Cassandra Syndrome

My husband has Autism.

He is thoughtful, kind, driven. He is gentle, listens, takes care of things around the house. He is an incredible father.

Yet I feel so lonely.

It’s so incredibly hard to explain. When we first started dating, he was overly affectionate, embarrassingly so. I was never personally embarrassed, but it was over the top in such a way that I knew someone other than myself might find it embarrassing. People would stare at us when we were in public when he would randomly smash his face into mine and give me a huge, long kiss. We made love every day, twice a day. Our sex life was exciting. We tried different things all the time. He was afraid of nothing.

The one day it all went away. All of it. Just *poof* gone.

That was years ago.

Sometimes I wake up crying and I have to come into the living room and hold and rock myself. Sometimes he comes out and asks what’s wrong. I tell him, “you don’t kiss me. you don’t caress me. you don’t want me. I want to feel wanted. I want to feel desired. We used to make out all the time.” But he doesn’t hear me. He responds with robotic recaps of every kiss we shared over the last week: “At 2:15pm on Tuesday we kissed for exactly 3.4 seconds. At 5:26 on Saturday I kissed you three times when I came home from work. I always kiss you before I kiss our son because I read somewhere that it’s important I show you affection before the child so you never feel secondary.”

What does one say to that?

One time the pain was so great I was curled in a ball barely able to breathe. When he asked what’s wrong, I said, “You never touch me. You don’t hold me. I need to feel your touch. I need you to hug me.” And rather than scoop me up and hold me tight, he just stared at me blankly and started taking steps backwards towards the door.

I don’t want to use the word, but I feel like he’s gaslighting me. He always says, “Soon,” or, “It’s getting better.” But he’s been saying that for years. We’ve had sex a few times, but it was quick and empty. I say, “We haven’t had sex in literal years.” He says, “We had sex three weeks ago in the shower.” I want to spit. I want to set the house on fire. I want to smash the television. But I don’t. I nod and say, “Yes, yes we did. You’re right,” because I don’t want to scare him off.

He takes great care of me. I don’t have to work, all my bills are paid, anything I need–done, he does it with a smile and promptly. I feel like a monster to complain. He says, “I have no more to give.”

All this time, I thought we were trying to get back to where we were before, but I’m coming to realize that will never happen, because it wasn’t real. He was masking. Sex with me was a special interest, and he’s now lost that interest. It’s like him with food. He’ll become obsessed with a certain brand and flavor of sparkling water, drink only that for several months, and then one day, just stop completely. Now it’s Dr. Pepper, only Dr. Pepper. He will not drink anything else, unless it’s a 20 oz bottle of Mug’s root beer–no cans, no 2 liters, it must be a 20 oz and it must be Mug’s.

Sometimes he gets up with the baby and when the baby naps, he naps as well. I wake up and come out into the living room and find him on the couch. Why is he on the couch? Why didn’t he crawl back in bed with me? I miss him so much.

We eat the same 4 safe dinners every night, because it’s all he’ll eat. I want shrimp scampi. “That’s okay, babe, I’ll just order Chik-fil-a,” he says with a smile, completely unbothered. I don’t want to cook a delicious, fresh shrimp scampi dinner and eat it alone while you eat fast food. Why doesn’t he understand that? It’s so lonely.

I don’t feel any passion or romance from him. When I try to explain that, he goes off on his lists: Here’s an example of a time I gave you a compliment at exactly 7:13 on Tuesday night. He literally said this to me the other day: “I touched your butt twice in the kitchen yesterday.” Ok, cool, thanks! Got it! Oh my gosh, how silly of me! You did touch my butt exactly twice yesterday. Thumbs up!

That thing we had before, it’s not going to come back.

Everything I read about women married to neuro-divergent men married to neuro-typical women is so bleak. The tips and tricks read like this:

  1. Appreciate the freedom you have with your Aspie! He won’t mind at all if you leave every day and go do your own thing!
  2. Learn to love having the bed all to yourself!
  3. Good luck! 🙂

There’s a term for what I’m experiencing and it’s called Cassandra Syndrome. It’s spot on. Feelings of deep emptiness, feeling undeserving of love, feeling crazy, insomnia (I write this at 4:15 in the morning because I couldn’t sleep anymore). I’ve never had insomnia before. I thought it was because of the baby, but it’s not.

The worst part is he thinks it’s all because of my childhood trauma.

I have to find us a marriage counselor who specializes in this area, so that’s what I’ll be doing all this week.

