I, we both do social things, both feel sexy, both compliment each other etc, perhaps u guys didnt have much looks so didnt compliment as much…..

    Aspie men do prefer looks, its natural to them, because they are analytical, but they can look past that once ur together, but they do prefer looks wen choosing a partner, u cant blame them, all men are like that, u know wanting the slim tall pretty look, thats my experiance with men anyway, wanting them kind of women.

  • Zahra

    March 17th, 2021 at 11:48 AM

    You’re not a licensed psychiatrist. So in my opinion you shouldn’t be qualified to provide any insight or give advice about neurological disorders and diagnoses, especially if your patients are undiagnosed. The assumptions you make about their diagnoses could also be wildly inaccurate, and their behaviors could very well be unrelated to the diagnosis of ASD. For all anyone knows, the men may not even be on the spectrum, or might be and also have comorbid with personality disorders such as BPD and Narcissistic personality disorder, which would explain the manipulative and emotionally abusive behavior they show. But you tie every negative behavior into the supposed “undiagnosed” ASD, which I think is a failure of your professional duty. The bitter and aggressive tone of your writing makes it clear that, at least on some level, you’ve formed an implicit bias against those on the spectrum that you see. This article is not in the least bit scientific

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    March 18th, 2021 at 2:58 PM

    Your comments are noted. However, your assumptions are erroneous and your contempt is unnecessary and not helpful.

  • LaurenGT

    March 18th, 2021 at 4:41 PM

    I’d like to note that we back Sarah 100%.

  • Jonathan L

    March 18th, 2021 at 8:28 PM

    It’s 3 years now since I left my wife of 28 years. The thing that I see most clearly at the moment when I look back was the gas lighting and the selfishness. I was the ‘bad person” if I became exasperated at some of her abnormal behaviour, it was never about why she behaved strangely. She taught our 3 daughters ‘well’ too. I have been completely cut off from them for having the temerity to call the youngest a ‘snowflake’ after copping much disrespectful behaviour from her.
    Anyhow, if this is the price that I have to pay in order to rediscover myself after that soul destroying marriage, then I am grateful for the opportunity.
    My friends are very few (due in large part to living in the shadow of my ex’s anti social dysfunction) but freedom is a wonderful thing.
    As a male, I feel a little like I am ‘losing twice’ too.

  • Vivienne

    March 19th, 2021 at 12:48 AM

    Could someone tell us how often autism is co-morbid with narcissism etc?
    There needs to be somewhere where the needs of spouses are addressed when encountering this empathy-deficient disorder at close quarters. The silencing of our suffering is something that should be brought out into the open. Sarah’s article has helped hundreds of people, & quite possibly helped to save a few marriages. I wish i’d seen it before i divorced an undiagnosed man, as it explained so much.

  • Willow

    March 19th, 2021 at 8:12 AM

    LaurenGT – totally agree with you!
    Jonathan – I can relate to your post. I’m an alienated mother thanks to my strange husband who I still can’t work out. Parental Alienation is real and it’s cruel. It destroys lives.

  • Marion

    March 20th, 2021 at 4:51 PM

    Hi JonathanL I’m in the reverse of your situation. Like many undiagnosed husbands, mine denied it when outsiders in his medical profession saw it, and one son is also on the spectrum. Consequently husband refused and couple counselling. Our 33year relationship broke up 20yrs ago, and I’m estranged. I have gained huge insight and support on a private Fb site “Healing Parents of Estranged Children.” Only a sprinkling of men, but thats usual in support grps. Also useful books on the subject are abundant on I’d also recommend Dr. Joshua Coleman for multiple resources which validate the work of Sarah Swenson.

  • Poko

    March 22nd, 2021 at 5:11 PM

    To Jonathan, Maybe you would do better with the mother of your children if you took some parenting classes and classes on co-parenting. You might impress her and you might learn something. The only thing I know about your parenting style is based on your example. I’m not sure what you hoped to accomplish by calling her a name. I’m sure it did not inspire better behavior from your daughter and I can see why her mother would not appreciate it either. It is all about being effective and getting what you want. It isn’t very difficult to change your style. You probably just need to moderate a few things and understand a few things. Whether it works or not with your ex it could mean everything to your children.

  • NS

    March 29th, 2021 at 6:35 AM

    So what happens if your husband develops alziehmers in his later years? Would you leave him for that reason too? Wow you ladies show a lot of nobility!!! That’s why we marry Better or for Worse!

  • Dorothy

    March 29th, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    I was struck by your “for better or worse” comment as regards commitment in a marriage. If you were married to an abusive partner, or better yet, your grown child was married to an abusive partner- would you want them to stay even if their physical and mental health were on the line? I too was someone who tried to stay married to a man who presented to the world as lovely and engaged but at home we knew him to be distant and judgmental and absorbed with his special interests. I felt many times that staying with him meant a slow death for me and in the end I chose myself. These are not easy decisions and it took years to gather the courage to seek a divorce. Was my ex surprised when I finally hired a lawyer to start the divorce action? I think he was also relieved because he understood how far we had drifted apart and that our ties to each other were irreversibly broken. He also had no interest in seeing a therapist together and at some point you have to appreciate that splitting up is the best thing you do can do for everyone involved.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    March 29th, 2021 at 10:49 AM

    It’s false equivalency to consider autism (neurodiversity) and Alzheimer’s (a progressive physical process that causes dementia) this way. Please be respectful of the experiences of those who comment here, even though your own choices may be different.

  • Diane

    March 30th, 2021 at 9:08 AM

    I completely agree with Dorothy, these marriages are very difficult. I have been married for almost 50 years to a good man. He provides well, can fix almost anything and is a responsible person ……That can never make up for the lack of reciprocity, intimacy, and genuine love and care that makes a marriage.

  • White Linda

    March 30th, 2021 at 9:12 AM

    Thank you Sarah and Dorothy. I was stunned when I read Poko’s comment and seriously considered unsubscribing to this site if we now are being judged. This is a life that I never dreamed of and everyday is a challenge to a greater or lesser degree. I have always come to this page for empathy and compassion and often found support in unanticipated ways which has helped me cope with my reality.

  • White Linda

    March 30th, 2021 at 9:44 AM

    Dorothy, thank you……I am in that netherworld of trying to drum up the courage to end it. We are currently separated and I have not been as peaceful emotionally and spiritually as I am now. One needs to notice what you notice……and pay attention. Time to stop not facing the obvious and move on.

  • Poko

    March 30th, 2021 at 1:16 PM

    To White Linda,
    It is well established that name calling is not an effective way to parent. I am not judging him as a person and I am not dismissing his difficult situation; I made a suggestion about how to navigate it.

  • Dolores

    March 30th, 2021 at 1:47 PM

    Thank you Dorothy. I am in the middle of divorcing my husband after 21 years of marriage. The final blow? He had my son thrown in jail because he wanted to take the car to see his Christian friends. My husband still has no idea why were are divorcing. The sad thing is that it would not take much to have me back – being able to feel remorse for the pain he causes us, being able to take responsibility for his actions and the pain they cause. But he thinks he is perfect.
    I am deeply saddened right now because a man I dated for a long time before my husband has suddenly died. He was adored by this family and his children. They are lost without him. He was kind, loving, helpful supportive and fun. He was their center and they were his. I am pained by this for many reasons but most of all because it is so clearly a picture of what a healthy marriage and family looks like and experiences and I have settled for so little for so long that I am now lost and my boys are damaged. I always put his happiness first but he never even knew me or what would make me happy. He never cared and still doesn’t. The truth is that he has a disorder and is simply incapable of knowing how to love. It is sad really, but it is like getting angry with a diabetic for being a diabetic. Anyway, it is hard.

  • Poko

    March 30th, 2021 at 2:49 PM

    Is it possible that you referring to a different post than mine? I am sorry you felt judged. Please help me understand better what you mean

  • Poko

    March 31st, 2021 at 12:46 PM

    To NS,
    Many of us find ourselves here precisely because of our commitment to “better or worse”. Many of us had no idea that we were marrying a NeuroDiverse person and we are so confused. Sarah Swenson describes that confusion exactly. It is difficult to move forward in any manner if you don’t understand your situation. I found incredible relief in these discoveries because our relationship finally made sense. Some of us have found that the differences between our specific ND person and ourselves as NTs are not healthy. Some of us have exhausted ways to make our relationships healthy. I think it is good to try therapy as long as the therapist understands NeuroDiversety. It does not honor the ND.person, the NT person or the commitment to continue a relationship that is negating and possibly destroying who each person is meant to be.

  • White

    March 31st, 2021 at 1:26 PM

    Poko, thank you for this comment; you have articulated our reality really well.

  • NS

    April 6th, 2021 at 5:57 AM

    I think you are all forgetting that autism is a neurological disorder. The person who has it, more than likely, doesn’t know that he actually has it. So, yes it does compare to a person who has alziehmers. It requires one to be humble to accept the person in their true way. This is what love truly is, accepting each others’ faults, working with each other and going the distance. NOT TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT! like most people do. Grass is not always greener on the other side.

  • Dorothy

    April 6th, 2021 at 8:41 AM

    My ex husband (who is definitely in my humble opinion on the spectrum but never sought or wanted a diagnosis) never accepted me in my true way- I needed to perform in a certain fashion, leave him alone save when he sought company, accommodate his lack of interest in working and accept that being ignored except when it came to sex was my lot in life. At some point you have to acknowledge that you are more than a high functioning partner but a complicated individual with needs and concerns of one’s own. I did not divorce my ex because I thought the grass would be greener, I know in many ways life would be harder because I had to essentially solo parent our kids. But, I no longer have to endure punishing silences, my ex’s lack of accountability and his preference for women who share his fitness goals. Relationships are a two way street and a life of sacrifice at one’s expense is not something I could personally tolerate. Maybe I am fundamentally lacking but I know my ex and I are happier apart than together and each have found sources of meaning that we could never share. There is nothing easy about divorce and characterizing divorce as the easy way out does disservice to those who gathered the courage to accept that a marriage failing is not a failure of conscience, commitment and conviction.

  • Sarah

    April 6th, 2021 at 9:11 AM

    It is certainly your prerogative to believe as you do. However, there are some factual errors in your comments. It is false to say that autistic individuals do not know they are autistic; many are diagnosed, and many others struggle to fit into a neurotypical world without a formal diagnosis, knowing something is different about their experience. Also, it is neither accurate nor kind to refer to autistic traits as “faults.” And finally, please refrain from judging the decisions other women make regarding their neurodiverse relationships. This is very personal and your judgment is not helpful.

