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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Asperger's and marriage - the honeymoon period

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. ~Friedrich Nietzsche 

If you're reading this, odds are great you're married to an Aspie and are trying to figure out just what the hell is going on in what was once a great marriage?  Well, you married an Aspie, that's what the hell is wrong.

People with Asperger's don't do marriage very well.  I read somewhere on the internet (I really gotta start bookmarking this stuff) the longest most Aspies can hold out with "the facade" is about two years.  All the times my STBE were in counseling I'd said often, the first two years of our marriage were great!  He was attentive, he brought me home little gifts, he shared equally in the housework, he was easy to talk to, we solved problems together and I felt loved and a part of his life.

But then our son was born, prematurely I might add, following a not difficult but not easy pregnancy.  I was starting to see signs of "something" being not quite right, but I was young and in love and let them wash over me.  However, it was after the birth of our son things went south.  More on that later...

One of the "signs" things weren't quite right in our marriage was one of the earlier times his kids from his first marriage came for the weekend.  At the time, I worked from 6:30 AM until 2:30 PM as a CSR for a major camping club company.  I was home every afternoon by 3:00 and would jump into the whole "wife and mother" thing.  I also loved cooking and was always trying something new (I collect cookbooks) for dinner.  This particular day, I made a dinner salad that was slightly labor intensive - bacon, vinaigrette dressing, smoked turkey, three different kinds of lettuce, toasted almonds, sliced strawberries, and a few more ingredients I can't recall.  I called everyone to dinner, set the salad bowl in the middle of the table and went to get everyone's drinks, calling out as I walked into the kitchen, "What does everyone want to drink?"  When I came back with said drinks, the salad bowl was empty and all three of their plates were filled, except for mine, which was completely empty.  I stood there, gobsmacked that I wasn't served, too.  I quietly set down everyone's drinks, went back into the kitchen, made myself a sandwich (FUMING) and went into the living room to eat my sandwich while they enjoyed this dinner salad I'd obviously made for only them.  My STBE finally (FINALLY) noticed I wasn't at the table with them (and it only took him several minutes, I'd already finished my sandwich and glass of milk), noticed what he'd done and told the kids, "When you've finished eating what you want of your salad, give the rest to Nancy so she can have some."

Trouble in paradise?  He never apologized for doing that, only gave me the explanation (One that meant it wasn't his fault), "I guess I'm just used to serving just them".  Really?  We'd already been married for a couple of months and you'd only been divorced about a month when I met you so how was it a habit was formed so quickly?  I never bought that as an explanation and it still bugs me I didn't walk out right then.

I have 21 years of stuff like that, where I was the afterthought by both him AND his family.  Christmas gifts sent by his family that were addressed to just him and our son.  Same deal with Christmas cards.  For 21 years I was a stepmother to his kids and when they were told I'd filed for divorce, it's as though I never existed.  Gone *poof*  (looks like they might have gotten some of their dad's aspie-ness?)

Also, Aspies prefer their solitude.  The strain of interacting socially with anyone, including their spouse at home, is just too stressful.  There's no small talk.  No discussions of current affairs.  No "How was your day, honey?"  Nothing.  They just want to crawl into their hole, put some earbuds in and watch television, movies or videos online.  BUT - and this is the strange part - they want you there sitting right next to them.  Yes, they're ignoring you, but get up and leave the room to do something else and their feelings are hurt, left, right and center.

Another aspect of the AS/NT marriage is, you're probably a social person with lots of friends; or at least you used to be.  Now, all you see in front of you is a life of solitude and being ignored by your Aspie.  The problem with Aspies is, they really DO want friends, they're just not very good at the whole "friend thing".  They can go hours, days, weeks, months and not talk to anyone outside of work.  There's no parties, no dinner invitations, no celebrations of friend's weddings, nothing.  Aspies prefer to stay home.  Period.  The thought of going out into a social situation terrifies and paralyzes them.  But they'll never tell you that.  They'll simply wait until the day of the event, generally only two or three hours before you're supposed to leave, and they'll pick a fight.  It could be something completely inconsequential (and it usually is) or something major, but the bottom line is, whatever "it" is, it's your fault.  You'll take a long, long time finally connecting the dots and when you approach your Aspie with this observation, whether it's as a loving or exasperated spouse is irrelevant, the response will be the same - they deny it and throw a raging fit.  YOU want to help them, THEY want to refuse to acknowledge they have any problems at all, that it's YOU with the problem.

