Taking it back to the beginning

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2004
Taking it back to the beginning
21
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:37pm

I have a question. I intend to go to a counselor and seek their advice on this but also need yours. My partner and I have been living together for 6 years. We bought a house 3 years ago. I have two teenage children, one preparing to leave school after final exams. I have been having difficulty with this relationship for years! I need to breath again, I really want to sell the house and we divide out what we put in financially (I have a Co-Habitation agreement in place for that for protection for both of us) and we live apart where I rent with my children and he rents something himself and we see each other a couple of times a week, like dating. I want this to happen and I want this to work. But I cannot live with him while I have my children. He never talks to them, never asks about their day, has said he never wants to sit at the same table as them ever for dinner, (because they talk more loudly than he likes. My two teenagers get on, so this happens, they talk!) lots of other stuff. They stay in their bedrooms when he is home and it's a small house and that's the only place they can be away from him.

I know I am biased but my children are nothing but polite to him. Have never raised their voice, never questioned him. An example, a couple of years ago my teenage son had 5 teeth removed under general in preparation for bracework. I brought him home with his head and mouth bandaged, poor baby and although my partner asked me how he was, the next day and after he never once asked my son directly "hey, how are you? You must be in pain" He says hello and goodnight to them. That's it. They never come out when he is home because he ignores them. If they do come out to see me for something, he turns the volume of the TV up. He never asks them about achievements and he knows from me what they do. I just don't tell him anything anymore. His biggest bugbear with them, and he sat me down and told me this was that my teenage daughter didn't like butter on her bread or wasn't really particular to vegetables. .....????? He said that would affect her social status once she started going to university. Sigh. He is that petty. Sorry this is long.

They are good students and I get on extremely well with them. They don't like him, they resent him making me unhappy but are still polite. Ok, while I am writing this I can see that I do need to move out. I don't want to totally break the relationship at this stage but I really want my children to be with me while they are still at home. I want some time with them by myself. I know some might be thinking do we gang up on him? No. He only sees his children once a week, they don't visit and I know that hurts him. But, to be a polite, social human being he could still even pretend to be interested. He told me once that he can't see the point in talking to them if he has nothing to say. He doesn't like chit chat.

I am getting more and more angry while I'm writing this. He doesn't see that he does anything wrong. He leads this bachelor life where he goes out twice a week with mates, he just bought himself a brand new $36,000 car and is going away on a sailing holiday for a week next month. I work two jobs and am studying part-time and do everything for him at home.

I see what I need to do but I just wanted to know if anyone out there has split and dated and started from scratch.

Thank you so much for any replies. This board is very helpful to a lot of people I can see that when I read the posts and have read them for quite some time. Thanks.

Jennifer.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Fri, 09-03-2010 - 8:51am

Hi Satisfied,


I agree with the others---I think the "aspergers" diagnosis is a HUGE factor in his (unusual?) behaviors.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
Fri, 09-03-2010 - 9:20am

Hi Jennifer and welcome to the board.


It sounds like you have made your decision, and that's how it should be.

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2004
Fri, 09-03-2010 - 6:29pm

Hi Lauren,

Thanks for your input. Since others have mentioned this condition I have researched it a little further. He did mention that someone said it to him about a year ago (we've been together 6) and I just brushed it off as him making an excuse for his behaviour because he's always taking on what people tell him but doesn't listen to me.

His behaviour compared to what I have read: his lack of empathy, inability to understand the context of humour in some cases, loud noises (he's always complaining about the dog across the road which I never hear until he brings it up), he is in the IT industry and super smart at maths which he majored in high school, unable to absorb emotionally complex sentences for example if I have talked to him in the past he zones out after 2 seconds which to me was frustrating).

So, I guess perhaps he does suffer from this to an extent but still knowing this, I can't live with him. I need to be with my children. I still want to be with him but not live with him. I am going to make an appointment with a counselor and I intend for us to visit one together. I know some reading this might think that I am dumping him, abandoning him but he's very high functioning, just some emotional aspects are affected. He earns sooooooo much money and is super smart at his job, I just think he'll need to make some adjustments to living by himself but really, and I know him, I think he might even enjoy the quiet times to himself and then the times with me.