In the meantime, I’m just going to shut up about it and keep it inside because when I try to talk to him about it, he shuts down and gets all mopey for a week and what little crumbs of affection I was receiving from him dries up even further, and I just can’t take that.

What I want to do is wake him up right now and tell him to have sex with me. Just do it. Just fucking do it, please, please God. Please. Please just make love to me. Please… but I know that won’t work. We’ll just end up in a repeat of the same 3 hour conversational cycle that ends with me apologizing and us getting nowhere.

It’s hard to keep my chin up. I’m an interesting, funny, fascinating woman, yet he doesn’t laugh at or get my jokes. I feel uninteresting to him. I’m beautiful, sexy, but not to him. I’m lively. I love the world. I’m not boring! But he doesn’t want to go anywhere or do anything with me. I managed to get him to a sushi restaurant a few weeks ago but it took so much begging and he just couldn’t wait to leave. Yet that’s not how he recalls it. “We had a nice time!” he says.

And now the guilt sets in. I feel so guilty for feeling this way because I know he really does try. But I just can’t shake this feeling that it’s his world and I’m just living in it. If I want to spend time with him, it has to be while he’s doing something he’s interested in.

He’s so mature in some ways, yet so immature in others. He doesn’t connect with other adults. When we have people over, they’re children, his students. I spend all day talking to a literal baby, and in the evenings, I’m having conversations with literal children while he plays video games over the Twitch stream.

I’m dying inside. I need to live! And what’s worse, is when I want to go do things, he gets very uncomfortable. He just wants me to sit at home and paint and write while he reads and plays video games and we eat the same 4 dinners every day over and over and over and over and over and over.

This is my life now. I have a child with him. I cannot leave. And the guilt, god the guilt! I want to be enjoyed. I want to enjoy! I want to laugh! I want to cuddle! I want to ride a motorcycle to the mountains just to see the snow and turn around and come back. I want to go to the desert and fuck on the flowers. I want to eat octopus. I want to be able to buy everything we need at one grocery store, instead of going to 3 so I can get all the specific brands and flavors he must have. I want to have a day where the 3 of us just stay in bed all day and eat snacks and watch movies where he’s not constantly on his phone or just plain restless. I want him to touch my face. I want him to wake me up and say, “get your bathing suit on babe, we’re going to the beach today!” I want him to not look relieved when I say I’m going to take Michael Wayne with me to run errands. I want to feel the wind on my face. I want us to go to flea markets and farmers markets, for us to get ice cream and hear music. When we try to do things like that, he’s disengaged, constantly looking around and popping his thumbs in and out of their sockets nervously (it’s an incredibly unsettling tick he has any time we go out in public.)


I have to figure out how to make peace with this, because it’s not going to change. He’s not going to wake up one day and be neuro-typical.

I wasn’t able to know these things about him because of the Pandemic. I thought he was just being cautious because of the virus.

And that’s my fault, ultimately. I should have had the wisdom to wait and see, but I didn’t. My biological clock was ticking down, not to mention my disability gets worse by the day. I picked him because I knew he would be a good father and husband. Loyal, dependable, hard working, patient, kind. Those were the things that mattered most to me. I thought once the Pandemic was over, the other things would come naturally. I had no idea it was even possible that it would be this bad. I thought, even if he doesn’t love going out, still everyone needs to go out once in a while, don’t they? I just didn’t understand that for a rare sub-sect of people that’s simply not the case. As a naturally adventurous person myself, I’m not at all unfamiliar with the fact that most people just aren’t as adventurous as I am, but I never for one second thought that it was possible for a person to be completely happy doing the exact same thing the exact same way over and over every single day. I never knew a person could eat exactly 2 kind bars for breakfast, Indian food for lunch, and chick-fil-a for dinner every single day for years and never, ever get tired of it. I never knew a person could play the same video game for 2 years straight, and not only not get tired of it, but watch other people play it when he can’t play it. Every day. Every single day.

I believe variety is the spice of life. That’s why I moved here.

He tells me that I am this way because of my trauma, that I crave instability because I had such a chaotic upbringing. But that’s not entirely true. In fact, my family resented my zest for life. Not my father, bless him. He understood. I miss him every day. But back to the point, I feel he uses this as a way to deflect. I feel like he wants me to become boring. Isn’t that just an awful shame? The world is just filled to the brim with dull, boring people, and here I am, vivacious, exciting and excited, and in love with life, and he just doesn’t value that.

What a predicament.

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