Reaching out - trying to save my marriage | Ambitious about Autism
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Reaching out - trying to save my marriage

Nasreenrich's picture

Reaching out - trying to save my marriage

Tue 30 Jan 2018 10:45am

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
​ Rich​


Nasreen Rich

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  • SherpaMum's picture

    Hi, I am sorry that you are having a tough time.

    If your husband's behaviour is due to ASD, then couples counselling will not help, as you cannot change his ASD. You have to remember that if the issues you have are down to ASD, then this is not something he is intentionally doing to annoy you. 

    It is interesting that you say he recognises that he is being selfish. This suggests that he recognises that his behaviour is not appropriate, which would then suggest that he may be able to change his behaviour.

    The more you learn about ASD the more you can learn to help you deal with it.

    Only you can decide what your future holds, good luck.


  • Mollie38's picture

    Hi Nasreen. Sorry to hear about your relationship problems.


    Something that might interest you is Chris Packham's "Aspergers & me" documentary. He lived separately from his partner and disliked the idea of sharing his home with anybody except his dog.


    It will be on youtube or bbc iplayer.  yes

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