I’m a woman at the end of my tether about my husband. We’re both in our late 40s and were married five years ago.
Everything was fine for about a year, then he started withdrawing bit by bit. He still loves me, he says (when I ask him), but we haven’t had any sex for more than six months and he hasn’t even touched me without being prompted – except for a kiss goodnight – for even longer than that.
He’s out of work, but he was between jobs when we met (he’s not useless; he does a lot of housework). He’s not seeing anyone else, I’m sure; he says he just doesn’t feel like having sex at all.
I keep asking him if there’s anything wrong, and he says everything’s fine. But everything’s not fine with me. I’m sure he thinks I’m disgusting.
He always sleeps with his back to me and won’t let me touch him in bed. He barely responds when I talk to him. If I insist, he’ll occasionally let me try to cuddle with him (he will lie there unmoving) and if he allows me to touch him in a sexual way, he apologises soon after and makes me stop.
If I try to talk to him about what’s wrong between us, he shuts me down and tells me to stop whinging, that he’s tired of me being upset all the time. He refuses flatly to go to counselling.
His family say he has Asperger’s, but, you know what, so do I – and so do a lot of my friends and professional colleagues. It doesn’t make them closed, stingy, grumpy, withdrawn, cold fishes. I can’t even leave him because I have no other family and no support structure besides his family (who I fortunately get on with very well). But I don’t want to leave. I miss the man I married so much. I hurt all the time. I can’t work well or think well and I’m so tired all the time.
I honestly wish I could just go to sleep and never wake up. I wouldn’t do anything to take my life, but I just don’t want it if I’m just going to have to be a disgusting, useless thing whose husband doesn’t want her anymore.
Aunty Lisa replies:
Having Asperger syndrome does not make people closed, stingy or any of the other adjectives that you attribute to your husband.
But it can result in them having a lack of empathy, being uncomfortable with social interaction and in some cases feeling overwhelmed by the sensory experience of sex because they have a problem with touch in general. Perhaps you are being a little too dismissive of the effect that Asperger’s syndrome has on him.
Maybe you react in a different manner, particularly with regard to sex in general and touch in particular – so try to see things from his point of view.
It is very upsetting for you to feel so depressed about your situation, particularly as you are not with your family in this country.
Aspire Ireland is an organisation set up to help support those with Asperger syndrome and their families. Their helpline is (01) 878 0027 (open 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm, Monday to Friday) and their website is www.aspireireland.ie.
You have tried talking about this to your husband to no avail – if you contact Aspire Ireland, you will be able to talk with people who find themselves in a somewhat similar situation to your own, and hopefully you will not feel quite so alone and unloved.