  • Nancy

    April 9th, 2021 at 2:08 PM


  • Ian

    July 14th, 2021 at 11:37 AM

    My wife thinks that I have ADHD, but my Dr. and Psychiatrist (who sees many) clearly states I do not and that as a spectrum disorder we all have some traits. Interesting, our two kids have some ADHD traits however high functioning young adults doing well in post secondary. Interesting, my wife has two siblings who have teenagers and both of those families have ADHD, one with OCD and is cutting themselves. My wife has Chronic Fatigue, was epileptic when young and is a self proclaimed dyslexic and has more energy and drive than any chronic fatigue person she knows. Apparently there is a strong connection with CFS, epilepsy and dyslexia. It appears to me know, that she is the one with ADHD and likes to pin it on me and any other person she tries to gaslight.
    She won’t get tested and threatens separation / divorce every once in awhile when she losses it. We have seen a marriage therapist but when one partner only sees wrong in the other instead of sharing the responsibly of a relationship, its tough.
    Now I see her looking at this site and she tries to paint autism sd on me again, again psychiatrist says no and that she catastrophizes, wow is me type person and can’t see herself in the mirror. Please help us, thank you.
    all her family

  • Sara GT

    July 15th, 2021 at 8:02 AM

    Ian, A mental health professional might offer you some help. You might want to consider finding therapists in your area by entering your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page: After you search with your zip code, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. If you would like our help finding a therapist, you are welcome to call us. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext 3. Kind regards, The GoodTherapy Team

  • Lou M.

    July 22nd, 2021 at 9:13 PM

    Just found this article and the long list of comments showing how Aspies can be horrible persons. The thing is, I discovered myself that I am Aspie and went to get my own diagnosis at 58, six months ago. I knew I was different, but I thought everybody was different in his/her own way. (For those who think non-diagnosed ASD know who and what they are, this is false.)
    From my point of view the problems started after our marriage when we both had problems with our respective jobs, my NT wife became less responsive, I had a depression and a messy estate in my family, my wife’s illness got worse which increased her anxiety, and after our marriage she stopped giving me the ‘rational validation’ I need (NTs need ’emotional validation’, but have you been giving your Aspie the ‘rational validation’ he needs?)
    My wife has MS and I am always there to help when she doesn’t have the strength. (Yes, I cook more meals than she does, and that’s unfortunate because I have a sensory deficiency: I can’t taste the food ingredients after they are mixed, so it may need more garlic…) I take her out on our anniversary, it tastes better than my cooking. We see friends (most of them are from her side). She might feel codependent, but in reality she will have a better pension than mine and would be fine living on her own. We have no kids. We see a NT/ASD-couple therapist but it’s not working too well.
    Hopefully my comment will counter the unfair bias present in most of the others posted here. Aspies “should be purged from the gene pool” someone wrote, not realizing that medicine, science and computer scientists are a very neurodiverse part of society.
    Should I forward her this article and the horrible comments so she is warned that it’s time to “RUN AWAY” ?

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    July 23rd, 2021 at 9:36 PM

    Hello, Lou – Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please remember that some of the comments attached here to my article are from individuals who are not trained mental health professionals and who are writing about their own personal experience and opinions. It’s not time to run away from a good partner by any means, and I am happy to hear that you’re working with a therapist who understands both sides of the neurodiverse relationship. Please keep the faith. I am sorry if you’ve been hurt or discouraged by anything you have read here in the comments. Warm regards to you, Sarah

  • jay

    July 24th, 2021 at 3:25 PM

    I’m not trying to add to the pain or suggest anyone is ‘off the mark’ but I’ve read some comments about a lying spouse. People with ASD, predominately, do not lie. Are actually incapable of lying because it does not fit within a logical, rational paradigm. If you believe lying occurs, it is more than likely a trait that has been learned from neurotypical people through observation and then applied or ‘masked’. I offer this bit of wisdom as I am on the spectrum and I am married to an NT and we have a lovely life. We talk, discuss things openly, do not go to be angry and he has accepted my diagnosis with open arms and a loving heart. I have done a vast amount of research (another trait of those with ASD) and I would suggest that most negative traits that cause upset are probably learned behaviors and that you can teach new behaviors to a so-called ‘high functioning’ autist by simply living as the person you would like you partner to be. Most artists will simply mirror their spouse or whomever they are closest to and that is how they present to the world. I certainly have my own quirks and personality and our relationship is, like most, up and down, but I can see and do know what is mirroring and what is my condition. My partner doesn’t feel my presence as a performance, he knows that I am trying to meet him at a baseline of behavior from which we can both grow and feel comfortable. Alone I am anxious sometimes, I can be hyper-focused on my interests and not certain what people are thinking or feeling. But when my husband comes to me and wants to talk about how he feels or express discomfort with a rift between us, I listen and try to adjust. There is a myth that people with ‘high-functioning’ autism do not feel or are not empathetic. It is actually the opposite. We are too empathetic until it takes us over and we succumb to fatigue or panic and need some time alone to come back to baseline. This is associated with sensory overload: too much noise, people talking, clutter in our homes, demands, irrational arguments and absorbing everybody’s feelings until we simply shut down. That is the actual truth of the matter. For some, I would suggest, going to a counselor together. You might find your spouse quite willing to share and create space for you if you simply listen and talk openly. Prejudice and stepping away from an ASD spouse limits understanding. Sexually, too, it just requires a conversation or ten. You can get there. My husband and I have a lovely time together sexually. Because we’ve spoken about it a lot and decided what is best for both of us. Honestly, some of these comments have the upsetting tinge of eugenics. Autism is not going away and you cannot erase it. If you don’t want to be married to an autist, then don’t. But know that there can be treasures if one learns to communicate together instead of insisting that the ASD partner always bow to a neurotypical style of communication. That is simple discrimination and probably makes our spouse feel great stress and depression and fear. My two cents. We are all in this life together. We can be. We really can.

  • Justme

    July 25th, 2021 at 8:06 PM

    I’ve been following this blog a long while. All of the stories of being married to a man with ASD resonated in me. I tried everything to get our marriage to work. Counseling, books, patience, separate bedrooms, trying to tiptoe around him to not set off an autistic breakdown. Those who say, “would you leave your spouse if they had a debilitating disease”, well I’m sorry but you’re comparing apples to oranges, . The point of getting married is to have a family, to have partnership, to receive love. You get NONE of those things being married to a person with ASD, and it starts to affect your mental well being more than anyone 9jnthe outside could ever know. The value of having someone share a laugh with you is over a million dollars when your spouse never laughs with you, but instead belittles you because silly laughter is a stupid emotion. Being married to a robot like person is an extremely lonely place to be, especially when they had their neurological mask on the entire time you were dating. My husband changed the moment we got married. And guess what? The divorce was final last month. I can breathe now. I hope my ex husband finds the perfect woman for him, but my heart needs love and I had to allow myself to get it by divorcing him. He told me that he doesn’t need anybody and feels nothing after our split, so it was the best move for both of us.

  • Poko

    July 26th, 2021 at 11:51 AM

    It is a moral decision and commitment to be honest and not lie. It is not a trait of anyone. It is a myth that Aspies are not capable of lying. Just because some or many NDs can be brutally honest because they might not anticipate how their statements are received has nothing to do with their ability to intentionally lie. It is honorable that you have chosen to be honest. That is not true of many NT and ND people.

  • Trevor

    August 10th, 2021 at 9:35 PM

    I don’t believe AS is a disorder because it is just how a whole lot of men are wired up. I am not sure why everything is now considered a “disorder”. When I was a kid the school psychologist diagnosed me with ADHD and they drugged me with ritalin so I would sit still in class. I don’t think I had or have a “disorder” I was just a normal energetic little boy who was bored to tears with school and wanted to be playing outside instead of stuck in a classroom. As a farm boy I was also WAAAAY more interested in looking out the window to see what the farmer who lived across from the school was doing in the field with his big John Deere than what the teacher was putting on the blackboard. So needless to say my grades suffered.
    Women are into things like birthdays, anniversaries, valentines day, mother’s day. etc. Most guys could literally care less about that stuff because most of us are not emotional or sentimental creatures. It is just not a big deal to us, a birthday just means we are another year closer to dying why celebrate that? Last year my mother called me to wish me a happy birthday and I was like “Oh damn today is my birthday.” I had totally forgotten about it. LOL Also, many guys are just not that into taking care of babies, you know changing diapers, getting up at 0300 to rock them, feed them, etc. which is what modern feminist women seem to expect of their husbands these days even if the dude has to be at work at 0700. Guys are even expected to be in the delivery room for the birth these days, God only knows why. One of my friends literally passed out and another one puked. Another guy told me that seeing his wife give birth put him off sex for a year. All our fathers and grandfathers were expected to back in the day is bring home a paycheck and pay the bills, keep the grass mowed. I wouldn’t have minded being married and having kids if things were the way they were 50 years ago, but I literally have no interest in it with the way that gender roles have been skewed since I was a child nearly a half a century ago. I knew what the expectations would be if I married and had kids in the age of feminism and I didn’t like them so I decided to stay single. Of course if I told anyone the real reason I have never married they would call me a chauvinist pig so I just let them think I am gay which these days is probably far more socially acceptable than telling them the real reason I am a confirmed bachelor. I also don’t tell people I voted for Donald Trump (twice) either. LOL

  • Bill

    August 11th, 2021 at 10:13 AM

    I have the inverse but similar experience, my wife is undiagnosed but suspected ASD. Having to explain to the kids why mommy doesn’t care about her birthday or what they made for her. Rituals – harsh, mean and sometimes cruel behavior when those rituals are disrupted intentionally or otherwise. A person that initially seemed wonderful has been slowly decaying in to a shell of a human.

  • Willow

    August 11th, 2021 at 11:39 PM

    Blimey Trevor – with respect I am glad you chose not to marry! You are right, hard working women today don’y need husbands like the one you describe.
    Other than the fact that he’s not American and never voted for Trump, you have described my husband perfectly. The only difference with regard to myself was that I was a full time teacher for many, many years while he acted just as you described and then he became an alienator. I came on this page because I wondered if – judging by some of the things he said and did – he was ‘autistic’.

  • Charlie

    August 24th, 2021 at 10:38 AM

    How interesting to find this article and the immense amount of comments. Thank you all.
    I got here trying to research why my wife didn’t seem to have much ‘theory of mind’. I recently told a friend I thought she was on the spectrum. One of children is diagnosed ASD. I don’t see many situations where the reverse gender is the case… where the wife is the one with ASD. She’s controlling (more like a dictator), introverted, and doesn’t have any friends. My friends that have met her are a little scared of her. She’s mean. Add menopause to the mix and we got ourselves a real rodeo! She thinks she’s quite pleasant and doesn’t understand how you could see her any differently. In fact, you must have something wrong with YOU to see her any other way.
    The thing is, she is quite nice most of the time. She just works and works, and does what she does every day. It’s when something isn’t ‘right’ by her definition that hell breaks loose. I am now in the wrong, like a large rock in the soil she’s trying to plow. Now, she might realize she’s wrong but.. she would NEVER let me know it…. because that’s embarrassing. The boss doesn’t want to be wrong… and in over 20 years, has not been. This embarrassment is what keeps us from going to counseling. She refuses, even when I threatened to leave her. She doesn’t want someone she doesn’t know, telling her she’s wrong… even if she knows it’s true. (that’s what she said)

    I’ve definitely done a lot of ‘re-framing’ with my son so I will start working on that with her. Up until now I have just kept my mouth shut when she speaks to me in her bitter tone. Every once in a while I’ll call her out on it, and that ends with it’s all my fault, I misunderstood her tone, etc. She doesn’t have to participate in improving how she talks to me, because she does nothing wrong. On a side note, she does not seem to desire sex much.. once a quarter is enough for her. She feels guilty about it but not enough to do anything. I’ve tried the woo-ing, being nice, and so on.. but she doesn’t ‘speak my love language’… that’s the reason she gave me.. based on a book she read. She should write the book “how to get out of having sex with your husband, do whatever you want, and never be wrong…” She’s got the life! I do what I want too, but it’s kind of retaliatory. We both make plenty of money but she controls the finances. I really just want to be loved… by someone who does speak my love language. I wouldn’t want to spend money if I had that.

