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How to confront an Asperger Husband on his infidelity?

By Anonymous December 22, 2010 - 6:18am
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My husband is four year my junior and he has an extramarital affair which I found out after a year. I confronted him and he just shut himself out. How do i overcome the situation? He refused to respond on saving nor admitting to the affair. I am now trying very hard to save this marriage and we have a 9 year old son. Appreciate an advice

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EmpowHER Guest

I am a man with AS. I am married 17 years with two children, to a woman 8 years my senior. Communication is very difficult, and very recently I have written an emotional letter to an old flame of mine; partly because she hadn't known I am AS, and she should know, and partly because of the frustrations caused by our completely different forms of communication, my wife and I. It is already, to some degree, a betrayal. I may end up being unfaithful to her, with my old friend or with another woman.

This said, let us focus on your question. People (AS or NT) are all different, but I imagine your husband didn't enter a marriage unless that commitment with you meant something to him. Even in moments that communication is difficult, he will know that he owes you to not shut you out.

But to get out of 'sulking' mode (yes - that's what I call it for myself), he needs to see communication is going to go somewhere. For example, that there are specific things you want to find out or decisions you want to make, and that you can't make them without his contributions. You can also be very clear that the status quo - you being a helpful wife while he sleeps with someone else - won't do. If you can't communicate, and things aren't at the point where you just want to pack your bags, you could refuse to do certain things (cook... wash... shop... sex, of course) until you've started to talk about t=he isues that matter.

But like any communication with a man with AS, it will get better if you are very direct and purposeful, having an objective to achieve and being open about that. To me, with AS, implicit communication - nagging, showing emotion, bringing an important subject in a roundabout manner... - is all part of a social game that I don't understand or enjoy. I realise it sweetens the pill for most people; for us it's the opposite. Some of the tricks you know - use routine, communicate in writing, set a tone of seriousness that suits the need to be serious about it - could apply.

You want to bring him round? Since you need something specific and he has no right to refuse, be direct, be purposeful, demand that you two look at the state of your life together as the first step to improve both your lives.

September 3, 2015 - 4:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi my husband who is diagnosed Aspergers and six years my junior did exactly the same to me ... I'm heartbroken and am so sorry you've go e through the same ... I've been with him nine years and I can't move on , can't stop thinking about it and not sure if I can stay
I don't understand why he did it I thought he really loved me and fir a year he made me feel I was the best thing ever and now I'm beginning to feel I hate him and because he shuts it out and won't discuss it I can't get any closure on the whole matter and now I worry that he will do it again ... How do you cope with it? Thinking of you ️xxx

January 26, 2015 - 8:42pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am a middle-aged AS woman who has been divorced 20 years. For the past 15 years, I have been in an extra marital relationship with a married AS man a few years older than myself. I do not know if his wife is AS or NT, but I suspect she must be "one of us" because I don't understand how a "normal" person could live as dysfunctionally as they have for over 40 years. For the last decade plus, our routine has included him coming to my house in the morning for coffee and a packed lunch to take to the office, followed by him coming straight to my house after work for dinner, to go to the gym, and back to my house to watch tv until around midnight, at which time he would go to his house. Weekends, we spent 8 to 12 hours a day, each day, together. We vacationed together. They did not have any children, but he has been a good substitute father for my children who are now adults. I moved out of state last year, and he flies out to visit me for a week or so nearly every month. I know I'm at least the second long term affair partner he has had. I don't know what his wife did while he and I were together, or if she knew -or cared- what he was doing. His comments about her were rarely negative, never flattering, and usually neutral; he acted as if she was simply a roommate who never paid her fair share of the bills, someone he always had to help support financially because she couldn't take care of things in a responsible manner by herself. He often says he wishes he would catch her cheating on him, because then he could leave without feeling guilty. He would rather she cheated with a man, though, and not "lose" her to another woman. I know all that sounds really strange, but it's the way his mind works. He doesn't deal well with people he knows are lesbians or are in interracial relationships. Gay men, he doesn't seem to be bothered by them. Anyway, to answer the question I've been asked by friends who know about this relationship, "don't you feel guilty, or feel like you're doing something wrong" the answer is no, not really. Not on a deep level. At first, it bothered me that he was spending so much time and emotional effort with me, when he should have been investing in his marriage or getting out of it, but about 12 years ago, his dad became very sick in another state. He went to take care of him. I was the one who ended up joining him to help out with his dads death and estate. After that, I never felt guilty again, because it had been HER place to do that; SHE knew the situation and SHE chose NOT to be a wife and do the things a wife should do. I don't know where this will all be in another 15 years, but I suspect it will be pretty much the same. I don't think there is anything she could do or say that would stop him from wanting to be with another woman, whether it's me or someone else, and actively courting another person and becoming emotionally and sexually involved.

