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I'm a 34 year old husband of 12 yrs and father of 2 children (6 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy). Both of our children were diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (high-functioning autism) around age 3 and my wife always let me know she was pretty sure I had it too. I always responded like maybe I do but my life has been pretty good, wonderful wife, 2 great kids, good job and that there wasn't any use in me getting diagnosed and that if our kids turned out like me things would be fine.


Around the time that our daughter was diagnosed, my wife started letting me know that she needed more connection between us and that my possible AS was probably making it hard for me to do that. I always had a hard time figuring out what was so bad with our connection and in some ways thought she was over-blowing things. We did go see a marriage counselor though and things got better for a while. We got busy and eventually stopped seeing the counselor after which, according to my wife things eventually went back to how they had been. We argued a lot, we both had our own way of seeing things and it turned out we both felt that we gave into the other more often than not to make things better. I do acknowledge I stood my ground on issues/my beliefs more than I maybe should have, but that is only a recent realization.


With AS, one of the difficulties is expressing your emotions, which I always knew I had trouble with but I was also routinely complimented on my calm, relaxed demeanor. I though it was a good thing, especially compared to my wife who always seemed so emotional. I felt it was what made us a good couple, and I think my wife did for a while too. Anyways, the connection complaints continued and I remained as confused as ever, but we were working split shifts and rarely had enough quality time together and I felt things would get better when she could change her shift times (which she is in the process of doing right now). The problem is, after some additional health problems, and all the years of her not feeling connected enough to me, she told me around the holidays that things had to change or she had to go. She just didn't feel much intimacy or in-love feelings for me anymore. I don't know why then, but things finally started to click for me. I started reading things that made sense to me for the first time about empathy and validation and feelings and it was like a whole new part of my being expanding.


I committed to making changes in parenting, house work, personal health, and in being the most loving and attentive partner I could be. My wife was very happy with all the changes although she also had a very hard time with why it took this long for me to get some of these things. Anyways, it has been around 7 months now since this has all laid out and I am as committed as ever to all these things, but my wife has really been struggling with letting me back in to her intimate life. Our sex-life has continued, but it takes for ever to initiate anything and she feels it is always clunky although there are some good moments.


She just revealed to me this past weekend that the main problem for her is that she has romantic feelings for another man at work that she just doesn't seem to be able to have for me at this point in time. I've know about this other man for about 3 years now, since she first opened up to me about the connection issues. She knew I was the problem then because she was able to have this connection with this other man that we didn't seem able to create very easily if at all. She always said it was too much work when we did try and connect. Even though she has off and on related her feelings for this man to me, she always told me they were working really hard at keeping it to a friendship level but that was the kind of connection she wanted to be happy. This was the first time she had told me that she just hadn't been able to build up any intimate feelings for me and that they were there as strong as ever for this other guy.


I really thought that things were on track and that we were on the right track with some minor set-backs along the way. Now she is throwing out the possibility of an open marriage so that she can get those needs met occasionally and still try and keep our family together. I told her that I would prefer to really work on us even if it meant her having to change jobs, which I would hate to see because she is really good at what she does and fits in there well. I just don't know how we can get better if it always goes back to her feeling for the co-worker she can't seem to shake. I don't know if my heart could handle an open marriage. She just doesn't know if monogamy is for her because there are so many interesting people out there.


I really signed up for the long haul, especially with the kids, and I feel she did to but she keeps going back to people change and we can't look back at what we initially had, which I have a hard time with. Sorry for the length of all this. We are seeing an AS specialized therapist now and it helps but the every other week we are signed up for just isn't turning in to enough for me. My wife is constantly telling me she just doesn't have enough energy for everything in her life and that our relationship often gets the short end of the stick because of it. Talking often about our issues just wears her down too much and then she just ends up resenting me more. She really is a wonderful woman and mother and I would be happy spending the rest of our lives together with our kids if we can find a way to connect again. Any thoughts or feed-back would be appreciated if you had the endurance to make it all the way through this. I'm sure there is plenty more I can say on all of this that I didn't fit into this monstrosity.

