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Married To An Aspie: 25 Tips For Spouses

If you are about to embark on a marriage to someone who has Aspergers (high functioning autism), there are a few things that you may need to know (some good, and some not-so-good, perhaps):

1. Although Aspies (i.e., people with Aspergers) do feel affection towards others, relationships are not a priority for them in the same way that it is for neurotypicals or NTs (i.e., individuals without Aspergers).

2. A relationship with an Aspergers partner may take on more of the characteristics of a business partnership or arrangement.

3. Although he genuinely loves his spouse, the Aspie does not know how to show this in a practical way sometimes.

4. An Aspie is often attracted to someone who shares his interests or passions, and this can form a good basis for their relationship.

5. An Aspie needs time alone. Often the best thing the NT partner can do is give her Aspie the freedom of a few hours alone while she visits friends or goes shopping.

6. An Aspie often has a particular interest or hobby. While this may border on obsessive, the NT partner would do well to show interest in it. It may even become something they can do together.

7. An NT partner needs to understand her Aspie’s background in order to work with him on their marriage. She will need patience and perseverance as well as understanding that he functions on a different emotional level to her.

8. Aspies do marry, and while NT partners can be frustrated by their lack of emotion and physical contact, their Aspergers spouses do bring strengths into the relationship. If there is open communication, the NT partner can help her Aspie to improve in areas of weakness and encourage him in the things he is naturally good at.

9. Aspies often has a specific area of weakness in marriage. They often do not feel the need to express love, and the NT partner can help them understand that this is important. Discussions about how to display affection, holding hands in public and buying small gifts can be beneficial, but don’t be surprised if the results are amusing.

10. Aspies typically mature later than NTs. As young adults, they are often emotionally immature and have poor social skills. As time passes, however, they can develop to a point where they are able to enter into a relationship with the opposite sex.

11. Because Aspies tend to talk and act differently to NTs, they commonly attract a specific type of partner. Their spouses are often caring and nurturing and have strong protective instincts. In many ways, they become a link between their Aspie and society.

12. Because the Aspie does not have the same relational needs as the NT partner, he may be unable to recognize instinctively or to meet the emotional needs of his partner. Marriages can thus form some dysfunctional relationship patterns.

13. For NTs who had normal expectations of the mutuality of marriage, there may be a sense of betrayal and a feeling of being used and trapped while in a relationship with an Aspie.

14. In marriage, the Aspie often displays great devotion to his partner and is reliable, honest and faithful.

15. In the privacy of their relationship, the NT partner may become physically and emotionally drained, working overtime to keep life on track for both of them.

16. It’s important to look at the Aspies’s motives rather than his actual behavior.

17. Lowering expectations will make the marriage more predictable and manageable, if not easier.

18. NT partners may begin to feel that they are entirely defined by the role they fill for their Aspie partner. There can be a sense that there is little mutuality, equality and justice.

19. NT partners may feel that they are daily sacrificing their own sense of self to help fulfill the priorities of the Aspie partner.

20. NT partners may resent the reality of living on terms dictated by the needs and priorities of the Aspie partner.

21. Positive traits such as faithfulness and reliability are bonuses, and the NT partner can encourage her Aspie by praising him for these.

22. Sometimes a relationship with an Aspergers partner ends up being more one of practicality and convenience for the Aspie than for the loving and meeting of emotional needs of the NT partner.

23. The Aspie can sometimes be emotionally and physically detached and become focused on a special interest to the exclusion of his partner.

24. The NT partner may unwittingly fill the role of “personal assistant” rather than being an “intimate-romantic partner.”

25. Your Aspie partner may seem to be more focused on a particular interest, project or task than on the people around them.

Living with an Aspergers Partner: Relationship Skills for Couples Affected by Aspergers

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm in a relationship with someone I (educatedly suspect) has been undiagnosed. This list completely sums up the situaion. Thank you for your advice and insight.

Anonymous said...

27 years into a relationship with a husband who I am convinced is an undiagnosed Aspie. It grows old and while Ive gotten him to show adequate physical attention (after 26 years) its always on HIS terms and there is no spontaneity. Hes never told me Im attractive. Special occasions are like death watches. He may take me on a trip or do something at a random time but Ive never had a Christmas or birthday present to open on the occasion. Everything is about HIS NEEDS, and anytime I express mine he gets angry with me. Just about had it.

Anonymous said...

i am suddendly everwhelmed by the fact that i could never have an emotional fulfulling relationship with my husband. Before we got married i noticed that there was something odd about his behaviour but at that time i had no term for it but i kept hoping and praying that he grow and realise how much he hurts me with his words and how lonely i am in this marriage.

Over the years i have called my husband selfish and self centred....etcetera but I kept hoping to see change or some improvements towards his level of attentiveness and understanding towards my feelings and emotional needs to be met. I have cried many tears and have explained myself thousands of times but the situation has not changed. And reading your ebook , what got out of it that i need to grow more understanding towards his condition and his personality type but how is this going to improve my situation, does this mean i should continue to be kind, understanding, patient and giving with chances of not getting anything back, my inner resources are running dry..... and I am scared!!!!

In few days , we will be celebrating our 4th year wedding anniversary which led me to evaluating our marriage, i am shuttered to say he has not grown and chances are, he will never grow and does this means i need to keep growing for both of us? I am in the point where i am embarrassed to introduce him to my friends as he either takes of to his little world, or say all the rude and inappropriate things under the sun. In many cases this results to me, either making excuses for his inappropriate behaviour and apologising on his behalf. I am tired and to hear that he might never change makes it very hard to accept.

Yesterday i asked myself if i was blessed with this marriage becuase i was suitably built for it or was it just curse designed to break me down slowly? I feel i do not have any more energy to do this again for the next 4 years and beyond. Unless a miracle occurs.

He is constantly belittling me and making me feel silly at home and in public sadly when i communicate these issues with him, he never seem to understanding my point of view.

When i introduced the thought that he might have aspergers, he seemed rather upset by it, i thought he would have taken sometime to read about but he hasn't, he thinks am being unfair by labelinghing him... it feels like i am the only one who would like to gain knowledge on this matter and work on things.
Looking back, from the time we got married his solution to every dificult situation we had ever faced was questioning me if i wanted a divorce or if I want return to South Africa(where I originated from,where I have the rest of my family, friends and everything that i have known for 22 years) he fails to appreciate how much I have left behind to be with him.
I have been wondering if I have left it too late as things have built up over the years... in saying that i know that i need to learn to forgive.

Overall i see myself continue slaving for this marriage and not archiving any emtional support and my feelings will continue to be mystery to him. So I honestly see my self sinking further into the darkness . Am I being insensitive here?

With everything i have said, I think its very important to say that I love my husband very much and would love for us to have a normal and happy marriage life. I would also like to add, with everything that happened between my husband and I. He has not given me a reason to doubt how much he loves me. I know that he loves me so much and I know that he would even die for me if he have to but it hurts that he can't communicate these feelings with me....

If he ever agree to get an assessment done, who should we contact- a psychologist or a pyscatrist?

I know i have said a lot, asked a lot of questions with double meaning but if you could please help me make sense of this whole thing.

MuffnBun said...

My husband of 35 years has been diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. He was diagnosed by Dr. Linden in San Juan Capistrano, CA. We have received help from Dr. linden. He is wonderful and saved our marriage.

Anonymous said...

You're incredibly more dedicated than I was. I dated an aspergers man for almost two years. By the end of it, I wasn't myself, lost some friends and was practically doing everything on his terms because he can't handle it any other way. He has been assessed, sought treatment but couldn't change because he wouldn't. Most aspies are content in staying the same because they see no need to be anything else. I wish I coould be as positive as other people, but this is a disability that takes more than patience.and.love to manage. There comes a point where we need to realize that our needs are just as important as the aspies, but that they will never see it as such. You basically are at their mercy no matter what you do. If you value your being, divorce may be the only answer. The divorce rate for this type of marriage is 80%. Because its emotionally abusive for the NT partner. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but the whole aspies can't help it excuse just cannot cut it in the long term.

Anonymous said...

Man oh man. Thank you for this. I've been married to an Aspie for 22 years. I didn't know it when we got married. He didn't know it. In fact, he wasn't diagnosed until just this last year (21 years into the marriage). People have always said that we seemed to be more 'business partners' than 'marriage partners' and I have to say, knowing what the problem is hasn't made it any easier. In fact, it has made it harder. Before I knew I could hope that one day he'd 'wake up' and start treating me better. Before I knew I was able to tell myself that once the kids were grown and out on their own I could start a life on my own. Now I don't even have hope because my moral compass doesn't let me just leave him, and I am so tired - so FUNDAMENTALLY tired of everything being about him. It hurts. it really does.

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you. Opposite with presents, has to make him stop, it was a lot OCD.
No common sense, no friends. I was in a car accident about year ago. So lonely. Needed to be fed after migraine sent me to
Hospital, he forgot. I'm burned out. Being on call as a midwife was far easier and less emotionally draining.
What a relief to find a place to talk about this.
Is the only choice: save yourself?
I really love the person but HATE living with him. I have cried more because of this one man's thoughtlessness than all the political injustices I have witnessed.
I'm am truly sorry to say this, but I am at the end of my rope. I have threatened, cajoled, joked,teased, prodded, asked, begged, pleaded, bargained, and then I just give up. Aspires should come with a warning sign.
At one point I has to leave and live elsewhere to get him to finish a household project, not really important, it was just putting in a toilet. The only one on the property.

Anonymous said...