  • Sarah Swenson

    August 24th, 2021 at 12:02 PM

    Hello, Trevor, and thank you for your comment. “Everything” is not a disorder. At the present time in the USA, the correct diagnosis for autism is Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the UK, however, it is called Autism Spectrum Condition, which I frankly prefer. Nonetheless, autism is real and it is significant, and for those to whom it applies clinically, it is meaningful because it describes differences experienced by an individual as a result of the structure of the brain. While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to denigrate the experience of others merely because it may be different from yours.

  • Dave

    September 8th, 2021 at 12:45 PM

    This is primarily an article about unreasonable behavior. Unreasonable and unfair behavior certainly has a specific look to it when filtered through ASD, so it can seem like ASD results in unreasonable behaviour. But I would be interested to know how much more common it actually is in ASD/NT couples vs NT/NT couples. NT partners in any type of relationship are also perfectly capable of profound unreasonableness . The author is a couples therapist so she, by definition, is dealing with relationships which are in trouble -or over- and this article is laser-focused on female partners of unreasonable men with ASD who close to, or at, the end of a relationship. This narrative reflection on highly specific circumstances is no-doubt great for her professional practice, but I suspect not so great for drawing general conclusions about ASD as some in the comments wish to.

    I’m an ASD partner in an NT/ASD relationship. To be honest it hurts to see some of the comments ascribing bullying and narcissism as inherent traits of ASD people. I am also so sorry to see the pain experienced by so many people who have struggled in bad relationships with ASD partners. I am trying to be understanding of the pain that some of the other commenters must have felt to write that people like me should be ‘purged’ or that we are ‘spirit crushing’, selfish, manipulators. Despite how horrible it is to see this type of prejudice, the comments on this site are mild compared to what I’ve seen elsewhere. I guess the point that I’m rambling towards is that while I’m trying to recognise the pain some of you have felt, and while your individual experiences are no doubt real, you cannot use that as an excuse to stereotype and blame a whole group of people. Society needs more understanding and empathy and less blame and hate. Yes, an ASD person is pointing at some of you and recommending more empathy. Let that be a wake-up call. To the vast majority who wrote perfectly reasonable comments or just wanted to share their experience, I’m sorry to have interrupted.

    Peace to all of you. Good luck.

  • Sarah Swenson

    September 17th, 2021 at 6:42 AM

    Hello, Dave – thank you for taking the to comment. I want to remind you though that the experiences of those who comment here, as well as the references in the article I write, reflect the actual experience of individuals. You are certainly welcome to your opinion about autism and neurodiverse relationships. It is not your place, however, to consign the experience of others to the label “unreasonable and unfair behavior,” which is precisely what therapists who do not understand neurodiversity tend to do, and which causes couples great distress. The behaviors are similar across the board in troubled relationships. The reasons for these behaviors are different in neurodiverse relationships. It is critical for partners in a neurodiverse relationship to understand the differences and accommodate them in order to avoid making incorrect assessments regarding intentions and motivations. This is the reason my work is speciaized in this particular area. If your relationship is healthy and comforting for you and your wife and nothing I’ve written and nothing written in the comments pertains to you, you are fortunate and I wish you continued happiness. Others, on the other hand, are stuggling to improve a loving relationship in which they are continually hurt and misunderstood by their partners.

  • Shannon

    September 19th, 2021 at 5:45 AM

    Dave, you write that other commenters “write that people like me should be ‘purged’ or that we are ‘spirit crushing’, selfish, manipulators.” I have been married to an aspie man for 30 years, and it was only two years ago that we learned he was on the autism spectrum. When I first read Sarah’s article, around the time I learned about my husband’s ASD, I felt seen and validated for the first time in decades. I cried for days, the grief and relief pouring from me. It’s been a healing journey since then. Susan’s article has meant the world to me and to thousands of others who have come across it. It is shared widely in groups and forums. There are so very many women and some men also who see themselves and their pain represented in it down to the small details. While I would not say ASD people should be “purged” and while my husband is not a manipulator, I would say that his undiagnosed autism has been spirit crushing for me and that he has been very selfish, at times, due to his limited empathy and his mind-blindness. I understand that while my experience as an NT in a partnership with an undiagnosed ASD person has been hard, others’ has been much, much harder. When people speak out of their pain and suffering, I don’t feel the need to invalidate the severity of their expressions of that grief. None of us knows what it’s like to suffer as someone else, really. It takes imaginative effort, humility and empathy to try to appreciate their feelings and feel compassion for them. You say at the end of you comment that you’re sorry to have interrupted, but I find that insincere. You chose to invalidate other people’s expression of their pain. Showing true empathy requires that we just listen, and try to understand. If people say shocking things it probably means that they have been hurt in shocking ways, to a shocking degree. My relationship with my husband has been much better since we learned that he is ASD and I began to emotionally detach, while remaining in a caring partnership with him. It’s great that you are also in a good relationship, but don’t underestimate the severe hurt and abuse others suffer long-term in relation to undiagnosed autistic partners, many of whom also have significant narcissistic traits. Don’t judge us.

  • Willow

    September 20th, 2021 at 8:33 AM

    Thank you for your comment in reply to Dave’s post. I still cannot work out whether my husband – the man who alienated my daughter; the dad that my daughter has chosen to worship and believe; the man who shrugged when my daughter shunned me after years of his denigrating me and telling me I’d brought it all on myself and encouraging her to speak to me as he did; the man who said such odd things that just weren’t ‘normal’ – was on the spectrum or simply an alienator who knew what he was doing. I left him 6 years ago and my (now adult) daughter has shunned me for all of the last 7 years. Last Saturday was hard; it was the anniversary of her screaming at me to get out of her life and her dad, my husband, just shrugged and told me “Good I won’t have to share her you anymore” and then very kindly (and without any nastiness or malice) asked if I wanted him to scatter my ashes in the place where our first child’s ashes are scattered because ……. he “cared” (his words). I’ll never know but I will always wonder and there are times when it eats me up.. If he had a label, it might make what he did just that tiny bit more ‘understandable’.

  • Chrissie

    September 21st, 2021 at 2:58 PM

    Willow, I am so sorry to hear of how he treated you. I have found my autistic spouse to be very narcissistic (they do overlap quite considerably) and it sounds like the comments your spouse made are that way too. Sending you a hug.

  • Willow

    September 22nd, 2021 at 9:07 AM

    Thank you for your kind words. I know that I shall always remain utterly ‘puzzled’ by my husband, the alienator. But the saddest thing of all is that if he’d not alienated my daughter, I would probably have still been with him. I am so glad I finally got away but it took my daughter’s final hateful outburst to sever my connection with him completely.

  • Simon

    September 25th, 2021 at 12:58 PM

    Whilst disconnects between Autistic and NT partners are clearly painful – some comments about wanting Autism removed from the Gene Pool are not only Unethical – but also counterproductive for the whole of society. A world with only Neurotypicals would have little to no technical innovation. TL;DR: Without Autistics – you would not be reading this (or have a computer or a car) – you would all be living in caves – because the chain of technology that led us to what we have now, would not have been invented.

    And yes – I do believe Autism is largely, if not exclusively, genetic. So the heroes / heroines who partner with an Autistic partner are helping to feed the technology of the future. Of course there is another way – couples where BOTH partners are Autistic. And these are more common than most people realise – but can still be fraught with tensions and incompatibilities, sadly …

  • tracy clements

    September 25th, 2021 at 1:44 PM

    Well I am shocked and confused and feel validated to read so much that explains my marriage of 27 years. I thought my husband must be a covert narcissist but have always wondered. The original article made me cry – especially the birthdays and special days. But, I have to tell you all that I am diagnosed as autistic and know that this has explained everything about the last 50years for me. Women are currently under diagnosed because they do present very differently, but I do find the references to people with autism very distressing. My son is recently diagnosed and I am scared for him to read about autistic men like this.
    Are they really all like this? I am struggling to cope with my husband. He ignores me, silent treatment,lies, denies and blame shifts everything. He ignores texts or calls for help and is silently angry if expected to are or to act.
    And special occasions are not allowed. He starts a campaign of abuse 48hours before.

  • tracy clements

    September 25th, 2021 at 11:16 PM

    I am worried that this is the stereotype of autism. I struggle with everything that the autistic brain throws at me. I’m diagnosed and having read everything am totally sure the diagnosis is correct. But I am none of these things. Ever. I think some people have co-morbid conditions like alexithymia or narcissism. But surely not ok to talk about autistic people like this. I’m kind and caring and responsive to everyone. To a point where I get abused and used because of this.

  • Dolores

    September 26th, 2021 at 7:42 PM

    I am divorcing my husband of 22 years but we are still living with each other in the process. My son has been very sick and has needed to be hospitalized. The other night he calls me screaming in pain. I leave the store and run home to rush him to the hospital and my husband is literally sitting there reading his texts while my son is screaming.

  • Chris

    September 27th, 2021 at 7:50 PM

    What the heck is going on here? This comment section is one-sided. Autistic men are people, too.
    If you are unhappy, please take charge and end it. Neither side should SUFFER.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    September 29th, 2021 at 1:30 AM

    Hello, Chris – I think comment section in this artcle has become a forum of sorts for individuals to write about their own experiences and talk with one another. There aren’t many other opportunities for them to speak and be heard. I welcome diverse comments here, including yours, because all the viewpoints create a vast quilt of varied lives that converge on one point, which is most often the experience of living with an adult partner who is probably autitistic but undiagnosed, which means the couple (and the partners themselves) are unsupported by counseling or coaching, trying to navigate their challenges on their own, and often, unfortunately, while working with therapists who do not recognize neurodiversity when they see it. I always encourage couples to seek counseling support, but to be blunt, at the present time there is not yet much counseling support available worldwide for neurodiverse couples. My hope, of course, is that the counseling field will expand its curricula and training to include counselor education in this very undersupported area.