Jennifer

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2004
Sat, 09-04-2010 - 7:16am

"I just have a couple of questions. Did you know he suffered from this before you agreed to move yourself and your children in with him? Did you research the desease and examine how it would affect your relationship with him and the children? Before you were living together, did you think that his relationship with your children would 'change'? Most of all, is your relationship with your children more important than any other relationship, including an adult partner in your life?"

Hi Pam,

Thank you for your reply. I wrote to this board because I have been reading it for a couple of years and I thought that it could be a place where I could find some helpful responses to my question but, I find your response to be highly judgmental disguised under the innocence of question asking. I shall answer your questions.

"Did you know he suffered from this before you agreed to move yourself and your children in with him? "

I did not move myself and my children in with him like some calculating woman with multiple children off the streets. We both had our separate residences and agreed to rent a house together after a time and then we proceeded to purchase a property together. I've known my partner since we were in high school and I did not know he allegedly suffered from this condition. He was an absolute hell raiser back in the 70's with motorbikes and V8 cars and smoking the stuff. He drove his poor church-going mother crazy and his sister. Then after high school he won a scholarship, moved to the country, met a girl, got married, had children, divorced, moved back to the city then he got back in contact with me through mutual friends. We always had a connection but there was no evidence of Aspberger's back then and I even doubt anyone I knew in the 1970's in my circle had even heard of it. When we moved in together, it wasn't even a thought, why would it be?

"Did you research the desease and examine how it would affect your relationship with him and the children? "

I have only just recently researched this "desease" which I think is actually a personality trait/autism spectrum disorder and not a disease. He only mentioned it himself a year ago during an argument and we have been with each other for six years. I don't know where he acquired that term from or who could possibly have told him. So on entering into a relationship with him no, neither of us were remotely aware that he could possibly have Aspbergers. I have stated previously that he was fine with my children but I think everyone at the beginning of relationships always try their best and are on their best behaviour. We dated for a year before moving in together.

"Before you were living together, did you think that his relationship with your children would 'change'?"

His relationship with my children while dating was not questionable. Because we were in separate environments there was no question regarding lack of communication between my children and my partner. All was fine. He did not present with any Aspberger's symptoms, I merely thought at times any lack of communication was due to the reason he was tired because he works so hard.

"Most of all, is your relationship with your children more important than any other relationship, including an adult partner in your life?"

Most of all yes, my relationship with my children is more important than any other relationship, including an adult partner in my life. I have had only two partners in my life. My ex-husband and my current partner. I am not a single mother out there looking for men to shack up with dragging my children behind me in my "loose womanly" wake. My partner and I discussed many things before moving in; we discussed monetary issues, issues regarding how I expected to raise my children in this mixed environment and what his position and my position was in the household, the estimated length of time my children would be living at home during school, university, after university. We discussed our future once my children had left the household. We discussed how we could integrate our time alone, date nights, holidays. He understood that I needed time with my children and I understood he liked to be with his work colleagues at times.

Once we had moved in together and after about the two-three year mark, signs that I had previously thought of as just tiredness or minor irritation became heightened and continued to grow. He became more and more irritated, withdrawn from my children and more controlling of me. We discussed this on many occasions, we agreed that we both would try to move forward more positively and then nothing would change.

My children have been nothing but supportive of this relationship even though they feel increasingly uncomfortable in this environment and my nurturing of my children and position regarding their emotional and everyday welfare has been of the highest regard that you should not even dare to question.

I work from home and am employed part-time out of the house so that I can be there for them if they need a lift to and from school if something out of the timetable is happening, driving them to friend's houses if they don't live near us, driving them to required music lessons and maths tutors, attending any musical performances at school during the daytime etc. Hey, I even make their school lunch everyday with fresh baked cookies for them. All this while being attentive to my partner and working 2 jobs and studying part-time.

"If you are going to put the children first, then you should refrain from dating. I love my children very much."

