I am happily married to Asperger’s; I mean, I am happily married to a partner with Asperger’s. ❤
Acceptance is key to a healthy and happy relationship with a person with Asperger’s. If not, well, I can tell you it helps; in addition to, drinking lots of strong coffee, with a dash of great understanding, sprinkled with a bit of patience, topped with a good sense of humor, enjoying your cup of coffee while looking out a new window everyday to gain a better perspective. No doubt that living with a partner with Asperger’s can be challenging, but it can be just as rewarding as a delicious cup of coffee. Obviously, I like coffee.
What Is Asperger’s
Well, technically, it is called Asperger Syndrome. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects socialization and communication skills. It is categorized as a high-functioning form of Autism.
- Trouble making eye contact
- One-way communictaion (either talks about themselves or listens without input or acknowledgement)
- Lack social courtesy, making themselves seem rude, disrespectful, selfish, and lazy
- Cannot pick up on body language, hints, and gestures
- Difficulty with sarcasm and interprets information literally
- Difficulty with emotions (cannot express own emotions, difficulty regulating emotions, trouble expressing empathy and gratitude towards others)
For more general information pertaining to Asperger’s Syndrome, I recommend visiting this website: Asperger’s Syndrome: What Are the Signs and Symptoms of the Disorder?
The degree of Asperger symptoms can vary, allowing some individuals to live normal lives without ever realizing they have Asperger’s. However, sometimes, Asperger’s can be a real bummer, affecting work (especially, if a job position requires effective communication skills), social life, parenting, and, of course, affect a perfectly good relationship / marriage. Asperger’s in those situations are challenging to overcome for everyone involved, including those who do not have Asperger’s.
The Asperger’s Mind Is Not Flawed, Just Different
Obviously, there is a difference between the Asperger mind and the non-Asperger mind, but only in the way it processes and responds to information. That is it, under the quirky processing cogs, you have an average individual; perhaps one who enjoys long walks on a beach, sipping on Pina Colada’s, and getting caught in the rain…
My point is, the Asperger’s mind doesn’t define anyone. They say, “actions speak louder than words,” well, to have a successful relationship with a person who has Asperger’s, you must learn to realize that it is their words that speak louder than actions. This is because they often do not understand what certain actions mean emotionally to others (socially) and because words are interpreted and expressed literally, you find more worth in their words than with their actions. Yup, it’s just one of the fun backwards quirks of the Asperger’s mind.
The Asperger’s Mind Will Not Change
Bad news for those hoping to expect their partners with Asperger’s to do all the changing. It will not happen. I have been trying to force my husband to change his ways for years! Turns out, the Asperger’s mind cannot be reprogrammed; at least not without some effort from its owner. I am a true believer that one can successfully change their thinking habits no matter how it is wired, but it requires a lot of work. So, taking the lead of Asperger’s logic, following the path of least resistance, I have realized that I am going to have to think outside the box on this one and learn to speak to the brain and not the heart. I am not talking about learning to be telepathic, although, I often wonder if my husband expects me to read his mind. Be much easier to communicate, I’ll tell ya that!
I believe I think too much emotionally with my heart than I do logically with my brain. I blame hormones, but hey, what do I know. Anyways, I discovered that if I calm down (nix the emotions) and speak literally and to the point, I can better communicate with my husband. The same goes for interpreting his actions or lack of actions; by nixing the emotions and thinking logically. Basically, not reading too much into his actions.
Still Takes Two To Communicate
Although, I have learned the best way to communicate with my husband is by nixing the emotions, I am still an emotional person and my husband had to learn that about me.
However, he still cannot gauge my emotions. I learned that if I am reasonably upset about something, he thinks I am “over reacting.” When I am forced to explain my emotions rather than the problem that caused my emotions, is when I know we are not on the same page. I think this is where most communication goes south in most relationships with Asperger’s; that pivotal point when a non-Asperger’s partner try’s to persuade their Asperger’s partner to feel just as strongly as they do about something as an attempt to get them on the same page. We often forget that people do not have to be on the same “emotional” page to have equal understanding of something.
To effectively communicate with one another, my husband had to learn to recognize when I am being emotional. Although he cannot recognize and process emotions, he can certainly recognize when I am not making any sense to him (because I am speaking with emotion rather than logic). He had to go out of his comfort zone to verbally acknowledge when I am not making any sense to him, so that I can nix the emotions and speak more logically. He doesn’t have to tell me that I am being emotional, because 9 out of 10, he doesn’t know why I am not making any sense to him.
Before, he would just let me go on and on and on, BUT, it does take two to effectively communicate. Thus, requires some effort from the other side, even if it is something as simple as saying, “I do not understand.” This is a key phrase that indicates to my non-Asperger mind, that I better try again, but with less emotion, so that my husband’s Asperger mind can better understand what I am blabbering about emotionally. This new tactic in communication has been extremely helpful in effectively communicating with each other.
Can You Relate?
I can talk about Asperger’s all day. The good, the bad, and the crazy.
Learning more about Asperger’s has changed the way I communicate with my husband. He use to be the most difficult person to live with and now, that I better understand him, he is nothing more than a loving husband who just so happens to look at the world from a completely different perspective, a logical perspective.
I know I am not alone when it comes to trying to understand the Asperger mind; therefore, I decided to start this blog. I was hesitant at first, but with so much negative outlooks regarding Asperger relationships, I felt the need to share my experiences to provide hope to those who are not ready to give up on their partner’s. Relationships with Asperger partners is not impossible, just takes a new perspective to make things work!
Comments Always Welcome!