I have been married to an Aspie for nine years. He was not diagnosed until after we were married. For many years I could not understand why he was underemployed ( he had to degrees). He convinced me that if he just got another degree (in Mandarin Chinese) he could be a translator and get a job that suited him. It was when I watched him interact with his coworkers (we worked in a kitchen; he was a dishwasher) while we played a simple game of cards that I began to dig on the internet. He felt comfortable with the fit, although was somewhat embarrassed about the whole thing. Once we were able to get help from an employee placement agency that helps people with "disabilities", he has become employed as a computer programmer.
Our relationship could be described as parent/child. I feel that I have had to teach him a lot about a lot of things and he has certainly improved over the years, to the point that he has become militant about his Aspieness.
There are still some things that I don't think I will ever be able to change. Things like blurting inappropriate comments in a social situation, or dropping the F bomb in the supermarket lineup. I can't stop him from making monumental messes (his study, the garage, the basement) that are impossible to deal with. Of course I'm not 'allowed' to touch these messes or throw anything out. I've seen him derail contractors who have come in to do repairs on the house, insisting he can do better and then leaving the project undone. I can't help him with his impulsiveness or the fact that his head is never in the game. He's lost keys, wallet, money, camera. And that's only the stuff he couldn't hide from me. He never seems to learns from mistakes and won't take suggestions from me on how to avoid repeats of disasters. I'm embarrassed to have anyone visit in my house, except close family because of the mess and unfinished projects. And it drives me nuts the time he can spend on totally pointless projects and exercises when real things need to be done.
I am lucky, from what I have read, that he can be very sweet and kind. He does for the most part, remember to give gifts and cards when appropriate and he does show affection. I think I would have married him anyway, knowing what I know now. Being together has helped us both in many ways. It has certainly given me the opportunity to practice patience!
It does get lonely from time to time because most people don't understand what it's like living with an Aspie, every day. Still waiting for a formal diagnosis (testing has begun) and hopefully some real support from the health community.

Anonymous said...

My wife is an Aspie. Very high functioning. Four degrees, three doctorates.

Sometimes it is very difficult.

I can have to go from being a lover to her parent in a very short time.

We have been together for 23 years.

Anonymous said...

My husband too was diagnosed after we married. It's three years in and I am so beaten down by his deep need to be in control, his need to have the last word and to be right, his anger, his utter lack of empathy and humor, that I no longer recognize myself.

I was an outgoing, charming, happy and beautiful person- now I am a nearly silent, emotionless, empty shell. His jealousy was so extreme, and his behavior so outrageous, that he would drive by my office, peering in windows, and call or text me angrily all day about whatever he though he saw...finally I was asked to leave. Now I work for him and many days the only people I see or talk to have autism/ aspergers...it's like I am drowning.

When he was first diagnosed he was eager to try to grow and change to better meet my needs, but now he says he is "done changing for me" and it's my turn to adapt for him. But all the jealous rages, the meltdowns, tantrums (over ANYTHING- even what laundry basket I used for his kids clothes, or my cell phone receiving a wrong number call) plus the made-up accusations and controlling angry behavior has taken it's toll.

I realized recently that I no longer feel anything like romantic love for him, although I very much want to; but those little things like sharing a laugh, and eye contact, and agreeableness, and genuine heartfelt (not learned) affection, are not possible with him and never will be... and that makes it very hard to feel close. He sees no problem with puling out his phone and googling facts to "prove" how wrong I am when all I am doing is expressing my OPINION, yet to him he is "doing me a favor" so I won't "make a fool out of myself" by "being wrong". We can't even have the most casual of conversations without this type of thing happening, and he thinks that I am completely wrong for being hurt and insulted by all of his behaviors. I have had to distance myself from friends and family, none of whom like him at all, and now my support system is nonexistent.

I completely agree with the commenter who said that Aspies should come with a warning label. If I did not have three kids from a previous marriage that I can't support, I would have left a long time ago. This is the most empty, combative, controlling relationship that I have ever witnessed and I feel utterly dead inside as a result. If I could tell anyone anything about a long term relationship with an Aspie, it is RUN. You can't fix them and they will never be able to understand much less fulfill your emotional needs. It is a lonely, heartbreaking way to live.

Anonymous said...

I am married for almost 22 years to an aspies. Was not formally diagnosed, but is working with a therapist who specializes with pdd - I think to maintain the very precarious marriage we have right now, he'll need to see the therapist for the rest of his life!!!
I knew something was different about him, but I thought he was just shy... And initially I liked that. Then, the pressure of life and kids started building, and he blew up - we went to therapy, and he was diagnosed with anger issues. They tried to teach him tools of what to do and how to notice if his anger started boiling... before it blew. And we went on. He was jealous of my career successes, and under-functioning in his own career. So I shut down for awhile, thinking once he achieves, he'll feel better. NO GO. Then, I began to burn out, what with doing the bills, supporting the family in a job i didn't love, having children and basically raising them on my own, I got sick. We moved. To another country. Because HE wanted to. I was okay with it. I thought if he could feel confident in a smaller community, it would work. While there, I suggested to him to take public speaking course. Perhaps that would help is communication issues... At least help the mumbling... THen we moved back. He went to school again, to learn computer programming, his love since the computer came out, but he wanted a degree. And since it didn't require so much interaction with other people, I thought it would be better. He did well after me supporting him for 2 years to get his bachelors. For a year. But then the computer slump hit, and he went from one contracting job to another. But his other computer tech guys were doing okay... got me wondering. SO then, with his sporadic income, marital issues really got bad, Went to therapy again. Therapist tried to teach him how to communicate better. Always tried to cut me down, to make him feel better, more competent, etc. Oh, I forgot that the first 2 years of marriage were plagued with him not being able to finish the act, either because I was "too thin" and it hurt him (!!!) or, because I was too strong, or too much pressure on him. What worked was a dr. objectifying me and my body so he could feel "one up" it was terrible for me, but, for the sake of our marriage... I did it.
Anyway, several years after that therapy (of several years) and six kids later, I began to give up that he was ever going to change. Perhaps it was because he was from a different country, even tho he moved to the USA when he was 9, and spoke English fluently, albeit with weird, "cute" mistakes... Perhaps we should move to his own country. Maybe there his quirks would be more socially acceptable, and he could maintain a job. Perhaps there he'd feel more comfortable in his language, so he could communicate better. I had already given up on so many aspects of thinking our communication would improve. Perhaps this would help.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all these comments! I have been married to an undx but admitted Aspie for 13 years. It has for the most part been total hell. I was at least able to be a stay home mom, we only had one and I tell her the risks of having children and hope she stops the cycle and doesn't have any. Stubborn,obsessive about everything, everything is all about him, he still hasn't 'got used' to being married or a parent. I would say to anyone if you even suspect it end it, there is no way to have a good real marriage, those that say they do are either both AS or lying. Leave if you can. My MIL died and my husband moved into her house 'because he lived there before' now I'm on my own, no education and a child to support. We will probably just live separate lives now as long as he helps me with bills. He wont get a divorce, 'm just another possession. I cant even sell the house because he's a hoarder and never finishes anything...I am trapped and exhausted and angry. And it's all my fault! Can't forget that, and I love how they can make it look that way to everyone else too. I actually hope all this worship of autistic kids doesn't backfire because as adults they are the kind of people that expect everyone else to follow their rules. I have been invisible and dead for all these years. If I didn't have a child I would just kill myself to get away.

Anonymous said...

Although its nice to know I am not the only one suffering through an AS/ NT marriage I do feel so bad for all the rest of you; never would I wish this existence on anyone. The previous commenter who hoped the "worship" of autistic kids didn't backfire took the words right out of my mouth. My AS husband is arrogant about his condition, he is convinced it is an evolutionary leap forward for mankind and that having no emotions to deal with only means he is superior to those of us who can't/ don't operate on pure logic. Even though what passes for "logic" to him often looks like "insanity" to the rest of us, he is NEVER WRONG and thus every problem we have is MY FAULT. And nothing in his world "just happens", blame must be assigned for everything even a full trash can! I am reading my second book on how to be married to an Aspie and this one, like every other article, book, blog, is only about how the NT partner must basically lower their expectations and adapt to all the AS partners' needs. Well what about OUR needs? Is marriage to an AS partner just supposed to be a nonstop give-a-thon, with no satisfaction, affection, love, or consideration of our very valid feelings? Sure it's a disability, but won't we ever hold these people accountable for all their awful behavior?

Anonymous said...

I have been dating an Undx Aspie for nearly two years. During this time I have been in love, lust, fear and disgusted by his "inability" to show affection. He is so difficult to figure out. He is not the typical Aspie, has plenty of friends, previous long term relationships and even a son that also has HFA. I do see the signs. They are omnipresent.

During this time we have spent together he has told me he loved me only one time and he said " I love you, tonight" as if the love was only for that night.Nothing more than "you are special to me" since then. We spend time together once maybe twice a week and he seems to be fine with that.
I want more. I'm in my 30s and want a long term relationship.
Not long ago, I told him how he makes me feel that I'm not important to him and how I would love to try to make a relationship work. I know he has his issues but he is so supportive of me, family oriented, funny, great conversations, handsome as hell.

During this talk I told him that I'm timid to tell him how i feel because when I do, he shuts me out of his life. Barely takes my call, won't respond to a text and doesn't care to see me or not. This time around he said he wouldn't do that, so I expressed myself and my desire for a true relationship. His response?? Let's try abstinence so i can figure out how I feel.
It's been about a week since that conversation and guess what? Calls, texts, emails bare minimum. And of course, no visit= no sex.

