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Sunday, December 21, 2014

"That's just being a man"

A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to back out of my driveway.  K was visiting as he seems to spend most of his time at my house these days.     K had not pulled his car up to the point where I'd repeatedly asked him to.  I was in a rush.    I tried to back out of the driveway 20 times and each time I felt my car falling into the ditch, I pulled back up.  As I was pulling out, I saw the neighbor across the street in her yard.

When I returned, I remembered something I wanted to tell the neighbor about being gone and expecting some packages.  She mentioned how much watching me back out that morning had scared her.  I explained that I'd talked with K about pulling his car up before and he just wouldn't listen.  Her response was classic "That's all men."

Yes, individual incidents like that where a man puts his wife in danger of running her car into the ditch might be just being a man but when you are married to a man with Aspergers, it's so much more.  These incidents are constant.  There is no redeeming moment.  There's no apology. 

Being married to a man with Aspergers is like having all the bad traits of men amplified with few moments of redemption.  There's his need for power and control but no tender moments in the evenings when the kids have gone to bed.    There's getting mad and breaking things but no he makes no apologies about it and sometimes never fixes or replaces what he breaks.

He gets a long with everyone but his own wife.  He will say whatever it takes to please them but he will never stand up for his wife.  People once told my husband  they thought I was an awful person.  When asked what he said to that, said "I didn't say anything.  I don't know what you might have said when I'm not with you."

No, it's not just being married to a man.  It all adds up and it adds up to an emotionally drained and lonely wife.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Double Standard

I've tried to get this situation out of my head but there it sits and it's all to common in this  AS/NT relationship.

When we came home from the house K is supposed to be living in, we drove straight to church.  Cupcake had to be there to volunteer.  Short cake really wanted to go and I wanted her to go but I looked terrible.  I go out without make up all the time and none of my clothes are in style so if I didn't want to get out of the car because  I was embarrassed about how I looked, it was bad.  I had on faded black jeans, and old t-shirt with the screen print falling off, old glasses from the nineties and I was in very bad need of a hair cut and of course no make up. If I'd just had a few of those things going on, I would have taken her in.

K and I had a huge argument I in the car sitting outside of the church.  He told me it was ridiculous to care about how I looked and how dumb caring about what other people thought was.  He finally took us.  When he realized that Shortcake and I fully expected him to take her back to church he said "What? I can't take her to church. I'm wearing a raggedy shirt and jeans with holes in them."   See the double standard? 

So many things are okay for him and yet not okay for me.  In the end, I changed shirts and put on make up and took Shortcake back to church 30 min. late.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Last night, we all piled in the car and headed up to his house.   It's so hard for K and I to communicate sometimes and it shows in simple things like packing the car.  It takes forever as both of us are careful to make sure we aren't the only one doing all the work.  It was 11 o'clock by the time we left my house for his.  The kids make so much noise every time we go some where and we didn't want to attract the attention of the neighborhood that late. So we told them to pretend they were the Von Trapp family escaping in the The Sound of Music.  That actually worked.  I wonder if they'd do that during the day.  After we turned around 3 times to get things K needed, we were on our way.

We arrived at K's house after midnight.  He needed to check on his dog and her puppies.  They were all fine but did need some tending too.  Meanwhile I got the youngest kids settled into our old house. We were all sleeping by 1:30am.

At 6am I hear the dog barking and some other odd sounds.  K goes to check on the dog and doesn't come back for a very long time during which the gun shots of hunting season start.  Needless to say, there was no sleep to be had.  Before we knew it, the kids were awake to watch the parades and dog show.

K is our family chef. Mostly, because he is hypercritical of anyone else that steps in the kitchen so I just let him do it.  I was disappointed when he said he was going to fix instant mashed potatoes because I really don't like them.  I do love garlic mashed potatoes with nothing added (except garlic ofcourse!) and the lumps still there.  However, in K's mind, I've said i don't like instant mashed potatoes so I just don't like mashed potatoes at all.  In the end, he forgot the potatoes altogether but we had lots of other wonderful foods including a turkey.

After the big meal, we picked some luffas K planted and then we peeled as many as we could.