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Personally, I don't buy into this whole Asperger's thing and it is funny that she suddenly accuses you of having that after the children are "diagnosed". Far too many people are being "diagnosed" with asperger's just to put a label on someone. Your wife is using Asperger's as an excuse for her own wrong-doing in having and affair and throwing that in your face for years. I wonder if this marriage really is salvageable...not with a wife who is basically blaming her cheating on you and who is not interested in changing her bad behaviour. If she wants to screw other men, I would suggest you contact a lawyer, make sure you protect yourself financially and with the children and file for separation and divorce...kick her out of the marital home and let her go stay with however many loverboys she wants. She is totally disrespecting you and if she wants to be free to sleep with others, you don't have to be around and risk getting a disease from her.

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Thank you for doing that DN. Must not have noticed with this being new to me.


And to Crazyaboutdogs, thanks for the thoughts. There hasn't been an affair at this point unless you want to call it an emotional affair. She promises that she would never have a physical affair while we are married unless we opened our marriage up in agreement. I do trust her on that. We have always been pretty open and honest with each other about most things. In the case of a divorce, she would get the kids, especially with the AS diagnosis, which I did get recently. My main sticking point besides truly loving her, is that I just can't imagine my life without coming home to my kids. That alone makes working it out the most important thing to me.


Our kids definitely have some issues with the AS and the treatment they have gotten, primarily because of my wife's persistence and knowledge as a Social Worker, has really helped them.

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This marriage won't work unless you both are willing to put forth the effort. It sounds like you both put in the effort for awhile, and it got better, and then life got in the way and it got worse. Now it sounds like you are putting in the effort and she wants out. If she's not willing to work at the marriage, there's nothing you can do.


I think your marriage is still totally salvagable, though. She needs to re-commit herself, even changing jobs if she must! You need to see a doctor about your possible Asperger's Syndrome, and see what treatment is available. I would also suggest going back to the marriage counselor.


If she's still bailing, get in touch with a lawyer and review your options. In my opinion, and "emotional affair" is just as bad, if not worse, than a sexual one. It doesn't matter what syndomes or whatever you may have, it's really no excuse for her to have a husband at work. You're not really in a position to demand that she quit her job, and she'd have to want to cut off contact with this guy on her own, anyway. But there is really no excuse for that.


I wish I had more help to offer you. Good luck and keep us updated.

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Thank you for the kind words Smile and Carrots. I have seen one of the only accredited therapists for AS in our community and have received the official diagnosis, although it is all on a spectrum and it sounds like i amy be pretty high on the spectrum (meaning not as affected). I have always had plenty of friendly acquaintenances but haven't really developed many deep friendships which bothered me in some ways and didn't bother me in other ways. That is one aspect that I have really been focusing on improving through all this and feel I am well on my way to doing.


One of the main issues my wife has had with me communication wise is that she doesn't feel I can read non-verbal communication well at all, which is common with AS. I've always felt that I can read non-verbals well enough but probably haven't expressed enough back through my own non-verbals. If anyone has any thougths or suggestions on that I would love to hear it as I would really like to open up that area of our communication.


We are seeing the AS therapist as a couple now and things have gone fine although it feels like we haven't got around to enough of the meaty issues yet. I think we are going to push that next session. We were really hoping I would be given more tips or exercises on improving my communication. Most everything I have accomplished at this point has been through self-research and study.


Sometimes I'm not sure how much of my wife and I talk about is really her venting and talking out loud more than anything. I know she really wants to keep the family together for the benefit of the kids. She feels she needs to be happy too or everyone else is going to have a tough time being happy which there is truth too.


One moment at a time I guess. I have been doing rooting breathing to help get through today by visualizing roots coming out through my legs and securing me to the earth and then letting go the thoughts consuming my mind. It does seem to help some. Thanks for listening.

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