So i have no bf. No love and no sex.

Does anyone else deal with the shut down?
Is abstinence something that may help?
Are there any "success" stories out there?
If he loved before, why won't he love me, is it just me or the aspie-ness?

Sorry about all the questions. I have no one to talk to about this. My family has never met him, so they don't get it.

That's yet another issue. He won't meet my fam and I've only met 3 of his many friends...

So confused. So hurt.

Seattle Mom said...

The "shut downs" are the worst. I have been married to my husband for 2 1/2 years, together for 5, and I just had the epiphany last week that he has AS. It explains so many things, some of them things that I didn't even think needed explaining but were just part of his issues with anxiety or a result of being a bachelor most of his life.

The smallest, most gentle effort on my part to explain the hurt that I am feeling causes him to shut down, usually for several days. When he eventually decides to start talking to me again, he'll explain his reaction as "I don't appreciate being yelled at". (I am NOT a yeller.) Never an apology, never an acknowledgement that there is any validity to my feelings or that ignoring me for a week was not a kind or helpful response to my plea for understanding. We went to counseling, where he agreed that it would be helpful to show me some attention and affection each day, if only for a few minutes after getting home for work. During the two weeks that he managed to do this, everything started to feel managable again, and I told him what a difference it made to me to feel his support. I guess that was his signal that his work was done, because he immediately stopped making that very minimal effort.

I am trying to figure out how to bring him into the knowledge of what I now know (and, yes, I know it with certainty, depite the lack of an official diagnosis). I don't think he would be receptive if it came from me, as he perceives so many things as criticism that are not intended to be. But I don't see how I can possibly endure in this relationship unless he can learn to be open to hearing me, even if he doesn't understand or empathize.

I had such high hopes for this second marriage; I believed I had found that partner with whom to share the rest of my life. I am grieving. It has helped reaching out to friends, with whom I feel loved and supported. And then I go home, where I feel utterly alone in his presence.

Anthony Zugaj said...

Hello.

I am an asperger. I learned to mimic social skills and use them as I need to, much like loading appropriate software. I have read these comments with much interest.I am responding not from ego, but rather to speak for other sutistics/aspergers who also may read this and will not respond. It is difficult being on the other side of this as well. Neurotypical types always need the constant reassurance/reinforcements or else they become insecure. I do not understand this. We may be different, but we offer many more advantages that seem to outweigh others. We are more reliable, trustworthy, rational and sincere than most. We do hear everything you say, we notice every detail and all the patterns. The question is if you will invest the time to approach us correctly or if you will discard us. Do you appreciate our interests and uniqueness or do you compare us to stereotypes out of frustration? This might be hard for some of you to believe, but we do have emotions and feelings such as the rest of you. We are just not dictated by them to such a degree.

goodtogo said...

I `made the decision a few days ago to quit trying to make a relationship with my undiagnosed aspergers boyfriend work.

He needs to constantly remind me and others about his achievements, and even though he has put a lot of effort into what is quite an amazing position, I am weary from trying to give him the amount of praise that he must need.

He more or less filled a "postion" in his life with me - like someone would seek out someone to be an employee at a company.

He was kind and attentive at first, but think all of the "acting" likely wore him out.

He never listens to me now. He remembers nothing I say. I questioned him about his inattentiveness while I am speaking, and he admitted that he really doesn't care about what I think. I said, "So, do you think you zone out of about 95% of what I have to say." He chuckled for a second, and responded with, "Yeah, pretty much."

He actually gave me one of few compliments that have happened over the course of our year-long relationship when he said that is took his first wife 20 yrs to figure him out, and his 2nd wife 7 yrs. He said I should feel proud about my intuitiveness.

I took a few minutes to bask in this rare compliment from him, and then I took a well-deserved bit of time to personally compliment myself.

I am getting more wise as I mature.

I am absolutely beyond estatic that I didn't spend one more second of time dealing with that relationship.

goodtogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Turbo2 said...

I have been in a relationship with a ND aspie for 7 years , and living together for the last 2 years, his mystery is what attracted me to him as well as his good looks and incredible body I always knew there was something different about him and gradually the communication difficulties emerged , his cool, indifferent behaviour , lack of empathy and physical affection became too much and I ended the relationship many times only to be besieged by calls, letters , flowers and declarations of undying love ( written, not spoken) once we were back together he stopped trying only showing enthusiasm for the things he was interested in , I felt invisible and in response to my cries for a little understanding all I got from him was Why do you have to have an opinion !! his anxiety was apparent when I expressed any opinion , it began with anxious confused expression but quickly turned to anger and verbal abuse at my need for to fix out relationship ! I did some research and the list of aspi traits is endless , collecting things , highly talented in different areas , becomes obsessed and absorbed , likes his space , lack of common sense , clumsy and childlike quality , I'm so frustrated hurt and confused , I love him like I love my children I feel responsible for him but I want the man I thought he was , ..........

Turbo2 said...

I have been in a relationship with a non diagnosed aspie for 7 years , I was attracted to his good looks masculinity incredible body and deep mystery , I am in the caring proffession and thought he offered a challenge but I certainly got more than I bargained for ........ His quirky behaviour , , childlike innocence , lack of common sense , inappropriate responses soon became apparent , this again was part of his unusual charm and it made me want to reach out and mother him ! However , I soon experienced cool indifference , lack of interest in my topic of conversation , lack o empathy and outright selfishness on his part , I often felt alone when he was in the same room and the lengthy silence during evenings were only interrupted by his mumblings about certain actors in films and his " voice overs " during adverts , when watching tv , when I attempt to enter into gentle conversation about how he makes me feel invisible he becomes very defensive and asks why I should have an opinion !!!! ,

Turbo2 said...

During the first 4 years of dating my aspie I ended the relationship several times because of his apparent thoughtlessness , I have to say , on my part I treated him like a prince in an effort to gain his love and approval , Including , praising and complimenting him on his various talents , knowledge and appearance which appeared to give him great pleasure , but as I was to discover later , only served to confuse him when I left him , he couldn't comprehend that it was a two way street and I would have liked something in return !! Each time I left , he would bombard me with calls, letters and flowers until I gave in and returned to him hoping he would change , each time , having succeeded in winning me back his unreasonable behaviour continued , and when challenged he became anxious , confused and defensive saying , why did you say you loved me then ? He couldn't understand that loving someone was enough !! , he eventually moved in with me and the last two years have continued to be frustrating and no nearer to being the loving relationship I crave , I know he's not a selfish pig but his condition aloes him to behave like one , I'm so tired of trying to make thing right , I don't want to be without him but being with him is making me physically and emotionally I'll ..,,,,,, help

Barbara said...

40 years of marriage. At home alone everything is great. An above average income, help around the house, etc. But social occasions - Yikes. He used to do fine, but has been losing his "filter" and his acting ability. If you aren't married and there aren't children involved why stay? Love does not conquer all.

Helen Davis said...

I agree with a lot of these commenters on here. I was never married to an Aspie but had a boyfriend with this diagnosis. We never had any affection and his idea of a date was to play the legend of Zelda with me. He was a nice guy and very sweet, but I see now why it didn't work long-term. While I wouldn't go as far as to say Aspies should come with a warning label, I would say to go into a relationship like this with your eyes wide-open.

Enaj said...

I have just broken up with my boyfriend an hr ago who is an UD aspie. When we first met, his genuiness, intelligence, creativity & honesty is what struck me the most & I fell in love with him from the start. After knowing him for a week & spending everyday with him, I had the epiphany that he was an Aspie. I have work with people with disabilities so tend to be more aware. I sent him a link to an online test and he scored very high. He then read up on the disorder & agreed that he probably is an aspie. Despite knowing all this from the start, I still feel very degraded. Last night in a conversation at a dinner party to which I spent extra time to look very nice, he tells me that I must know Im overweight (I am a size 10). I swallowed my feelings & told myself it is the aspie talking & he is out of his element. When we got home I explained thoughtfully to him how his statement was hurtful which led him into a tyrade of all the things I was wrong about. Despite the fact that I was clearly becoming more & more upset & I clearly told him to please stop talking & even put my hand over his mouth, yet again, he continued on until I left the room crying my eyes out. It is his ability to push me to the point of extreme anger that has made me realize this is not going to work despite all my rationalizations of over looking the other bits.

Of course, he has just come back to me, walked into the house. He said it is a beautiful day & has started making breakfast. He has ignored the fact that I told him I can not do this anymore and that he packed up his stuff up and left for his mother's house. Cripes!

maxxy said...

I agree 100-% about going into a relationship with your eyes wide open. The normal give-and-take of a relationship just dosnt happen in an NT/AS situation, the NT has to realise that all the giving will undoubtedly be on her part. If you are prepared to accept this because you love your partner and have the strength so be it. If you are trying to achieve anything but meet in the middle t times and not do most of the I promising call your taxi now.
Mx

Anonymous said...