Thank you Pam for the advice regarding refraining from dating. As I have stated, the only people I have been with in my entire life is my ex-husband and my current partner. I did not date inbetween my divorce and my current partner. When he contacted me during that time we connected again because we knew each other from our teenage years as friends and being in the same group of friends although I did not hang out with his mates much because of their cars and bikes.

If I can save this relationship and my feelings for him regardless of what he may or may not be suffering because he has not been officially diagnosed, only speculatively diagnosed, then that to me would be a wonderful result. But if it fails, believe me, I have no intention of dating anyone else in this lifetime. And my past history indicates that I have not been a habitual dater at the expense of my children.

My children's education, emotional well-being, friendship and their future is on the top of my list which is why I am at wit's end about this. I try to give my partner time, I give my children time, I work, I study and I do not catch up with friends because I simply have no time to do so. I turned to this board to try and sort things out in my head. The idea that Aspberger's could be a prevalent reason for his actions even though undiagnosed by a medical expert and could possibly even remotely be a reason for this has never come into conversation except that one time even though my partner brought it up and I admittedly shot it down in frustration. If he is suffering from this syndrome I don't understand why he simply cannot everyday out of a practiced habit say to my children "how was your day at school?" instead of ignoring them. I've only just begun to research this thanks to other non-judgmental concerned participants of this board and am still at the stage where I believe even if he does have just a minor aspect of this syndrome, surely as a high functioning adult in a highly intelligent job just even pretend to be interested and ask that one question. But Pam, please don't answer that for me as you are not a trained professional in the realm of Aspberger's, I will have to seek that answer from a medical professional.

In conclusion, I posted on this board for suggestions, help, a sorting out of my mind in regards to what is happening and everyone has been extremely supportive; cautious, advising, exploring new ideas but you as a Mod., feels the need to infer that I am the type of mother who jumps into a relationship with no care for my children's welfare and thinks that I can alter personalities and the inference that perhaps I have been dating multiple other men during the years of raising my children. I didn't even bother to read after your statement "I love my children..." and I'm sure you do but do I not? You don't know that. Only I do. And I do. Ever since they were born and until the day I die.

Thanks,

Jennifer

You may now ban me from the board for my disrespect and agitation at your scurrilous, officious and unnecessary questioning of my lifestyle.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
Sat, 09-04-2010 - 8:38am

I certainly would not ban you from the board. I have never banned anyone from the board. I am sorry you took my questions in the light you did. You seemed to want support, and it's hard not knowing the history of the situation.

If he kept this from you, then he put you in a poor situation. If you were honest with him that your children would always be a higher priority in your life than he is, then his resentment and frustration of his own making.

To 'fall in love' and be totally devoted to someone and then backtrack after the high ebbs, is when the relationship needs to be reevaluated based on reality.

You have said you are moving out with your children. I am not judging in the least. In fact, I explained that my DH acted much the same way after he moved in, but we had the support of a professional to help him get through it.

You can always say that if he would do ----, then you would feel better, but it's completely up to him whether he will do it or not. It can not be forced.

Again, I am sorry if you took my questions as a personal assault on you. They are only questions about how the relationship evolved.

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.


The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 09-04-2010 - 9:34am

I agree that he actually might prefer not living w/ the children and if he sees that you don't totally want to end the relationship he might be ok w/ that. I don't want to repeat myself but 2nd DH has bipolar disorder & even though he went to counseling & was on medication, nothing totally worked for him. Now w/ 3 kids (1 of his, 2 of mine) in the house, something was always "happening,"--one is going somewhere, someone else wants to have a friend over, they are in different grades, it's always kind of controlled chaos. Now this really didn't bother me but it really bothered him. I remember one of the rare times that my DD had friend over, she had asked & told us that 2 friends were coming over to watch TV--He & I had gone out to dinner. When we got home, there were actually 3 friends over because someone called her unexpectedly. They were just sitting there watching TV, not doing anything wrong, but he got very unnerved by this--to me it made no difference at all--now if she said 2 friends & we came home to a big party of noisy kids, sure it would have been different, but whether 2 or 3 didn't seem to be that big a difference. He just couldn't handle changes to routine. He didn't like clutter around. He had to watch whatever he wanted to on TV. So now he lives in his own apt, he can watch whatever he wants to, his food will always be there (noone eating the last of something that he wanted), no mess, no noise. He was also in a job where he worked in a store for 12 hrs a day having to be nice to people & I think that was all he could handle. lol So maybe he did really need peace & quiet at home. Plus he was always talking about how he couldn't wait til the kids left home. If there was one of those articles about how kids today move home after college because of the cost of having an apt, he would be horrified. For me, if my kids want to live at home after college, I would actually welcome them, as long as they are working & helping out,not just thinking they are going to do nothing & I am going to support them. But I like my kids and enjoy their company, so I never really think "I can't wait til they move out."

