Divorce and Asperger Syndrome

Sadly, divorce is common in Asperger marriages. It has been described that being in a marriage with someone with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is like walking on eggshells. What does that mean? For example, men with undiagnosed AS often feel as if their spouse is being ungrateful when she complains he is uncaring or never listens to her. He knows what he thinks and how he feels, so should she. He has no motive to understand her interior world so her complaints are bothersome to him. He can come to be quite defensive when she asks for clarification or a little sympathy because he knows that he has good intentions so he resents the pressure. The defensiveness can turn into verbal abuse (and sometimes physical abuse) as the husband attempts to control the communication to suit his view of the world.

So, what can you expect if you divorce an Asperger man? Unfortunately he will probably not understand why the woman wants a divorce and he is likely to be quite angry about it. Not knowing how to handle his distress he may turn the energy into revenge. It is believed that many high conflict divorces are the result of the negativity and obsessing of the AS partner regarding the wrongdoing he perceives of his NT spouse. It is likely to be a long, painful and expensive divorce where all suffer, including the children. Some Aspies however, just leave quietly and never remarry because they cannot quite figure out how to rebuild a life separately from their former spouse. Some NT former wives report that their former husband even still refers to her as his “wife” years after the divorce.

If you are struggling in your Asperger marriage, seeking counseling. Click here for my therapy recommendations for this type of situation. With husband and wife working hard, the marriage may be salvageable. I also recommend reading Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? This book specifically addresses the touchy issues of sex, rage, divorce and shame and gives a glimpse of the “inner workings” of these relationships. It offers new ways to look at the situations presented, as well as tips on how to handle similar situations in one’s own life. Click here to download a FREE sample chapter.

68 Replies to “Divorce and Asperger Syndrome”

  1. I’m divorcing a man with ASD. He abused me emotionally physically and I couldn’t put up with it anymore. He is also a drug addict who blew 20k in the 3 years of marriage on drugs. He abandoned me during a major surgery. My mom has to come care for me. Once I finally had the courage to leave the psycho terrorism began. He refers to me as his best friend, but he cheated on me 6 months ago. He was never my friend, he never loved me. These men are not capable of love. You are just an obsession to them. I believe he’s going to make the divorce a difficult one, and I’m the only one who has worked in the past year. He’s been living off his parents dime, because We have been separated. When I tried to get a divorce earlier I could not due to COVID. I feel like a broken person. He destroyed my self esteem and made me feel worthless. I beg any woman in a relationship with an ASD man not to marry. Don’t fall under their spell. You are merely an interest they can use and discard. Take care of yourself and be kind during the process. Keep your family and friends close. You will need them.

    1. Please advise. Five years after we were married, he got incurable cancer. Now what? I am caught in a double web. He has Asp I am quite sure. I am normal, at least I used to be until all this. Now I am in shreds.

    2. i wanted to say good luck. i’m not going to go into details online but have been in this position, divorced him, got out the other side and despite the complications of coparenting with him now i look forward to my life and future rather than dread the knowledge of what the future would be.
      it takes a lot of courage to go down this path, but is worth it in the end. we are both happier individuals than we were and it is much much better for our child now. x

      1. is he capable with the children? Or make them act up or is he a pushover?
        Mine won’t remember to having them do their homework, or brush their teeth, or be on time for things. They’ve supposedly lost coats, bags, soccer stuff when at his place. And then he can’t see danger or keep them safe, one is still young.

      2. Catherine, I’m also going through the process of divorce. It’s such an awful experience. I was wondering if you would mind if I messaged you with some questions. My biggest hurdle right now is the lawyer says don’t speak with him… yet I feel I have to. Not because I want too… but to explain things clearer to him and mostly make him not feel attacked. He can make my life hell if he wanted to… not that he already hasn’t. Do you have any pointers? I can’t tell you how appreciative I would be for some of your time. My email is lawnyboy@msn.com. I don’t want you to bring back bad memories…. so I understand if you rather not too. Warmest Regards, Becky

        1. Please don’t make the mistake of explaining anything. Explanation can be used as evidence that you are unstable.

    3. Hi, those are 2 different things. Drug addition and ASD are completely unrelated. I’m truly sorry for what you went through, but I never cheated my wife, I don’t drink alcohol or take any drug, and I did all I could to make her happy. But ASD was too much for her and she is divorcing me now. The divorce is quite friendly, as we have a child and both our interests are in her well-being. Please do not criminalize ASD just because you fell in love with a bad person, that happened to be autistic. There are millions of men that are abusive, drug addicts and have not a single drop of autism. Please do not mix up things.