May 20, 2011 - 9:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Curious since it's a few years out. Are you still with him? Why would you stay with a guy who is too cowardly to leave his wife? Of course you only hear his side of the story - who knows if he lies to her about his whereabouts? How can you accuse her of not being a wife, when the cheater you are with clearly isn't being a husband? Was he there when her parent died? It's doubtful. It's amazing how people will rationalize their own bad behavior.

September 6, 2016 - 8:50pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks so much for your post! I do hope you won't be in the same situation 15 years from now! It'd be far better if he just left and made his own life elsewhere although only he can know his real reasons for staying - and yours too, and his wife's and the other women. Maybe he just enjoys all these pleural relationships.

I don't really blame his wife for not helping him out with things during his dad's illness. Does he really deserve it from her?! I wouldn't be helping a man like that out!

You sound a little angry at his wife and my advice would be to not bash her as you don't know the true situation at all. If you are content with having a relationship with a married man, that is your option but bashing his wife is not your place. A lot of women who have sex with married men bash the wife - I think it's a kind of defensive move to explain the entire situation in their minds even though all they know is one side. They never know hers. I also thinks it's a bit ironic that he has too much guilt to leave her but has no problem at all having sex with other women, for years on end!

Anyway, it's a strange world and who knows why people do what they do. I suppose we all get our happiness when and where we can. People do all sorts of behaviors others wouldn't put up with and people accept all sorts of behaviors others wouldn't allow for a second. And the world moves along, nonetheless.

i wish you the best and thank you again for this interesting perspective.

May 23, 2011 - 11:20am
EmpowHER Guest

I am a woman with AS. I am tired of neuro-typicals trying to change us. That's how we are. I personally chose to stop wasting my life trying to fit in to other peoples expectations and now will be spending the summer doing the kind of research I love to do. You people do not realize how much brain power it takes for a person with AS to conform to the neuro-typical way. All your interactions, smiling, make me feel good about myself...it's exhausting. AS men are very smart, they may seem like helpless baby's to you but trust me....it's an act and they are very sufficient. My father has AS and managed to leave a third world country and make a name for himself in America at a time when he had no money, no political pull and the country had restrictions on people leaving. As a person with AS I understand the "games" we play. I will tell you this. AS people know that they can be sweet and charming, we do tend to take advantage of others niceness and often need VERY firm boundaries. We do not respond well to a lot of talking, yelling, emotional outbursts, in fact if you want to push us away farther start crying, yelling or being any other sort of emotional. On the inside we will just think you are strange.

What we do respond well to is action. So if you don't like how he is acting leave without saying a word. You can't apply the neuro-typical rules of relationships to a person with AS. The result will be frustration, shutdowns and a ton of misunderstanding. On the positive note we aspies only put in work to those we want to keep around. So I guess take it as a compliment that he wooed you enough to be married, considering that most of us LOVE being ALONE.

April 28, 2011 - 7:01am
EmpowHER Guest

especially you, Jean Low!

April 8, 2011 - 8:22am
EmpowHER Guest

you guys are funny

April 8, 2011 - 8:20am

wow for so many years thought o was alone.the problem in our marriage is that my husbands siblings and mother all act same way.so every time i tried to explain how his behaviour was wrecking our marriage,he could not understand.to his whole family they act normaly/the rest of us are odd.
after his diagnosis,and aspergers couple councilling,i will no longer take the blame.i now realize i tried the best i could for yrs,so helped for councillor to tell him that his behaviour is not acceptable in a marriage.he did not argue with her.things are better now.i now stand my ground more.know now when to back off.accept his pattern of a/s behaviour,but will not tolerate bullying and will not let him dominate me.if he shows me up in public,i now tell people he has a/s.he hates this,but it works.he is not so attention seeking now in public.and i do not feel guilty anymore.since coucilling and diagnosis he does realize its a miracle we are together.i have to accept he has a/s and o.c.d. we do the best we can.but i now accept he will never,with best councilling in world,be a man who is able to offer the shared love and intimacy of a normal relationship.he does his best.but if he was blind i would not expect him to ever see.so cant expect any miracles,but we believe in our marriage.now happier and more contented.and i have only ever loved him and never even looked elsewhere.so take heart

