With Ethan and I, things go well for a while, then discontent, disappointment, anger and irritation start to bubble under the surface. Life carries on - kids need looking after, jobs need doing, shift-work, lack of sleep and bickering kids take their toll. The simmering frustration builds until it crescendos into an all-out-blow-out.
That's what happened two days ago. There wasn't one specific thing that tipped me over the edge - rather it was the build-up of a thousand little actions, or inactions...
The way Ethan never smiles, the negative, cynical commentary on life that we're all treated to, the disengagement from family banter, the way he forgets something as soon as I tell him it and never remembers anyone's name! The way he shouts at the kids over minor things, the way he phrases things ("So you want me to go out Thursday, Friday and Saturday night?" somehow blaming me for the fact that we've been invited out to three occasions in a row. And why does he need to 'blame' anyone anyway? A few days earlier he'd been grumbling that he never gets to go out...) and the way he asks me if I'm OK after a battle of the wills with Ava only to laugh at a message on his phone and start texting someone a second later as I'm tellnig him that, actually, no - I'm feeling a bit upset. Most of all for the way he just doesn't get me.
It's a lonely existence sometimes.
And the result of these many little acts, the many occasions when we just don't connect when other people would - over a shared joke, a scintillating conversation, a knowing look, is me - every so often - losing it. I say I want us to split up, I pull him apart for all the ways he doesn't meet my needs, I put him down and tell him how miserable he makes me.
It's not fair. He does his best - most of the time. Which is all we can ask of anyone. And, in different ways, I'm equally (perhaps more) hard to live with than him.
We don't split up. We muddle on. Ethan is very patient with me.
What we could really do with, both of us, is a support group for him - a collection of other high-functioning, outwardly successful, competent people who happen to have Aspergers and who struggle with aspects of life that the rest of us take for granted. And for me, a group of other neuro-typical partners who would understand the massive and million minutiae issues of living with a partner with Aspergers. And who I could laugh at it all with...