NT partner of an Asperger

Hi, I was hoping to gain some more insight here about how to handle a situation when my Aspie partner gets angry because of an argument or conflict we’d have. I know each one is different but it would be nice to know what’s the best thing I can do when he’s already gone in his shut down mode. He’s told me it takes him days or week to feel any love for me again, after we’ve had a fight. I’m so used to him that I forget sometimes that he has Aspergers and there are times I’d argue back and only to realise a little too late that I shouldn’t have tried to argue or put my point across when he was obviously starting to get defensive. I forget because other than the times we’d fight, he is so loving. I tried suggesting once that he has Aspergers, but he got angry and refused to consider it. I’m sure he does because of the traits he’d exhibit and finally doing an extensive research and reading about it. I would be ever so grateful if someone could help me understand what’s the best thing I can do for him after such a fight/argument, so that he gets out of the mode where he is so distant and detached from me and doesn’t want to even touch me. He told me he wouldn’t feel any love for me in those times and is only still with me because logically he should love me because I keep him happy 99% of the time. But when he’s angry with me, he talks about continuing his search to find someone who’ll keep him a 100% happy. This scares me because I feel if we have another fight, he’ll walk out of the relationship. At the same time if I ask him if he’s unhappy with me I’l leave (even though I don’t want to) he wants me to stay. So it confuses me because he sticks around after the fight, threatens to leave me, and if I say if that’s what he wants I’ll leave, he doesn’t actually want it. It scares me coz I don’t understand if he genuinely wants to be with me. Or if he’s thinking about leaving me and doesn’t love me anymore or if he’s just saying it to scare me into believing that. I know I’ll keep him happy because I’ve already decided to change my expectations and have adapted to suit his needs. Should I keep showing him love and try to talk to him when he’s distant or should I give him his space and leave him alone? What will work best to get him back to his normal self in a situation like that? I’m sorry for this long message and questions all over the place. I haven’t really told anyone about my situation and him being an Aspie. But it makes me feel so alone and I could really use some help in figuring out what’s going on and what would be the best way for me to approach this.

  • Here's a strategy that works on me, but that my wife has yet to actually clue into entirely:
    2. Use hormones. Remind him why he married you to begin with. Don't just use love, use lust.
    3. The hardest sentence for any married person "You were right, I was wrong, I'm sorry, please forgive me"

    And finally, buy him this book to show him just how evil divorce really is:
  • In reply to Theodore M. Seeber:

    Hi Theodore, thank you for your reply. I’ll try to apply your suggestions and hopefully it works. The day we would have the fight, I’d apologise and he would still be kind of alright. But I feel something the nigh of the fight would trigger this mode in him where he’ll wake up and want to stay away from me. He’ll act as if we are strangers and wouldn’t want to do anything with me. It’s almost as if he has replayed the fight in his head while sleeping and reacts more strongly to it after waking up. So I guess I should give him 4hrs after he starts acting that way. He doesn’t even want to be around me and just leaves the house so that he doesn’t have to see me. So I don’t know what would be the best way to use lust when he doesn’t even feel like looking at me. I love him to bits and I want to try whatever it takes to keep our relationship moving forwards and strong.
  • In reply to Vahlee:

    My husband does the same thing. He will ignore me for days and then act as if nothing is wrong once he calms down. He has even gone so far as to call a divorce lawyer within minutes of us having a minor fight then later he changes his mind. I know what you are going through. If you really want to stay with him then just leave him alone when he's like that. Act civil when he's around, try to act happy or watch a funny movie with him in the room. Just show him the tension from you is gone and that you are not mad. That will help him get over the fight much sooner.
  • In reply to lt428:

    Thanks heaps for that! It’s a little comforting to know I’m not alone. You’re right about acting happy. He’d keep expecting me to act happy even if I’m upset. Like to never ever discuss my problems or show any signs of being unhappy or upset even for a bit. I’d tell him it’s natural to have ups and downs and no one can be happy 24*7 but he’d just argue saying I’m just wrong and my goals don’t align with his and he’s better off finding someone who’s forever happy. In my head I’m thinking good luck finding that, as most people wouldn’t probably even stick around that long through and emotional chaos like this. But at the same time I feel he’s almost like a stubborn child and I can’t abandon him because I know I can handle most of it. I wish I had a guide book on what to do. I presume you’re still with your husband? Have things gotten better or easier now that you understand some of the things and how to be around him?
  • In reply to Vahlee:

    My husband and I do have issues but we try to work through them. The things he says when he's mad has always been an issue. He doesn't seem to have a filter when he's upset. Afterwards I rarely get an apology. I have to just remind myself that he deals with anger differently and is really unable to control his words in the heat of the moment. I try my best to ignore his hurtful remarks but its hard. And you are right, most people would not put up with this kind of emotional stress. Our husbands both seem to focus on what other people have to offer them but forget about how little they have to offer us. They forget that the relationship is not about just them, its about the happiness of two people. We have only been together a few years and have a child. It has become a little easier to deal with him when he's mad but it is still stressful. Giving him space helps a lot. Knowing when to back off and let things go is also useful. I feel like I have always have to be the bigger person in any argument but at least the fights don't last as long as they used to.
  • In reply to lt428:

    That’s encouraging to hear. In my case I feel that the impact of the next fight seems to be a lot worse even if the actual fight might not be as bad as the one before. Like for an argument far trivial than the ones before, my husband somehow seems to be more affected in terms of emotions. When things settle down and he’s understood and accepted my side of the story, he still feels this intensely bad and sad feeling inside him that makes him not want to cuddle or show any affection or acknowledgement. I understand why that’s the case, at the same time because he’s unaware that he has Aspergers, he uses this as an indication that’ll he’ll feel more and more unhappy every time there’s a difference of opinion. In my head I’ve already made the decision to never voice my opinion too much if it clashes with his or starts to agitate him. But are there any specific things that your husband does or thinks that makes that feeling go away sooner for him? Like exercising or keeping to himself or some sort of thought process to help dissipate that feeling?
  • In reply to lt428:

    Lt428, thank you for your replies. It’s really helped a lot knowing there are ways of tackling the situation and finding things that work. Thank you for that.
  • In reply to Vahlee:

    There have been many times my husband has told me that he thinks we are incompatible together because we have different opinions on things. I've spent a lot of time explaining to him that its normal for people to disagree. Its a good thing for people to express different opinions and then come to a compromise. That is what makes a marriage work. After we've had an argument I try to say things like "I'm happy we worked through this". For me I always felt it was better to express how I really felt rather than letting him think that his opinion was the only one that mattered. I've had to constantly remind him that our relationship is about both of us and not just him. He seems blind to that fact most of the time. I have to keep pointing it out to him. My husband doesn't really get sad very often after we fight. He actually seems happy once its all over and we are on good terms again. However, if he ever feels that I'm upset with him then it instantly puts him in a defensive and angry mood though. I have found that I verbally have to tell him how I am feeling to ease his mind. This is why I started telling him how happy I am when an argument is over. I tell him that each time we work through an issue it makes us stronger as a couple and that makes me happy. When he hears that he's done something to make me happy then it makes him feel like a good husband.
  • In reply to lt428:

    Aah I see, that’s a really good point you’ve made. Showing that it’s ok if arguments occur and it makes the foundation stronger might help him not dread them as much. And making a point to show that the outcome is a positive one. That’s something I’ll definitely try to adopt. Thank you!!!
  • To the O.P.:

    Have you and your partner looked into the possibility that he might have depression (or another mood disorder) as well as Asperger's? Extreme irritability can be a sign of depression, especially in men.

    My partner too went through a period when he was both very irritable and unable to get over his quarrels with me. It turned out that this was because he let his Prozac (anti-depressant) prescription lapse. Once he started seeing a psychiatrist regularly again and got back on Prozac, he became much less irritable, much less prone to holding grudges, and generally much easier to live with.
  • You my dear should just wait and see how you feel after he has had an obsession over someone he had an affair with 46 years ago!