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Old 03-24-2014, 10:42 AM
Kernow Kernow is offline
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
How do you know one from the other? Has he explained the difference to you or did you pick it up from past experience? I'm trying to build a communication toolbox for us. Maybe you have some tips that could work for us.
I think I partly know by instinct and partly it involves close observation of his reactions to know when to stop and give him time to deal with a situation. My son who is nearly 20 has Aspergers so I have had a long time to get used to recognising and understanding Aspie traits and finding ways to 'manage' life that work for us. It took years but I finally got over the feeling that I was a failure as a parent because I couldn't always get it right for my son and I couldn't always protect him. My husband and my son are very different but some of the skills I have gathered over the years help me to cope and most importantly the experience with my son helps me not to take too much to heart when my husband has a meltdown. There are times when he makes me feel deeply upset, but I know that he doesn't really mean it and I know that it is not my fault so I don't hang on to the hurt for very long. One thing that I discovered by accident with my son was that when we needed to have a serious talk the car was the best place for it to happen. If he was sitting in the back and I was driving he could hear me and if he wanted to he could look at my expression (in the drivers mirror) but he knew that I couldn't look at him and somehow that made it easier for him to talk to me. It works quite well with my husband too (me driving and him in the passenger seat) it doesn't seem quite as intense as sitting down and having a discussion at home. My son and my husband are both very articulate people but to some extent they both rely on me as their 'translator' to explain their reactions to others and to help them interpret the motives and behaviour of others. My son signs (British sign language) and sometimes when he is incapable of speaking to me in words he can sign, I find this extremely helpful because it gives me a clue to his thoughts/feelings during the bad times.

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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
I really like that you said this. It somehow makes me feel better. It feels good to know someone is that lucky and has that kind of love Salamander is the first one that really make me feel like this, so the old fears creep up from time to time.
I think R (my husband) took a very long time to believe that anyone could love him just as he is, it has taken him years to dare to be himself especially with C. He still has flashes of doubts and fears but mostly he trusts us now.

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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
This sounds so familiar. I feel like every aggreement we make leads to a discussion of what does this actually mean now, what did we aggree on. And then we aggree on what we aggreed and then have to aggree on that one too… because there's always loopholes and things left out or misunderstandings or whatever. It seems like it never ends. And it is my fault. Because I need to have everything spelled out exactly. And in communication that is impossible.
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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
And this too sounds so familiar. I don't expect to make rules for us, but it's hard, because I have so many rules for everything in life. This is how I keep chaos at bay. And here's a situation that to me is chaotic and I can't use my rules to help me deal with it, because it involves other people.
There were times when this whole aspect of control almost drove us apart and it is the reason that we have so few rules now. We don't have an ideal situation but it does mostly work. I tend to be the negotiator/interpreter so there will be times when R will say to me "this is what I want can you sort it out with C" then C and I will talk it over and make sure that we are okay about it, that will be fed back to R, but we always leave the detail and the timing to him, it's just easier that way. Sometimes when C needs to talk to him about something or express a need she asks me for advice first or sometimes she asks me to raise the issue with him first so that he has time to prepare himself, he hates to have those sort of conversations sprung on him. He does spring new things on us sometimes, I think partly that is because he has spent so long processing them in his own mind that he forgets that he hasn't involved us. We have decided that it is okay for that to happen because we both have a strategy to deal with opting out of a situation if we should ever feel the need to do that.

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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
I am trying. It's really hard to do so without starting to make rules. Today we talked over the internet about the prcticalities of Salamander and Sunflower sleeping in the same bed (no sex). How would I feel about it etc. I started to think about the practicalities, and it seems that there are so many things to think about (if your brain works like mine), so many details to think in advance so they wouldn't be new. I pushed myself pretty close to another meltdown all by myself by thinking about it all. He asked if I want them to give up, and I don't. It just seems unfair to them to have to wait untill I deal with things. I've said that it's up to them to decide if they can wait. I don't want to be responsible for that decision.
I know that this kind of thing has almost driven my husband mad in the past. This is why we have a policy of absolute honesty, if he needs to know I tell him the truth and he trusts me to do that. Increasingly he doesn't need to know. I once pointed out to him that it would be cruel to give someone an open bag of sweets and then tell them that they could look at the sweets but not eat them. Once you have given the gift of the bag of sweets your control over it has been given away. He said that helped him to understand and let go. I think you need to see situations with Salamander and Sunflower like this, if you agree to them seeing each other the rest is up to them and you don't need to think about it. If it really matters to you then you can negotiate a no penetrative sex rule (I prefer a stay safe rule) but you have to trust Salamander on that. Then you have to stop thinking about it and do something which keeps your mind very busy when you know they are together. It will be hard, but that is normal and it will get easier (or you will get better at managing it).

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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
This is hard with so many bad experiences that I need to watch out even for myself to not cross my boundaries.
I fully understand your need to protect your children and not to put the family aspect of your life at risk so I accept that the boundaries concerning your family are non negotiable. However if you never take risks or cross boundaries you will miss out on so much that could be really good. Looking back my boundaries of four or five years ago were completely bonkers, but at the time I thought I needed them. Letting go of them has led me to a much richer experience. I still have my own personal boundaries, but there are a lot less of them. I think the thing that has helped me most is the realisation that the relationship(s) that my husband has do not take anything away from me, the opposite is true it makes my life so much more fulfilling. The only way I can explain it is that having a second child did not make me love the first child any less. I have three children and I love each one completely and uniquely because they are very different people. The fact that my husband loves C and has occasional casual encounters does not take anything away from me.

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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
Edit. Oh! And the party went really well! I haven't had that much fun with people in ages. Didn't really feel like withdrawing to a dark and quiet place to be alone until the very end
Well done! I hope that has given you some encouragement.
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