  • Robert

    October 11th, 2021 at 12:24 PM

    We have triplet boys age 8. One is going through evaluation for “asperberge’s”. Straight A’s in school but has frequent meltdowns. He also has a bad speech impairment. Most people can only understand a little of what he is saying. Until a year ago I could only understand a few words in any sentence. He prefers to be alone. Likes his collections. As his evaluation is moving forward, I read a lot of authoritative articles; avoiding social media. Then I stumble upon this well written article. I read the article any many of the comments. I recognized myself. I am that man. I have looked at myself for 50 years trying to figure who/what I am. My career has been as an engineer. I can learn almost anything in a week or two. I like to be alone most of the time. I like my tools and working on difficult problems/projects. I see myself as a milder form of him. Now I see how my wife has/is suffering and why she behaves the way she is. I am not affectionate. Isolation during Covis-19 has made our lives much more challenging. I am severely disabled due to pain. I can’t sleep in a bed, so we have never been on an overnight trip since our were delivered (27 weeks preemie). I’ve never been on an outing like the zoo with my family. Two months ago I figured out I was likely on the autism spectrum. Now with the insight of this article and many thoughtful comments, I see myself in my son; we are now making a connection. My wife sees me in our boy. I think I can start a journey of helping my wife with our family and being more thoughtful of her.

  • tracy

    October 18th, 2021 at 6:40 AM

    Robert, that was such a brave thing to admit. In fact to even recognise. My husband is trying to recognise too. Although I live a life as depicted in this fabulous article, I do feel that this should not represent autistic men. It is a type of survival behaviour that many personality types adopt. Yes dysfunctional and devasting, but probably never intended. I think if there was more awareness of neurodiversity and co-morbid conditions, we might all be able to understand each other more. Lots of these coping strategies are vital for survival for children suffering neglect and trauma, they just become maladaptive in adult relationships. x

  • James

    October 31st, 2021 at 9:07 AM

    We need to be careful about painting autism with too broad a brush. The word Spectrum is part of the title for a reason and it is really a vague collection of differences that have been lumped together and somebody falling under that classification may have some and may not have others, the same way that you may be tall or short or have green eyes or brown eyes. If a tall person is an insensitive asshole it doesn’t mean that all tall people are like that.
    All this purge talk is absolutely inexcusable and specifically to Sarah Swenson, you like talking about what other people’s “place” is. I tell you now it is not YOUR place to support such comments.

  • Sarah Swenson

    October 31st, 2021 at 12:57 PM

    James, you’re certainly correct about the fact that no two individuals are identical. Nowhere would I presume otherwise or take such a reductionist point of view, so I’m not certain what you mean when you say that I “like to talk about what another’s place is.” When readers comment on an article, that does not mean the author agrees with or supports the content of those comments. Comments left here over the five years since I wrote this article represent the perspectives of many individuals for whom the stories I recounted seem to have resonated with their own experiences. It is no one’s place – not mine and not yours – to tell anyone else how they feel about their own experience. However, seeking professional support to heal the wounds in a relationship can lead to mutual understanding of differences and improve a couple’s ability to communicate, which benefits both partners. Believing this is the reason I write and it is also why I do the work I do.

  • Kim

    November 4th, 2021 at 12:30 PM

    Thank you, Sarah, for your article and five years of moderating comments! After 21 years of marriage, I have only recently come to understand that my husband’s “odd” behaviors are ASD, which makes me feel ashamed as I, myself, am a mental health professional and feel that I should have come to this realization much sooner. I have tried to suggest to him that he may be on the spectrum, but was shut down and not allowed to bring up the subject again as people with ASD are “retarded,” according him, and he is very smart. While somewhat successful in his career (although he has not been successful in moving up the ladder into leadership roles), my husband has very little sense of agency and relies on others to give him guidance in every decision. At age 46, he still calls his parents for advice on house/automobile maintenance and subsequently does whatever they suggest. He is unable to go to a clothing store and purchase a pair of pants for himself without someone else there to suport him. The pressure of quick decision-making at a drive-through window overwhelms him. We go inside to order so he can take as much time as he needs to peruse the menu before ordering. He fits the AS diganosis in many other ways. Rigid adherence to rules. Meltdowns, sometimes preceded by covering his ears with his hands. Inability to follow a coversation for more than a few minutes, often hyper-focusing on one detail or sentence to the exclusion of the big picture.
    Someone on this thread commented that AS partners often adopt the behavioral patterns of their NT spouse. If this is true, it would make a lot of sense to my situation! Myself an intuitive person in the field of mental health, my husband studies me. I would go so far as to say that I AM his special interest. Although he has no theory of mind, lacks affective empathy, and cannot read people at all, he fancies himself a kind of “therapist,” even volunteering to teacher social-emotional learning skills to public school students, which people close to him found quite strange. He enjoys spending time with female friends who will talk to him for hours about their problems, while he sits there quietly saying nothing, which they interpret as “listening.”
    While he fits the “nice guy” mold in every sense, being married to him is very lonely. At home, we endure his rage cycles, meltdowns, and occassionally even name-calling. He is totally unable to relate to, or parent, our teen children and they end up parenting him and have learned how to keep him calm. My children and I are very close, thankfully.
    Sexually, he is like a child. His mannerisms and way of approaching sex are effeminite and odd. He wants sex constantly. If I’m not in the mood, he pouts and may have a meltdown. He says, “this is what husbands and wives are supposed to do! You’re supposed to want me!” When we do have sex, he is very stiff and mechanical, making strange facial expressions. There’s a very far away look in his eyes and I feel no emotional connection at all. Frankly, it disgusts me.
    I feel completely lost and alone most of the time. My husband masks his sensitivies quite well in the outside world. On the few occassions I’ve tried to share my experience with friends or family, I’ve been dismissed or even ridiculed. What kind of wife complains that her husband is obsessed with her or loves her too much? Look at everything he does for you! Look how hard he works!
    Two years ago I started contemplating divorce and alternatives to divorce. I read everyhing I could get my hands on. The one benefit of my husband’s particular form of ASD is that he can adapt to almost any new rule. As long as he knows the rules and knows what to expect, he can adapt. Over the last year, we have ended our romantic/sexual relationship. We remain legally married, living in the same home (separate bedrooms), sharing resources. I helped him find a girlfriend with whom he has developed a loving and sexual relationship, and who isn’t phased by his mindblindness. They prefer to always be on the move, doing outdoor recreation and working on hands-on projects. Things that don’t require much in the way of introspection or deep, emotional conversations.
    I still manage his moods at home and support him in making decisions. We do a weekly “check-in” where we discuss our schedules, talk about the kids, go over expectations, and make plans for the future. Personally, I have started to re-claim the lost parts of myself. I enjoy a hobby with friends and I have fallen in love with a wonderful man who understands my situation, listens, and truly sees and understands me. For the first time, I can be vulnerable, let my guard down, feel protected, and enjoy sex.
    For my ASD husband and myself, divorce wasn’t the best choice and we’ve been fortunate enough to transform our marriage into something that work for both of us and our children. It may not last forever, but it’s working right now. I will always love him and want the best for him.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    November 6th, 2021 at 8:10 AM

    Hello, Kim – thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comment. What you describe as the solution you and your husband have created to the challenges you face brings tears to my eyes. This is a lovely example of what is possible! I hope the individuals in pain who read my article also see your comment. Yes, there is hope. Yes, love can prevail. Yes, differences can be acknowledged and accommodated with compassion and respect. Thank you, once again, for sharing your story here. You do a great service to those who come after you in this comment section, which has become a bit of a forum over the past five years for many who struggle to make sense of their neurodiverse relationships. Best wishes to you as you forge ahead while sustaining mutual love and respect.

  • Conor

    December 13th, 2021 at 6:20 PM

    Alternatively, the guy might not be on the ASD and might instead just be protecting himself from the wholly unnecessary drama of the mother doing far more than is necessary for a birthday (to take the example here). Life is tough. We come back from work, tired and trying to prepare for the next day. In this context, a rational solution would be to buy the birthday cakes or whatever rather than make a big song and dance about baking the cake. Make the day special for the child in every respect without trying to be some self-flagellating martyr determined to compensate for some perceived failing (and, yes, that failing tends to be that due to career pressures, the child does not get the time and love they most need from the parent so the parent tries to compensate by overkill/overspending on birthdays).

    Mothers burning themselves out unnecessarily doing far more than needs to be done is the irrationality here. It’s not necessary to spend the frequently obscene amounts of money just because the mother feels guilty about her career depriving the kids of her love. Some mothers want it all: the perfect career, and the energy and time to be the perfect mother. That’s crazily irrational. They bring that on themselves. Lastly, if they decided to genuinely bring their man in on organising the birthday, they would benefit hugely. But perhaps the man realises that his wife has a “my way or the highway” approach where he can only do something wrong, and therefore the sanest thing to do is withdraw from the excessive consumerism, and constant drama of the mother creating another overkill birthday? Indeed, perhaps these overkill parties reflect the needs of the mother, rather than the child? I know my little 5-year-old mostly just wants loads of hugs and fun from me, her dad, and that they are the things which bring her calm from the self-inflicted stress of the drama queen mother. Sexism can work both ways, women.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    December 14th, 2021 at 8:05 AM

    Conor, this article is based on my clinical experience and the context is neurodiversity. Re-interpreting the behaviors i describe is uour prerogative, but to do so is to begin a conversation that is outside the scope of the article..