Later I got on the computer to shop for boots for Cupcake.  It was really stressful.  I asked for his card to charge the boots.  He dragged his feet. I asked about what size he thought I should order her. His opinion wasn't forthcoming. And because I did not make the decisions on my own, I lost the boots and had to buy a more expensive pair.   My need for support, resulted in a melt down and damages on K's part.  He doesn't see how anyone could need emotional support while shopping.

What do you think? Is it possible that I'm actually too needy after all these years of getting very little emotional support?

Friday, November 21, 2014

How I really Feel

I'm going to interrupt our story for a couple of days because I feel the need to share some other things at the moment.

Today, I met someone for coffee that I really don't know that well.  I mentioned that K was at home with the kids and then later mentioned that his house is actually close to her house.  It seems so normal to me most of the time that I forget that the rest of the world thinks our living arrangements are weird.

She said " How do you live apart like that? My husband lived away and only visited on weekends for two months and that was hard!"

I felt liked I'd been punched,  Our whole marriage when I'd confide in people, I'd hear a lot of things.

  • "That's normal for YOU and that's what matters."
  • "He's just being a man."
  • "He just wants you to take care of him. That's your job."
  • "Things aren't really like that when you are married. You are expecting too much (a fairytale)."
  • "At least he's really nice."

I tried to take all of the advice in.  I stuffed my feelings inside but all around me, I hear and see the truth.  I see the way that couples look at each other. I hear conversations amongst friends about their marriages. I can hear the love in their voices as spouses talk about each other.   It's really amazing that even when friends' complain about their husbands, the love they have for each other shines through anyway.  It really can't be hidden and I wouldn't want them to.  I have children and I want them to see these things. I want them to see the way things should be and not what a situation prevents me from having with their father. 

Lots of people LAT for different reasons.  In my case, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want what those other couples have.  I'm not sharing anything I haven't told K a million times. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aspergers/NT Expecting

I had always loved kids and babies.  Before we were married, I had wanted 8 and he wanted 2.  We unrealistically compromised at 6.  We decided to wait 5 years after marriage before we had kids. That was the original plan anyway.

It wasn't long before we had an infant and toddler move in next door with their parents.  I would be talking to K in the apartment and suddenly he'd stop responding. I'd go out in the living room where he'd been watching TV.  He was always gone.  He hadn't even let me know he'd left!  Ninety percent of the time I'd walk out side and I could already see him sitting in our neighbors' living room playing with those boys.  He loved seeing them.  I began to see this as my opportunity to bring him back.

Note: In high school, when they told you that having babies to save a relationship was wrong, they weren't just talking about before you are married.  It's also not a good idea to have a baby to save a marriage.  That did not occur to me at the time though and I love ALL of our children very much regardless.

One day, as he was talking about the kids next door I said "We could have some those, you know."

He looked stunned as if the idea had never occurred to him. He didn't say anything else until we were driving to visit family over Thanksgiving.  We were in the car alone

K:  I need you to do me a favor.  I've been praying that we'd get pregnant for two months and you just keep getting your period.  I was thinking if you pray too, then it would help.  You know that whole two or more thing...
Me: Oh, should I go off the pill? Or maybe we should start having sex??!
K: Oh no. Neither of those.  If God wants it to happen, it will happen.
Me: I'm pretty sure we are going to have to meet him half way on this one.
K: Well, let's just wait and see.

By January, he had conceded that we could go off the pill and have sex but only for two months to get pregnant.  I got pregnant on the first cycle. 

I'd just gotten a temporary job with full time hours. I was back in school to see if I could find an actual job, I'd volunteered to help out with the local track team and then I was pregnant.  I was starting to feel really stressed.  Track had not yet started when we saw the coach at the bank.  He asked if I was still planning to help out and just as I was about to say that I was reconsidering, K spoke up and said "Of course she is! She can't wait!"  So that was that.

I held up really well until we had a week off at Easter. I started to have panic attacks but I was young and didn't know what those were. I'd never had them before.  We were supposed to be visiting his parents.  I didn't last long there and made him drive me 4 1/2 hours home.  He left me there and went back to visit his parents. Thank goodness,  my mom came to stay with me so didn't have to suffer through the scary attacks by myself. Oddly, none occurred while she was there.  They were in full force once he returned though.

I was so scared of having these panic attacks that I didn't sleep at night. Things were finally going better with K.  He was starting to be some what loving again in his own way, so I'd lie down with him until he went to sleep and then I'd get up again.  I was averaging about 2-4 hours of sleep per night.  I was still having the panic attacks.  Almost all at night but it eventually turned into constant anxiety.

