Active Member
I found a site that explains my husband abit. I've learned that when he is coming across as manipulative and selfish he is probably having problems with executive functions. He doesn't open the 'money management' folder of his brain at the same time as the 'I'm hungery' folder. Also if the 'money management' folder is open the 'what makes my wife really mad' folder is closed as is the 'what is going to happen in the future' folder. Hence he comes across as selfish and spends all the money. $5 at a time; several times a day. Also, Ross Greene described him very well on pages 248-251. husband also hates socializing, looking people in the eye, and has commented on how everyone else seems to just "get it" and work together while he is stuck on the sidelines trying to figure them out. School was awful for him.

We're fighting again. About money, again. I had his bag packed by the front door, and (thanks to ex) have a lawyer on retainer. We're so close to divorce its scary. I'm insisting on his name be taken off the checking account. He has a different account that he has money in. He isn't going to be penniless. But he won't be able to spend so much that we can't pay bills, buy food, or diapers, ect... He is working the hours the bank is open all this week, so he won't be able to go in and do this until next week. I'm expecting that actually getting him in to the bank is going to be another big fight. And this isn't something the bank will do over the phone. He did agree to taking his name off though. Which is alot better then what I thought he'd do. He does love us. He does love me. I feel awful doing this. I've been holding a teddy bear, rocking, and reading this site for hours now. I really don't know what I'd do with out you guys.


Former desparate mom
Your husband sounds like he has some characteristics that would fit in with executive function and AS.
Can you ask him what he thinks should happen? Does he see a problem? My difficult child doesn't see a problem or acknowledge it. Fights me when I point it out but if I turn the table and ask for him to identify the problem and help me work out a plan of action, he tends to be a little more agreeable.

Can your husband see that money spent before bills are paid impact the ability of the family to survive? Does he equate his behavior with the families struggle? Does he care?


I'm very sorry for your pain--has your husband's behavior always been this severe? Does he fluctuate a lot with stress (or anything?)

What is the site that explained the "only one folder at a time open?" It is of interest to me bec. this is one of my ex-difficult child's few remaining characteristics that annoys and worries me. He definitely thinks about one folder at a time--it strikes me as almost the opposite of ADHD where too many folders are accessed at once. I tend to think of it as related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but maybe it has something to do with EF.

I don't mean to bother you when you are suffering so much but if you have the link, please post it.

{{HUGS to YOU}}



Active Member
Not being computer minded I'll try to explain where it is. I signed up to the e-mail list ASPIRES. I had to go to the page and email someone named Linda in order to get on the list. I'm trying to past the http address to the opening page.

One of the AS aspires members e-mailed me saying that it sounds like husband has problems with exective functions. I've talked to husband about this (WHAT were you thinking when you bought that?!!) and what he said coupled with what I see in his behavior (very loving yet can't seem to stop his behaviors and confusion about not being able to stop) led me to believe that he does have problems with executive functions. The folders is my way of explaining to myself a problem with executive functions. (Actually I think I got it from Ross Greene.) I still get very confused about what executive functions look like on a day by day bases. Sorry, I didn't mean to be mis-leading. One of the other things leading me to belive this members theory of husband having problems with exective functions is that his behavior fits with other Aspire members stories of their DHs. Its almost like his twin is married to someone else on the internet.

I'm not sure if he has always been like this. He has been like this since we've been married. Our marriage has been extremely stressful because of difficult child 1, difficult child 2 and ex. It could be because of stress. It could also be because of an abusive mother. His mother singled him out and abused him much more than his siblings. I'm thinking this could be the heart of the problem or he could be AS and couldn't read his mother as well as his sibs. I think dealing with the symptoms is all I can do right now. If husband wants to get to the why of his actions I'll be very interested, but he is an adult. I'll just deal with handling the symptoms.

husband does see a problem. I'm not exactly sure what his diffinition of the problem is though. If I ask him he says "I'm the problem." and doesn't get more specific than that. If I ask him what should happen he says "I should just stop." We've been fighting this for 3 years (as long as we've been married.) He admits its a problem, says he'll change; he knows its bad to get stuff for himself leaving the kids and I with no money for necessities. BUT, he can't seem to stop. Right now I don't think he is agreeing to have his name off the checking account because he sees that he can't stop spending. I think he agreed because he realized how close I am to leaving him. He doesn't want to lose me.