  • Rob

    January 26th, 2022 at 1:00 PM

    I am an autistic man, and I tried for many years to find love. When I was 37, I finally found someone who accepted me, and I TREATED HER VERY WELL. I did not ignore her feelings. I did not tell her to change how she sees things. I adored her, and I showed it every single day. She told me that she loved me and wanted to marry me, and I believed her. But after 2 years together, waiting for her to finally get her divorced finalized (she’s from the Philippines), she started to date another guy while still telling me every day that she loved me and wanted to marry me. She dated him, having sex with him, for a few months, until she found out that he was still married. Then she started to date another guy who was 28 (she was 39), whom she’d known since he was 21…and had sex with him too, while still telling me that she loved me every day. Then I found out about it, and she said she was “confused” and wanted to be alone. So I gave her space for a few months, but I often checked on her to see if she’s ok, and let her know that I forgive her for cheating, and that I am there to listen to her if she needs to talk. She thanked me, but never even tried to discuss it with me. Then she married the 2nd guy for citizenship, so she could bring her children to USA. She told me that she would just stay with him until she got US citizenship (I’m Canadian), which she said would take 6-12 months (now I know it takes many years), so I waited for her for a decade. We had many conversations online over the years, and I learned a little bit more each time. I was aching in pain every single day, hoping to be back together some day, but I never said anything hurtful to her, and I sometimes reminded her that I love her deeply. She never said anything to let me know that she left me because she WANTED to…she let me think that she left for citizenship, so she could be with her children again. After a decade, she finally told me that she was unhappy being with me at the end of the relationship….and possibly earlier in the relationship. But she still refused to tell me WHEN she stopped being happy with me or WHY. She could have saved me a decade of daily pain if she could have just TOLD ME that she was unhappy with. She should have told me when the unhappiness started, and tell me WHY, so I could try to fix it. Maybe she thought there was no hope of fixing whatever it was, because I’m autistic. But she still should have TALKED to me about it. I was so deeply depressed for so many years, when my friend demanded that I become her boyfriend, and “give her a chance”, I gave up and said ok. I thought she would leave after a few months. After 5 months, we were arguing often, and she finally let me go… but then she still kept coming to my apartment for sex every weekend… so after a month of that, and seeing that nobody else wanted me (I was 44 then), when she said “lets try again”, I sighed and said “ok”. I thought she’d let me go again after a few months. I really didn’t want to be with her. She was very demanding. I wanted someone like my ex…but open, not hiding her thoughts and feelings. I guess she expected me to “just know” how she felt, but autistic people can’t do that. But just because we have to be TOLD when someone is unhappy, that doesn’t mean we don’t CARE. I cared VERY MUCH about my ex. I would’ve done anything I could for her. I never ignored her feelings. She purposely acted very happy around me all the time. Anyway, back to my friend who made me date her… when she wanted to try again, she didn’t tell me that it was because all of her friends had guys, and she didn’t want to be alone. I thought she honestly wanted ME more than anyone else…and I didn’t want to hurt her by saying no. So we dated again. Then she wanted to live together to save on rent. So we did. Then she wanted to buy a condo, but had no credit rating, so I co-signed…and then we had to live together in the condo to afford it. Then my church and family said that if I don’t marry her IMMEDIATELY, they’ll excommunicate and disown me. I was extremely depressed about my ex (this was before she told me that she was unhappy when we were together), and feeling very dark and hopeless…and I honestly told my girlfriend that I was not excited about the thought of marrying her. But she still wanted to do it. So we got married a few weeks later. I thought that if I could get a job (I was on disability pension for 25 years), I could help her to continue paying for her condo fees and mortgage, while also paying my own rent. So we got married…and I was trying to find a job…and a few weeks after we got married, she wanted to have sex without a condom. I said no, not unless she gets some birth control. She didn’t want pills, and we didn’t know about IUD yet. So I wasn’t going to have sex with her again until she got SOMETHING…but a few nights later, she insisted that we do it one time without a condom. I didn’t want to upset her, so I said ok…one time. But I was avoiding finishing. I just wanted to satisfy her. But then in the middle of it, she was insisting that I try to finish. I didn’t want to upset her, so I did it. But right after, I thought “we are DEFINITELY getting birth control before we do it again…. if she gets pregnant, I can’t leave!”….but I didn’t tell her that I was thinking that. And of course, after ONE TIME without a condom, she got pregnant. 5 years later…I’m still with her, because we have a daughter. I was extremely unhappy being with her the first 3 years after that, and she knew, but she didn’t want to talk about my feelings, so I just suffered every day, and still missing my ex. But then one day I wrote a very long email to her, carefully explaining why I let her push me into all of those things, and explaining that I’m doing my best to take care of her financially and emotionally, but it’s very hard because I have autism and social anxiety disorder…but I said I’ll keep trying my best…that I just need understanding. She replied and said she’d try to be more understanding. Things were a lot better after that. I still wish i could go back in time and say NO to her when she wanted me to become her boyfriend… but I can’t go back in time, so I’m doing my best to keep going. Our relationship is slowly getting less and less tense. She’s often affectionate, and I try not to be hurt when she gets angry or cold. I think that I’m doing a VERY good job in the relationship, considering that I’m autistic and that I was forced to be with someone who is not at all the kind of person I spent my life hoping to be with. (my ex was the kind of person I wanted…very warm and sweet, nonhostile…but apparently also very deceptive). Anyway, I know that I have problems doing the right things, and that employers/coworkers find me weird…but I honestly am giving her MORE than what a normal husband would give her emotionally…and it’s still not enough for her…she’s still cold and angry often. So, reading 100s of women saying that they tried SO HARD to fix their relationships, saying that ALL autistic men are a-holes who don’t care, is really %#$$&*((#%& pissing me off. Maybe YOU tried hard, but my wife is not. Maybe YOUR autistic husband isn’t trying hard enough, but I’m trying VERY HARD. I am not the cold one in this relationship…she is. The more I read the attitudes on this webpage, the more you make me want to shoot myself in the head in front of you all, to show you the hell women put us through!!! Imagine if this webpage was about autistic WOMEN, with men complaining about them…you would say “omg men! stop being so judgemental of these autistic women! they can’t help it!”… I think the problem with you is that you are sexist pigs.

  • Sarah Swenson LMHC

    January 27th, 2022 at 5:04 PM

    Hello, Rob,
    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Remember, though, that everyone’s experience is different and everyone’s ability to understand and communicate about their own experience is different. It is not helpful, however, for you to do exactly what you are criticizing others for doing, which is using harsh terms to judge others.

  • Rob

    January 30th, 2022 at 1:43 PM

    Yes, everyone’s experience is different…according to this article and most of the replies, there are lots of different ways that autistic men are unloveable garbage. Good job at appearing to be fair and balanced, IF someone only reads your reply to me. But have you not noticed that you are not replying to the women who are writing harsh dehumanizing posts, telling them that they are being unhelpful? It is very obvious that you are either one-sided in favour of women over men, or in favour of NT over ASD, or both, and then you write replies to encourage others to do what you are NOT doing…being fair and looking at both sides. I was misled by the name of this site, thinking that the article would be about seeking solutions to problems that NT/ASD couples are experiencing, but really it’s just a one-sided hatefest. You are not a therapist, you are a hatemonger. Oh am I being harsh? I guess you feel that being harsh against people who are dehumanizing others and making them hate themselves is just as bad as BEING the people who are dehumanizing others. Good logic. Is that really your pic? Your attitude is so GEN Z…others have to be nice and respectful to YOU and your friends, but you/they don’t have to do the same. Go ahead, keep hiding behind your fake reasonableness, encouraging people to make autistic people want to kill themselves. Nothing wrong with that, since we are garbage, and you are the real human, right?

  • Rob

    January 30th, 2022 at 1:50 PM

    Sorry for being too aggressive in standing up to dehumanizing oppression. I spent most of my life hating myself because of NT people with attitudes like yours…but I finally realized that people like you are the real problem. Yes, autistic people sometimes cause problems because of not KNOWING they are, or not knowing how to avoid causing problems…but what is your excuse for your behaviour? Superiority? It’s a good thing Elon Musk had supportive people in his life, who looked for ways to cope with him or to help him adjust his behaviour as much as he can, while not dehumanizing him. Imagine if you people were supportive of all ASD people…we’d have better technology and maybe a better world.

  • CiM

    February 1st, 2022 at 12:27 PM

    Rob, I wonder if you might feel that the depths of your pain and suffering is not being seen and validated?

    It sounds like you are in a tremendous amount of genuine pain – pain that makes perfect sense given what you’ve been through. I wonder if you’re feeling unseen and unheard as you grapple with the suffering of your previous relationship.

    I was deeply moved by your initial comment when it first arrived. I could feel how much you were hurting. It was OBVIOUS how much you loved your former girlfriend and exactly how much effort you invested in trying to communicate your love to her. I agree with you – the sincere, intentional efforts of husbands and boyfriends to SHOW LOVE IN WAYS THAT TRANSLATE TO THE “other” side can be missed or seriously misjudged. It’s clear you did your level best and then some. You truly loved and cared about the woman in your life, and it seemed she couldn’t see you at all – or even worse, took your very obvious love and care and trampled on it with lies, deception, rejection, and betrayal.

    You would have to be crazy NOT to be hurt by what happened. Of course – you aren’t crazy – that HURTS. Every human being, regardless of any neurological “operating system” (we all know the labels can be wooden, inaccurate, and unhelpful in ways) knows what it feels like to be betrayed and misjudged. It feels horrible to be so unseen and misunderstood!

    With all this – I am NOT directing ANY criticism at Sarah. Nor do I think your intention or hope is to attack Sarah, Rob – that does not seem to be your heart, at least not to me. You and I – and everyone here – are grateful for what Sarah has done in bringing this discussion forward with her post.

    With this post, Sarah offers all of us a space to learn about the experiences of other people. Reading here I’ve not only had a better understanding of dynamics with my own husband, but I’ve seen myself and some of my feelings in the comments of other women. I feel I’ve been able to understand, appreciate, and FEEL love from my husband MORE effectively after reading the comments here – as well as reading the original post by Sarah. Probably many of us here would say the same. This post (and the comments following) continues to be a good source of learning and information for me. I doubt I’m the only one. In fact – it’s clear I’m not.

    Rob, thank you for reaching out to share your experience and your pain – and yes, your anger. I know words can seem so sharp when we’re in pain – and I don’t see your intention as malicious. I’m so sorry you’re hurting and I think what you’ve said about your frustration and helplessness makes total sense. It feels rotten to be used and discarded when you’re trying harder than anyone can see.

  • Maryj

    February 23rd, 2022 at 6:12 PM

    Following. I can relate.

  • Elizabeth

    February 24th, 2022 at 8:05 AM

    thanks so much for writing this. i have had suspicions about my husband having asd since before we were married. Definitely need to see a therapist. thanks so much

  • Liz

    April 24th, 2022 at 2:49 AM

    My heart aches for all of the people who shared their most personal experiences with their ASD partner. Its not easy and if you are financially viable, I would suggest you leave in a heartbeat. Things are getting better for my ASD husband and I. What happened was his car wouldn’t start one day and since we are both retired, he didn’t see the rush in getting it fixed. His daily routine was to get up in the morning and run errends. Then he would look for special interest activities for himself. I wouldnt be invited but instead be left at home. Well, that was three weeks ago and we have both been enjoying a renewed wonderful close relationship. Having him home with me is wonderful. I am no longer lonely and sad. Sometimes we just sit quietly and read or listen to music. I know eventually he will get his car running again. I’m hoping he doesn’t start up his old routine which didn’t include me. I’ll miss what we once shared for such a short time. But I’m no idiot any more. I’m preparing my house to sell and then split the proceeds and leave if he returns back to his old ways. Ladies, these men can’t fully be trusted to do the right thing by you, so you need to step in and protect yourself. God bless you all!

  • Dana

    May 6th, 2022 at 2:18 PM

    My children are still young. They are babies. They might not hate me yet… they might have time to not learn all their fathers behaviors… what should I do? I did love him for so long – we have been together 14 years. I am willing to hold on (we are getting a mental health evaluation) but I am at the end of my rope. He doesn’t understand what he is doing wrong and I don’t know how to tell him. He has anger issues on top of everything else.