January 17, 2011 - 10:43am
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks Susan
My husband received his dx in early October, nearly 2 months after we separated in August 2010 and was unwilling to accept it at first, but now has, so he hasn't been able to 'use' his dx for anything as such, he just felt from the beginning that he was entitled to these behaviours, (some AS people have a strong need to direct and instruct (control)). This need to instruct/control, his impaired understanding of social/emotional boundaries and what is socially/emotionally inappropriate, his belief that there was nothing sexual in it (which I actually think there was but due to the alexithymia accompanying his AS he was unable to recognise as what it was) and some of the secular personal development courses he did (before we met) that encouraged permissive behaviour under the guise of emotional growth, contributed to this, and as a guy growing up as a loner with low self esteem who had little success with women (apart from his previous wife from whom he had a very high conflict divorce before I came along), found that playing the affirming, 'sensitive, new-age guy' role, who seemed to take a real interest in other's problems and had all the answers was a behaviour that got him the undivided attention of attractive women. In particular one attractive and friendly young woman half his age (his 'best friend' (obession), who lives interstate) whose lack of self respect lead to a life like an ongoing train wreck, which she regularly inappropriately disclosed the details of to him and he advised her on.

I was in my final semester of uni in our first months of marriage (and needed 6 weeks of extensions to complete it due to the psychological distress) and apart from the other women stuff, 5 months into our marriage he closed his successful trades business and took a relatively unskilled job for half the income that allowed him to live 2 hours away from our marital home for 6 days a week, completely shutting me out of his life (except for a brief phone call before he went to bed) and only coming home on weekends.
I understand from other spouses of AS husbands at the support group I attended that varying levels of apparent emotional detachment are reasonably common, with many AS husbands, depending on where they are on the spectrum, either finding a job away, making separate living quarters to the spouse/family in the marital home or moving back into their pre-marriage own home if they can, within months or weeks of the marriage. If this was not a possibility, shutting down the emotional and physical intimacy side of the marriage was the next best thing. I was a size 14 when we got married and a few of months after our marriage, he told me he didn't want sex with me anymore because of my weight (which hadn't changed since our wedding day). This was really due to his AS inability to sustain emotional and physical intimacy - all he knew was that there was something difficult about it and as it couldn't be his fault it must have been mine, so went looking for a reason. He could identify this behaviour as unaccceptable if it happened to other women but was unable to apply it to his own actions and unable to connect my distress to his behaviours. Yes, he is extremely manipulative, but not in the way of a sociopath. He can always find a 'logical' reason to justify his behaviour and when the diagnosing AS psych managed to get through to him on our first of 3 diagnostic sessions that his behaviours were not acceptable he was genuinely shocked and remorseful (for a few days, then retracted back to his earlier position of blamelessness). I have severed all contact with him, as trying to stay in the marriage and find a solution whilst enduring the escalating distress of his detachment, communication deficits and OCD was taking an extreme toll on my emotional, mental and physical health and my daughter's emotional wellbeing and academic progress.
I am not defending his unacceptable behaviour here, but I understand that apart from gender, personality and family of origin issues there are bigger neurological reasons for it some of it eg, components of his AS such as alexithymia (inability to process or respond to many of his own and other's emotional states and non verbal cues (depending on the payoff (low with me, high with other women so he would make the effort to intellectually work out how to respond to them for short periods of time and appear genuine), impaired theory of mind and semantic-pragmatic disorder that together made it hard for him to verbally communicate effectively (again, mainly at home), the masking and coping mechanisms he devoped over a lifetime to hide his 'difference' (from himself and others), and OCD to control his environment and cope with the stress of living in a world he wasn't fully connected to. He wonders why we just can't stay friends (as he doesn't experience the emotional pain that I do), but whilst I can reconcile his AS behaviours on an intellectual level I still can't do it emotionally so have chosen to completely sever our contact. I am recovering my life again and at the stage where I usually no longer allow the temporary intrusion of AS into my life to define my interactions with friends and my own thoughts and emotions.
I watched part of the movie Apollo 13 recently and the narrator described the failed moon mission as a 'succesful failure' - it was launched, things went dangerously wrong but the people managed to get out alive, and it occured to me that this was a good description of my short and painful marriage - a successful failure.

January 5, 2011 - 9:11pm
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