      1. That’s not necessarily true. Actually, most information regarding asd specifically points to the correlation (not causation) between substance abuse and asd, pointing to possible factors of the frustration of the neurodiverse individual struggling to navigate a social world with a highly analytical mind. You’ll find the same correlations between extremes of many neurological characteristics like high intelligence and substance abuse/ addiction. No offense intended- my husband does not even use any addictive substances (beyond sugar 😉), so it’s not in every case- but research shows a correlation, so they are far from mutually exclusive. Just wanted to clarify. Only way to navigate (divorce-marriage-parenthood-etc.) is to have as much info as possible.

        1. Thank you Heather. Statistics are not always easy to understand. I am not sure what you are referring to here, but one thing I can help with is that causation and correlation are often confused. High intelligence does not cause addiction nor vice versa. Followers of 12 Step Programs usually support the idea that one is an addict because they are an addict. I know this sounds circular, but the point is that blaming addiction on anyone or anything else misses the power of taking on full accountability for one’s life.

        2. I have read that there is a high correlation between ASD and substance abuse. My husband is an alcoholic who just does not drink any more. He is not in AA. And I am quite sure he is an Aspie, forgive the term. I am so broken up over having to leave him permanently. We keep separating and getting back together. People don’t understand that when I reach my saturation point, I ask him to leave my house and go to his family. It’s sooooo hard. I don’t know which is harder… staying or leaving.

    4. Not all men with Aspergers are like your husband. You are prejudiced against men with Aspergers. That is like assuming all black women are promiscuous, or assuming all catholic priests are gay and molest boys or assuming all young black men are gangstas, or assuming all Muslium people are terrorists, or assuming all Americans are obese, or assuming that all Republicans are racist.
      Just because a man has Aspergers does not mean he is not capable of love and would use and discard his wife. Men with Aspergers can be good or bad, just like neurotypical men can be good or bad.

      1. Robert, you are right. My experience is just with one person, not all Aspies. Your comparisons made me smile. Thank you. My years have just been such a long hard thankless trudge. And the tougher things got, the more vacant and remote my husband became. It was so difficult. And even though you are correct, I would never encourage anyone to enter into a neurodiverse marriage.

      2. I find the “ use and discard “ comment to resonate with me . I also find Asd men have the capacity to focus on what they want until they don’t . I think as a wife I was a special interest until i was replaced by another special interest and then i was discarded – like a nothing . Not his wife of 20 years mother of his children – no all matter of fact “ it’s gone for me” and he was gone ! His feelings priority – nothing else matters . No loyalty no guilt just blinkers and self involvment . So yes used and discarded – no. problem no big deal – but actually it has left me broken and our children without a father . But hey no biggy so long as the aspie addresses. his needs – still a misery of course because the real issue not faced . Easy to blame me / covid / the moon . God forbid he might actually look inwards to himself – which is ironic given he only looks inwardly re everything else other than self reflection . Aspie is not a good basis for a loving relationship . They should have a warning label as they destroy others with total disregard – even if unintentional it’s still destruction of another person

        1. This is exactly my story too. Separated for 3 months after 21 years and hardly a backward glance from him, while I’m left feeling broken, angry and traumatised. He proposed to come back, but imposing a set of conditions of how he needed to have his needs met so he could feel regulated, and not one inch to even know what needs I might have as a slightly menopausal mum to 3 aspies who I have looked after singlehandedly since he left. As a mum, I do have sympathies but it has been absolutely shocking how quickly I can be discarded, it literally takes my breath away.

        2. I relate so well to what you are saying.
          I have been married to my Aspergic husband for 13 years. Its been 13 years of conflict. It took me years to realise there was something wrong and he was finally diagnosed. The diagnosis didnt help . It explained why he does what he does but it doesnt make it any easier. Ive asked for a divorce , he just ignores it. Its like he is from another planet and he is getting worse . Nothing is his fault , im to tired to say any more , i wish id never met him

        3. Yes. I support you! RED FLAG! I agree that the comments, concerns, and compassion are all supportive of the person with abusive behaviors, intentional or unintentional, it is STILL abuse. If someone with autism is not able to take responsibility for THEIR BEHAVIOR, I think the warning is simple…. Do not get into a relationship with an abuser who will or can’t ever change.

    5. I am divorcing my Aspergers husband. I have wondered many times if Aspies are capable of love. After 45 years of marriage, I doubt they are. I believe they are capable of infatuation. But that does not last. I also don’t believe Aspies are capable of friendship. I am looking forward to getting out if the caretaker role and creating a life for myself. But this time is really hard. Hoping for better days ahead.