Reading all of your stories has reduced me to tears. I am an aspie. I didnt know, of course, because 30 years ago no one knew. I wish I had. I would have hidden myself away and tried not to hurt anyone. I realized early on that when I spoke, it sometimes made people sad, hurt, or avoidant of me. The worst, most unimaginable thing I could ever do as a child was to hurt someone. To me, it was the most horrible sin. So, I just stopped speaking for many, many years. I couldnt bear to hurt anyone, and I couldnt tell what I was doing wrong, so I stopped. By high school, I managed to mimic social behaviour enough to get by. I had friends (but kept my distance so they wouldnt get tired of me, because I know I'm tiring), I managed to behave normally in school no matter how torn apart I was by the chaotic environment, and being academically talented I managed. Hurting another person remained the most awful thing to me, so I tended to befriend selfish or self absorbed people who were less likely to be upset if I said the wrong thing or did something I wasnt supposed to. I still cant tell when that happens except for by reaction, and I still can never fix it. By the end of the day, I am utterly, absolutely exhausted by the effort. I liken it to the exhaustion I see when travelling overseas. Neurotypicals who have ever travelled will know what I mean - when you try to function in a language where you only have rudimentals, and where all the cultural norms are foreign, and you are constantly looking around you to do the right thing, fear doing the wrong thing, and try to communicate your own needs and feelings without the full language to do it. That is what being aspie feels like every, single hour of every day. I'm now an adult. I hold down a well paying job, and I get through it, coming home bone numbingly exhausted. I spend every day driving in practicing any conversation that I might have to have so that I can do it right. I try to make sure that I am prepared for any change that might happen so that I dont cry when I'm surprised. I work 3 times as hard as anyone else so that it would be hard to fire me even though I know some people would like to. Then, I try to do it all over again for my family. I know they deserve the same effort (or more). Some days, I can only manage to be every one elses version of human at work OR at home, not both. Sometimes I fail. Ok, a lot, I'm told, I fail. I get times wrong. I can only do one thing at a time - so when I'm asked to do two or more things, one of them doesnt get done right. But I am trying. It would be easy for me to just crawl into a hole, collect a disability check, and become a drag on society. But I really dont want to do that. My biggest home and dream for myself is that when I die, I'll at least be even with the world. I do a lot of charity work, I try to do things anonymously for people when I see a need, I give everything I get away. I am hoping that when I die, the good I have done makes up for all the failures. I didnt choose to be this way. I feel like giving in isnt really an option...

Anonymous said...

....(cont)I crave some sort of connection and meaning for my life. I crave some sort of social normalcy and relationship. I desperately wanted my husband to feel fulfilled, to feel equal, to feel loved. I'm tried with every bone in my body. I didnt know to warn him when we got married because I didnt know myself. Nobody over 30 knew back then - there was no diagnosis of "aspie" then. You were just shy, awkward, quirky, etc. We all grew up believing that if we tried hard enough, we could overcome those things. We grew up believing and being told that, "If you just be yourself, people will like you". The problem is, that isnt true when you are Aspie. I have never stopped trying. I like myself inside my own head, but I realize no one else does, so I try day in and day out to be palatable for everyone else. It is as exhausting and hopeless for the aspie as it is for the neurotypical when these things done work out. We are no more ok with the failure than you are, I promise. That abject pain, loneliness, sense of worthlessness, sense of hopelessness that you all describe - it is the same for us. We are ALL trying.

I liken it to dating someone who is blind. You will always have to do the driving. YOu will get tired of driving, and you will still be the only one that can drive. The blind person, no matter HOW hard they want to drive, is not going to be able to do it. It isnt because they dont want to do their share. It is because they cant. Rest assured, they know it. It weighs on them to fail you....

Anonymous said...

Frustration often looks like anger in an aspie. Marathon level exhaustion looks like anger. Sometimes we shut down because we know from past experience that any single thing we can even think to say will be wrong and will make things worse. Sometimes we shut down like a toddler that literally runs him or herself to sleep in the middle of the floor - because the intensity of the confrontation (confrontation with physical closeness is incredibly physically painful for some aspies) literally overwhelms every sense we have. Like the marathoner that is carried away in a stretcher at the 24th mile - it isnt because we dont want to, it is because we cant.
Have you ever watched your 4 or 5 year old try to hold a pencil to write their name? Have you ever marveled at how much work and effort it takes just to grip tight enough to keep the marks near the line on the paper, when you can simply pick up the pen and write your name without thinking? Aspies are the clumsy, determined 5 year old. The effort that it takes to say I love you might wear us out for a week. Or a month. Do you remember when it was that hard to write your name? Please try.
I'm not saying dating an aspie is for everyone. After 15 years of marriage, I could see that my husband was giving up. I left so that he didnt have to say it. It crushed me. Please do not think for a minute that it did not hurt, or that I did not care - I was broken in every sense of the word. It has now been 5 years. When I think about how wonderful it might be to have friends, about how much I wish I could do for someone else, about how much effort I would surely put into loving and appreciating another person, and I consider dating again, I read comments like yours, and I realize that I cannot. No matter how much of my lifeblood I gave trying to make a relationship work, it would eventually end in my boyfriend or partner being unable to take it anymore. And afterall, hurting someone is the worst thing I can ever imagine doing.
I quietly agree that no matter how much I want that love, that companionship, that partnership - it wont show. And it isnt worth hurting someone to get it.
To those already in Aspie relationships, I'm sorry. I know the pain is real. Maybe you can take some twisted comfort in knowing your Aspie is in just as much pain as you are, and knows on top of that, too, that they will never be good enough to make you happy.

Akania said...

I'm in so much doubt now. I'm in a relationship with an Aspie. Unlike many of you I'm NOT an NT. I have ADHD and dyspraxia and I'm well aware of the forgetfulness that often makes me look selfish to NTs and can relate to that side of Aspies. I've similar interests to my boyfriend. I've been shy all my life and it's exhausting to constantly be around people all the time and i need to recharge. He's actually more social than I am. I understand the executive deficits as I'm similar: disorganised, impulsive etc. I can forgive his lateness as often we both turn up late at the same time I'm probably later as i have makeup to wear. BUT I too am having trouble with him. It's the empathy side. I understand his struggles but what's really pissing me off is his lack of interest to try. Because I know I forget to call people, I leave reminders to call people. Along with my appointments, i have to put down call friends or family. I also have stock messages that i send or even sometimes a picture without having to have a conversation. He will not do this. I don't understand why he will not try. I too get overwhelmed and need some sensory deprivation. He sometimes won't touch me. It's almost as if i don't exist once I'm not there. I won't get messages or phonecalls. I've dated bipolar, borderline schizophrenic, a narcissist possibly sociopath. And this Aspie is driving me mad. The sociopath was malevolent so once I got rid of the hooks, it was more justifiable. And say what you want I got more touching from the sociopath. My boyfriend is actually very sweet and kind but it's very destructive to my esteem to be with him. And also there is that superior sense of being above feelings that one Aspie in this thread has commented on which is a lie. Aspies do have feelings though they often don't acknowledge it or understand they do. If that Aspie truly has no feelings, he's a sociopath.

Michelle Murray said...

I could comment about every dot point here. Ive been with my Aspie husband for 7 years and TBH I have come to handle most of his behaviurs well but there are still things that make me feel like a sh*t person. He can make me feel completly inadequate and like he doesnt even know i exist. He treats me more like a flat mate then a wife and he has had some terrible 'explosions; over the craziest little things. Ive done alot of reading about it hoping that it will help to know him better. It does in a way but sometimes i get angry because i didnt sign up for this. I didnt know the lack of emotion and caring and thought was something i was buying into for LIFE!
Anyway, i dont really know anyone in a similar situation so i have set up a FB page and a closed FB support group. If your interested in chatting and complaining and laughing with other people in the same boat join me on Wives and Partners of Aspies. Thanks :)

Helen J said...

I am late to this conversation but if I wasn't sure before, I certainly am now! I have thought for some time that my BF was an Aspie. I can relate to so much on this blog. The lack of spontaneity, the need for everything to be on his terms, the inflexible routine that drives me nuts, the obsession with hobbies or people who are interested in his interests and the feeling of being a gap filler in his life! He has a handful of friends and they all fill different 'gaps' and are all based only on the things that he is interested in that they are too e.g. tennis, wine, opera and classical music, yoga.. all things which he takes to extremes by the way! if he gets a new friend who shares his interests he has to see them 2 or 3 times a week and does all these things that he doesn't do with me! I know after lots of breakups and lots of complaining he has learned to mimic certain behaviours such as being more affectionate and saying certain things but it comes across often as contrived as the words are often the same or something I have said, word for word! He is very happy when I like something he likes but he has very little interest in my interests. As nice as he can be he is also extremely critical if things are not how he would do them or if I change a plan. He also does not listen to my suggestions and then tells me about the times I was wrong and how he has been doing it his way for a long time. If I complain about something like the lack of quality time he tells me that his friend doesn't complain or if I talk about our short phone calls he tells me that his dad and him often only talk for a short time and he doesn't mind. Everything I feel or say he invalidates it and compares it to someone else! When I try to talk to him about how invalidated I feel, he gets extremely defensive and he talks over the top of me and starts bringing up irrelevant things like something I said the day before or the week before that he saw as trying to change him.. often a suggestion about where to park or where he could leave his bag at the gym.. then he brings up all the people that think he's great! He drives me to the point of extreme anger and then I end up feeling like I need to leave or break up and then he brings up the fact I told him I loved him a week ago! He then emails me these long letters first of all criticising me more and then ends up crawling and promises the world... which lasts until he gets me back and then it all starts again! I have ended up feeling not so great about myself and can explain it like my spirit has died. I feel completely invalidated and very much unappreciated. There is little humour between us and I feel I have little to truly feel joyous about. We do take nice holidays but this is the only time that he can let go of his routine and is not so rigid! He then can't wait to get back to 'his life'. I feel like a shell of my old self and know I need to leave. I love him but can't live with him at the expense of my own self! What a horrid feeling! But don't hold out much hope of it getting better.. just comes down to whether I can deal with not having my needs met!

anonymous said...

