Today I Start A Blog: Married To Asperger’s

I am happily married to Asperger’s; I mean, I am happily married to a partner with Asperger’s. ❤

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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.

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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! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Today I Start A Blog: Married To Asperger’s

  1. Well, it just goes to show — you can be married to someone with asperger’s for years, and still repeat the same old stereotypes. What you’ve learned about asperger’s is what you’ve learned about your husband. And that’s all. What would it take to get through to you that not everyone with asperger’s is like your husband?

    I doubt you’ll post this comment because I’m being “rude.” And that’s okay, because I’m addressing you, personally. But your assumption that your list describes all aspies is an insult, and you probably don’t get why it would make me or any other aspie angry. You will probably deny that you really mean *all* aspies, but if that were so you would be careful to say something like “some” or “many.” You would probably back away in denial if I pointed out the many ways in which you reveal yourself just as lacking in understanding as you claim your husband is. You see yourself as someone who understands asperger’s. I see you as a perfect example of the kind of neurotypical who reinforces the stereotypes we have to keep trying to break down.

    By the way, the asperger mind can and does change, and it also has a sense of humor: “I often wonder if my husband expects me to read his mind. Be much easier to communicate, I’ll tell ya that!” I find that very funny since many autistics say exactly that about neurotypicals.

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    1. Hi Catana!
      I will post your comment, because I do not think you are being rude. I very much appreciate feedback, even if it may seem harsh, critical, and negative, because truth is, I am lacking in understanding and that is how one learns to better understand something. I am not a neuroscientist or any kind of expert on mental health. On a personal level, I would have greatly appreciated if a person made an effort to try to understand me and my OCD ways, despite all the stereo-typical nonsense they assume for people with OCD minds. Like not all of us, have a thing with straightening pencils! I get it, there is way more to Asperger’s than just what is listed on Web MD and I think it is great that you are calling out people whom you think their content is BS.

      I am sorry to have offended you, it was not my intention to offend anybody. I assure you that you did get “through to me” that not everyone with Asperger’s is like my husband; however, perhaps my own personal experiences may help a person (who isn’t Asperger’s) overcome similar challenges. It may not work for everyone, but again, it may work for someone who was looking for something different to try. I also agree, that I must be better with my words and I will do my best to not make it sound like every person with Asperger’s is the same. However, please allow me to clarify, I did not say those with Asperger’s do not have a sense of humor; because my husband is extremely funny. Also, I didn’t say that the Asperger’s mind couldn’t change, I am a strong believer that it can. From the perspective of a person who has OCD, I know it isn’t easy for one to change how one thinks. It takes a lot of work. I understand OCD is nothing like Asperger’s, so I was probably making a useless point.

      Furthermore, I very much dislike the word “neurotypicals.” One, having OCD, doesn’t technically make me a “neurotypical;” but I think that word is an insult to those with Asperger’s (or anyone with a mental health condition) as it largely implies, those people are not “normal.” Now, I say that is rude! Truthfully, what is normal anyways? I understand how the word is used in a medical-science sense, but this isn’t a medical-science journal, it is a blog, where I expect all minds to be appreciated equally despite their unique differences.

      Again, I apologize if you were offended by my post. I could really use your input on future posts to help me, as well as, others better understand Asperger’s; however, I kindly ask that you make it a little less, well, as you called it, “rude.” Anyways, I do hope you have a good day.

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      1. Thank you for your gracious reply. I would have expected you to be seriously offended. I’m very rarely so confrontational, but your post sort of “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Not your fault. About my sense-of-humor remark — no you didn’t claim that. It’s just another of the stereotypes and I happened to think of it just then. I don’t like “neurotypical” either, but we seem to be stuck with it as a less offensive substitute for “normal.”

        I wish I could recommend a good book for you about being married to someone with autism/asperger’s, but I’ve been widowed for about 30 years, so it isn’t something I’ve paid much attention to. But I was the one with asperger’s and even though it was a long, happy marriage, some difficulties would have been less difficult if we’d known about it.

        Autism is a really complex thing, and nobody, not even the experts can really say exactly what it is. It’s very individual, and it, unfortunately, takes the experts a long time to acknowledge that people on the spectrum do know what they’re talking about. Sites like Web MD don’t necessarily update information on a regular basis, so if that’s where most of what you know came from, I understand why you listed asperger’s characteristics as you did.Technically, asperger’s doesn’t even exist since the publication of the latest DSM-5 in 2013, but many of us still use it as useful.

        I don’t want to drag this out, but I’ll be following your blog, so it’s possible we’ll have more discussions, and friendlier ones, I hope. I self-diagnosed in my 60s and I’m in my early 80s now, and still learning.

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