My husband was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 29. Though it had been suspected for years that he was an aspie, the official diagnosis came after hours and hours of testing and interviews. We had been married for two years. At the time, the diagnosis was a beacon of hope, as it enabled him to receive services towards job placement, among other things. Now, 6 years later, I see it as the beginning of the destruction of our marriage.
Since then, I’ve become a self taught expert on asperger’s and the neurotypical relationship. I know what my husband’s needs and limitations are, and most of the time, try very hard to respect them. However, asperger’s changes as you age, and with the onset of the diagnosis, it became an excuse, for pretty much any ill behavior. I have always fought terribly hard for a social life of my own. If he wanted to tag along, that’s great, but if not, that was ok too. I was still going to see my friends.
3.5 years ago, after most of a year trying, we got pregnant. The asperger’s diagnosis was looming large. I always wondered if someone on the spectrum could truly care for and take care of an infant. They can by the way. I knew that I wanted a baby, and that worst case scenario, I could manage a (single) baby. Unfortunately, my pregnancy was abominable. I threw up every day, all day, from exactly 6 weeks. By 16 weeks, it slowed down some, but then anything that so much as looked at my gag reflex would cause me to vomit. At around 20 weeks, I swelled up like a balloon and at 24 weeks on the nose, began the trek down the road with preeclampsia. I was fine until I wasn’t. At 25 weeks, 1 day, our son was born. He spent 3.5 months in the NICU, followed by another 4 months on house arrest as he came home during the worst RSV season in decades. By that point, whatever social network I had was gone.
I struggled through that for about a year and a half. At that point, I was miserably lonely, and questioning my own marriage. See, the thing about aspies, is they can put on a good show to convince you they love you and woo you, while you’re dating. Once you’re married, that show is unnecessary. I’ve read countless places that NT wives felt duped, and admittedly, my husband and I have had conversations on several issues, where I felt the same way. In any case, I reached out, on facebook to several friends of the past, notably all male. I don’t know that I had dishonest intentions, but I don’t know that they were honest either. I’ve always gotten along with guys, and I knew they wouldn’t want to talk about our kid. Luckily, one of the friends I reached out to was Mr. ENFP. Frankly, I owe a lot to him for the fact that I’m still married. He has always championed the work it out attitude.
One of the traits of asperger’s is that an Aspie is very conflict averse. So anytime there’s any sort of fight or disagreement, there’s this immediate need to fix it, now. Except you don’t really fix anything. You put a bandaid on it. Finally, the wall of bandaids was so thick and tall with the wound festering underneath, the whole thing fell off. I don’t know if we’ll stay married. I get to this point of not wanting to be with him anymore, and then I sit with that, and get really sad. Failure of any marriage is sad, but I sit in this circle of unknowns, because as sad as it is, I still love him.
Add to the mix, we now have a 2 year old, who is healthy and opinionated and wonderful, except when he’s being an asshole. I have a dad who has lung cancer. I’ve become the sole caregiver for everything MD Anderson related. I have a VERY demanding job, which I love, but that sucks the life out of me. And then I come home to a cold house, where even though I am with my husband, I’m alone. I have made some new friends over the past year, in surprising places, and I think that is what gives me the strength to go to therapy now. That, and that Mr. ENFP has suggested it every time my husband and I have a fight. The INTJ can be worn down.
Hopefully therapy will yield something positive. At least there’s hope.