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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Aspergers and the imbalance of responsibility

Sometimes I wish I’d listened to those persistent (sometimes raging) doubts that had told me I was making a huge mistake by marrying Ethan.

He is so difficult to live with at times, totally dysfunctional to have a grown-up relationship with and almost impossible to bring up kids with. It leaves me wondering what was left to draw me to him. But I know really – it was the security, the stability and the flattery of being utterly the centre of his world. I was his special interest for as long as it took to get that ring on my finger.

It’s not that he’s stopped trying now, or turned into a tyrant. I know he does his best – most of the time. It’s just that his best is woefully inadequate and it’s so frustrating that his best never gets any better.

I’ve learnt that, when I’m working and he’s in charge of the kids, telling him over the phone what he needs to do doesn’t cut it. He’s forgotten what I’ve said by the time I get off the phone. So these days I text him the information. Today, in the midst of a really hectic schedule, I took the time to text him the information for this afternoon (‘I’ll bring dinner home, could you peel some potatoes, Sam needs to practice his spellings, Oliver’s going to his friend’s house so don’t worry about him and Ava needs picking up from church at 5pm’). I also emailed him Sam’s spellings to practice.

5pm as I leave work I phone Ethan. This is our conversation:

Me: “Could you put the oven on so it’s warming up?’

Ethan: “Oven? Why am I putting the oven…er (I can hear him scrabbling about in his conscious mind trying desperately to remember what he realises he’s supposed to know)…What’s going in the oven?”

Me (exasperated): “It doesn’t matter what’s going in the oven, just that you turn it on please so it’s warming up….(silence)…for the tea…that I’m bringing home.”

Ethan: Right…erm. OK…

Me: “What’s the problem? Just put it on. And then go and get Ava. You do know it’s after 5pm?”

Ethan: “OK (pause)…Where’s Ava?”

By the time I got home, I was already wound up. So the half-cooked pasta, chopped courgette and pepper and cold oven when I got home was enough to break me. I couldn’t even appreciate the fact that he’d made a start on dinner BECAUSE IT WAS THE WRONG DINNER. I HAD THE B*****Y DINNER IN MY BAG!

Me: “You did at least practice Sam’s spellings with him, did you?”

Ethan (pleased with himself) “Yes, I did.”

I felt slightly calmed. It was only when I was putting Sam to bed later that night and he told me that Ethan had grabbed his head to make him look at the spellings that my heart lurched.  Up to that time Ethan had just been annoying and unreliable. But the frequency with which he loses his temper with the kids over normal childhood behaviour (“he wasn’t doing what I said”) genuinely bothers me. As long as I don’t ask Ethan to do anything in the house or with the kids while he’s in charge, there’s no harm done. But there’s also no jobs done, meaning they’re all waiting for me when I get home. And who wants that?


  1. Laura, I just LOVE reading your posts. I am in the SAME situation and I can so relate! I am hoping to one day be able to write about my experiences with my hubby. Question - Did you talk to him about writing this blog first? I am afraid my hubby will get offended if I do it. Please know you are not alone in your struggles and that we might have issues, but then again everyone does. At least our men will not be philanderers.

  2. I often look back and wonder how and why I got into this mess Laura, there were lots of warning signs, I just didn't see them.
    We no longer have children living at home, but we do have 2 dogs, and H is like a child too. We don't have a grown up relationship at all, I find I am increasingly his carer, manager and dogsbody.
    Take care of yourself
    Hannah x

  3. You should try 'The Journal of best practices: a memoir of marriage, Asperger syndrome, and one man's quest to be a better husband' by David Finch.

  4. Dear Laura, I am a female with a disability, what a coincidence, it is also called Asperger syndrome. I work full time but don't have kids or a puppy and I still need to spend all day on my own during the weekend to be able to recharge and function properly at work through the next week. We can't do as much as you, NTs, that's why it's class as a disability. And having too much demands for too long may cause us a serious breakdown, that happened to my dad, undiagnosed Aspie, when he was in his 50's. He never recovered.
    Best wishes.

  5. Early detection of Aspergers Test, adhd or Autism is possible if we go by test for autism in Adult, early detection is always beneficial for a well growing family life.