Its hard to find out what is in his mind because talking is really hard for him. It has taken years to get him to open up about little good things. Things like what is going on at work, his good childhood memories, his thoughts about his interests (politics, news, and history.) Getting him to talk about hard painful stuff takes me being very persistant and prying it out of him. We don't argue like anyone else I know. For example, when he came home I said we need to talk. I outlined my feelings and what he was doing. He offered an excuse. I didn't accept his excuse. He said he didn't mean to undermine me and went to read a book. The whole exchange took less than 5 min. A few hours latter I brought up the issue again and asked him if he had any other suggestions. He said no and agreed to take his name off the account. That exchange lasted less than 2 min. Fight is over. Very logical, almost surgical.

He has suggested counseling, but won't actually go. He stops just short of making the phone call and going. We even have the preauthorization done. When I said I wanted his name off the checking account I told him that if he came up with any other suggestions I'd be open to talking about them. He couldn't think of any.

Sorry this is so long. Its a topic that is on my mind alot.


call 911
Just wanted to send a hug and another teddy bear incase your's gets worn out.

Star :smile: (hafta pretend this is a bear not a snowman)


New Member
I am sorry that you have this going on, I know first hand how hard it is when husband has limited abilities. My husband has been quite unable to function for several years and very early on I realized I had to take charge of things like money etc and it was HARD....I mean it was hard demanding husband relinquish that part of life. BUT my husband was very ill and he would mess up all our finances etc so bad.
For my husband is was not simply executive functioning, so while my husband went to therapy to work on it, the therapy did not help- but- it might help for your husband. They may be able to teach your husband how to live life with this problem, may be able to teach him accomodations for himself, so to speak. I have seen some adult have success with it.
Does it help any for you coping to understand he may not be this way due to his own choice? Like I said I do understand first hand how difficult it is......
Hugs to you. I always say I have a 4 kids......and 3 of them are difficult children. (I lump my husband right in there, too) It keeps me on my toes.


Active Member
Yes, dreamer its been a huge relief to find out that he probably (he hasn't been formally diagnosis) can't help himself. That he is just as upset about this as I am. That he isn't really manipulative, undermining, and selfish. Its given me more patience with him. He has had no accomadations, no knowledge of anything autism or executive function related, no training about money; he has no way of knowing how to handle this. Unfortunatly, neither do I. Its going to be a learning processes. Thanks for the reassurances and support. Tonight he is acting like nothing happened. Everything is fine with him. I'm relived.


Active Member
OK, here's a message to my husband - read all of this thread. See what you think.

And that's not to say I think my husband is a walking disaster who is going to inadvertently destroy this family with his lack of consideration - far from it. I'm very lucky with my husband. But he does sound like he has a few of the problems you describe, Emily.

My husband isn't formally diagnosed either, but we're thinking Asperger's. difficult child 1 can't mentally multi-task (although he's getting better at it) so he's learned to carry notepaper and pen to write things down. husband has been doing this for years.

Similarities - husband & difficult child 1 both stress out when not coping. Too much happening all at once is a HUGE stressor. Too much noise, too much light, too much crowd, too much to think about... too many instructions all at once. husband, being older and more experienced, knows to back off and try to consolidate. difficult child 1 is still learning this.