An extension of this whole "I don't need friends" thing is, they don't need YOU as a friend either so there's no "friendship" in the marriage.  After a long enough period of time, you start to notice this.  Something else you notice is: you're a maid, a cook, a sex partner (maybe...), a taxi service to the kids and basically a "Guy/Gal Friday" (Aspies are generally male, roughly 4 to 1 - Did you see that?  I found a link to the information!) but you're not a wife/husband.  You've become an accessory to the Aspie, someone for them to take out and play with when the mood strikes, when they're feeling "less Aspie".  Any marital interaction, on any level, is always on their terms, never yours.

There's also no problem resolution in an AS/NT marriage.  Aspies don't like "conflict".  But "conflict" is overstating it a bit.  I'd go to my STBE, calm as a pond on a windless day, and say, "Honey, I feel we should discuss _________."  He would go into panic mode, start suffering from anxiety and want out of the discussion immediately and the pacing would start. To many Aspies, any discussion regarding the marriage is "confrontation" and/or "conflict" and they avoid it at all costs.  At one of our many, many counselors, he told the therapist this made him anxious (and threw in just how "confrontational" I am/was, for good measure).  The therapist then told us what we needed to do when we felt ourselves getting anxious or stressed; we could call a time-out.

The reasoning was, the person calling time-out was feeling stressed and wanted some time to settle down.  The rule was, whomever called the time-out had to be the one to bring the discussion back up, once they'd settled down.  My STBE, though, was usually the one to call the time-out, he just wouldn't bring up the discussion again.  This went on for about a month before I figured out what he was doing.  He was manipulating the situation to suit his need to never discuss marital problems.  When I pointed out to the therapist he was doing this, the therapist put him on a time limit to end the time-out, 24 hours.  It was at this point he decided we no longer needed counseling.  For my STBE, any discussion outside of his interests was "confrontation" and he ran from it like a raging lion was on his tail.

I should mention, this particular counselor was someone we started seeing in year two of our marriage, not long before our youngest was born.  If I had to guess, it would be the strain of knowing a baby was coming soon got to be too much for him.

I seem to have gotten off on a tangent, of sorts, and I'm sorry for that, but the bottom line is - Aspies do dating and the first year or two of marriage really well.  After that, well, it's all downhill.

In this divorce, I've been visiting some websites that lend support to NTs divorcing their Aspies (because we NEED IT!) and some of them express guilt over leaving their Aspie and moving on.  See, the powers that be in the Aspie therapy world tell us, "They can't help it" or "It's an illness, just like any other" and "Would you leave if he had cancer, or heart disease?"  It's all about making sure the Aspie/Narcissist gets further validation it's not them but the rest of the world that is at fault.  There's no accountability, no consequences for their actions and no making them responsible for their behavior.  No, no, sweet abusive baby, let US take care of YOU!  You just go on being the BEST abuser you can be!  I'LL be the one to learn how better to put up with it!

However, if my STBE had heart disease or cancer, he'd see a doctor and do whatever it took to get better.  This past July, my STBE had a "cardiac event" of some sort and spent four days in the hospital because of it.  (I found not too long ago he's had this "cardiac thing" since around 1997 but never told anyone.  Why did he keep it a secret for so long?  Why didn't he tell ME?)  Why is it because it's Asperger's he refuses help?  Because the very nature of Asperger's means they don't see it's they with the problem, but the rest of the world.  Narcissism and Asperger's look a great deal alike so make sure you see a licensed psychiatrist/counselor to help you figure out which one it is.  And if you can get this person to even go SEE a specialist, make sure it's someone who's got experience in these severe disorders.  Aspies believe the rest of the world really should just leave them to be the person they are and to adjust to them, not the other way around.