To the anonymous aspie above: I do not know your pain, not entirely; I've never managed to hold down a relationship for very long, and most of the time I wind up sabotaging it so that we can walk away before it gets too serious. Because all the NTs here, they've basically been describing my parents' relationship. My dad is not diagnosed but may be on the spectrum. I am... semi-diagnosed; my therapists have agreed that I am autistic but I chose not to be formally tested and diagnosed.
Anyway. The point is. Everything you said... it hit hard. I am lying here crying because that's what I'm feeling now. I am 24, watching my peers get engaged and married, and knowing that even if I somehow found someone who wanted to love me and my autism, I wouldn't be able to let them. I wouldn't do that to someone I loved. I am so unbelievably tired of saying the wrong thing, of hurting people without meaning to, of kicking myself for social faux pas days and months and years after the fact (and feeling angry and frustrated at the memory of not understanding why it was bad until much later).
It is safer to be alone. It is safer to only hurt myself.

Jim Strehlow said...

I am also an Aspie and while I can understand and relate with the pain of being alone and not having relationships because I hurt people, there is hope for us. I have been successfully working on an Al-anon program and what they teach with the 12 steps and focusing on ourselves has made understanding NTs or at least being able to respect them much easier. They should not be expected to totally put up with us, as I too have been beat up, humiliated, etc. I now make a ton of money as a software engineer which is a benefit that we get to enjoy that NTs don't. Our hobbies often lead to better paying more rewarding careers. The important thing is that we have to be responsible as Aspies and validate and acknowledge the sacrifice our friends and family make for us. It's not an excuse for them not to try and understand us, but we all need to make it a two way street or there will never be relationships for Aspies. The way I explain it to my wife, and this is a huge generalization, my brain is just much larger then my heart, but you have to know that I am still in here and I have a huge heart with tons of love. Our dedication to our, what I call "My Person" is totally unbreakable. So it's not that it's impossible, it's just that you have to open your mind to a different way of thinking and ignore the social conventions when they don't fit your relationship. But there has to be absolute trust, honesty and communication, and I don't think that only applies to our situations, our being both the aspie and nt.

Sue said...

Thanks to the Aspies here for commenting. My heart goes out to you and what a struggle life is for you. It's really not fair :(

I agree Jim that there needs to be trust, honesty and communication. I feel like all of those things have declined on my part because I just feel so hurt by my partner that I shut down. I then feel guilty that I'm shutting down when he can't help the way he is, and then I feel angry and frustrated because I cat help the way I am either. It is very hard to not feel invalidated in this situation

Fiona_Baggins said...

Dear Aspies,

Please don't let some venting make you feel hopeless. I am a non-aspie with severe OCD. I can cover it up now because I am doing well, but my wonderful Aspie boyfriend loves me just the way I am. Indeed, what others may call his "obliviousness" is what makes him able to deal with my atypical feelings. We both try to support each other, not focus too much on our eccentricities, and appreciate being loved "anyway."

We do have some rules and habits that help:
1) we say hello, good-bye, and thank-you regularly (even if my AS finds it difficult).
2) We always say good-night and I love you before we go to sleep. (In different rooms b/c my AS can't handle any movement or sign of life from others while he is trying to sleep).
3) When the other one is upset or feeling crazy, we never talk it out. Our rule is: hugs for me no words/ and a hug and then alone time for him and no words. We only talk it about it later if it is still of burning importance; lets face it usually it is not.
4) he has his obsessive hobbies to help him relax
5) I have many close friends that help balance things out for me

In any case, every relationship is different. Don't think for a second that your unfailing loyalty and lack of emotional navel gazing is not a gift for someone out there who has too much chaos in there life and could use a little predictability.

Love to you all,
another non-aspie who loves aspies, and all sorts of other wonderful people

Gayle Meechan said...

I really do worry about my aspie son on this topic, I worry that because he has no need for love and affection praise or even a close relationship with anybody I worry he might not be able to have a normal loving relationship later in life, no kisses or cuddles since he was 2 , in fact he prefers to talk to or rather talk at strangers as they have no expectations of him, he's happy like this but will he be able to love and be loved, it's fairly common for aspies to be happy in an asexual relationship

Karendans said...

I have been married to an aspie husband for almost 30 years. We have been through a tremendous amount of turmoil. He has almost all the social/interpersonal challenges mentioned in the above posts. I find that if my goals become worldly goals like financial success, popularity, house beautiful, ease, comfort, etc., then the relationship falls apart very quickly. But I have to remind myself that I never really wanted those things in the beginning. I would say that if you want worldly goals, marriage to an aspie may be impossible. You do need to survive financially, but beyond that, you have to let a lot of worldly successes go. You are never going to win "Couple of the Year" at the neighborhood block party. You will not fit the happy couple scenario. (It is an illusion anyway.) But if you wanted something more in life, wanted to grow in wisdom, fortitude, and sacrifice, you are in the right place. I don't mean the NT spouse should become a doormat or babysitter or ever be complicit with evil, abuse, or anything like that. But taking the knowledge, learned from blogs like this, books, and personal experience, then applying it to life requires personal growth in all the things that are most important. Your aspie spouse will slowly and painfully learn from you, but you will learn from him as well. Above all, never compare yourselves to others. You have a unique and special situation that will connect you to what is most important in the universe, the mystery of mutual love. Sorry for sounding so mystical, but being married to an aspie is a very worthy adventure.

Judy said...

I have been married to my Aspie husband for 37 years. He is loyal, faithful, hardworking and tries to be a good person. He is brilliant and weird, both qualities that I found attractive long before I ever heard of Aspergers Syndrome. I made our marriage work but in the process, I lost a lot of myself. I was the one who always had to do the accommodating because change is extremely difficult for him. He is critical, demanding and clueless. I learned long ago not to take his insensitivity and lack of empathy personally, I know he doesn't mean to hurt me. But in the end, I am burned out, lonely and depressed. I need a caring partner, not a cardboard cutout of a man. Sometimes I think he is a machine, very rational and without feelings. He even makes noises like a machine sometimes. Most of the time I can just ignore it, but sometimes it gets to me. Sometimes he says things that make me want to cry because it shows his lack of humanity. Once when our son was severely ill, he said that our lives would be much easier if he died. He thinks that people should only exist as long as they are useful. I have a brother with mental retardation, and my husband doesn't see any reason for his life. Sometimes I get scared at how little he values life if the person does not meet his criteria. We have four wonderful grown children (one with a milder case of Aspergers than my husband, one with Tourette Syndrome and two who are NT). If it weren't for the children, I would wish that I never married him. But I could never get a divorce, even though I thought about it many times, because it would have destroyed him. I feel like I sacrificed my life for him. I am trying not to be bitter, but I'm burned out. I feel like I gave the best years of my life to him, and I have nothing to look forward to. I've been in therapy by myself (he has always refused to go with me), which has helped me cope and has made me a much better parent. But I still feel like a broken, used up person with no light at the end of the tunnel.

EvaDestruction said...

Ive been with an UD aspie for 10 yrs. what a rollercoaster. We have both changed tremendously. He went from an immature jerk (a handsome one at that) to a grown man and father that can mimic himan interactions most of the time. He makes great money as a software engineer and we had 1 child. But, at what cost? We are still unmarried and the life has been drained from me. He helped me financially- and fathered our son. But i am a shell, a ghost. I am extremely ill, the diagnosis' pile up as well as the pills and im only 36. I went from a vibrant young artist and chef that loved to travel and hike- to a reclusive, angry, bitter disabled woman with no hope. Some of this- a lot of this- was him taking from me.

What the previous poster said is true. We have to drive. All the time. For yrs. my aspie also cannot cook, does not have a shred of common sense, nor admits to caring about anything except his job and star trek, which he literally NEEDS a daily dose of to function. I love him, but i also hate him. I was a beautiful woman with a career and dreams. He had no problems squashing those and replacing out lives with misery.

StarChild said...

My concern with this article is the tone. Every point is about what I can do for my AS partner. Great! Yet more stuff I can do for him. What about me? Where are the tips for me to look after me?

I get it's one sided - I've been with my undiagnosed AS partner for almost 11 years. I know very well it's on his terms. He's more like my 8yo son than my partner. Unlike many here, I do get affection and he says 'I love you' way too much (sometimes 5 or 6 times in a row), but it always feels hollow, like it's something he's saying because he thinks I want to hear it, rather than it being a statement of how he feels in the moment. And I get lots of hugs, but it always feels like I'm hugging my son. Especially when he looks at me with an innocent look on his face.

I know all this. I know I am his personal secretary, personal assistant, nurse, counsellor and mother all at once. I KNOW. What I don't know is what to do for me!! That's what I was hoping for here. Tips on self care.

What about telling me how it's not my fault or his fault either? What about telling me how it's normal and OK to feel guilty about having certain thoughts sometimes? What about telling me my anger and frustration is justified, just that it won't do any good?

What about encouraging me to go out and have massages, meet up with friends, take bubble baths?

What about tips on how I can get him to do more chores around the hosue?

What I really, really, REALLY would like some tips on is how can I get him to have sex!! 8 years without sex because he just doesn't want to go there - and he will not consider my having my very real and valid needs met outside the relationship. So it's be celibate against my will or walk away. What about tips on dealing with that?

More about him and his needs. I get him and his needs every day. Where is the help and advice for my needs? They are just as valid and just as important, even if the person with AS can't see that.

desperate housewife said...