One day K cames to me and said "I'm concerned about you. I read somewhere that people can die without enough sleep." Thanks! That makes me feel a lot better.

On the fourth of July, I was about 6 months pregnant and felt HUGE.  I really wanted to go see fireworks.  K refused saying that it was too hot to go sit in a crowd.  I was very disappointed and we spent our evening the usual way. K watched TV shows that he knew I didn't like and I spent the evening on the computer trying to get social interaction from Internet forums since it seemed to be the best I could do in that small town.  When the 11 o'clock news came on, K got really excited and told me I need to come see what was on TV as he was just sure I was going to like it.

It turns out there were fire works on the 11 o'clock news. I was not impressed. K could not understand how it wasn't the same thing.  He figured it would be just as good.

Ten days later was our first anniversary.  His mom called.  He hung up the phone and said "Mom says I should take you out to dinner for our anniversary."  I was thinking.  After a year of being married to you, I deserve a lot more than dinner out!

Later that summer, we were sitting at the kitchen table.  I was chopping vegetables for dinner.  He was going on and on about how much he wanted a boy. 

Me: What's wrong with having a girl?
K: I don't think you'd make such a good mom for a girl.
Me. Why not?
K: Well if we have a girl whose going to teach her how to dress nice or put on make up.
Me: I wore make up at our wedding.
K: Yes, you looked beautiful. I meant to ask you who did that for you.
Me: It was ME. I did my own make up.

When I signed us up for childbirth classes, I asked him if the days  I scheduled would be okay.

K:"Why does my schedule matter? I don't need to go."
Me: Yes you do. You are the dad. You are going to be there.
K: My dad wasn't there when I was born. Why should I be there when this one is born?
Me: You're going.

He spent most of the class sessions talking about getting donuts from Krispy Kreme.  He never got them because I'd spent any extra money on the classes and the gas to get there. 

I had been about 4 months pregnant when K came home to find his very modest, flannel pajama loving wife sitting around naked. He was shocked. I explained that my clothes were uncomfortable so I just took them off.  This came up later in childbirth class when the instructor was talking about the stages of labor. She explained that if a woman was losing her modesty and taking off clothes it was time to go to the hospital.  K was very, very concerned about this and raised his hand. "How will I know when to go to the hospital if she lost her modesty at four months pregnant?" 

I went into labor after having a dinner guest one night.  My water broke and K was so excited.   When it was time to go to the hospital, I decided to wear a dress in an attempt to avoid wet pants as I wasn't really prepared for my water to break.  When I came out with my things, he said "Why are you wearing a dress? You are going to the hospital, not to church!"

He called his parents who said they would leave when his dad got off work at 2am.  This wasn't how I imagined it going. No one asked if it was okay if they came so soon.  Luckily, Cupcake was born about an hour before they walked in the hospital room unannounced leaving us with no bonding time as a family. They insisted that K make the hour drive back to our apartment with them because they had brought the crib mattress we needed with this.  That's what you get stuck getting when you wait until the last minute to ask what we need.

I had not wanted to go to the hospital at all.  The place scared me and I didn't want to be left alone. I tried to protest. I hadn't even been able to get cleaned up yet.  He insisted that he go let his parents into our apartment.  It took him 6 hours to return.  He decided to take a nap while he was there.  I had to leave the baby in the nursery which I was very against so I could get a shower.

That night, K did get up with Cupcake so I could sleep some.  He's been in love with all of his kids at first sight.  He doesn't always understand them, but he loves them very much.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Asperger's Newlywed

I struggled with whether or not to write this.  Society would say I should leave out the parts regarding sex.  However, when you talk about Asperger's and marriage, sex is a big area where the marriage differs.   According to Eva Mendes, MA, a psychotherapist and couples counselor, "Adults with AS tend to either want a lot of sexual activity or too little." If reading about this topic in relation to my marriage offends you, please skip this post.

Everything seemed great the month before the wedding.  K bounced back quicker than expected from the death of his grandfather and we were looking forward to our wedding.  I was handling last minute details and taking summer classes to finish up my degree.  K finally got a job in his field weeks before the wedding and they wanted him to be there just 10 days later.  We quickly found an apartment in the small town where he had a couple of distant relatives.