When his heart started giving him problems that day in July, it took me HOURS to convince him to go the ER, which is a dance we do every single time there seems to be something seriously wrong with him.  It will go on for hours and usually ends once I get to the part where I'm telling him just how important he is to the world and taking care of himself is taking care of the rest of us, that we need him to the nth degree.  It became exhausting, really.  I'd finally gotten to the point where I wouldn't play the game.  Whenever he started in with his, "I'm sick" stuff, I'd tell him he should go the doctor, he'd start in with, "Noooooo, I'm fiiiiiiiiiine".  I started responding with, "Okay.  See you later."

He called this abuse and started joining boards online and telling people, "I'm an abused spouse".  I call it being an Aspie with malignant narcissism.  But that's a post for another day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Marriage with an Aspie - what you have to look forward to.

People can be cruel, and they will be. People can hurt you, break your heart and they will. But only you can let them keep hurting you... ~unknown

What's it like being married to an Aspie?  It's maddening.

Don't let the sites you're reading tell you, "With just a little more love and patience, all will be well."  Nope, not for an Aspie.  No matter how much love and patience you give them, they want more.  So you give a little more.  Then they want more.  So you give just a little more.  And they want even more.  This goes on for the duration of your marriage.  Aspies are always raising the bar until you get to the point you simply can't reach any higher or do any more, then they start yelling at you constantly, they berate you, they call you names, sometimes they'll even hit you and throw things at you, not because they raised the bar to unattainable levels, but because you just don't love them enough to keep jumping through hoops for them.

The reality is, roughly 80% of Aspie-NT (neuro-typical, which is the name given to the non-Aspie partner) marriages end in divorce.  I've looked high and low for a link to back this up and can't find one, but it's been referenced several times online from "a Relate leaflet", in p42 of 'Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships', by Ashley Stanford.

All this being said, these are some basic truths I've come up with due to my interactions with other NTs married to Aspies.  I should say, these are my personal observations and aren't based on anything scientific in any way.  It was these characteristics of their NT/AS marriages that led my STBE and I to his diagnosis from our marriage counselor that he is, indeed, an Aspie.  It was his therapist at the VA who came up with the Bi-Polar Disorder (BPD) diagnosis.  It was another VA therapist who seems to have told him he didn't need an Asperger's diagnosis because it would just make his marriage worse.  I don't know WHAT he's been telling them at the VA, but based on past history, it probably wasn't good.

I want to note, I'll eventually expand on these "truths" as a separate post, and as I create them, I'll try to remember to link back to them and vice versa.

1.  If you've married an Aspie, it'll make an appearance within the first two years of your marriage - Some go longer, some go shorter if kids come along, but it seems two years seems to be the limit for their ability to keep it all under wraps.  Also, whether you dated 10 days or 10 years, or somewhere in between, you'll have seen NO signs of them being an Aspie.  Every spouse I've talked to tells me they saw nothing that sent up any red flags while they dated their spouses.  My own STBE Aspie finally admitted to me he knew he had these issues, mental illness and emotional problems before he even met me but he hid them from me out of fear I'd leave him.

2.  Aspies don't want kids - Aspies are EXTREMELY needy people.  Kids take your attention away from them.  There's more, but this is the gist of it.  If you're married to an Aspie, you WILL be the primary caregiver and they don't reciprocate.  It's like having another child, seriously.

3.  Aspies are loners - but they don't want to be alone.  More on that later.

4.  Aspies will always make it about them - no matter what.  If you're lying in the middle of the road, having just been run over by a car, they won't call 9-1-1 until you have a full understanding of just "why" this is so difficult for them.

5.  Aspies WILL lie to you - everything you read about Asperger's tells you Aspies are extremely honest people.  This must have been something an Aspie tried to convince everyone of because I've yet to meet the spouse of an Aspie who hasn't told me their spouse lied constantly, even when the truth wouldn't hurt them.

6.  They'll cheat on you - and they'll do it more than once, if you stay with them after the first affair.  Another misnomer about Aspies is - they're extremely loyal.  Loyalty and faithfulness are two different words in the dictionary and they are two different words to an Aspie.  Every single NT spouse I've interacted with, and it's been dozens (over 100, at least) has told me their Aspie spouse cheated on them at least once, most of them more than once.  I cover this in the posting I did about #5, Aspies WILL lie to you.

7.  Aspies are huge pornography fans - Every single NT spouse of an Aspie told me and the groups their spouse was addicted to pornography, bar none.  Every. Single. One.