I totally get you! It's been that long for me too. No sex for 8 years. He doesn't even like me to kiss him. Especially on the mouth. I feel more like his mother, than his wife. He behaves like a boy of 12 years old if something doesn't go his way. After 12 years of marriage, I'm physically and emotionally drained. I was in therapy for 3 years to realize it wasn't me imagining all his wierd behavior. When I had a brainstorm last year that he definitely has AS I tried to talk to him about it. He got so defensive and angry, and told me to never bring it up again. I know I love him but half the time I can't stand him. I have to repeat myself most of the time, he's very messy, but knows exactly where everything is, and I was told not to touch anything. I feel like I'm living in his apt. He procrastinates when it comes to doing anything around the apt and won't let me even paint kitchen cupboards. It's all about him! All the the time!! I look forward to going to work, so I can gave a break! I agree, what about me? What help do I get to cope? Someone help us out here.

Jimmy Olsen said...

Some of you NT's, what you say, you have no idea what you do when you callously spew criticism on an AS sufferer, and man, is it suffering. "Poor me" is all I hear form people who have all the advantages in life, do you know how much I have always wanted to just be "normal"? When you say or do hurtful things to me, it is like a seed you have planted, my reaction is not what yours would be or immediate, I internalize it, and usually end up feeling terrible about something I didn't even "do" (as in "with intent").

How would you poor little NT's like it to have the attitude that having friends is a disadvantage? I would love to have more friends, but I have been betrayed by too many of you good, normal people (do you folks go around kicking Downs Syndrome children in the shins for fun as well?)

I love deeply, and hate deeply as well. I don't think I was born with hate (or love, for that matter), it was taught to me by NT's. It was terrifying and exhausting as a child trying to figure out what the hell the social rules were. It still is to some degree. What did i see in marriage between NT's when I was growing up? A father who wanted a divorce because the mother was too fat. An aunt who paid a kid to look for her husbands liquor bottles hidden in the house, then nearly got into a gunfight with him when they started the inevitable regular screaming fight. One wife dominating the husband into bankruptcy, her NT kids into drug addiction. And these are just the relatives.

Are NT's proud of themselves for being lucky enough to have been born "normal"? Good for you. Congratulations. Now, try and cut those of us unlucky enough to have been born this way some slack.

P.S. - As far as sex goes, I'm a dynamo, I'm not like Sheldon!

Byron B said...

@Jimmy Olsen.....Male 56 has no official paperwork claiming I am Aspergic, but display all the traits.

I hear what you are saying brother. I am reading all these comments from people who cry "poor me" for ever becoming involved with an Aspie but nobody forced that on you...

Admit you made an error in judgement ( as humans have a tendency to do ) and move on.

My recently separated wife ( 2 days ) will tell you the same story but we will always remain best friends and our young children 6 & 11 will never want for affection or time with either of us.

Stop your whinging...

Sue said...

No point in dissing NTs for their problems trying to relate to Aspies. I agree many NTs are out and out nasty, and give all the appearance of being the ones who lack insight and empathy. I'm regularly horrified by seeing the things ppl say and do without understanding the pain they cause. But that goes both ways and shaming NTs for their reactions and for their problems in relating to Aspies is really tedious. The thing is, lots of NTs DON'T know they're getting into a relationship with an Aspie because they're not told. And to think that NTs are all the same, living the easy life, is just entirely untrue. It IS true that the world is an NT world, and it saddens me when I think how hard it is for Aspies to have to deal with it. But that doesn't automatically mean life is a piece of piss for NTs. It's just not.

Chantal said...

I've been married to an undiagnosed aspie for 12 years. I love my husband very much. Yes he has some affection issues sometimes, filter issues, and social issues. I don't mind those. He's loyal to a fault, generous, intelligent, creative and has always worked. He is very meticulous in his projects, and gets really involved in certain activities to the point he tunes everyone out and he does have trouble expressing his emotions at times. But he's not angry and explosive. He's very organized, which I'm not so I'm appreciative of that trait. He works really hard to finish his projects. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, or there must be something wrong with me as well. I love my aspie.

Desperate housewife said...

So know we're your coming from... Only a NT MARRIED TO AN ASPIE... Would understand the highs and lows... In my mind I liken it to being water boarded...

Carolyn Jacob said...

I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at 8 years of age, and I was feeling hopeless, because I love my boyfriend so much, but I don't know if I can ever be good enough for him, or for anyone. Loving someone with AS is hard, that's why so many people don't do it. Reading these comments hurts so bad. Is there really no hope for people like me? Can I really never love like a normal person? Was I just born to live and die alone...? It hurts. :/

anonymous said...

I'm sorry Carolyn if my post and other hurt you. I guess I wrote my post on a particularly bad day. I have been married to my Aspie husband for nearly 38 years, and many marriages don't last that long, so it is possible! Right now, I am feeling lucky to have him. He is honest, trustworthy, smart and entertaining. The good parts more than make up for the difficulties. So don't lose hope!

Byron B said...

Carolyn....I'm an Asperger man 56 who was diagnosed initially by my now recently seperated wife of 12 years and later confirmed by a clinical psychologist.
You need to believe that is a spefial someone for you that has the skill sets that will not only tolerate your AS but help you to flourish and bring out your positive qualities rather than berate your negative ones.
Don't sell yourself short.
Don't self sabotage your relationships.
Be open and honest and educate your partner as to what might happen but promote your strengths also.
Love yourself and others will love you too.
Best wishes
Bruce.

Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vannio said...

I would love to join your fb group.

The Outsider said...

Wow some of these comments are just terrible and show a complete lack of understanding of what being an aspie is. Communicating your needs to an aspie is extremely important. If you don't do this, he will simply not get it, not because he doesn't care, but because he just doesn't know what your needs are. The truth is, relationships are a two way street regardless if it is two NTS, two aspies or an NT and an AS. Mind you, a relationship with an NT and an aspie is going to be a lot harder than two aspies or two NTs because they're very different people.

The aspie has to be willing to compromise to please the NT and the NT has to be willing to compromise to please the aspie. If this does not happen then the relationship will never work. This applies to any relationship or it will not work, but more work is needed for an NT and aspie couple. Both the NT and the aspie need to work hard to meet in the middle. Sorry, but asking for the aspie to conform only to your NT needs is just as absurd as the aspie asking for you to conform only to his aspie needs.

If he isn't willing to meet in the middle then it is obviously the aspie's fault, but if you aren't willing to then it is your fault and if both aren't willing to compromise then it's a dead end relationship. Strive to make the relationship work or simply end it if you aren't willing to do it.

Complaining that your husband doesn't do everything you want, while you have no intention to do anything for him just means you're exactly like him. Also, a lot of women here seem to have confused narcissism with aspergers, two different things completely. Aspies are empathetic, they are just bad at relaying it to you. An aspie and an NT can be in happy relationship if both people are willing to compromise for each other or else it's impossible.

Also, keep in mind that a lot of AS men were not born mean, but rather became that way through constant torture and belittlement from others for being who they are throughout their lives. An aspie needs love, not more hate thrown upon him, but of course he does need self awareness to improve. He needs to be aware that he has AS and accept that he has flaws so he can work at improving himself and the relationship. Mind you, I'm sure there are some aspies that are beyond redemption like some NTs, but they are in the minority.

Michelle Smith said...

I have been living with my undiagnosed aspie husband for a quarter of a century! For many years I worked with young children with ASD and in a cruel twist of fate my first born was diagnosed with severe autism. Yet I never saw clearly the truth about my own marriage because the daily trauma I suffered at the hands of my husband didn't allow me to think straight for even a moment. I have been blamed, lied to, screamed at, had objects thrown at me, pushed, kicked, slapped, threatened, intimidated, manipulated, bullied, abandoned, neglected, refused any personal space, denied every possible basic human need and then called selfish and demanding. I have been wished dead, isolated, humiliated, laughed at when crying and evicted from my home when unbeknownst to me, my husband found compulsive gambling to be the answer to all his issues. And not another living sole has seen any of it to give support to my claims.

I have climbed out of pits of despair and loneliness, black holes of depression and found a steely resolve and iron will that I never dreamed I had in me. I have used every NT trait to my advantage and refused to be destroyed. I will cry no more over what I have dubbed 'the emotional cripple'. If he was paralysed, I would not keep pushing the wheelchair while he reached around every hour to slap my face (no matter what vows I made on my wedding day). I was deceived by a skilled actor who pretended to be someone he wasn't when we met and I have paid an astronomical emotional and psychological price. I have been a slave to my own empathy for decades because of this disorder. It may be hard to believe but I am not bitter, resentful or angry (anymore). I have justified, concealed, advocated for, protected, mothered, begged, assisted and enabled this man at my own expense for far too long. I cant save the drowning man who can't swim when he keeps pulling me under too.

With respect, if you are an aspie please don't comment. You are emotionally and socially disabled with a biological inability to understand even a word of what I have said.

anonymous said...

I am so sorry, MIchelle. I understand. When someone has an "invisible disability" the world doesn't see it and the "caregiver" suffers alone. You thought you signed up to be a wife, a partner, and wound up being the caregiver for someone with a cruel disability that nobody else can see. I hope there is still time to rescue yourself and go on with your life

Aspie said...

"With respect, if you are an aspie please don't comment." I'm going to do it anyways :)

I'm very sorry you had to go through that. I just went through something similar; I know what it's like.

What you describe sounds like a classic case of a psychopath (in this case, I have to be blunt). Psychopaths sometimes use depression or 'aspergers' as a cover story for their... choices (I just didn't know any better!) An ancillary benefit for them is they get sympathy for their 'aspergers'.