I do think that Pam & I have a little difference of opinion on what goes on in a 2nd marriage when you have kids from the 1st marriage. She talks a lot about the spouse coming first, at least for her. But it also seems like her DH gets along w/ her kids, so I don't get the feeling that there is a big struggle there--plus they knew her DH as a friend before they got married. When I got married for the 2nd time, I didn't think either that my DH would come "first" or that my kids would come "first" before my DH. I thought that in a family everyone could work together to make sure everyone's needs (physical & emotional) would be met. I don't think that because your kids are important to you, that it means that you shouldn't date. If I dated now, I don't think I would tell a guy "My kids will always come before you" but I wouldn't tell my kids that my DH would always come before them either. I just think in a good relationship you don't have to choose either-or. I'm sure that in some situations you can't please everyone so you have to figure out whose needs are more important. I do think as a single mother, in some ways you do have to put your kids' needs first--they didn't ask for their parents to get divorced. Right now my youngest is in 9th grade. I do know that because of the issues of my 2nd marriage & how it affected my kids, I wouldn't have someone move in until my DS was out of high school. I don't really think it's that long to wait. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't have my kids meet a serious BF (not that I can even find someone to date) but having my kids interact w/ my BF now is not a high priority. I'm not looking for a stepfather, just really a companion for me. I feel like my DD's high school years were not that good because of my 2nd DH & I do feel bad about that--she went to a friend's house everyday after school in 9th grade because he was out of work & she didn't want to spend time w/ him. As I said, she never brought friends over because you could never be sure how he would behave. That wasn't the way I wanted things to be--just this summer, she has had friends from college sleep over several times. And it was kind of similar in that he was not diagnosed w/ bipolar until after we were married. I don't know if you want to suggest that your DH actually go somewhere that he could find out if that is the correct diagnosis & also find better ways for everyone to cope w/ it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Sat, 09-04-2010 - 2:19pm

First of all, there is nothing wrong with either of you, and there is not wrong or right in this story.

It's about unspoken expectations.

Sounds like this whole relationship was like fitting a square peg into a round hole - you assumed he would be a father figure or at least a friend to your teens, while he never intended to be any sort of a father figure or friend.

It's unmet expectations which lead to frustration and resentment. However, it sounds like you each assumed how it would be and didn't talk about your expectations with each other so that you both were on a CLEAR page about what each of you wanted and expected from the other. It would have saved much heart ache from the beginning. He is clearly not the man for your situation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sat, 09-04-2010 - 3:46pm

Hi Satisfied,


I probably should "google up" "aspergers" before I write my thoughts here, but here are my thoughts:


1.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sat, 09-04-2010 - 3:50pm

, I just think he'll need to make some adjustments to living by himself but really, and I know him, I think he might even enjoy the quiet times to himself and then the times with me.


Jennifer:


Know what would be cool?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
Sat, 09-04-2010 - 5:20pm

Laurena,

Not only do I believe it, I did that. I knew that the first marriage was an unhealthy environment for my boys. It was the straw so to speak. What I do realize though, is that I didn't put my marriage to me ex as a priority. I made the children my priority, and their needs always came first. I realized how unfair that was to my ex, that I really didn't make the time for him, because I was busy with work, school and children. I asked myself afterwards, what man would be willing to 'wait' to be cherished for 18 to 22 years, when the kids are gone? There was just something that didn't make sense, and if I were in his shoes? I would feel hurt and neglected as well.

You have been here long enough to know that I am an advocate for the children in these situations.

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.


The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.