8.  Aspies aren't huge fans of sex - Except with themselves.  Once again, every single NT spouse I've talked to - every single one - tells me their Aspie spouse refuses to have sex with them 99.9% of the time, generally once or twice a year, with most of them sharing they'd not had sex with their Aspie in years.  However, Aspies DO like to masturbate; apparently a great deal.  I'm still scratching my head on this one.

9.  Aspies are the masters of manipulation -  If you're married to an Aspie, you'll spend your entire life with them trying to stay one step ahead of their circuitous thinking.  It's exhausting, to say the least.  (See #10)

10.  Aspies are the most literal people you'll ever meet - and while they can't help this, they also use it to their advantage.  For over a year, I'd suspected my STBE Aspie was having an affair with someone he worked with.  There was overtime not showing up on his paycheck, he was suddenly not available when I called, he wasn't saying, "I love you" to me on the phone much anymore and he'd started neglecting things around the house, such as mowing the lawn.  For a year, I'd been saying to him, "Are you having an affair with someone at work?"  For a year, he was answering me with, "No, I'm not."  When the slut he was sleeping with was finally caught by her husband, who ended up being someone I'd grown up with, and he called me about it, I'd said to my STBE Aspie, "How could you look me in the eye and lie to me about cheating with your co-worker?"  His response?  Typical Aspie - That's not what you asked me.  You asked me if I was cheating with someone at work.  We never did anything at work.

11.  Aspies are abusive - In a variety of ways.  Mentally, emotionally, physically and verbally abusive, sometimes all at the same time.  And if you raise kids with them, they'll become abusive, too.

12.  Aspies are gas lighters - Gas lighting is a psychological term coined from the 1944 movie "Gas Light" starring Ingrid Bergman.  Gas lighting is one of the single most damaging personality "quirks" an Aspie has. It's the one that'll drive you to the brink of insanity and it's the one that will have you running, screaming out the door for the divorce attorney.  Seriously.  It's that bad.

13.  Aspies are NEVER at fault - They will do this dance a hundred different ways to deflect the blame off themselves and will say or do anything to keep the smell off of themselves, even blaming loved ones who had nothing to do with it and weren't even in the room at the time.

14.  Aspies will use the children against you - Aspies make lousy parents.  I joke that it's because they can't stand the competition, but it's not too far from the truth.  However, they will say horrible things about you to the kids.  They will undermine you every chance they get.  They will be the "good" parent while you are forced to be the "bad" parent simply because the Aspie doesn't really parent at all, unless it's an opportunity to elevate themselves in some way.

15.  Aspies need to be liked by everyone - Aspies are generally socially inept.  As such, their need to be liked is all-prevailing and they're able to be whomever you need them to be.  They are very chameleon-like in their personality and can turn it off and on at will.  This relates to #14 because they do this to the kids.  You WILL become their scapegoat in all matters pertaining to them, both good and bad.

16.  Aspies are indecisive - to the point of being crippling to a relationship.  Aspies are SO terrified of being wrong, thus "not liked", they have a difficult time deciding which way to go when a major (or minor) decision needs to be made.  And if you can pin them down to a decision, most times they'll come back six months later and say, "I didn't really want to do it that way, I just through that's what you wanted to hear or for me to say" or "I though that's what you wanted me to say."  Unless it's a GOOD decision and then they'll take all the credit.

17.  Aspies seem to have "food issues" - I'm still working on this one in my head, but I've yet to come across an Aspie spouse who DIDN'T have some sort of issues with food.

18.  Aspies will self-medicate - Whether it's drugs or alcohol, they'll do it, even when they know it could cost them their jobs, marriages and kids.

19.  Aspies are narcissists - Aspies are simply unable to imagine anyone's feelings or needs beyond their own.  Period.  Nacissism, Bipolar Disorder and Asperger's are often misdiagnosed, one for the other, so often because they're so much alike.  If you're marrying an Aspie, get ready to never have your feelings count for anything ever again.