      1. i am also divorcing my aspie husband of 20 years . 45 years is a huge amount of time – i wish you well on your freedom. That said I feel under some sort of spell and find the divorce process so so hard re his misrepresentations that he really believes to be true because he sees things thru his autistic lens . He minimalises me my input my contribution ro marriage – he negates me all together . All the while coming across as plausible to the mediator involved in our divorce . He is so believable . Fortunately there is a paper trail bank statements which prove the real facts – not the aspie facts that self promote . Divorce is i am sure hard but with an aspie husband it’s like mental warfare .The mediator is a great buffer though I recommend one in divorce to avoid court action . They take the miscommunication issues and clarify with the aspie what is being actually said – not what they perceive – as they are pron to hear criticism when it is just a question. It is beyond belief that they don’t get that they don’t get it yet believe it’s someone else’s fault .
        Well done for walking away it takes strength but you have that in heaps after 45 years of having your whole being messed with . Take care and self nurture – you need it and rebuild your life and feel joy

      2. Debbie, I thought 40 years of marriage was a long time and thought it was too late to contemplate a divorce but you have given me hope. I could tell mine how I felt, neglected etc and for a while it made a difference then it would creep back. I always swore I loved him far more than he loved me. He never commented just smiled. Should have seen the signs years ago! Hope you managed to find your life again. That’s what I need to do. The trouble is after that long everything is so difficult to untangle. I have put my life and soul into where we are now and to move from something I have worked hard at building up just crushes me. He refuses to move so if I want out of the marriage I have to move. Leaving behind so much.

    6. Sounds like that’s more aligned with NPD. I’m ASD, high functioning. That behaviour is not prevalent in autistic folk, they lack the social and communication skills to do this type of behaviours. It’s not sustainable and telling lies is not our forte. So no, I doubt your partner is full on ASD, maybe traits, it’s all on the spectrum and it’s a BIG one.

      1. Since there are several comments here, I thought I would add a couple of things. NPD is considered a separate disorder, but of course those on the Autism Spectrum can also be NPD, as can Non-Spectrum people. The problem comes though when those with ASD retreat to their black and white thinking in a divorce. This means it is easy for them to see themselves as fully innocent and the other party as the villain. I agree with some here who recommend a mediator so that the Spectrum person gets help reframing the issues. Even if one person is more responsible for the breakdown than the other, this is really irrelevant. Both parties are responsible for their actions and the dissolution of the marriage, so they both need to act in the best interests of all involved.

    7. Now that it’s been almost a year, I so hope you’ve gotten through relatively well! Your situation reminded me much of mine. It’s been 6 years for me, and a tough road for my son and me. But we have been through the worst and are standing! I SOooo wish you my best!

  2. I totally sympathise with your story. I was also in an abusive marriage in the end it was his way or the high way. I believe they have to have some kind of vice his was cocaine could spend 1k in a week, hopeless with money. Still trying to divorce him 5 years now and he moved on quick once I didn’t tick all his boxes. I also went thru major surgery and he couldn’t give a damn. They say communication is key but he was more a cardboard cut out no company or personality. It was all about his happiness but kept up the pretence for years manipulating me and moulding me into the person he wanted me to be. Im free from the chains and so are you.

    1. I just found out mine had an online affair and the woman sends him Google play cards. She even made a payment to his credit card for $975. I asked for a divorce and he left quietly. Not even a word…Today…One week after the event he opened up. He never changed with me and was always sweet. I got a bariatric surgery and he even took care of me. I am confused but sure I need to get a divorce

  3. What about divorcing an Asperger woman? Does anyone have any tips on that, what to expect? I love my wife so much. I have tried so hard to accommodate her. We’ve gotten counseling. But her erratic behavior is so hard for me. She gets angry and lashes out at me. I try to be kind and weather it all, but it’s so hard sometimes. It builds up and I just get very, very sad over time because it feels hopeless. Sometimes I feel more like a parent than a spouse. The good times with her are so wonderful, but the bad times are truly so awful. And I never know what will trigger her. It can be something as simple as my word choice. I see a therapist. So does she. And we have a couple’s therapist. But it feels like nothing will ever really change.

      1. Really, Wil?? Wow. I never hear about people like us; I only hear about Aspie husbands. It is hard to be an Aspie wife’s spouse. I wish I had a place I could go for support. I want to stay married; I just don’t know what to do, and I don’t want to feel alone. What do we do? Is there anywhere you have been able to go for help?

        1. Male or female…if you are miserable in any relationship…you already know what do. Just do it. You can’t fix someone or change them. Isn’t it time to find happiness. I was married 35 years…not all of which were bad…I have three wonderful children and have plenty of love in my life . I would rather be alone than live in misery. It is not easy…I basically started over…I suggest you get and stay in counseling. Best of luck!