We were married in a church wedding as small as I could make it in his hometown.  We did the traditional pictures after the wedding and the photographer kept telling him "Look at me.  Not her."

I'm not sure I'd ever seen him look at me that way and I haven't since.  It all stopped when the photographer asked about taking pictures with grandparents and things were never the same.   After the reception, we left with people blowing bubbles at us and went to visit his Papaw who was unable to attend the wedding.  We went back to the church to change for the picnic following.

K's parents were loading the candelabra that his mother insisted we get (and that I pay for) into a truck to return. It was their sole job for our wedding other than the rehearsal dinner the night before.   Kendall insisted on helping them load it which was taking forever.  Even though I'd wanted to elope and have a honeymoon, I'd planned the wedding with very little help over the past 6 months.  I felt no guilt about leaving them all to clean up the church.  K on the other hand didn't want to leave his family (whom he'd see as soon as they were done returning the candelabra).  So I rode with a friend to the picnic without him.  Around 8pm, I told him it was time to go.  He stalled by talking to everyone he could in the parking lot.  He stalled by stopping to talk to every relative sitting on their front porch on the way to the hotel.  We were getting really funny looks. It took us three hours to make an hour trip.  By the time we got to the hotel at 11pm, I was exhausted.  He made it clear that we were only consummating the marriage "because we have to."

The next weekend we moved our stuff to our new town and then 3 days later, he was gone.  I sent him with a car of neatly packed and labeled boxes that we'd kept at our apartment a little longer. We talked frequently over the next week and a half.  He was in a panic over getting the utilities set up and told me he was completely out of money and that I needed to put some in his bank account so he could live.  I pretty much emptied my account into his even after the bank told me he still had $1000 in it. I trusted my new husband knew what he was talking about.

As I was driving to our new home 10 days later, I imagined neatly packed boxes or everything already put away.  What I actually found was K standing in the office with at least half the boxes empty; the contents mixed together into one big pile on the floor. He was frantically trying to put things away. He looked at me as I walked in and said "Let's go eat." He didn't have a lot to say.

He continued to not have anything to say for at least the next 6 months.  He refused to come anywhere near me.  He stayed up until 2am and was gone by 7am.  I was asleep when he came to bed and still sleeping in the morning since I'd stayed up until I couldn't hold my eyes open waiting for him.  On the occasion that he came to bed while I was awake, he hugged his side of the bed telling me to get away from him.  He'd tell me he'd be home from work at one time and arrive home 2 1/2 hours later even though he only worked fifteen minutes from home and there was no traffic to hold him up. I had to trap him in the car just to talk.  I'd ask about his day when he came home and he'd tell me it was fine.  Then he'd call his dad and give him all kinds of details he refused to give me.

I didn't understand what was wrong.  I was in a new town where I couldn't find a job because they just don't have jobs in my field in small towns and the other jobs seemed to be given to people they knew. Even basic fast food jobs.  This small town was an hour from any city of any size.  The only place I could really go was church.  The one human being who should have been my rock was completely absent from my life.  He was a roommate and nothing more.

I finally directly approached him about lack of action in the bedroom. Like most young couples these days, we had not waited for marriage so it wasn't that he had a reason to be afraid.  He had a million excuses which all seemed as if he was just putting me off. I now realize he may have actually believed some of those excuses since some of it revolved around stereotypes and he acted as if he was doing me a favor to relieve me of the stress of sex.  The absence of it was quickly taking down my self esteem and causing me to doubt the security of my marriage.  When discussing it didn't work, I wrote my feelings down and had him read it he said "This is the same sh$% you are always talking about."

My heart hurt more than anyone could ever imagine.  There was my husband. I wasn't allowed to touch him at all and I was barely allowed to speak to him.  All around me people chatted about intimate moments with their husbands.  I know they didn't think it was a big deal. After all, I was a newlywed, surely I was having those experiences.  Instead, it really hurt to listen to it and I cried myself to sleep every night.  K didn't seem to notice it.  Or at least he didn't care if he did.

We did the grocery shopping together shopping only from the circulars as it was all we could afford.  The first time I threw pads I needed in the cart, he said "Can't that wait until next month?"  I wish!  Still, after he protested again I put them back.  The same thing happened the next month and after that I used money I received for Christmas to purchase cloth ones so I wouldn't have to be without.

