Nightmare marriage to Asperger Syndrome Spouse - can I get annulment?

Apologies to any of you who have Aspergers or have relatives who have Aspergers and took offense to my post. I think the younger the person is and learns ways to connect with others the easier time he/she will have in intimate relationships. Unfortunately that was not the case for my husband. The fact that his parents had a miserable marriage didn’t help. There are occasional success stories of Asperger/Neuro-Typical marriages working (like David & Kristen Finch) but I am learning they are rather uncommon. Statistics show an 80% divorce rate among these couples. While some of you think Aspergers Syndrome and emotional abuse (which may be unintentional) are unrelated the sad truth is that they are not in most cases. Here are a few links:

I know there may be exceptions like those of you who have responded who have AS or whose relatives have AS and I certainly didn’t mean to offend you!

I just cannot get over this one aspect. You state that you were in an emotionally abusive relationship for 20 years. You adopted a child 5 years ago. Why would you do this? Why would you adopt a child into a house that you are trying to get out of because it is so abusive? Do you have any culpability for that?

Also, It might be wise of you to be careful how much of this you attribute to Aspergers. You are offending many many people who suffer from it and are not abusive. Perhaps you should do a little more research on the issue before lumping an entire group of people onto your view of a situation.

There may be a temptation to attribute some problems to something that they may not be a part of.

I don’t doubt it is bad but I don’t think you have a fair grasp of the issue. There is a temptation for those who want a divorce to say how bad it has always been and that they just cannot take it anymore. But the fact remains that 5 years ago you felt that this was a loving family to bring a child into.

80 percent seems actually low. Given that the divorce rate is around 50 or 60 for the gen pop. Is there any chance at all you could be one of the 20 percent?

THank you Jack for your post and apologies for offending you. I do believe with prayer and a lot of determination someone with Aspergers can learn new ways to greatly improve their relationships so thank you for brining that up. Unfortunately my husband is not very much into God and prayer and he lacks motivation (which I understand in some cases can be due to having Aspergers) God Bless you!

Dear Hoosier Daddy,

To defend my position of adopting our daughter I kept having hope that my husband would improve - he had made some positive changes and I thought the changes would keep coming until our marriage was ok. I am a very determined & optimistic person - perhaps I shouldn’t have been. My husband is not physically abusive and I knew he would be a decent father relatively speaking. I am the only child so do not have a lot of people in my life and desperately wanted to be a mother. Condemn me if you will (I hope you won’t) if that makes you feel better. You are in fact making me cry when I was hoping to seek guidance and comfort from people of my own faith.

Thank you

I am sorry and empathetic to your position. And I am offering guidance. It may be that guidance that I am offering is not to your liking. That is fine. I am one of a billion people on the internet. You have been given consolation and support as well as advice on this thread. Take from it what you will. You need to see the truth of the situation which I do not think is as you described. You defend the adoption with the idea that you thought he would get better. You had no right to make that gamble with a child’s life. As soon as you can take some responsibility for your own situation you will be able to clearly and rightly make some decisions.

You are in fact making me cry when I was hoping to seek guidance and comfort from people of my own faith

You don’t even know me. I am a stranger on the internet. Yet you inform me that I am making you cry. Why? I do not intend to be mean or manipulative. I honestly believe that all on here have good intentions with your situation. But what you are engaging in is called “emotional manipulation” By saying I am making you cry, you victimize yourself and take the focus off of the actual subject. Your statement is meant to elicit an emotional response.
I live in a house of 5 girls right now. All cute, nice and can cry a the drop of a hat. I am not manipulated by that type of tactic…:wink:

I really hope you understand why I have the questions and viewpoint I have. You may not agree but there are 2 sides to every story. You know that. I am just trying to keep the conversations fair.

It is possible if you use emotional manipulation on your husband that you too might be guilty of a type of “emotional abuse”

It is something to think about.

I rest my case Hoosier Daddy and wish you well…

You too. I hope that your situation gets better and you find peace. I will pray for you sincerely.

I agree, doesn’t sound like Aspergers.
Sounds like narcissism.
Get out while you still can. It will never change.
I know.