          1. Yeah I’m an NT husband of an Aspie wife. It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride. I told her she needs to agree to not only talk about things I may do wrong (I’m not perfect, I know) BUT SHE also needs to acknowledge she may not always do things perfectly either, in front of a couple’s therapist, making a great effort to understand I’m trying to work with her, not against, so to try not going into a breakdown if I need to feel the relationship is equal and fair. She’s working on it because I said it won’t work for me any longer if she can’t accept that. I offered to divorce amicably. She said she’d miss me too much. We CAN make it work, as can anyone. We just have to find the right compromise and accept some differences may not always be able to be coped with by the other of there isn’t compromise. Sometimes I think NT women and NT men, each in relationships with Aspies, should have a group to meet each other and the same for Aspies. I don’t like thinking of “cheating” but it might be a wonderful relationship found, by both sides, if the current ND relationship doesn’t work out. I recommend trying hard to make it work first, though. It makes for stronger people.

      2. I have Asperger’s and I am married to an NT man. I do feel bad for my husband. I do think divorce is the way out as sad as that sounds. He told me that he is only with me bc of our children at this point. I have given up bc he needs to be happy and enjoy his life. I can’t do anything right. Kids have made it even messier. So if u are in a neurodiverse marriage, it will always go wrong. I’m sorry that we are so broken.

        1. I am so sorry your life is this hard right now. Please don’t give up on yourself. There are good therapists who can help you find some peace. You sound like you have been traumatized by years of living in the mystery of a Neuro-Diverse life. This mystery was confounded by finding yourself in a Neuro-Divergent relationship. But I have to tell you there are answers. You are not alone.

  4. Get out of the emotional web. It is a never ending cycle. Trust your own heart and mind. Havibg kindness for a spouse with ASD is ok. Divorcing them to regain your peace and self direction is a necessity. Sometimes it’s more needed for you than them. There’s medicine their condition. Get on track and stay there…. you can marry another person or help your self successful with constant indecisiveness.

    Its okay to be strong and seek guidance, but use it as if not you’ll remained webbed and what would that be good for?

  5. Get out of the emotional web. It is a never ending cycle. Trust your own heart and mind. Having kindness for a spouse with ASD is ok. Divorcing them to regain your peace and self direction is a necessity. Sometimes it’s more needed for you than them. There’s medicine for their condition. Get on track and stay there…. you can not marry another person or help your self successfully with constant indecisiveness and taking on years of emotional or physical abuse

    Its okay to be strong and seek guidance, but use it as if you do not then you’ll remaine webbed and what would that be good for?

  6. Hi I have just broken up with a man I believe to have ashbergers.We were madly in love and after a period of time kept picking at my faults.He was divorced when his child was 18 months and has no idea why she divorced him.If I refer to his not very nice comments he gas lights.My self esteem is in tatters but unfortunately I still love him

  7. My wife has asbergers too. Its so draining. The bad days which are a lot more now that we are retired and there’s no tempory escape it’s just horrible. Truthfulky I’m on the brink of Suicide.

    1. Please join our group Rob. You are not alone in your desperation. In fact, many of our members talk about how to manage their lives at retirement and as their “Aspie”ages. You have handled a tough relationship for many years. Not it is time for you to take back your own life.

      1. How can I join your group. I am divorcing my ASD husband. And having a tough time and wish I could talk to someone about it.

    2. Please do not make a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Suicide is never an acceptable answer. Please seek help — it exists and it CAN help. Here we have 211 — you can dial and talk immediately to a counselor.

    1. Hi Rob. Just go to my website and click the Meetup button. YOu will get directions for how to join the group. Take care.

      1. wife of reflex-lying, eternally definsive, entitled to never grow up and be a partner- aspbergers man says:

        Hi Kathy,.. if you dont mind my asking, I would really like to know more about your group. My heart is just overwhelmed witth all the pain of this gaslighting refusing to work on self and constantly forgetting his commitments and constantly reflex lying husband. I am desperate. Please help or let me know about your group if thats ok Thanks so much! K

  8. I recently filed for divorce after 8 years of marriage, but agreed to put it on hold when my wife finally agreed to counseling. We are currently separated and have three young kids, two of whom are on the spectrum. I currently look after all three kids by myself, which is indescribably difficult, but sadly still preferable to life while we were living together. Our marriage counselor now suspects my wife has Asperger’s and in retrospect, from that perspective, many things now make much more sense. I had believed she may have had some sort of Cluster B personality disorder, but despite our kids Autism diagnosis, it never occurred to me that she could be on the spectrum as well. Before our separation I felt so hopeless and beat down, a shell of my former self. My self esteem and hope for any kind of happy future together were slowly destroyed. Her behavior has caused so much emotional damage, not only to myself but to our children as well. I’ve felt so betrayed by her, but with the new realization that it wasn’t always something she could help, I now feel trapped between feelings of guilt (and a natural desire to help) and a fear of repeating the past. I don’t know if I have the mental strength and energy to be a proper father for our kids, and deal with the inevitable ups and downs necessary to successfully navigate this new understanding of our relationship. I’m really at a loss for what to do.

