My son and my husband both have an Aspergers diagnosis. My husband and I no longer live together, and the diagnosis came a year after we separated, following my son’s. My husband no longer wants to work at the relationship and has given up (in my opinion). The divorce paperwork has been initiated.
1) How do you handle a spouse who refuses to accept the diagnosis and its impact on the marriage?
2) How do you handle extended family that refuse to accept the diagnoses (of your child/your spouse) - and continue to blame and lash out at the partner for all problems.
3) What do you do in the case of tactile sensitivities and no interest in sex? How can a spouse handle this?
Re: How do you handle an Aspergers spouse who refuses to accept the diagnosis/ and its impact on the marriage?
Accepting the diagnosis is not all that important really. What is important is that he understands that he has some areas of weakness (as we all do) on his end – regardless of the origin. So the new question could be, “How do you handle a spouse who refuses to see his contribution to the relationship difficulties.”
In that case, you really only have three choices: (1) continue to try to change him (good luck with that one), (2) take more responsibility for the relationship than he does (not recommended), (3) move on.
Re: How do you handle extended family that refuse to accept the diagnoses (of your child/ your spouse) - and continue to blame and lash out at the partner for all problems.
Don’t do the same thing (i.e., don’t blame them for not accepting the diagnosis). The more you try to convince them that it’s the “diagnosis” fault – not yours, the more you will strengthen their conviction that you were (are) the problem.
Let’s say for sake of argument that they ‘came to their senses’ and agreed that “Aspergers traits” have contributed largely to the relationship difficulties. What will they do with that information? If he’s not willing to work on the relationship, that information is rather useless. The Aspergers traits are not really the problem here – rather it is a spouse who is unwilling to work on the relationship.
Re: What do you do in the case of tactile sensitivities/ and no interest in sex? How can a spouse handle this?
To answer the first question, you may be assuming the lack of interest has to do with tactile sensitivities. This is not always the case. Here are some of the reasons men are not interested:
• I am angry at her
• I am depressed
• I am interested in sex with others, but not with my wife
• I am on medication that lowered my libido
• I am too tired
• I am/was having an affair
• I decided I’m gay
• I don't have the time
• I have difficulty achieving orgasm
• I lost interest and I don't know why
• I no longer find her physically attractive
• I prefer to masturbate, but not online
• I prefer to watch pornography online and masturbate
• I suffer from erectile dysfunction
• I suffer from premature ejaculation
• I wasn't interested in sex to begin with
• I'm bored
• She doesn't seem to enjoy sex
• She has gained a significant amount of weight
• She is depressed
• She is/was having an affair
• She isn't sexually adventurous enough for me
So his lack of interest could be any number of things.
Here are some things to consider about sexless marriages (which you may already know):
- It is often the man who loses his sexual interest – in fact, women complain about sexless marriages far more than men do.
- Sexless marriage doesn't mean zero sex – it can also mean very infrequent sex.
- Sexless marriages are very common – it is estimated that in the U.S. alone there are millions of couples who are living in a sexless marriage.
- Sexless marriages occur for a variety of reasons, and are usually the result of deeper relationship issues between husband and wife.
- Sexless marriages occur with couples of all ages, not just older couples.
- This may be common, but it's not something which has to happen – it's up to the couple to make sure it never happens.
Surviving a sexless marriage is very hard. The feelings of rejection are intense and build up over time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like you will be able to “get him in the mood.” (If he were interested in working on the relationship, I would be giving you a bunch of suggestions to “get him interested.”)
So, move on (easier said than done, but you really should move on). Save your time and energy for a relationship worth keeping.
Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples