My love/hate relationship with my spouse's Aspergers

My wife and I have been together for 7 1/2 years. We have a strong love for each other and we enjoy spending our time together. She's my lover and my best friend. We have had some really great highs and some really low lows. Most of the time, things are great.... until there's something horrible like a simple misunderstanding or I need to express my feelings.

You might be wondering why would either of those things be "horrible" or cause a problem? If you're married to someone with Autism/Aspergers, then you know exactly where this is headed. Yes, my wife has Aspergers. I didn't know this when I met her and I really had no clue what characteristics people with Aspergers even had. She's extremely intelligent, great and science, math, puzzle solving, etc. She's really funny (sometimes not on purpose and it's super cute) and awkward! She's shy (and so am I). She does really sweet things for me and others, she loves cooking and baking for people - and has to be a perfectionist on it all. I could go on, but in short: she has a lot of really great qualities.

Early in our relationship, I began to notice something was "off" with some of the behaviors. An example, our first disagreement (which should have been a simple argument or conversation), turned into me being yelled at without warning. She had accused me of going through her belongings and no matter what I said, there was no changing her mind. This whole thing of being accused for things I did not do happens regularly in our relationship. And she has a very obsessive/possessive nature when it comes to "her things" (it's like a child that can't share). I noticed that she's not only just shy, she doesn't look at people when she talks to them. She hardly ever makes eye contact to the point it is noticeable. Another thing that happens is a lot of simple misunderstandings turn into full-blow fights. I cannot reason with her, she swears I either had a certain tone when I said something or that I secretly meant something else and I don't want to admit it. I'm constantly having to explain things I meant so she doesn't get offended or read into things that aren't there. Extreme jealousy is another thing that gets in the way of me seeing my family and friends. She gets nervous around people and always thinks they said things to her that they intended to be mean. If I try to defend them or tell her I didn't hear any of the wording or tone she picked up on, it's a fight. She will literally make things up that people (or me) said that did not happen. But she believes they did. 

But the two worst problems: The lack of empathy and the verbal assaults. This doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen often.

Lack of empathy: Example, if I've had a bad day at work, she'll say she doesn't care to hear about it because "it stresses her out too much." Or if I'm sick or hurting, she compares it to her pain she's had and how it's not as bad as hers was (so strange she takes care of me in a lot of ways, but when I'm sick, she is the worst caregiver of all time). If we are having an argument, she can never understand how I feel. And then she somehow will take what I'm upset about, and try to turn it on me. I don't even know how to explain that, but if you are married to someone with Aspergers, you know exactly what I'm trying to say. It is frustrating to no end and I literally feel like I'm crazy during those times. 

Verbal assault: When she's upset or annoyed, mean things are said. And if it's turned into a big fight, the worst things are said to me. There is no line she will not cross when it comes to mean things to say during a fight. She will say anything she can to demean me and ensure I feel like a worthless person. Over the years, I swear I have hardly any self-esteem left. I just feel like a big loser and that I'm a crazy person. 

She does feel terrible after these things happen and apologizes and we talk about it (I'm not an angel by any means, I have my role in it as well and have said/done things I deeply regret). But of course by then, the damage has already been done. We can never just have what I call "a normal fight" where we just disagree and work through it. It takes her going to level 10 anger/hurtfulness and a huge fight every time. And then we work through it after.

We started going to counseling early in our relationship due to these issues and to work on communication (since lack of communication is usually what starts the problems). I even started going to psychiatrists because my wife insisted something was wrong with me based on the way I was responding to her actions. I thought she needed to go to a doctor also, but she would blow up on me if I brought it up. Eventually, I was put on medications to deal with anxiety and depression (and mood swings). I improved my behavior by not reacting to her as much, ignoring more of the things she does and says. She got worse. It was like now it was proven I was crazy and that was why we had issues as a couple. I brought up the possibility of autism and she denied it. She would not seek medical help and wouldn't tell our therapist about a lot of the stuff she was doing, our sessions were all about what I was doing wrong. Finally, a couple years ago, I was at my wit's end and ready to leave our marriage after a series of fights. I had been doing research and told her I thought she may be somewhere on the spectrum or have some kind of mental problem like narcissism or schizophrenia. She finally admitted to me and our therapist that a doctor had diagnosed her with having a form of autism when she was a teenager and that she would try to work on things. 

Things have improved overall. We definitely fight less than in the beginning and they are less intense when they do happen. Part of it is us both making an effort, and part of it is me trying to recognize that she sometimes can't help some of the stuff she does (or doesn't do). But therein is my dilemma. Do I just deal with it for the rest of my life? Does it get better with time? Or is this how it is and I just have to learn to cope? I know you wouldn't just bail on someone because they have a disability and Aspergers definitely disables her in many ways. But when is it just plain abusive and you have to do what's best for you? I don't know. I honestly do not know. I love her so much, she has many good qualities I could write about. The majority of our time together is good and fun. Just when it is bad, it is really bad. 

  • Sounds like Borderline Personality Disorder. This has been my experience for 48 years and I am the one with Aspergers. My psychologist recognised it from the behaviour. Look it up (BPD)
  • Sounds like Borderline Personality Disorder. This has been my experience for 48 years and I am the one with Aspergers. My psychologist recognised it from the behaviour. Look it up (BPD)
  • Sounds like Borderline Personality Disorder.  This has been my experience for 48 years and I am the one with Aspergers.  My psychologist recognised it from the behaviour.  Look it up (BPD)