If I had felt like I had any support at all or even a job, I would have ended the marriage. I hated where we lived. I hated that I couldn't get a hair cut or even the feminine products I needed.  I wanted something to put my hair up with.  I wanted to go camping and travel with my husband.  Instead, we went to his parents house every month and it was like going from one prison to another.

I wanted my K back but it seemed he was never coming back.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An Apergers Fiance

Not long after we were engaged, we decided that we'd done a really poor job at picking roommates in the past and decided we would be able to live together much easier.  We each called our parents and gave them a choice.  We could get married before we moved in together or we could wait until I graduated but we would be living together either way.  Both sets of parents unanimously agreed they wanted me to graduate before we got married.

I moved into our apartment first, while he went home for the summer to complete an internship.  He went ahead and moved his things from his old apartment into our apartment.  He set all of his kitchen stuff in the middle of the living floor and went home.  I walked around it for two weeks.  After he didn't pick it up the second weekend, I put it away and asked him about it.

Me: How come you left your kitchen stuff in our living room?
K: Because I wanted you to set up your kitchen the way you wanted it.
Me: How many times have I cooked for you?
K: Once
Me: And what did you do with it?
K: I threw it across the room.
Me: So what makes you think I'm going to cook for you again?
K: Oh

That was just the beginning.  Right away, we had a problem with the shower.  It had a nice window in it that opened to air out the bathroom. Gotta love those things.  He'd leave it open and shut the shower curtain so I didn't realize it was open.  He could not understand why I had a problem with this.  I tried to explain that I did not enjoy being undressed and then realizing the window was open when I opened the shower curtain.  To him, I should just remember to check first.  He refused to change.  I HAD to get a third party involved.  His mind was not going to change on this one.   Finally, he agreed to at least leave the shower curtain open if he was going to open the window so that I could see it was open when I entered the bathroom.

Then he started applying for jobs. One job at a time.  He refused to have more than one job application out at a time.  He waited until that job was filled before he would send another off. He pretty much refused to apply in a city of any type.  My degree was such that I needed a city in order to get a job.   When he did not get a job, he got angry like I'd never seen before.  He once knocked my recently arranged books off the shelf I'd just organized and another time broke the then expensive laser mouse my mother had gotten me for my birthday.  The mouse was never replaced and the books were never picked least not by him.

Everything was explained away by the stress of his internship and trying to find a job.

During the first semester, house work was easy to keep up with. He was gone for most of the day.  I could do my homework while I was doing our laundry and tidy up while he was gone. 

The second semester did not start well.  His beloved grandmother whom he thought of as a mother passed away at the end of Christmas Break.  This sent him into an extreme depression.  I tried to be there for him.  I understood when he woke up crying in the middle of the night for most of the first 6 months.  However, he mostly sat in front of the TV watching static because we were too cheap to pay for cable and the house became impossible to clean up since he was always in it and not even doing the basics of cleaning up after himself.  I tried to explain that they would be showing our apartment soon and he didn't care.  The landlord showed it a mess.  I had school work that needed to be finished and I ended up having to drop classes to plan a wedding all by myself and make attempts at house work.  This meant I would still be going to school for the first two weeks we were married.  During this time I also felt forced to quit training for the triathlons I'd come to love.  Taking care of him, planning a wedding, and trying very unsuccessfully to take care of our apartment left me no time.

In May, his grandfather passed away.  He had gone on a trip across the state with his job.  His parents knew this and still failed to inform him when things were getting serious with his grandfathers health. They left a message on our answering machine about the family being called in and I spent 6 hours trying to track him down.  He had ridden down with a co-worker and had no car.  He wasn't quite old enough to rent a car but since I'd had to go through multiple sheriffs/police departments to get his whereabouts (his work refused to help and he didn't own a cell phone.) they were able to  get him in a rental car.  I told him I'd meet him at the hospital.  He calls me from a pay phone an hour from where he started and tells me he's stopping to eat.  I was furious.  He said "What? Do they think he's going to die?"  Umm yeah.  That's why I spent my entire day tracking you down!

He handled this one much better since this grandfather wasn't a father figure to him.  And just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, they finally seemed to get better.

During this time, I began to think about backing out of the wedding and decided it would be a crummy thing to do someone.  I assumed that this was just a phase that was caused by a stressful year for him.