Basically, I have a husband who (unlike yours, by the sound of it) DOES have some inhibitory circuits working in the background. Foreground, probably. While difficult child 1 is much more of an impulse buyer, husband is not as a rule. He copes by being meticulously organised on paper and having (tucked in his long-term memory) a clear picture of our financial situation and a pattern of annual expenditure. He backs every expense up on paper, checks every credit statement and every bank statement. It's something I think he learned to do from his father, who I suspect had similar problems. Doing things this way worked better and so it became the coping strategy. He uses his mobile phone as a personal organiser - as a result he had a record of a doctor's appointment we both had this morning. My own back-up system (which normally works well) had broken down. But it's a habit he actively worked to get himself into, years ago.

With me and husband, we work as a team. The things I'm good at, I do. The things he's good at, he does. And I watch him like a hawk for signs of overload and try to help him plan so we can keep his stress reduced. It doesn't always work. And I know he watches me, too, for signs that I'm overdoing it (even though I think I'm perfectly capable of watching both of us).

Like our kids, when husband is unwell his coping skills go out the window. So we have to accept that on physically bad days, he's not going to be able to manage as well in other ways. I guess that's similar for a lot of us, it just seems more obvious with the males in our family. And also easy child 2/difficult child 2. When SHE'S stressed she goes to pieces so fast you get hit by the shrapnel.

How well your husband copes (or doesn't) will depend on his strengths and weaknesses. I'm fairly sure that for difficult child 1, he is going to need some level of support permanently. He knows his limitations and while he tries to extend himself, he relies on us (or his girlfriend) to support him when he needs it. In turn, he tries to support girlfriend when SHE needs it - she gets emotionally stressed and he works to support her emotionally and in practical ways when she needs it. By watching her, he is learning more empathy and understanding of human behaviour.

With your husband - can he cope with you controlling the money? Would he accept this, if he's prepared to accept that he has a problem with spending and impulse control? Because if so, you may be able to take over this area and rely on him in other ways. Because there are some things we can never change about each other, and the effort of trying is not only frustrating, it's futile. If you bend with the wind and allow yourself to be blown a little way, you can usually do better by changing direction and build some strength in other ways.

I have to help husband in a lot of ways; he helps me in a lot of others. We have to be able to coordinate and mesh together so that together we can make things work. I don't push him to do things that are too difficult for him and I have to vary what I'm asking him to do, according to my own judgement at the time of what he can cope with. It's much the same with the kids. We talk together, we plan together. If we couldn't do this, things wouldn't work.

And from what I've seen, I think difficult child 1 and girlfriend are setting themselves up to function in the same way.

One thing I will reassure you on - if you can find a way to make this work, and if he really is Aspie (or similar) you will find you have a husband with a much higher level of loyalty for you than most. There are benefits. There are areas where I can rely on husband 100%, which is more than can be said for so many other people. He has an incredibly keen sense of justice, honesty and loyalty. He's never had any formal diagnosis or therapy for any AS condition, but he's learned from seeing what works for the kids and is trying to adapt where he can. Not easy for him.

I hope you can make this work. But if you can't, at least you now have a better idea of the sort of problems you're trying to cope with. And if he can't cope with financial responsibility and you can - you should be able to make this work, if he is prepared to accept that you're going to be able to manage it better. If he can put his male ego aside on this one and not feel it's all a personal insult, then there's hope for you all. And many other families do things this way, for a whole range of reasons.

You do what works. That's basically it.

Good luck.