  • GoGo

    May 30th, 2022 at 7:01 PM

    Dana, what is the end game here? Being on the spectrum cannot be cured, what ever the support, what ever the help he or you both get- he is STILL on the spectrum. What’s the point? Life is short and spending it with a person who you describe as having anger issues (on top of everything else) what are you doing? You describe yourself as loving him for so long, what do you love? Because a person who is angry constantly doesn’t love you, a person who cannot understand even his own behaviour cannot give you the love/validation you need. Yes, you might have some good times but the bad will outweigh the good. I’m sure he doesn’t “mean” to hurt you, doesn’t “mean” to upset you, will tell you probably that he does indeed love you etc etc But the reality is if he is on the spectrum he cannot love in the same way you do, he cannot show emotion and feel emotion like you can. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t “mean” to hurt you, what ever the reason is the outcome will ALWAYS be the same – it is YOU who will be hurt. So what if you have a “name” for why he acts the way he does, doesn’t change a single thing as being on the spectrum cannot be cured. In fact it will be YOU that will have to spend your life explaining in detail your feelings etc as he won’t have a clue. And why do this? You are not his parents, you do not owe him anything. You owe yourself and your children happiness and that cannot happen with your husband. Spend your energy on looking after your own well being and the well being of your children. As no matter what you do or say he will remain on the spectrum with all the issues that brings. Some partners can cope with an autistic partner, they themselves might unknowingly be on the spectrum, others might come from an abuse background and then feel that they deserve to be treated this way, some might be trapped for financial reasons, others are then like you “normal” deep thinking/feeling person, you are not going to thrive with this person, instead you will suffer. He cannot fulfil your needs as he is on the spectrum, the issues will just go on and on and fine he might learn coping skills and you might learn how to communicate so you don’t cause him to have a melt down. But what for??? You deserve a partner who doesn’t have meltdowns, who doesn’t have an anger problem etc Why spend any more time accommodating this angry person? You know the answer to what you must do, but for whatever reason you are not ready/willing to end the relationship. But do not fool yourself by saying this is about “love” if you think this is “love” then you do not know the meaning of love. Sounds more like codependency and you having been pulled down so much that you no longer know what a normal loving relationship should look like. You are wasting time and you will never get that back, he will be “fine” with or without you as it is you and the children who will be hurt. Same as I’m sure he will “try” to be a good parent but the odd behaviours, the anger, meltdowns etc etc Well it’s just NOT normal, why put the kids through it? What if they grow up to think that’s the normal way of behaving? If you separated at least the kids would grow up to have at least one place of sanctuary where they saw/observed social norms and behaviours. He probably means no harm at all but the thing is he is causing harm isn’t he, doesn’t matter if he doesn’t mean to cause harm, living with his anger is causing harm. What do you and the children get out of this set up? Apart from his anger and other issues, what positives does he bring? You cannot control anyone else’s behaviour/reaction but you CAN control your own behaviour and actions, so LEAVE……

  • Catie

    June 5th, 2022 at 9:34 PM

    I’m genuinely shocked by some of the anti-neurodiverse replies in this thread. You can validate someone’s painful experience without bashing an entire group of people. “Breed them out of our gene pool?” I suggest you research famous people in history who were in the spectrum and think about what our life would be if they hadn’t existed. Though I’m not autistic, I’m nerodiverse, and I’m genuinely hurt that these comments aren’t even moderated. I see my own therapist, I work to improve myself, and I am WORTHY of love.

  • Sarah

    June 6th, 2022 at 2:30 PM

    Catie, I completely agree with you and also regret some of the vile comments that my article has generated. I am so sorry you read them.

  • Keet

    June 7th, 2022 at 9:03 AM

    I am so glad the comments are not moderated. I discovered this article and the crucial comments section a week ago. I have attempted to describe my life living with a partner with ASD. I only recently discovered ASD a few months ago after 14 years of, life, with her. A burning plane in which she is pouring the gasoline on the seats and myself while I sit here on fire. Too fast. This is more like a dumpster fire that I can not climb out of that never goes out. Both my parents dying, the loss of my career and trade profession due to an “assault” that I had to confront with therapy while losing them and being harassed at every job I went to. The anxiety that led to AFIB. The shock to my nervous system that led to FND and foot drop. Two car accidents and more I can not mention as it is too painful in the last five years. If I had not gone through that I may have seen the forest for the trees and got out before I am where I am now. Destroyed beyond my imagination with no support from anyone except my brother overseas in the opposite time zone. Amaurosis fugax ( temporary blindness). Out of work and injured from working a low paying job. Cptsd. 6’ tall and 135 lbs with no new clothes, too old scratched prescription glasses my car and nearly last possession broken down I do not exist. When I do it is a “play”. Living with her suspected ASD mother now and being physically attacked for defending my position and mentally abused daily. I am a useless lazy POS who acts like a child and has no idea what is going on with anything and does not care. Her words not mine. I am so demoralized by her abuse in the last year. Forced celibacy for years, I could go on but I am too upset and at a high risk of stroke now so I will stop soon. Before I had to deal with my life, I had enough air in the tank for both of us even though I knew it was not right to adapt and mould my self to suit her. I have had relationships before. I did try very hard in every way to tell her over the years I only had so much and was aware of how long and where and when to fill up as my hard knocks had taught me a few things. Not important to her. Just my life.
    Thank you for this page Sarah and a few others here who have helped me so much.
    With love K

  • Dana

    June 8th, 2022 at 3:40 PM

    In response to you, “GoGo” – I don’t deny that I don’t know what “love” is anymore… I have been with my husband now since I was 19 years old and have gotten used to this way of life for so long (32 now). I know you are telling me to leave, I guess I just thought after reading this article and learning about this type of therapy for the first time, I just wanted to think that there was hope for us understanding each other. It is not just easy to just up and leave the life we have built, I know you might not be able to understand that with what I am saying. I grew up with this person and don’t know much outside of our life together. In “regular” therapy, my husband didn’t even realize our marriage was in trouble – when I started crying at our last appointment, he was completely in shock and didn’t understand how everything has been effecting me/everyone in our circle. He still doesn’t understand and that is why it is hard because I don’t know how to tell him. No one has ever tried to help him. He doesn’t have parents like you mentioned. He has no one but me. It is hard to worry about what he may do if I go because he is suicidal at times. I am not a monster, I do care for him. I do understand life is short. “Happiness” could be around the corner. I guess I was just hoping that since I did have those feelings for him for so long I wanted to believe it could be saved/restored. We both love our kids. Our life we built. But these issues are just starting to bury me. Are you saying there is no other way? How do you know? He does bring positives at times it is not only bad all the time. He is a good person and works hard and gives with all he has. I do appreciate the response and would like others as well. I come from a place of kindness and willingness to learn. I really am. I am not looking for sympathy just advise/help. Thank you

  • J

    June 22nd, 2022 at 1:01 PM

    There is a lot of frustration, grief, suffering expressed here and the experiences are all valid. I think we all need Jesus. We live in a fallen world and no marriage will be easy or perfect.

  • Switz

    July 4th, 2022 at 3:15 PM

    I feel so upset I was with my partner (undiagnosed) for 4 years, me now 46 him 52, no children I was hoping to get pregnant but we tried and it didn’t happen. We bought a house together 2 years ago (I made the sacrifice to move away from friends and family and get a transfer for work). We were due to get married this year. I work in the caring profession and started to notice there was personality issues when I moved in with him after a year. There was a cycle of stress responses , me bearing the brunt, walking on egg shells during the day because of his moods, he would be critical and belittling at times, I ended up feeling burnt out at work, it was all about him and his work and jobs constantly. I didn’t feel like I was getting that support back. He would blame me for the most traumatic things in his life, when his fish died, this eventually led to me calling the wedding off on our return from holiday due to not feeling respected as a person overall. I felt so hurt at times. I hated him so much. It was traumatic when the dog had to be put to sleep sadly this happened after I called the wedding off. He didn’t even ring me from the vets then came home and told me and my cat to leave we had brought him nothing but bad luck. Both me and him were devastated about the dog. I ended up seeing a therapist for a bit because I felt like I was going crazy. I have a good career and am a very sociable person have loads of friends a sociable family. I’ve always felt on edge in social situations with him and made more effort for him with friends and family than he did for me. I would often feel relieved when we’d got home from a social outing. For the most part I have been with him I have felt flat and empty and alone no lust for life , him talking at me ignoring me when I try to speak to him. His control of routines and it feeling like Groundhog Day. Added to this he smokes strong cannabis daily and at first I thought his personality issue were related to that but he was self medicating the anxiety. He was more relaxed friendly in an evening on this, his personality was very different when not on it. We talked about this but he refused to give cannabis up he said i wouldn’t like him off it and he’d choose it over me any day. He gave the new dog more love and affection and it was his priority over me, he would pick at my cat for going on MY settee and then he let the dog use it as his bed. The final straw was when my family visited , I had told him how lonely I was as we’d moved away. He was ok initially but then had a mini melt down because of the noise and didn’t help to keep the new lively dog away from my cousins baby. He had an outburst at me then locked himself in the dining room with his lunch. My family didn’t mention anything about his behaviour they are easy going like me but it meant a lot to me. He never apologised and then promptly ended the relationship when I was upset by his behaviour. The hardest part is he is otherwise a good man he’s practical runs errands for people, does food shops, cleaning , maintains the garden, provides financially, gives older neighbours food he’s cooked and he has tried to make me happy really tried to respond by taking me out etc etc , but I’ve just felt so sad from the lack of emotional connection. Obviously, he dumped me which is really upsetting. He is buying me out and is lucky to have such a caring sister willing to come on the mortgage for him to be able to stay in this dream house we have bought together. I’m sure he doesn’t care about me now his needs will continue to be met. I feel scared confused about the future and also guilty for not knowing /realising about the ASD until now. I’m grieving and going between the throes of wanting to leave and seeing this as the best solution but also knowing that I love him and wonder if things could have been different had I known about the ASD and tried to do something about this. It’s gone too far to go back now as we split months ago and hardly talk in the house whilst waiting for the buy out to go through. I’m not sure that would have been the right thing to do anyway. My heart is broken into a million pieces but I have the chance to be a free spirit again and work on building up my confidence self respect and self esteem again. Thank you I have found everyone’s comments really helpful.

  • Sarah Swenson

    July 6th, 2022 at 8:39 AM

    Hello, Switz – I’m glad to know you found this article and the comments helpful and I’m sending you best wishes as you navigate your path. -Sarah

  • Stuart

    July 11th, 2022 at 5:28 PM

    In hindsight it’s painfully clear my mother was on the spectrum. When I first found this article it really hit home. Then I ran across a few more articles about Cassandra syndrome and suddenly huge parts of my marriage that had completely flummoxed me suddenly made sense. So, I turned to what literature I had access to in an attempt to save my marriage and better understand what parts of me I might need to work on more. The thing that came as a shock was almost all of the literature I could find assumed the mother or wife was the “neurotypical” one and the father or husband was the neurodivergent party. Even this article and comments are framed as wives dealing with a husband on the spectrum.
    I realize that a lot of medical literature is biased towards men. I guess we are over due for the bias to flow the other way. But, it is still a bit jarring to hit the bias wall. I know, welcome to the club. Still I am left with the thought that if two of the most important female relationships in my life were on different emotional wavelengths that has to ripple through my development in ways I can’t even begin to fathom I have no idea where to go for help unraveling this knot. Most of the counselors I have broached this topic seem at a loss. Their skills seem to be dealing with a husband or father on the spectrum, or a child When I mention Cassandra syndrome for husbands I get blank stares. I guess part of the reason I am posting this is to call attention to the fact there seems to be a paper or journal article just begging to be written that no one seems to have researched.