  9. To everyone who posted in this thread who has been married to a person with AS – I can say I understand. Was married a total of 36 years and raised one child “together”- many years of not knowing he had AS. We divorced and remarried less than one year later, at one point. Many many times of separation. I just thought he was mean, heartless and ruthless. I wondered all the time what was wrong. I sought counseling for many years. After he refused counseling I finally went on my own. I felt as if I had a person permanently attached to my side and literally drawing his life out of my own. I became physically ill. Much of my body was breaking down. I became septic secondary to a bladder infection while on a short vacation. He wouldn’t stop often enough for me to use the restroom, thus the infection – and then sepsis. Nearly died. The doc told me my immune system had been basically depleted long before the bladder issue- thus the sepsis developed. I knew it was from the years of emotional and verbal abuse. One of the most difficult parts of my personal journey was that I never
    Seemed to be able to get others to understand or believe me. After we
    separated the final time was when the thought was presented to me by some friends that he may have AS. Once I researched it out I was reading about the condition online and could hardly breath- it felt as if I was reading about my life. And the questions of “why” did I not know about this before began to surface. I’ve since determined his mom knew somethings were amiss when he was a baby and afterwards through childhood. But never bothered to mention any of it to me.
    Now , over 4 years after the divorce and he has moved on with someone else. I think he is in a “honeymoon” phase with her , as he was always great at covering up things in front of others. But I am still unpacking all the stuffed baggage all these years later. Ugh! I never wanted my family separated but when I left the last time – it was the last time. I had tried and tried. 36 years of repeating cycles. Then I discovered the condition called Cassandra Phenomenon. It made perfect sense related to how I felt. I think one reason I’ve struggled to move on is that I left much unfinished business. Especially in regards to how I left things for our son. I literally walked out. Period. Left so much of my own things behind. And the house. I didn’t secure things for our son. Now I’m trying to legally back-track and secure some things. Please think things through if you consider leaving. Especially after so long a time. I believe my dna had even been affected. It has been one of the hardest battles I think one could face. I wish you all the very best. ❤️

    1. Just the fact that you survived to tell your story Sheri is a comment about your resilience. Please stay in touch with our Meetup group. We all get it.

  10. I’ve been married to a man with ASD for 29 years. He didn’t know that he had autism until he was 46 years old. We met when I was 20 and he was 21. When I met him, he was literally the only one on the planet that I had in terms someone that I could be close like family. I don’t have parents and I don’t have any siblings. We became instant best friends. We both fell madly in love. Sweetest person in the world. But he has no idea what the foundations of any type of relationship are. And no matter how many times we talk about it or I talk about it with him or we go to counseling, those basic foundations of the expectations in any type of healthy relationship are mystery to him. I never learns from his mistakes.
    The first red flag a year later was when he asked me to marry him, knowing that he wasn’t ready, and then a month later backed out. When I gave him the ring back he begged me for 2 weeks not to break up with him. My Cardinal mistake in this relationship was to even take him back. Who does that? It was my biggest mistake to not run. Our marriage has been an epic fail. We have three kids and besides our children he’s still the only one on the planet that I have as a support for everything. I now have PTSD from all the years of gaslighting, lying to me over and over again, making excuses covering or anything and everything he does wrong instead of just taking responsibility for them. And learning from his mistakes. And the list goes on. He’s oblivious to understand how his behavior has affected our relationship on the level that a neurotypical person would be and how it has affected me personally. We have split up numerous times. But something always brings us back together. Whether it’s a lack of being able to financially split, to this last time when our daughter was diagnosed with a mental illness and we needed to come together to take care of her.
    He’s always willing to do better. He’s says he’s 100 percent committed to fixing all of the issues. But I only get maybe 20% follow through.
    I’m losing my mind from dealing with this for so long. I don’ton’t tell anybody what I go through and they wouldn’t understand anyway.

