zelda west-meads answers reader's aspie husband dilemma in mail on sunday | Ambitious about Autism
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zelda west-meads answers reader's aspie husband dilemma in mail on sunday

michaelz's picture

zelda west-meads answers reader's aspie husband dilemma in mail on sunday

Thu 9 Feb 2017 11:54am

Does my husband have Asperger's?

I have been unhappily married for 40 years. We have three adult children and I recently retired. I now realise that I have only been able to endure this marriage through work, family and friends. My husband is extremely intelligent, but very shy. He doesn’t know how to have a conversation or have fun, and he can be verbally abusive. The only time he really talks is to answer general-knowledge questions – his knowledge amazes people. We haven’t had sex for 20 years and he doesn’t even like being near me in case I touch him. I have asked him if he is gay, but he says absolutely not. I am told I am a kind, fun-loving, attractive woman. My friends don’t like him. We went on holiday with them recently and they said that he is a rude, arrogant and selfish man and they want nothing more to do with him. I think he may have Asperger’s syndrome, but he refuses to see his GP and says that he doesn’t have a problem. How can I get him assessed or convince him to get help?

People with Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism often have considerable intelligence but a limited or inappropriate way of communicating with other people. They often view the world in black and white, are not good at negotiation or compromise and don’t understand such things as facial expressions and tone of voice. They don’t see themselves as other people see them. This may be the case with your husband. You have had an incredibly difficult 40 years. Autism can’t be cured but can be helped by various therapies. So talk to your husband again and explain that you can’t continue in the marriage unless he is prepared to get help. However, I suspect he won’t be. If nothing changes, then be kind to yourself and end the marriage. You deserve a better life.



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  • michaelz's picture

    Anorexia has left me disabled

    I am 27 and a high-functioning autistic woman in recovery after many years of severe anorexia.

    It has left me with osteoporosis and osteopenia in my spine, legs and hips as well as fibromyalgia.

    I did achieve a first-class degree from university, but sometimes I am so weak that I can hardly walk around the house. I feel as though I am at the mercy of the benefits people. I get paranoid and worry that they will see me when I go out for coffee or walk the dog and think that I am faking it, which I am not. They send me letters asking about any changes and that frightens me.

    I want to work part time, but I will never earn enough to support myself. They did stop my benefits once, but I went to a tribunal and they were restored. I feel trapped.

    It is so tragic that because of the destructive mental illness of anorexia, your physical health has been so badly damaged. It is clear that you desperately want to work and are not faking it in any way. Because you once had your benefits withdrawn, you fear that it will happen again, but remember that the tribunal found in your favour and take confidence from this. You should contact the eating disorder organisation Beat (b-eat.co.uk, 0808 801 0677) and the mental health charity Mind (mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393) to talk about your concerns and to find out where to get help and emotional support for this distressing illness. Your GP should be able to confirm that you are not fit enough for work.

    • If you have a problem, write to Zelda...


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