Active Member
Well darn, just lost a long post of commisseration for you. But took me too long to finish and it's disappeared. Now it's midnight here a I gotta get to bed. Anyway, I totally understand where you're coming from, I'm convinced that my husband is on the autism spectrum, after what I've learned from reading etc. for difficult child. difficult child's therapist and psychiatrist have both stated that husband would probably benefit from an evaluation and therapy, but I don't think it sank in with him. He won't do any reading etc. on difficult child's diagnosis, maybe because he knows he'd see himself LOL. Anyway, we haven't had a joint checking account since around year 3 of our marriage, and I have access to his bank account, he doesn't to mine. What works for us is it's totally set out what comes out of his paycheck for which bills even if it has to go into my account first. We figure out what is "left" after everything (including any savings so you can build up an emergency fund) and that's what he can spend on his "stuff" (his obsessions like John Wayne movies, or WWII fighter plane or Star Trek models). This set up didn't happen over night, and we've had some rocky roads in our marriage because until difficult child's diagnosis all I could see in husband was that he was acting like a jerk (putting it nicely) Realizing husband should probably have this diagnosis does make it easier to be patient with him. Easier to live with it, well it took about 23 years of our 28 year marriage, but we don't fight much anymore, except about difficult child. He and difficult child will never get along in my opinion, husband hasn't a clue and takes anything I say as a criticism (ok I admit sometimes it was especially when difficult child started having problems but I try not to anymore). husband does have some points that made me want to marry him, so I accept he is what he is, though our relationship will never have that closeness I once imagined.

Hope you can work these things out between you. Thanks for the aspire site, I might try join that for some more help on living with husband. {{{HUGS}}}


Active Member
Marg's Man here

By the sound of things you've got a pretty good handle on what is wrong with your husband (and your marriage). As I see it; THE biggie is money and its management. Everything else is secondary.

It is GOOD that he seems to recognise his deficits in this area and seems to be willing to cooperate with you by closing off his access to the family cheque account. Many blokes will have trouble with this - they would see it as a loss of masculinity. In our cultures the male as provider is still the dominant ethic; despite the fact that there is absolutely overwhelming evidence to the contrary these days. Look at this site - nearly every active member is a MUM; not a Dad and most of you are Warrior Mums to boot!

If you can, involve him in the decision making for any major purchase. You say you're not computer minded but, obviously, you have one (you wouldn't be here if you don't). Can/does he use it? If so get him to keep the records. Set out your household accounts using one of the templates that come with whatever software suite your computer uses. This is my main coping strategy, I can see exactly where the money is coming from and going to. As cash in my pocket, it tends to burn holes so I only ever carry minimum amounts; just enough for fares and daily incidentals.

As Marg said; I do this for us although I found the professional templates try to do too much. My system uses a spreadsheet with just five columns which tracks what we got(income), what we spent (outlay) and how much is left (balance), the other two columns are date and a brief description of what happened to the money. It's not good enough for a business but more than enough for household expenses.

You said, "Its hard to find out what is in his mind because talking is really hard for him. It has taken years to get him to open up about little good things. Things like what is going on at work, his good childhood memories, his thoughts about his interests (politics, news, and history.) Getting him to talk about hard painful stuff takes me being very persistant and prying it out of him. We don't argue like anyone else I know. For example, when he came home I said we need to talk. I outlined my feelings and what he was doing. He offered an excuse. I didn't accept his excuse. He said he didn't mean to undermine me and went to read a book. The whole exchange took less than 5 min. A few hours latter I brought up the issue again and asked him if he had any other suggestions. He said no and agreed to take his name off the account. That exchange lasted less than 2 min. Fight is over. Very logical, almost surgical."

When he says you are the problem; he probably cannot articulate it any better than that. I'm GUESSING (and it is just a guess) that he doesn't like being forced into voicing his emotions. This is fundamental to his psyche. Many men have trouble voicing their emotions, Aspie men especially so don't expect this to get any easier for him. It's been there all along even if you didn't see it earlier. I love Marg and I know there is nothing that I cannot say to her BUT; there are things I have not said because I cannot put them into words. When I try, I get tongue tied and lost for words, stutter and so on. Usually something interrupts before I finally get it out. By the time we can get back to it (whatever it was) the chance is lost. You will probably have to push him to make the appointments to see therapists but (as you already realise) he IS an adult and will have to be 'handled' rather just forced the way a child usually can. Ross Green's techniques of empowering the individual will work just as well with adults as they do with difficult children.

I hope this helps.

Marg's Man