  11. I’ve been married for 15 years to a man who has AS. Up until a few days ago I never had a name for any of what this experience has been like or to understand it. We stumbled upon this condition because my husband read an article about Elon Musk coming out as being Aspergers and he felt it sounded like him so he started reading more about it and took a few online quizzes (which he aced, as having it).

    He is out of town working but shared this with me in one of our text conversations while he has been gone. Everything I’ve now read about this has been my EXACT experience with this.

    I have been given so much understanding that has baffled me for the past decade and a half. Part of me always thought he just didn’t love me but we were stuck bc we have children, but the other part of me had all of this clarified in my mind after years of dealing with it and finally deducing that it wasn’t me with the problem (though the emotional fall out, loneliness, sadness, depression has taken its toll regardless).

    It got to the point where divorce seemed like the only option but he begged me to stay for the kids (to not disrupt their lives), not because he ever said that it was because he loved me.

    My family (sisters whom I’m close with, which has saved me mentally) has always described him as truly an “island”, a man unto himself. His behavior has baffled us all, but he is a very good man aside from the low emotion intelligence. He is an engineer who has worked hard our entire lives together to provide a comfortable living to us. He has always been very active with our children (playing with them, taking them hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, dirt biking, wrestling with them, and on and on) but I have seen that he is often unaware of their emotional needs which I try to make up for. Our oldest is now almost 14 and coming into a difficult time in his life with a lot of angst. He tells me he feels his father doesn’t like him/hates him bc he becomes angry too quickly when what he has told the kids to do doesn’t happen right away and I’m sure in large part is due to his inability to connect with him emotionally which my son wouldn’t understand either.

    There are SO many examples of his behavior that now scream AS, but up until his discovery a few days ago I never would have put this together. I’ve been looking into getting therapy for myself because it’s gotten to the point where whenever I read or hear about others speaking about their spouses as their best friends and looking forward to their futures together, I just break down. At least now I have something more concrete to get specific help with.

    As much as I try to place my focus on everything else in life, I am worried about our future together, especially when our kids leave our home.

    I just feel so lonely and sad in life for the past 15 years, though I have been so lucky to have a close bond and support with my sisters. But while this newfound information and understanding has helped immensely to understand what has been going on, it also reaffirms the conclusion I had come to otherwise- that the situation may never be able to improve and that fundamental loss of knowing I will never have someone to truly share and enjoy life – being truly loved by my spouse – will always be there.

    Sounds like this is the case for many here which is why we sought out this information and came across this site.

    We are very religious, I don’t want to damage my children’s ability to have successful marriages of their own in the future or believe in that, but I also don’t want to warp their understanding of what a healthy marriage would look like. We rarely fight (bc often it just blows up way bigger than it should bc he thinks I paint myself as a victim and am emotionally unstable myself- which has always made me question if I was truly seeing things as they were or making up my own narrative and it was MY problem). We always back one another in how we parent our children.

    I do not want to divorce if there is any way of salvaging this to the point where I believed we could have a decent emotional quality of life together someday.

    Does anyone here feel that is something they’ve been able to achieve withe their AS spouse?

    Love and support to you all ❤️

    1. This exact scenario happened to me. My soon to be ex took a quiz after reading about Elon Musk and announced (in a rare moment of vulnerability when he barely started on his first cup of coffee) that he had Aspergers. He followed that with “that’s why I don’t have much empathy.” After 20 years of marriage and spending the final 20th year trying to analyze his behaviors and understand him, everything made sense in that one moment. Prior to that I just thought he was a narcissist. Unfortunately, our marriage was too far gone at that point. We’re six months separated now and although I’m glad to be away from him, I’m still unpacking events that happened over the past 20 years that should have given me greater pause to possibly leave much earlier than I did. He was never willing to get help from marital problems. It was always an excuse. “I don’t want anybody knowing my business; I am a pillar of the community and I can’t have anybody knowing about my business; if we go to therapy we will end up divorced.” I got him to go one time about 12 years ago and the counselor told him he was running over me like a steamroller and he never went back. I still think of things on occasion that I haven’t thought of in a long time that point clearly to his Aspergers, but at the time I just thought he could be a jerk. I almost left many times. The crazy thing is that I’m the type of person that would have done anything to help him, had he been willing to get help. Guess what else? After literally 20 years of marriage, he was on dating websites and talking to other women for hours on the phone within the first couple of weeks of separation. He didn’t even bother to change the phone bill for a couple of months so I saw it all. What a slap in the face. I’m stronger and wiser I’m glad to be done, but it takes time to process and unpack it all.

