Dear Forum members
I have been married to Francis (aged 60) for 9 years now. I am an intelligent "Neurotypical" woman, aged 56 and believe he has "High Functioning Autism HFA. He rejects labels of "disorder" and obtaining a formal diagnosis. His behaviour has become intolerable. To preserve myself, I have had to leave the family home (a cabin on a self-build site) in Hampshire and returned (with my 13 year old daughter) to Oxford.
Francis' philosphy is "Selfish people are the happiest", "I've compromised all my life, I like being me, and I WILL NOT CHANGE". There is no avenue for talking about differences. Despite his vast intellect, he does not validate the differing point of view of others. I feel lonely and isolated, my confidence is eroded. The extensive reading I have done tells me his behaviour is entirely normal for someone with HFA.
I desperately need help in deciding what to do. Francis rejects couples counselling. I still deeply love him and am attracted to him. Without change, I cannot tolerate his behaviour for the rest of our days. Perhaps I should cut my losses now? Alternatively, if I could "learn to think smart", so I am really able to understand him, ignore negative bahaviour, could I find the harmony to allow me to live with him? Another idea - we continue to live in separate dwellings, and experience the best of each other when we do meet.
I went through turbulent teenage years with my son Humza (age 24) and my middle daughter Sulma (19), partly due to Humza's Attention Deficit Disorder and Suma's dyslexia. Francis helped me to understand and accept these special needs. I gave up work to spend more time with them. Within days of this shift in thinking, my relationships with HUmza and Sulma improved hugely. If I could do the same with Francis - to really accept him 100%, perhaps I could salvage the marriage. The fact that all change will be unilateral from my side does stick in my throat, but I am willing to swallow a few ounces of pride to save my marriage.
Thank you, Nasreen