20.  Aspies may also have an underlying mental illness - This isn't to say Asperger's is a mental illness, it's not.  BUT - it's not uncommon for an Aspie to have an additional mental illness or two.  Generally, the mental illness with be Bi-Polar Disorder, schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or severe depression and anxiety.  While the depression, anxiety and panic disorders ARE pretty prevalent in most people with Asperger's, it's also suggested that perhaps Asperger's has many of the same symptoms as several mental illnesses and they aren't part of the mix.  It's also not uncommon for a diagnosis to be given of Asperger's that's actually a mental illness of some kind, and vice versa.

21.  Aspies don't have the ability to empathize - What this means is, if you're going through a major life crisis, such as the death of a parent or other loved one, you'll go through it alone, unless you have a supportive circle of friends.  I can look back on every major difficulty in my life and equate it to when my STBE had an affair.  He simply can't handle my paying attention to anyone BUT him, even if that "anyone" was a dead loved one.  My heartache at the loss of a loved one was an annoyance to him.

22.  Don't expect to have many friends - Whether it's because they take your time away from the Aspie, or it's your Aspie's odd behavior (and they can get really odd), your circle of friends will grow smaller and smaller with each passing year, until you're completely alone with your Aspie, which is exactly where he wants you.  If there's no one else in your life, you can devote ALL your spare time to taking care of your Aspie.

23.  You will be separated from your family - Because Aspie's are abusive, they will separate you from your family as most abusers do.  It will be so subtle and so pervasive, you won't even see it happening until it's happened - and the kids are fair game to them.  Anyone who is in a position to help you, anyone you trust implicitly, anyone who could possibly see things from your point of view is a threat to the Aspie way of life and they MUST get them out of your world.  They will say and do anything to separate you from your family.  I learned this one the hard way.

24.  Everything they loved about you when they married you is now hated - Was it your ready smile that drew them to you?  Your fierce independence?  Your ability to make people laugh?  Was it the way you could work a room at any party?  It could have been one of these things or all of these things that they LOVED about you when they met and married you.  And, yes, they loved them all.  But as time passes, they will work, diligently, to remove these parts of your personality and they'll do it with a surgical precision that would leave even Dr. Ben Carson in awe.

25.  Aspies hate Neurotypicals - we are the person they want to be and when it's they who fail, we carry the blame.

26.  They will wish for your death, almost daily - We, the spouses of these Aspies, know them better than anyone else because we live with them day in and day out.  As the people who know them best, we're the people with the greatest capacity to hurt them and they hate this about us.  They hate us for knowing them so well and they hate us for being realistic about them and their shortcomings.  Because of this, they want us to die.  They might even write in their journals about it.  They might even refuse to take us to the doctor for a serious illness because they want us to die so much.  This isn't to say they don't love us, they just want us to die.

27.  They will want you to love them for who they are - Sounds good, right?  Unconditional love?  Who doesn't want that.  Except they don't operate in that way.  Their love is completely conditional on you pleasing them.  If you displease them, they won't tell you, they'll just shut you out entirely.  No talking, no acknowledgement, no attention at all.  They won't stop this until you apologize.  For what you ask?  No one but the Aspie knows and they're not telling.  But apologize you will.

28.  If you come to your senses and decide to divorce the Aspie - Get ready for the fight of your life.  Most high-conflict divorces are the result of an Aspie being left.  They truly see themselves as the ideal spouse and parent when, in fact, the opposite is true.  Because of this, they simply can't understand why you'd leave such a prize and this leaves them angry.  Also, remember back to #13 and #19?  It's never their fault and they refuse to accept that the needs of anyone but them matters.  This makes for some rough courtroom time.  They'll say and do anything, even lying to do it, to maintain the status quo.  Aspies and narcissists need a victim to keep their egos at a healthy level (healthy for them, not for anyone else) and if they don't have someone to dump on, they can't stand it.