      1. In some ways I am grateful that Elon Musk announced his diagnosis. It is so helpful to have a celebrity come out. On the other hand acknowledging the diagnosis is a tiny step. The rest of the work of change needs to happen and that is darned tough. I just got a comment on my You Tube channel from someone with ASD who believes he has empathy and that I am bizarre and abusive to suggest that those with ASD have an empathy dysfunction. I get it why he is angry, but defensiveness doesn’t help. Nor does blaming the “messenger.” Being brave enough to face one’s diagnosis and associated fears — well that opens doors to healing.

  12. I recently left my AS husband of 14 years. We have a child who lives mainly with me. Thankfully, he worked away a lot, however, Covid changed that. For the most part of our marriage, I was in a state of confusion. We always fought over communication, his constant criticisms, the gaslighting, his obsession over money and retirement, constant fights over money. I hated how he would say such hurtful things and not remember saying them the next day, implying I made it up. When I left him, he was devastated but has made no effort to reconcile or to commit to making things better. His main concern is that I don’t take all his money. It’s been 4 months now and I have grieved and grieved. I have to rebuild my life from the ground up and I am lost and feel like I suffer PTSD. My daughter sort of misses him but she is used to him not being around much. I’d love to hear of ways one can recover from living with AS. He was diagnosed but did not want to get help. I was the one who attended groups, workshops, read books and changed the way I communicated. I gave and gave of myself for so little return. I don’t know if I will ever get over the loneliness.

  13. I am finally getting a sense of belonging. My husband is a stone – hearted monster who would rather divorce than get diagnosed. Together for more than 11 years now, sucked the life out of me. I survived this long because somehow I manage to convince him that I had some undiagnosed mental issue and he gotta support me. He thought that he was doing something great for humanity by letting me be myself🤭. It worked to some extent. So I didn’t change much. Still it was hard. The loneliness and lack of connection dried out everything that was beautiful in me. I became so bitter and negative. Never felt like a woman in this relationship. Always I felt like something was burning inside.
    After years and years of abuse and patching up… it was just this year, I figured this out – ASD. He is always perfect. In his eyes, I am a lesbian, cheater, unlovable, gold-digger, trouble-stirrer, unstable, BPD, narcissistic, liar and what not!! He goes any lengths to argue and argue and prove this. (Even sending a list to buy groceries was considered acts of gold-digging). And there was never nothing wrong with him. After all the emotional and mental abuse, now he has started getting physical. And that is it. Ending it up right here. Separated.

    1. Thanks for this candid post, Bella. The problem with anger is that it festers, even when you are trying to exist in an abusive relationship. It sounds like both of you had no place to go with your anger except to implode or explode. This is a terrible option. Better to get the diagnosis and start therapy to learn tools for life. But if one person resists, the only option is to leave —- because eventually the anger will destroy you.

  14. I’m going through a divorce at the moment. Kind of want to speak to the other side if I may. I’m 41. Been with my soon to be ex 23 years. Met in high school. Will prob be technically married 15 years before paperwork is finalized.

    Up until a few weeks ago I had no idea I had Aspergers. I can’t speak to everyone’s experiences on here. Only my own. Maybe I’m not as stonewalled or heartless as some of these examples. If it matters many of these stories have me crying. I will say from my perspective there has always been constant constant self reflection and analyzing myself. I have never felt right. In fact I stumbled upon my diagnosis because I told my wife, I wish I knew how to make you feel like your feeling are “felt”. I know what they are I repeat them. But it’s like you don’t feel like I feel them. All these years so many arguments were over this issue. Or my need to argue and be defensive over everything. It was never intentional. I honestly felt like why are we arguing this seems so black and white. I can’t even control it. It’s just how I’m wired. Quite frankly it sucks. It has never felt right. I have never felt right. 40 years of asking myself why don’t I feel normal. There’s something off about me.

    And now I’m absolutely crushed. We are capable of love. We have emotions. We struggle to convey them. We can’t verbalize them. It is this entire bottle neck in my mind. If I didn’t feel emotions I wouldn’t be so crushed by this. I would do anything to fix myself. Anything. To read some of these comments and feel like I prob should not bother ever looking for a partner again is defeating. And yet part of me thinks I shouldn’t. I don’t want to put anyone through this. And if this is truly what my wife feels like as these stories describe. It breaks my heart. I love her dearly. And to find out I was causing this much pain and breaking someone down without even realizing it, especially to the one person I held up on a pedestal (but turns out it’s in my way and not the way that NT would). I don’t even know what to say to show enough remorse. I love her so much. I would do anything for her. And yet it appears I’m literally incapable of doing anything. Because if I was I would have been able to give her the connection she deserved.

