Seeking advice (non-diagnosed M, early 40's)

Hi Folks

I'm really just looking for a perspective on things.  I apologise if my questions have been asked before. I'm quite severely conflicted and would welcome advice based on others experience.

I have not had a diagnosis, but I've been aware for most of my life that I'm a bit different, as I've got older things have developed in maybe more extreme ways, I now have a wife, who I've been with all in for around 10 years, and she flags up the things that she finds herself making allowances for, but there are some things that she just doesn't get and whilst she'll say things like 'I know you are on the spectrum' she'll find it impossible to accept that there are some things, mainly social or environmental, that I have genuine problems with.

We are fighting a lot, I'm usually to blame, for being insensitive or lacking mindfulness, the last thing I want is a badge or shield that I can lazily hold up and say 'well yeah it's because of ASD' etc.  but I feel that if I had a proper clinical diagnosis I might get cut some slack, or at least rather than things becoming a flashpoint maybe situations can be anticipated more..

I'm high-functioning, I'm university educated, I own my house and my car, I run my own creative business.

On the flip side, I'm not sociable.  I find small-talk irksome. I get anxious in new company, I only really enjoy the company of a few long term trusted family / friends and even then, more not than often. As I get older I struggle with noisy environments, my hearing is fine, it is my filtering that isn't.  If I'm in a shop with a radio playing my head focuses on the radio, or the fan, or the noisy eater, or the creaky door.

My work days are planned out meticulously.  I need to charge and pack various kit depending on that days work and I get extremely ratty if plans change, or if things don't go to plan, or new things are added in ad hoc.  I'm petty creative, and with planning I do work that my clients are very happy with, but I am not spontaneous.  I take it quite personally if I'm let down.

If I'm driving and my wife is talking to me, I need to turn the radio off, if it's raining or I'm following signs I need to ask her to be quiet (after a huge fight I've stopped saying 'Shhhh!' when I need to concentrate)

If there is a social occasion coming up I build it up in my head, and if I can't get all the details I need I start panicking about it.  When I was younger I drank to excess to get over nerves, get over the anxious feelings.  I don't drink that often any more.  My wife thinks I'm just being rude, or that I don't like her family.  Neither of which I feel is true or fair.

I just find that I get over-stimulated and it tires me out, if I'm not in control of a situation to some extent, I'm quite uneasy about it.

I do pursue some interests, and do get a bit focused on them, one of which is politics, I get accused of obsessing and over-thinking...

I don't feel disabled, I certainly don't want the label, but I think a diagnosis might 'get the monkey off my back', I'm concerned about some aspects.. if I got a diagnosis would be compelled to declare it on medical questionnaires or equal ops forms?  (I would actually rather not, please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm proudly self-sufficient, not seeking any concessions or benefits - I mean that as no comment or reflection on those with genuine assistance needs) 

I do feel myself getting less and less tolerant of high stimulus situations to the point where I try to avoid them as much as possible, but there has to be a better solution...

So in a nutshell...

To diagnose or not?

How can partners be helped to cope (I know that by societal norms my approach to certain things is regarded as challenging.. perfectly comfortable and natural to me, but awkward for my wife)?

I love my wife deeply and dearly, but my instinct when the shouting starts is to run away.. I have a decent enough command of language (although I always get rows for mumbling, or people misunderstand me) but when confronted with some of the charges laid at my feet, my jaw genuinely drops at how my wife says I make her feel sometimes, and in the pressure cooker of my head in moments of conflict I can't get my mouth to articulate what my brain is saying, usually I'm pouring petrol on the flames (unintentionally)

Any thoughts or guidance truly appreciated.




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  • Hey Pauliewalnuts.

    I think your backstory sounds very familiar to a lot of us. For me, getting diagnosed a year ago was thus-far one of the worst things I did. You're given this label, suddenly realise there's no hope of 'cure', and left alone to deal with it without any proper professional guidance. Plus, you get colleagues and friends giving you platitudes, and then after the luxury of a month, they are harping on at you to stop mentioning autism!

    That said, you do seem to already have built a very solid life - wife, family, career, home etc - stuff I just don't have (kudos to you!). So, this could serve as a better foundation, whereby a diagnosis may just shed some insightful light on a few things, towards personal growth. Indeed, it may help your wife to understand that some of your behavioural 'quirks' aren't just you being bloody-minded or insensitive, but that they are hard-wired into you and you struggle with them just as much (or more so) than her.

    As such, I think it boils down to one question - what would be the benefit of getting diagnosed / what would you get out of it? If it does actually help to build a more understanding, communicative and intimate relationship with your wife, then it could possibly be a good thing.

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