She stated her husband never physically abused her. Marriages can be rough, to say the least, but marriage is forever. Sometimes it is best to put on " big woman pants" and become the long suffering spouse because of your vows. If your children are being harmed of course you must protect them. Legal separation may be the only option besides divorce.

THank you Hoosier Daddy I will pray for you too and especially for your 5 girls…

It amazes me that where I thought I would have found responses offering peace, hope and the love of Christ I received quite a few antagonistic ones - even after apologizing for having offended some AS folks. in fact I regret posting since it only caused me more grief. I am obviously better off in a forum for spouses dealing with AS partners - there I can find understanding and empathy even though most of the posters are most likely not Catholics.

To those of you who offered kind words and understanding of my situation thank you - and thank you for being a good example of what our faith is suppose to be about… love.

After having a read through your original post, and the responses, I have to say that I’m not surprised at the mixed attitude of the answers, but it doe s make me sad. None of us can ever really know your situation, except for you. Whether it be a communication issue in what you were trying to say, didn’t say, or mean to say, none of us is in a position to say what is up or down. We all cope with situations the best way that we know how, and it always seems easy for someone on the outside of things to lay down the law, and say what they would have done, or what should be done.

However, I do agree with those that said you should consult a priest. A person in an authoritative position would be more able to guide you through your situation, and help you find the path you need, especially in regards to abuse, and the possible annulment of your marriage.

Take the time you need to reflect, and then make a responsible decision.

If you are being abused and your child is being abused (and when I say if I am not saying it to imply that I question whether you are being abused) than you need to physically separate from your husband. Whether or not you would receive an annulment in the future (and really the only ones that can answer that question are your priest and the marriage tribunal), should have no bearing on your decision to physically separate now. If what you are experiencing is bad enough to warrant a physical separation than that is what you need to do for yourself and most especially for your child.


3 girls are my sweet little babies, one is my amazing wife, and one is my saint of a MIL. Who lives with us for a little while. My dog is also a girl. But my new baby boy is a welcome ally in my house!

This is absolutely NOT typical of a person with aspergers. I’m not sure what you read, but I’ve years of experience and training working with persons with aspergers and what you are describing is not only atypically associated with aspergers but it would be near impossible for many/most people with aspergers to hide the results of an involuntary neurological disorder for several months in order to appear loving, outgoing, and charming. In fact, one of the more frequent and distinguishable signs of autism spectrum disorders is excessive honesty. What you are describing is far more consistant with a personality or mental disorder. Are you quite sure you don’t have your diagnosis crossed with something else?

Anyway, you need to speak to a priest, who can then advise you as to how to apply for an annullment. The tribunal will make a decision bases on the circumstances of your individual marriage.

Did you want understanding and empathy, or did you want to know if you can get an annullment because your husband has a disability? You are probably correct that you would get more support from a support forum for people with aspergers and their families, however, if you want information about receiving an anullment from a Catholic marriage, you have to talk to a priest.

If he’s abusive seek help. You need to protect yourself and your child. If he’s abusing you and not the child he eventually will abuse the child down the road. Prayers

I can really empathize with your situation and we’ve been married 25 years. The thing is that our oldest son (22) has Aspergers and in restrospect, I’m sure that is what is wrong with my husband also. We also married too quickly and my husband stopped paying me attention literally on the wedding day. I don’t think he did it maliciously. Just selfishly. He grew up in a dysfunctional family and his father was an alcoholic and narcissist and I believe my husband was not given good formation as a man.

My son has grown to be considerate and thoughtful and I do take some credit for instilling Christian and human values in him through discussion and teaching him to examine his conscience regularly.

I think your husbands main problem is probably selfishness as a result of poor formation. The Aspergers, as I’ve observed in my son, can actually add a dimension of maturity to a persons ability for compassion, because of the unique way they learn. What is not coming by instinct is come to by observation and contemplation.

If his problem is just Aspergers, please believe that he is very capable of being a good and loving husband to you. If the problem is narcissism of sorts, it won’t be easy to overcome. That would require a whole different strategy for defending yourself against his ego.

I am quite a bit offended by this thread. My husband and son both have AS and are the sweetest, most loving and faithful people I know. Yes, it is difficult to work with some of their social deficits, but they are wonderful. I wouldn’t want them any other way.

I know social skills training and cognitive behavioral therapy go a long, long way to help.

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