  • Sarah Swenson

    July 12th, 2022 at 7:40 AM

    Hello, Stuart – thank you for your comments. You’re right: most of what you will find describes relationships in which it is the man who is autistic. The reasons for this are complex, some of which relate to the differences between autistic men and autistic women, as well as to the different ways in which boys and girls in our culture are socialized. However, I work with many couples in which it is the woman who is autistic. Many of the same challenges arise, though they are often expressed differently due to the differences I just mentioned. I am working on a book at the moment in which this is further explored. If you read the preface to my article, you will see mention of the fact that it is not always the woman who is the neurotypical partner, nor are all couples heterosexual. I believe one aspect of what you are seeing is a result of the fact that most often statistically, it is a neurotypical woman in a couple who seeks counseling support, and that autistic women are not as inclined to do so, nor are men. Please let me know if I can answer any specific questions you may have.

  • GoGo

    July 27th, 2022 at 3:17 PM

    Dana, I know it’s not easy. I have two teenagers and was with my autistic husband since I was 16 years old. But this year I finally separated from him and it’s the best decision I ever made for myself, our children and for my husband. Spent 28 years wondering what was wrong with him. If your husband is autistic no matter how much you want him to understand you and no matter how much he tries to understand you, he won’t be able to ever fully understand you because that is part of being on the autistic spectrum. No amount of explaining will help, yes it might help in the short term but in the “next” emotional situation your autistic husband will keep on now understanding fully why you are upset, hurt etc Thats what being on the autistic spectrum means, it cannot be “fixed” no matter how much you want want that to be the case. How did you think your husband would know your marriage was it trouble? He is autistic you can cry, shout, explain all you want but he cannot and will not ever be fully able to “see” you and your emotional needs. Again it’s part of him being on the autistic spectrum. Even if he goes to therapy, learns new coping tools he will not ever truly understand your emotions. He will just be following what the therapist taught him. It won’t come from the emotional side of his brain but come from the cognitive side. These are two completely different things and as a result your husband is not capable of for filling your emotional needs. He can problem solve, use cognition and “say” the right thing that the therapist taught him but there will be little/no emotional meaning behind it. As being autistic means issues with social and therefore emotional skills. Your husbands brain is “different” I mean researchers have shown that they are up to 85% accurate in identifying ASD in adults, when they measure brain shape and structure.

    Your husband cannot be “helped” in the way you want him to be helped. Having a loving family, speaking to parents and therapists cannot make him neurotypical. Plus all this want for him to be someone or something he can never be, must also be very stressful for him. That is why why I separated from my autistic husband it also helped him in the long term. He never really reacted in a sad way (as I would expect from a normal person) but instead reacted like I knew he would – meltdowns, tantrums, threats, blaming me, etc etc etc But after his anger subsided, you would think he had never been with me for 28 years, he appears care free, happy, as if I never existed. And that’s because he is autistic, I was nothing more than an object to him, a routine that he liked to follow if possible for every day of his life. So his meltdowns had been about the change of routine (having to move out) his shouting and tantrums were about how he wouldn’t have enough money, his threats to me were about how I had mistreated him. Never ounce did he mention our children and never ounce did I see/hear any communication from him to show any remorse or care for our children. Never had a conversation about how to make things as smooth as possible for our children, no every conversation (if you can call it a conversation!) was 100% about his needs only. We are all happier now we are separated, as he can live his isolated life – going to work putting on his “normal face” coming home exhausted not having to speak to anyone the rest of the night, he is not touched physically by anyone all night and doesn’t have to have any conversations all night (this makes him happy and calm). Whilst I and the children talk loudly, laugh, go out somewhere, socialise, have friends around etc etc No adult tantrums (meltdowns) to deal with is so, so lovely. To be in a good mood and be able to stay in that positive mood is such a blessing for me and the children as now we do not have him in our daily lives being negative and bringing us “down”. We are happier because our world has opened up and my husband is happier because since separating his world is now “smaller”.

    If you want to spend your time helping someone that is your decision, for me personally I am unwilling to waste anymore time with a person who has a different brain structure from the neurotypical. This is not something that can be cured. Your husband has spent over three decades being socialised, being around people and he didn’t even know his marriage was in trouble. You mentioned before about him being aggressive, why would you be interested in helping anyone who is aggressive to you? My first thought is not for my husband or to help my husband or to love my husband, my first thoughts are about our children. Our children deserve a “normal” home, our children deserve to be surrounded by love/care, our children deserve us to help/care/guide them as we are the parents/adults and they are the children. I am not my husbands mother, I am his wife and his children should come first. But sadly due to him being on the autistic spectrum he cannot put anyone’s needs above his own at any time. And I am not willing to put him ahead of our children’s needs. I got tired of having a third child instead of a husband, I’m not willing to feel like a mother to him. I care what happens to my husband because it effects our children but on a personal level I don’t care about him anymore. I know it’s not his fault, I know he doesn’t mean it, I know he can’t help it, I know he is autistic BUT it makes no difference his behaviours have caused myself & our children pain, hurt, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of self belief, loss of confidence. No matter what the reason would be, makes no difference to me that it’s due to my husband being on the spectrum. I have lost all love, care and respect for him as a person. I care because he has the power to effect our children and that’s as much as my care goes. On the other hand he has zero understanding of how his autism effects anyone. In fact he is totally uninterested unless he wants “something”. Everything he says, everything he does, look closer and even when you “think” they are doing something for you or the children, they are actually always just fulfilling their own needs.

    My husband also works hard, he also will do things like make food, vacuum the house, take children to football training. In fact he will do what ever I ask (like a child). BUT he cannot have a deep heart to heart conversation, his eye contact is almost non-existent, he cannot pick up when myself or the children are upset, sad, happy, scared etc As he is blind to emotions. If I ask him how he feels about something always same answer “I don’t know”. There is almost no physical contact to me or our children, so no hugs EVER, no holding hands, no cuddling on the sofa, no touching of the face, just NOTHING. When I try to speak to him he cannot take turns speaking, he always talks over me, anything I saw or the children say is almost instantly forgotten, making us feel completely unimportant to him. His idea of a “joke” is to upset us and then when one of my children eventually storms off to their bedroom he is still there saying “I did nothing wrong”. Myself and the children cannot expect or ask for any emotional support as doing so for some reason result in him having some kind of adult tantrum/melt down. Typically he then changes the subject to himself and screams abuse and excuses as to why it’s okay he doesn’t offer us any emotional support, then he would drive off and leave us in the house. Coming home late at night and of course sleeping in a different bedroom. As he has no need/want to share a bed as he doesn’t like speaking or making any physical contact. You might think he sounds a nightmare BUT my husband is a deputy head teacher! He is capable of “acting” for eight hours a day, whilst at school but after work, weekends and the long school holidays for us are terrible, cos he is a totally different person with us. I know not all people on the autistic spectrum are like my husband, you get good and bad and my husband is not a very nice person and I’m certain this actually has nothing much to do with his autism. Just like the rest of us, autistic people will also be capable of being good/bad people. Life is a blessing and it’s only short, I decided to waste no more time with my husband and it helped us all.

  • Patrick

    August 6th, 2022 at 8:40 AM

    To all the women who are reading this post and the article. I was diagnosed with autism when I was just a kid. I believe autism to be a curse. I do not know why I was given autism. I hate it with a passion. I did not ask God for this disease. It has plagued me my whole life. There is no cure for this. I am now 44 years old. Still single. No woman will even try to get to know me because they sense I have this. So I am so sorry you all have to put up with this if you are married to an autistic husband. I am a very loving, affection, and emotional person unlike most other who have this condition. I am a very kind soul who just wants love and affection from a partner but I doubt that will ever happen. I am in a long distance relationship with someone from overseas who understand my condition and is very accepting of it. She and I are so alike in so many ways. Will I ever see her? I don’t know. I don’t have the money for us to meet in person.

    I wish you all luck and pray you have the life you wish to have.

  • Kristan

    August 26th, 2022 at 2:30 PM

    I love and respect this paper I only wish I could have read it 30 years ago.
    I just kept saying, OMG, OMG, OMG .
    I felt every word.
    Thank You, Kris

  • Ava

    August 31st, 2022 at 3:46 PM

    My husband is Autistic and we have been married for 22 years together 26 years. A few months into our marriage is when I really noticed his “issues” but I was young and didn’t know if I was doing something wrong or if every couple had the same issues or what.
    (We never lived together before marriage)

    I had no idea he was Autistic until after all of our kids were diagnosed and his mom finally told me he was in special education classes for Autism when he was younger. Then it all made sense. She said since he has been able to live a pretty normal life, she didn’t see the point in telling people. He was fine to her. To say I was shocked and upset would be an understatement. That was important to tell me! Maybe she was afraid i wouldn’t stay with him. I don’t know.

    I just now it definitely feels like a loveless marriage and he doesn’t even seem to notice how unhappy I am. I even told him I didn’t feel loved anymore. He told me if he didn’t love me he wouldn’t come home everyday or he would cheat on me but I feel like he comes home because he doesn’t have anywhere else to go. He doesn’t hug me or kiss me until we are intimate. Im always lonely. Sometimes he ignores me until he wants sex. He literally does not help me with any of our children or house hold duties. He doesnt buy anniversary gifts because doesn’t make sense to him. He feels like a spouse shouldnt be rewarded for staying married. Most of my friends have loving, attentive, thoughtful, doting husband’s and mine doesn’t lift a finger or do anything nice for me or help with the kids. I’m just feel unloved, defeated and lonely.

  • Samantha

    September 8th, 2022 at 10:13 AM

    Same thing happened to me. The mother kept it a family secret because he managed to get As in school, graduate and hold down a job.
    Only after we had kids – one is HFA, Dx’d – did she mentioned he got held back a grade, had no common sense, is stubborn and belligerent, and never responds back to people/avoids talking once he’s comfortable.
    So lonely, and he’s like a third child at home. careless, mindless, thoughtless. needs to be told to lock the door, the trash is overflowing, the kids should have eaten by now. he can’t see dangerous situations or drive well either – too much to process so he simply doesn’t process what he sees or hears.
    We got him disgnosed when he was late 30s, hoping it was ADHD and he could take medicine. Nope, ASD and bipolar II.