Anyone with a rough start in life can build up anger inside and later release it in ways that hurt the self or hurt loved ones. Conditions that may get you a rough start in life: aspergers/autism, borderline personality, bipolar, childhood schizophrenia, fetal alcohol syndrome... or we could set aside these things for a second, and just say any person really could go through stuff early on and later be mad at the world.

I got married in 2005, it started off great, lasted seven years. We were both hyper-emotional, except I didn't know at the time how to communicate that kind of stuff to her. She would confuse me by telling me I never told her she was pretty. It was OBVIOUS to me - can't she see in the mirror that she's hot! So, I would then inform her, "yes, you're very pretty", and I thought, "ok, we're good now, she knows". But, I would be confused again when the exact same issue would come up three weeks later. Did she forget! I didn't understand things like self-image at the time, or that the fact that her father used to call her a refrigerator when she was little must have been traumatic for her. We had good times and bad times. She made me a better person.

A more recent relationship was with a woman with a similar personality to my ex-wife (borderline personality), but significantly more repressed anger...
- serial cheating with coworkers
- hinting at the cheating without ever fully admitting it, and watching with amusement as I became angry/hurt
- spending $400 at victoria's secret, and asking for money a couple days later for 'bills'
- bordering on physical abuse at times, but I kept that crap at bay (told her I wouldn't bail her out)
- a butcher knife 'incident' that landed her in a psychiatric hospital for a few days
- suicide threats toward the end of the relationship, when she could sense I was done putting up with her crap
- etc

I had to exit this relationship in a strategic way, but learned about forgiveness, how to treat someone like a human even when they've hurt you.

The point of those two stories is, from my (diagnosed) aspergers perspective, sometimes we can hurt others, even if only with our cluelessness, but our cluelessness can also make us prey to a wolf.

Michelle S said...

How silly of me to request that an Aspie request my wishes to not comment. Aspies are biologically unable to respect the wishes of another, their own needs are paramount so of course you replied anyway. You just disrespect in a calmer manner and with nicer words. If I wanted to debate this issue with an aspie I can do it at home. I will however thank you for your attempt to make me feel better. Oh, hang on it wasn't about me, it was about you wanting to defend your kind.
Textbook case.. NT reaches out for support, empathy and encouragement (thankyou anonymous, you are obviously NT), aspie provides none of that and attempts to put his own case forward for understanding himself, as the victim.
Let me be more blunt this time.. If you reply again, I will not justify it with a response.

Jimmy Olsen said...

GFY Michelle, you are a masochist who stuck around for 25 years of self-inflicted abuse.

michael marshall said...

Sorry to hear that you have suffered. Michelle. Hope better times are ahead. And better luck. I may or may not be Asperger. I am Dyspraxic. God bless

Michelle S said...

"Jimmy Olsen said...
GFY Michelle, you are a masochist who stuck around for 25 years of self-inflicted abuse."

Thank you for your attempted support Jimmy.

I feel compelled to comment for the sake of any NT's who are in a similar situation and following this thread.

I can assure you that I derived absolutely no masochistic pleasure from the abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband. However, there is no doubt that he experienced much pleasure in inflicting the abuse on me. The responsibility of abusive behaviour lies with the abuser. It is unjustifiable, even with the diagnosis of a pervasive developmental disability.

I was young, vulnerable and carefully groomed and moulded to be an emotional, psychological and physical punching bag. Just as a child is groomed and moulded by a paedophile.

To imply in any way, shape or form that I enjoyed it or inflicted it upon myself is not only untrue but a sure sign that you Jimmy have AS as well.

'michael marshall said...
Sorry to hear that you have suffered. Michelle. Hope better times are ahead. And better luck. I may or may not be Asperger. I am Dyspraxic. God bless'

Thank you Michael, I wish you well :)


michael marshall said...

Judgment of a minority of people because of one is looking at the situation in a. narrow way. NOT narrow minded. Just narrow. Asperger syndrome is a cruel disability. Asperger syndrome sufferers are not just the people with the disability but the people around them. From the observer's point of view, they see a possibly a harsh and awkward, frustrated, and frustrating character who quickly alienates himself and those around him. Or indeed her. The world is and ever will be a minefield where ideas of what to do clash
http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~alistair/survival/ I find is helpful. Just a link that I discovered in the UK that gives everyday guidelines in a way that is easy to follow . It may help NTs as the last person called them too.

Brokenheart1970 said...

Michelle, you said everything I feel. Thank you so much for being my voice at a time when I am so desperate and angry I can't speak. (He is right in the thick of an "episode" but has gone out - thank God. I can breath for a minute but I am so angry at what just happened I am shaking)

To the Apsies who are responding and saying they are sad and heartbroken and want to love someone... boy are you different to my aspie. He couldnt give 2 sh**tes about any of that. He wants a secretary/PA/sex-toy when he feels like it, and a general whipping boy. No interest whatsoever in a caring, loving, respectful relationship of reciprocity.

I feel so trapped. I DID NOT sign up for this life, and now, after all these years of GIVING AND GIVING AND GIVING, I am depleted in every way imaginable. I do not have the strength to *just leave*. And, I know he will fight tooth and nail to take our little boy because he believes he owns that darling child. Also, I dread to think what would happen if left completely alone with a child for a weekend. He once took him out for the day and didnt feed him, or give him water or apply sunscreen IN A HEATWAVE. He said he was "so busy looking after him while I slept (wtf? I was cleaning the house and HIS MESS)and he didnt get around to it". He is fine with him for a few hours but that is it. Mentally he is about 5 years old himself so he cannot be trusted for extended periods with a child, however, the law says he is entitled to our son 50% of the time. So yeah, feel utterly trapped and miserable.

It has helped me to read all the comments by the NT people. You all *get it*. So where do we go from here?

*Sob*.

Michelle S said...

Hi Brokenheart, I'm sorry you are trapped in a hell just like mine :(

I call the episodes 'aspie attacks' and generally it takes me a few days to feel ok again. I call this the 'emotional hangover'.

I understand perfectly the "secretary/PA/sex-toy when he feels like it, and a general whipping boy" comment. Leaves you feeling like an unpaid prostitute.

And with the abuse, at least women who suffer domestic violence have husbands that know they've done the wrong thing and are remorseful afterwards. There is time between 'episodes' for the wife to be supported and loved intermittently, to get their thoughts together, lick their wounds and work out an escape strategy.

I feel worst for my 8yo son. He is old enough now to realize his father's brain doesn't work properly. He genuinely feels like his Dad doesn't love him and is hurt by the constant broken promises, empty conversations and transference. It wasn't so bad when he was too young to have a mind and needs of his own. Now my son is older, I see my husband eroding his confidence and treating him the way he does me. It's all 'our fault' that we have basic human needs.

As for where we go from here.. I only have some clarity from sending my husband to live at his mother's five years ago. He comes for dinner after work and then has to leave or I'd go insane. The only way IMHO to build up energy to find yourself again is through SPACE away from the aspie.

Apparently the unspoken terms of these relationships are 'every man for himself' so that's what I'm doing. Biding my time until I can get out with the least amount of damage to my children.

Hang in there, you are stronger than you think. Have to be to survive this for so many years. :)

Marcy Newport said...

It is not emotionally abusive for the partner. It requires a level of honesty most NT people can't deal with. They honestly don't understand when you say you're unhappy unless you really spell out examples and, the most important part, tell them how they can make it better. But you must also understand what solutions won't work because they CAN NOT do it. Not that they won't, but that they can't. With honest communication in both directions, solutions can be found, but if the NT partner name calls or belittles her aspie, they will be less likely to say everything they're thinking, and your chances of finding a real solution decrease. Patience, understanding, respect, and honest communication can make all the difference. If you have faith in him, he is more likely to have faith in himself, too. But if you expect him to act like a NT, you're destined for problems, just like expecting a double amputee to walk just like everyone else. They can do it, but their way, and that's not abusive to you.

Hanna said...

I have just found this blog and it has just made me desperately sad because I know that so many of your stories relate to mine. I have said for many years that it is like pushing an elephant up the stairs - like having another child to take care of. My husband is very caring but all on his terms and when he's, what I call "switched on." But the light is out most of the time and I'm sure if left to his own devises he would be happy indeed. Like some of you I have tried everything to have an important discussion about moving house and the wall comes down. I have tried talking calmly, sweetly, seriously, made threats and nothing but NOTHING will make a difference. I'm sure you will understand that this so called conversation has been going on for YEARS. All on his terms. I feel controlled and yet out of control. I feel loved yet ignored. I care but I hate. I laugh but mostly I cry. In the end I will leave though it breaks my heart.

Katrina said...

I know I'm replying to this a year later, but I just found this blog. I worry so much about my son, but for somewhat differing reasons. His biggest struggle with his aspergers is that he doesn't get how his actions affect others, and that it's OK for others to have good things when he doesn't. I'm trying so hard to teach him while he's still youngish. Any suggestions??

Katrina said...

Can anyone help me understand what I've realized might be a two-edged sword in regards to communication with an aspie spouse? I realize that being open and honest is important in a relationship, I know my husband wants me to feel connected with him (because he's told me) but any time I bring up something that has affected me, he shuts down--like many of you have commented. What do I do? Really need some help here!!

Unknown said...

Speaking as an Aspie bloke - biggest issue big heart - but a shitty interface that falls over all the time.
You have to be in there to know how unbelievably frustrating it is...

Didact said...

"Aspies are biologically unable to respect the wishes of another, their own needs are paramount so of course you replied anyway."

I'm gonna have to agree that you need to GFY, you narrow minded bigot.

Didact said...