29.  You will start to look crazy yourself - I can remember when my STBE and I saw marriage counselor #37 or so.  I remember telling her, "I feel as though I'm always being manipulated" to which she replied, "That's a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder".  She was trying to tell me I had BPD.  I couldn't get her to understand I WAS being manipulated all the time!  My STBE wouldn't come to me to talk about something, such as, "You know, honey, I think I need some new jeans and would like to go get some.  Can we afford that this payday?"  No, no, no... That would be too easy.  Instead, what he'd do is start "talking" about jeans, never actually committing to the "want" or "need" part, just kind of talking about them, much like a child would hint at what they wanted for Christmas.  It would be days and weeks of his "hinting" at something with me giving a non-committal response.  I wasn't AWARE he wanted new jeans because he wasn't telling me!  This would go on for quite a while before I'd finally snap and say, "Oh, for the love of God and all that's holy, just go get the DAMN JEANS!"  Once he got what he wanted, he would move onto the next "want", not by asking, but by "hinting".  To the Aspie, it's all about getting what they want through manipulations, lies and outright trickery.  I "appeared" crazy because of what I was living with at home.  I "felt" like I was being manipulated because I WAS being manipulated - ALL THE TIME!

30.  You will be alone in this marriage - on several levels.  You will be ignored, you will be treated as an accessory, you will NOT be treated as a person who matters.  Also, once the reality of what you're living with hits you, you'll want to go to counseling.  Most likely, the Aspie spouse will go, but it's only so the counselor will give them backup for just how "crazy" you are (see Gas lighting).  You will be the only person working on the marriage at all times.  The Aspie might put in the token effort, but when it gets too hard, they turn their back on you.

31.  Asperger's and Marriage - Or, "What the hell am I dealing with?" - If you've read other posts on this blog, you'll know I was married to an Aspie/Narcissist/Sociopath/Bipolar for 21 years.  For a long, long time, I had no idea what I was dealing with in the marriage, I just knew "something" wasn't right.  I was also told for 21 years, the only problems the marriage had were mine to solve, that it was entirely my fault and that "Il Douche" (yes, I know it should be "Il Duce"...) was perfect in every way, shape or form, and this is what he told anyone who would listen.  If you remember only one thing I say in all these postings, remember this one - You're not crazy!

32.  Marriage to an Aspie - You'll always be wrong - Did you go into your marriage or relationship with an Aspie with solid self-esteeem and a good ego?  Don't expect to hang on to that for very long.  This is the first thing Aspies/Narcissists/Sociopaths attack when the moment they marry you.  Most Aspies suffer from low self-esteem, which is what's behind ALL their behavior towards you.  Rather than seek help to develop better self-esteem, they drag you down to their level.  Part of this is always disagreeing with you, no matter what you say or what opinion you hold (and your opinions will ALWAYS be wrong).

This seems to be about all I can come up with for now.  As other items occur to me, I'll add them here.  And as I said previously, I'm going to try to create a post about all of these, linking back if I can remember to do so.  If I don't do it right away, I'm sure I'll remember w/n a day or two or three.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What it's like being married to someone with Asperger's. And then divorcing them.

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”  ~Mother Teresa

For 21 years, I've been married to the same man.  For 21 years, it's been hell on earth.

My husband was diagnosed with Asperger's earlier this year (2013).  Life with him's been difficult, to say the least.  Add to the mix he also has Bipolar disorder (and I only learned of this recently, also that he'd hidden this from me for the duration of our marriage), but refuses to take his medication for it because he didn't like how it made him feel (Seroquel XR).  I filed for divorce last month because I couldn't take one more day in his distorted world with his viewpoint being the rest of the world is out to get him.

In trying to research just what Asperger's is, in trying to find out just what Bi-Polar Disorder (BPD) is, I couldn't find anything other than "rainbows and unicorns" out there in the internet world.  Apparently, people don't like to talk about what it's really like in the world of an Aspie (as they like to call themselves, though I think it makes it all cute and wonderful).  Once I saw just how prevalent this "bury your head in the sand" approach is, I decided to make it my mission to start writing about just how hard it really is being married to an Aspie.

There's a caveat to all this.  Before I'm inundated by moms with Aspie children, my postings will pertain to how things went in MY marriage.  This isn't directed at your child, whom I'm sure is perfectly lovely and wonderful all the time (see also Precious Darling Syndrome).  Also, the Asperger's of today is different now.  Back when my husband was born, Asperger's wasn't a diagnosis, only having been "discovered" in the 1990's.  In discussing some of this many months ago with my STBE Mother-in-law, she told me she suspected for a long time my STBE, Mark, has Asperger's, and apparently she's discussed it with everyone BUT me and Mark.  Gee, thanks for passing on to me with no warning your troubled son and turning him loose on the world.

Those of us who live in the reality that is Asperger's know it's not as wonderful as "they" would have us believe.  We're made to feel guilty for not being more patient and understanding.  We're made to feel as though we're failures for not giving our Aspies more time, more latitude, more love.

The truth of the matter is, we're not failures for reaching the end of our rope with our Aspies.  We're a testament to the strength of character it takes to remain married for as long as some of us have done.  Most of these women I've talked to have been married for 10 to fifteen years and more.  Aspies chose us to be their wives because they KNEW we'd put up with it, not because we're idiots who relish living in an abusive marriage but because we have a character trait they need to remain in the marriage, we're caregivers and loving people who refuse to give up on a person because they're not perfect.  We're the women who give of ourselves more than the average person.  We don't walk away at the first sign of trouble and we want to do our part to make things better for those around us, for those who love us.

To help those of you who have landed here, completely desperate for information as to just WHAT'S wrong with your husband and father of your children, I'm going to tell it like it is, warts and all.  No sunshine and unicorns here.  Before I do that, I'll say this: Because of this "cone of silence" that seems to surround the Aspies and their families, you won't find in a lot of places what I'm about to share here (and I'll be doing it over several posts, not just one - stay tuned for more as time progresses).  Over the last few months, I found a couple of places online that address what life's REALLY like with an Aspie and they are brutally honest, which is what I needed.  I felt extremely alone in all of this, these last 21 years.  I knew something was off with my soon-to-be-ex (STBE) Aspie husband, but I was always told, "He's got a mental illness.  You just need to be patient."

I feel I've been patient.  I feel I've had the patience of Job with no return on my investment in this marriage.  It's been completely one-sided for the duration and it's like a friend told me not long ago, also married to an Aspie, "Being in a marriage with an Aspie is like rowing a boat by yourself while they sit there and let you.  You're moving.  You're getting somewhere, but it's only in circles and after a long enough time, you're exhausted from the effort.  But you're not allowed to rest, either, because then you fall backward and it gets worse."

One of the takeaways of being in these groups is:  I learned I'm NOT crazy.  My husband was like a million other Aspies out there in the world and ALL of them are bad at marriage, not just mine.  They may be able to fake it for a while, for mine the longest he could go was about two or three months, and then his Aspie-ness would come back full force, and in most cases worse.  I've found this is the same in the others I've interacted with online.  Their husbands can "fake it" for a few weeks or months, but the effort is difficult for Aspies and they can't hold it in any longer.

I came a cross a website about Asperger's and marriage.  The writer there has a list of her own and it's #3 that I steal this little nugget, and it's SO true in most AS/NT marriages:
Many describe living with an Aspie as draining. It is not always the big things that lead to distress, but the constant drip, drip, drip of small seemingly thoughtless behaviors that destroys the relationship. The lack of eye contact, the obsessive/compulsive behaviors, the adherence to rigid routines, the self absorption, the social anxiety, all lead to family members feeling like they just cannot connect with their Asperger family members. It isn't so much the unusual behaviors that make the connecting difficult, but the inconsistency. Never knowing what is coming next, makes a loving connection very difficult. (Excerpted from Kathy J. Marshack's website on Asperger's Syndrome,
So prepare to share my journey.  I'm going to try to post every day but sometimes life gets in the way, and for that, I apologize.  I've been in your shoes, this married to an Aspie with BPD, and I've been so desperate for information I would sit and cry in the dark sometimes, totally confused, upset and off-kilter with my life and having no clue what was going on.  Truth be told, I'll try to continue on with this after the divorce is final, but if the other blogs like mine, women married to Aspie who are divorcing them, is any indication, it would seem once you divorce them, life becomes wonderful again and they simply don't have the time any longer to write.

I look forward to that day, when I don't have the time any longer to work through this disaster that was my marriage and the angst that goes along with divorcing them.  My divorce is going along fairly typically from what I've read of other women divorcing Aspies.  Seems Aspies are pretty predictable and mine is no different from the rest.

Time for another cup of tea.  I'll see you tomorrow!  Until then, hang on tight!  You'll get through it all not exactly unscathed, but wiser for the experience.