  • Carol

    September 12th, 2022 at 9:06 AM

    I live with a 55 year old man who has undiagnosed Asperger. In the short time we’ve been together he has all but sucked the life out of me. At the beginning I was drawn to him because he was “different”, oh how I wish I knew then how different he is.

    I doubt there’s anything I’ll write that you haven’t experienced in your lives. OH has 3 children, twin boys 20 and daughter 15, who although I suspect they know his behaviours are not normal, accept them, it’s all they’ve known. They have many of his traits, SD I believe is autistic. OH and SD have a relationship which verges on husband / wife which I find very disturbing.

    OH is incapable of parenting them, SD has an ED, which OH is complicit with, he simply cannot, will not make her / encourage her firmly to eat. I’ve been told to mind my own business and he’s got this. 14 months in he hasn’t got this at all, it’s got him. I’ve tried to shock him asking will he only be happy when she’s lying in hospital with a tube up her nose, when she can’t have children, even if she dies. He simply changes the subject or clams up completely.

    Anything challenging is met with stonewalling or a change in subject. Counselling I’ve realised isn’t an option, if he did engage he would be clever enough to tell us what we all want to hear, he’d go for one session and announce I did what you wanted, there that’s an end of it.

    The traits I used to find endearing are now just irritating and I struggle to get through the day without wanting to scream. His know all attitude, ridiculing, lack of compassion, selfishness and best of all I’m the one with the mental illness not him is killing me. I do too much, yes I know I do, he doesn’t lift a finger around the house. He complained his ex wife was too messy, he likes his Mum’s house, as it’s tidy, yet I’m berated for being too clean and tidy. His personal hygiene is non existent. Sex is mechanical, there’s no intimacy (kissing is dirty), basically it’s what he wants and when he wants it. He can’t arouse himself and expects me to do that for him as well. He isn’t experienced, but what he does know has all be learned from porn films. I’ve been very tempted to stray and I know he’d actually be ok with that, but I just can’t, it’s not right, no matter how miserable I am.

    It’s a living hell, trying to maintain a relationship with a 55 year old man who wants an extension of his mother, a house keeper, a nanny and someone to sort out the chaos he creates. He’s mean with money, would never buy anybody anything unless pushed. Spontaneity is non existent. Any socialising we do I organise. He will only wear clothes bought by his mother, I’m not allowed to buy anything, including underwear. His parents ignored the fact he was different and kept him at home in the family business. Birthdays, Christmas, treats, spur of the moment gifts don’t exist – why, you don’t need anything. One Christmas he bought his daughter a bike and his two sons a selection box each – he couldn’t understand why that was wrong, as the boys already had too much (they were 14). Our first year living together, he did actually buy Christmas presents (plural) for me and his mum – they were identical, down to the jumpers.

    I know if I were to leave, I’d be the one in the wrong, he’d blame me, nothing is ever his fault, the kids wouldn’t accept I could leave him, he’d be lonely, he wouldn’t cope. I’m a shell of my former self, I’m not me, I’ve turned into a person I don’t recognise and don’t like. This isn’t living, it’s barely existing. I’m beginning to realise, he actually wouldn’t miss me.

  • Jane

    October 4th, 2022 at 1:54 PM

    I have become a broken down ghost of my former self, haunted with misery and possessed with anger; a spectral being, made hollow by the constant deprivation and, floating outside of myself in an empty and cold void. The loneliness and pain I experience on a daily basis in my marriage is indescribably earth-shattering and real, yet I am the only one who really knows. There is nothing more devastatingly eroding; a subtle and silent death of self, where only a ghostly image now remains.

    Before I tell my story, I would like to preface that I have a degree in Psychology and never saw/realized the ASD in my husband until recently. I almost feel the fool, as if I should have detected this earlier, as if I should have known. Love truly is blind.

    My apologies in advance if I stumble around or ramble on, as articulating all of this is no easy task. I will attempt, in my own words, to provide the reader a true reality of the multifaceted issues and confusion I have felt/experienced throughout my relationship with my husband. I most ardently need to tell my story to those who may understand. 1. For my own sanity, and 2. As a means of comparable understanding/confirmation for others who may find themselves in the same or similar scenario/predicament. I have never before in my life posted anything to the internet. I do not participate in Facebook, Twitter, or any other form of social media. I have a personal email, that’s it. I shall begin.

    Firstly, let me provide to you a glimpse of the person I once was: Vivacious, outgoing, confident, self assured, kind, generous, positive, accomplished, dependable, happy, excited, a light of pure and beautiful energy, genuinely caring of all humans and animals. I used to have a nact for making people feel incredibly special about themselves. I used to write poetry, garden, bake a variety of desserts, sew, craft, I was musically inclined playing multiple instruments. I was driven by goals and I was thriving. I was truly an amazing person and being. People wanted to be near me and gathered so much love and positivity just by being in my presence. People have always been gravitated to me. I have been told this in a variety of ways throughout my life, by many of my friends and family, colleagues, and even strangers, actually. I used to see myself in that same light, as someone truly special. I am so devastatingly weeping right now as I type, because I know that person must still exist somewhere, but I am no longer that person. I no longer find enjoyment in most anything I do. The deepest of all pains for losing such an amazing personality…. and soul. I fear I have lost my soul. I cannot even begin to express the loss. I feel that I need to defend myself in stating that I am not being dramatic or fantastical. I truly feel I have slowly and over time lost my soul in the confusion and deprivation I have experienced in my marriage to my husband. And all of this is genuinely unintentional on the part of my husband.

    Although we have not received a formal diagnosis as of yet, I am absolutely certain my husband is somewhere on the Spectrum. As a child my husband was diagnosed with ADHD and it is suspected he was misdiagnosed. I am currently researching for assistance and diagnosis, which I have discovered is quite challenging for adults with ASD. My husband agreed to find a diagnosis and therapy, both individually and as a couple. He was actually the first to suggest counseling. I cannot be more grateful. I pray that we can find the help we need. I pray that I may regain the hope and faith that was ever present in my former self.

    Heres the thing…. I know my husband loves me, however, I’ve never felt loved. It’s incredibly confusing.

    My Autism Spectrum husband (age 36, male) and NeuroTypical self (age 40, female) are currently together. I fear I will become the woman in this article and lose twice, for we have a 2 year old daughter whom is very much a “Daddy’s girl” and wants little or nothing to do with Mommy when Daddy is around. More on this later.

    My husband and I have been in a relationship for 13 years, married for 7 of those years. Our relationship started out quite normal. I met my husband through a close friend and was instantly attracted to him, physically, intellectually, and emotionally. We became instant friends. We started spending large amounts of time together as friends. My husband WAS (emphasis on past tensed) energetic, the life of the party, popular, friendly, easy to talk with, hilarious, and always ready for a gathering, usually organized by himself. His group of friends was large and he was in the middle of it all. Come to find out, he was “masking”. My husband IS (emphasis on present and throughout) the most intelligent man I have ever met, gentle, kind, affectionate, giving the shirt off his back kind of person. A truly good man. I saw he had many qualities any woman would desire in a relationship and even a marriage.

    It’s weird for me to say this because I am not a conceited person, but I find this next tid-bit relevant to my story. I am quite a beautiful woman: Symetrical facial features, petite physique, largely busted, and possess a quite round posterior. Throughout my entire life I have been the object of most men’s attraction, whether it was welcomed or not. Here is where the relevance comes in…. Before our relationship began, when we were still in the “friend” stage, my now husband told one of his friends the following: “You just wait. You see that girl over there (me), I’m going to marry her one day. You wait and see.” I found this out years later, directly from my husband. In earlier years I viewed that statement as romantic, now I may have other notions, but I’m not certain. Was I just an objective to obtain? A task to complete? I sometimes feel that way, now having gone through what I have and knowing a little better how his brain operates.

    Our growing friendship become closer and closer until it became so obvious we needed to be together in a romantic relationship. We were friends for almost a year before we began our coupling. He was always on the eccentric side; sometimes things felt a little “weird”, or he would say something a little “weird”, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on anything. I fell in love with my husband deeply and truly, with genuine respect and regards. It took him quite a while to say the words “I love you.” He was and still is physically affectionate, but lacked then and now “words.” Some things were a little off, although our relationship was thriving and I felt loved. We became that awesome couple most people wanted to be around.

    At this time my husband would share little bits of his past as we began to know one another. I learned his parents divorced at an early age and he was forced to grow up rather quickly. Later in our relationship when the sharing stopped, I attributed his lack of sharing/emotional intimacy as being the cause of childhood trauma, and that he needed time to trust me and to be able to open up.

    I started to notice a lack of emotional intimacy and emotional intelligence, and very much a lack of empathy. Misunderstandings of many common societal ideas and constructs slowly began to present themselves, very subtlety and over time. Arguments were and still are ALWAYS cyclical. Around and around trying to communicate but never understanding the main point, even the most simple of concepts.

    The following are a few ever going examples I started to notice:

    – Constantly leaving his wallet and keys in his unlocked vehicle. His logic: “Well, if something gets stolen, the theif must need it more than him.”
    – Only accepting information that was published by a professional in that field of study. Opinions are debated and facts are demanded.
    – Not remembering things: from what he ordered 5 minutes ago from a restaurant menu to birthdays and events.
    – No urgency to put away dangerous items such as an open knife or sharp tool that a person could inadvertently injury themselves on. He doesn’t see the danger.
    – Things that are important or meaningful to myself or others just aren’t relevant to him and he doesn’t understand (no matter how differently these things are described or explained).
    – The constant misplacement of items.

    There was a lot that confused me about him, but we were happy and he’s a great man.

    Fast forward 6 years and we had a beautiful dream wedding. Although my excitement was abound, my husband didn’t seem excited. I started to notice that absolutely nothing excited him.

    After our marriage we relocated to my hometown to begin our life together. I now believe this was the moment things started to really change. I believe that this is when his “mask” came off. We were arguing more and more about things that weren’t important. The arguments were mostly because my husband couldn’t understand commonplace things. Always cyclical; never-ending arguments trying to make him understand something he wasn’t understanding. Insanely frustrating for me. He has great difficulty understanding things outside of his box of ideas. Every item became an intellectual debate and he missed the points entirely. My husband also has problems accepting fault. He’s never wrong and I’m never right, at least it mostly feels that way. He thinks logically only, with objectives to gather and tasks to complete; this is how he operates.

    I noticed my husband wasn’t making friends in our new city. For someone who was always the life of the party with so many friends, he wasn’t making connections with people. There were many opportunities to, but it didn’t seem of interest or importance to him. This really confused me. I would ask if he was happy and he always responded with, “yes.”

    I noticed that I only received compliments on my beauty and the meals I prepared. For years, these are the ONLY complaints I have EVER received. I started to think that I was only a pretty lady who could cook. When I would ask for others compliments my husband would not know how to respond. When I would give an opinion on any matter it would instantly become an intellectual debate for him. My opinions didn&#