    I just want you to know. There may be some horrible stories out there and I’m truly sorry. For some of us though we can comprehend the significance this plays in your lives once we know. I didn’t know. It’s a relief to finally find something that checks all the boxes and explains so many things I’ve done or how I’ve acted. It explains why depression and anxiety meds didn’t do anything. I thought I had and was diagnosed agoraphobia. I sought help. But it’s clear it was the wrong help. At least I have something to work with going forward and to try and correct my behavior and get the tools to effectively communicate at least better. I know it’s an uphill lifelong journey ahead.

    I know I’m rambling. I don’t know what to say to just a random blog. As mentioned a lot of these comments have me in tears. I feel awful for my ex. I feel awful for many of you. I’m sorry for what you all had to go through. You do mean something to all of us with ASD. You literally hold our pieces together. Which is prob why it’s so hard for us to let you to. YOU ARE the reason we are even as high functioning as we are. You are our crutch and we don’t even know it. But I now understand that it’s a tall order to have to hold someone else together with very little in return as far as your needs. For what it’s worth at least from my situation I felt like I was dumping everything I had of myself to show my love and appreciation. It’s very evident from what I am quickly learning and reading. It’s not even close to what she actually wanted or needed.

    Please if you’re reading this. If you have any doubt about divorce or not divorce. There are lots of ways to work on this if you’re spouse is like me. If my ex wanted to attack this Asperger marriage and get counseling or therapy I would do it without a second thought. Some of us are not heartless on purpose. And we are willing to do what it takes if you want to take it on with us. I think that’s the part that hurts once you know you have ASD. You want the chance to be the one that gives your NT the love they deserved this whole time and show your appreciation.

    Be safe. Take care Thank you for reading and giving me a small outlet to say something.

    1. Thank you Joe for sharing your heartbreak. Your story is exactly why I started writing my blogs and books. I wanted people to know how complex these relationships are. For example, what you are missing as a person with ASD, is empathy. However, you are not missing the ability to love. But without empathy, Autists miss sending the many little messages that convey love to their ASD spouse. There’s more, but you will discover those things now that you are headed down the right path.

      Take heart in the reality that all of us have life challenges. One of my ASD clients recently reflected on a failed relationship, “Relationships suck! What’s wrong with me.”

      I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiment. Loving Relationships are one of the toughest parts of life here on Earth. Even so, I said, “Your challenge is that you’re autistic, which presents a certain set of challenges to relationships. But everyone has challenges too —- different than yours maybe, but just as confounding and heartbreaking. No one on Earth gets a pass when it comes to suffering.”

      1. You just described my life. Trying to get sympathy or asking for clarification on something sends him into a panic. You are right about them losing their temper and now there is emotional and physical abuse. I feel I’ve lost my mind and am psychologically damaged from this marriage. I rather live alone. My heart goes out to each and everyone who is in pain from this insanity. I stay because I think it will get better, but it never does.

      2. I have autism. That we don’t have empathy is a lie. I suggest you do some research before you decide to trash people with asd. We do in fact have more empathy than NT people. A lifetime of bullying and abuse will generally make you quite empathetic. Just because we can’t show it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

        1. Being sensitive is only half of empathy. Being able to show it to others so that they feel heard is the other. But I get that this is confusing.

  15. I’m nearly convinced that my 61 year old husband is on the spectrum…esp. after reading all these posts. Does anyone have a suggestion for getting him tested that won’t put him on the defensive? I’ve just asked for a trial separation which he says is absurd. For a decade I’ve felt lonely, criticized, unheard, misunderstood. We have two sons who’ve been asking me why their dad is so ” bad” with feelings and emotional understanding. I think a diagnosis could help all of us, but I just don’t know how to approach him about this…and thank you all for your brave recounting of your experiences.

  16. I am going through a legal separation process with my longterm aspie partner. We have a teenage child. What i find tricky is that he has always been financially controlling and now he is delaying this legal process to stay in control, yet convincing lawyers that hes a really reasonable person. I have been doing lots of work to increase my financial independence and fight for a sense od self worth. Im spending all my inheritance on legal bills. If he was an out and out narcissist it might be easier for others to see what happens. Most people he knows dont seem aware how wealthy he is. We lived for years without enough heat and no oven. The worst was no hugs. After all this time i still dont know how to get him to agree on a financial settlement because he has no idea about my cintrubution and thinks of all the money he earned as his own. I am lucky enough to have resources and people and still its been tough. I wonder if legal systems need to understand these complexities better. Despite this journey i feel hopeful that the worst is over. I am starting to reclaim for former confidence with work and feel able to make my own decisions and not feel crazy for wanting connection and affection.

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