Marriage and Divorce

At the age of 56 I wanted to enter the dating world to find a companion to share my life with. I felt very inadequate 
as a man, not fitting into society’s box, living in a large city with lots of material things. I was financially unable to offer a partner a sense of security. I did not own a home or have kids. I did not know how to address my Asberger’s condition and felt I would be rejected due a lack of understanding from others. I really did not want to do the meet and greet at a singles event or be in a singles group at church. I read how people on the spectrum really do better on the online dating sites. I liked the idea since I could think how to answer a person’s questions on my own time with some thought and focus, not worrying about reading social cues. Due to my past experience, I expected to be rejected because my profile was written in a down to earth way. I will never present myself in a way that shows I am greater than I am.  
Within a month I was shocked by a lady expressing an interest in me. She was outside my race and my thought at the time was to give it a try, what do I have to lose. Within 3 months the relationship became very serious. In the process I made the effort to educate my girlfriend about my issues as a person with high functioning Asberger’s and anxiety.   She was very understanding, supportive and loving.  She met my list of requirements.  We dated for 2 years before getting married. I had trouble reading between the lines and managing my anxiety over the course of our 7 year relationship. After we married, her understanding of my issues changed to one of manipulation and control. After a year of marriage she moved to Idaho. I thought for a while that I could improve my skill set and join her there. I did a lot of reading and learned how a person with Asberger’s can create a lot of misunderstanding. The persons with Asberger’s will isolate themselves when the partner is abusive. I stayed in my bedroom, in bed, when I was under extreme stress.  Over time I did not take good care of myself and became very sick with a deadly infection. After returning home from the hospital I started a 4 year process of reading, going into treatment for anxiety, getting help from therapists to learn how to set boundaries emotionally and financially.  My wife was constantly changing the rules and confusing me emotionally. With my issues I deal better with rules, stable emotions in black and white.  Emotional changes throw me off for several days.  By the time I recovered, it changed again. Everything was my fault, I was told.  Due to my issues I took it to heart. I take my commitments very seriously and gave it all I had to restore my marriage.  Most people would have left this situation a lot sooner than I did. I also have a very kind nature that can cause people to question me (my naive nature). I am just being myself. This is confusing to me because my father at times during my life would tell me I was too nice. I felt shame and yet was just being my true self. Several years before my father died he told me to never lose my kind heart. That is what I gave to my partner in every way and was enabling her.  
 When I went into the divorce lawyer’s office I heard I was required to appear in court to finalize the divorce. I mentioned that due to my Aspergers and anxiety I was not happy about going into a courtroom. The lawyer and Judge accommodated me by having the proceeding in her office with just the 3 of us plus a court reporter. The divorce was a no fault divorce so my ex wife was not a part of the process. I felt a lot less anxious overall. After the process was over years of sensory and processing overload came to a end. My recovery process started with lots of sleeping.
I spent 5 years learning to set boundaries, healing my health, restructuring my finances and wanting to save my marriage.  My decision to divorce was based on my long term view of how this experience will effect my health in the long run. I never thought I would have to experience being taken advantage of based on having Asberger’s. The question is how do you share your life with a special person and have them truly understand your challenges versus someone who says they understand but uses it to control you?  The only hope I have is one day to have a companion that understands me by their true actions. That to me will be true love.   
Related resources:
Pervasive Developmental Disorders
author:   Mitzi Waltz
The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage
Asperger Syndrome and One Man’s Quest to be a Better Husband
author:  David Finch
Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome
author:  Eva Mendes
Love Sex and Long Term Relationships
author:  Sarah Hendrix
Alone Together: Making An Aspergers Marriage Work
author:  Katrin Bentley
Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and Long-Term Relationships: Fully Revised and Updated with DSM-5® Criteria Second Edition
author:  Ashley Stanford
Going Over the Edge Life with A Partner or Spouse with Aspergers Syndrome
author: Kathy J Marshack, PhD