Michelle S, I'm sorry your marriage sucks, but you're being incredibly callous and, frankly, bigoted. You're husband may be abusive and distant, but don't come here and say that I must be just like him because I share his diagnosis. And I find it a tad hypocritical how you yourself seem making it all about you. You just lap up the sympathy, but you seem incapable of dealing with criticism. Anyone who offers an opinion that doesn't quite fall in line with your own is dismissed by you as an aspie, which apparently in your mind makes him or her automatically an a-hole.

Loved You 100% said...

I have just come out of a 5 year relationship with an Aspie. I truly believed he was my one, and tried so hard to make things work. Dealing with the hurtful comments, the criticism, the occasional meltdowns, being sworn at etc. took its toll on me over the years. He was married and had a child from a previous relationship, which I believe broke down because of the baby and his wife putting her affections and attention towards the child over him, and the fact that having a child to look after even some of the time was hard work for him, which I understood and in his mind it's not like a baby does anything of note other than to cry, feed, burp or need changing! He was only diagnosed at age 30, not long after his child being born. Even though we discussed potentially having one child when we first got together, I knew soon on this would destroy our relationship, so I chose him over children. He was in fact like a child at times. He fell in love with me because we had things in common, and I didn't care about a lot of the social rules (for different reasons to him of course), I was bouncy, sporty and also kind. When he made the effort it was so rewarding, we had many activities we liked to do together, things we enjoyed sharing together. I run my own business so was away a few nights a week at least, so he always had time away from me, and I always gave him chill out time in the evenings. He struggled to make himself go to bed early, even if I suggested it so most of the time I would go to sleep between 10pm and 11pm, and he would stay up until 1am-2am. He didn't want to have to face the world at work the next day, so I understood this and never forced anything. He had a well paid and demanding job, and also a child to support which he saw maybe 2 times a week, and often I would support him a lot by playing with her, making food etc. I did all of the housework including mowing the lawn, putting bins out, changing lightbulbs. He would cook for us once a year for Christmas.

We set rules at the start of the relationship, and based on the way we initially got together, one rule was that if we ever met anyone else we had feelings for or wanted to do things with then we would tell each other. He broke those rules... Thankfully I found out before my sexual health was compromised, or so I am supposed to believe, but he did go off and sleep with someone else after lots of talking and some kissing and meet ups. I saw all the signs but couldn't confront him about it until I knew for sure, as I knew he would make up every excuse under the sun or make out I am bad! I can only assume this was someone who shared one of his special interests, even though I shared that particular one too and supported him so much with it, eating and training for it. I had to end our relationship, as I can't be with someone who would betray me like that.

He can't seem to do more than 5 years in a relationship, but is not learning from each cycle. The last 4 or 5 months he was so horrible with me, making comments on how I never learned, never did things the right way, was too slow getting out of the car etc! I had looked after him for 3 weeks when he had an operation, all the times when he was ill, I missed important events for him, I did anything I could for him. He did have a lot of pressures the last 6 months we were together, and we didn't spend as much time together due to him doing lots of activities (without me), so he didn't get the regular levels of oxytocin that he had been used to. He stopped wanting affection which I believe is due to him managing multiple relationships.

Loved You 100% said...

Following on from the above...

He definitely told many lies and hid things from me as he was worried about how I might react to certain things, like meeting up with different girls for coffee, family issues and other things. I was hurt by a lot of the things he did and said, but he would only be frustrated by the fact I was hurt, and was annoyed at me for it even though it was not my fault I reacted that way and I don't believe he ever made the right decision for 'us', he only made it for himself. He had to lie and hide things so he didn't have to deal with the frustration from my reactions to the situations. He could be very loving when he made the effort, and enjoyed affection and hugging, kissing as long as not light touch. He loved having his back stroked in the mornings or before he went to sleep. I did so much for him, and do agree to an extent about being a carer, Mum, PA, sex slave but remember we choose to do these things because we love our partners.

We have been apart for 6 weeks now, and have managed to stay civil, work out who moves out of the house, and we are supposed to be going away in July and August as he is playing in an international tournament in Canada and the US. He still wanted to share a room still whilst we are away, but this is only because he is scared of being somewhere new and needs support while he is there. I would love to help him but it is not my place anymore, so I have booked my own rooms. I do think he has another partner lined up and is lying to me about it just being a 'thing' with her, and saying there is no replacement me. I have since found out he lied to his wife about me, and lied to me about when things ended with her. I am deeply hurt by all that has happened, I was in love with him right up until the end, and I am not sure that I will ever meet anyone I would devote myself to like that ever again. I realise now that a huge part of the relationship was based on lies. I defended him to my family and friends and know that a lot of the way he was was not his fault, it's just his wiring and he was intelligent, handsome, funny and charming. It was never an excuse to not make the effort though, and I think he used his diagnosis as an excuse.

Loved You 100% said...

Last bit!...

I am going to take some time out to heal, I didn't lose myself as such but was very close to it. His wife informed me that she suffered with panic attacks for about 2 years after their relationship ended, all caused by his behaviour. I have experienced 3 panic attacks since being with him, had thoughts of wanting to throw myself off cliffs when we are out cycling and wanting to crash my car / hurt myself. The relationship was very destructive for me. I wish we had sought out help when we really needed it, but I don't think either of us wanted to go down that route. He wouldn't even consider medication as he knew it would affect his thinking, even though it may have made it easier for him to cope with the world. I know when I was hurt he couldn't care about me, and was more concerned about how others around him were affected by the fact I was hurt. One time I had been physically sick, and 5 minutes later he wanted to have sex. One time I really hurt my knee during an activity and shouted stop, stop, stop quite loudly. I had torn my meniscus and he was only concerned with the fact I had shouted loudly and what the people around us thought of the fact I shouted, as he was associated with me and had to deal with that. He then continued to have a go at me for shouting, even when I said I have really hurt my knee and was crying. I had a little bit of time away in another room, then as I was walking back in to the activity room he noticed my facial expression and told me off for having a 'face' on. Of course I could magically just turn off my feelings and pretend everything was OK... Well, a lot of the time I could do this, but on that occasion I was actually hurt. If he hurt himself and I didn't show I cared then that was a whole other story. I was told by him that I didn't care about him, wasn't as supportive as his wife used to be, and other nasty comments. If his daughter was hurt then he would tend to her and care for her. I do believe he should have made less of an effort with the rest of the world (daughter excluded), and more of an effort with me, but I let him get away with it too many times, and now I look back there is a huge double standards thing going on with him. I wish him luck for the future, we may even still see each other now and again but I have lost most of the respect for him as a person, because he can make choices and he knows right from wrong. I am moving out in a few days. We haven't been living together since the breakup as I have been staying with family and he has been in our home, not even considering that he did wrong and maybe should have offered to move out. He wants to come and see my new house at some point, this will be for totally selfish reasons, and I think I need to tell him no, as it is going to be my new 'safe' place.

To those of you currently struggling, there are many books you can read, there are many people who can help you, but sometimes the best thing to do for both of you is to let go. If you have children then this would be more difficult of course, but I do think his relationship with his ex partner is better since they split, better for their child at least as he will engage in some family things. She really appreciated how much I supported him with their daughter and is very upset that he has been an idiot and spoiled the relationship, and wanted us to try and work through it but I cannot do that. I do believe for us it would have worked best with 2 or 3 years of us being together, then a 6 month / year break etc. It's very controversial but I do think that it might have worked for us. If you feel there is something ‘missing', you might be less lonely being on your own than in a relationship with an Aspie. Having said that I am lucky to have experienced such a challenging relationship and have grown in many ways as a person.

Unknown said...

I am an aspie. However I can only relate to some of these problems, because we are all different. I'm only 16, but have not had a girlfriend for 7 years. Its not that I don't want one, ifs that I can't. I've tried so hard, but I always seem to mess up. I think that it was obvious that I am an aspie when I started high school (to all the other kids), so they judge me on that (diagnosed at 13). I only have one friend who's very nice and understanding (known him since primary school). I fear that I will never have a relationship ever, because I find it hard to get to know people.

Loved You 100% said...

Hey Unknown. My ex partner said the same, he can't seem to do more than 5 or 6 years in a relationship. You will have a relationship, you will meet someone on day. You will likely have special interests, and you will hopefully meet someone through one of these, you will need a patient, caring, loving person who isn't selfish and is prepared to do a lot of work without getting much back. There are people out there for you, don't despair!

Kelly Khare said...

I'm honestly kind of scared of dating my aspie bf now after reading through this. It's the beginning of our relationship, we liked each other since we were 15 which was 4 years ago but we have just recently gotten into a relationship and I'm learning more about his general behavior. He has started to not want to have sex and he's kind of settling into this kind of well we're like an old married couple now and every time I try to initiate he says he's tired and I feel rejected. He's very sweet, nothing like the kind of monsters people above have described. But just as us NTs can cheat and betray so can aspies because we are all human. I just wish there were more examples of exercises on how to communicate better with each other. If anything I would still love him even if we weren't dating.

Kelly Khare said...

After reading through these posts I'm kind of afraid of dating my current aspie bf. We have liked each other since we were 16 but at the time I didn't know he liked me. We've started dating a while ago, we are both 19 now and he has already stopped wanting to have sex. We're like an old married couple now and when I try to initiate he says he's too tired and I feel rejected. Does anyone have any tips on how to deal with this? I wish there were more exercises online that could help with our communication. My bf is really sweet, he's nothing like the monsters you guys have mentioned above and honestly NTs and aspies are both capable of betraying and abusing someone because we are all humans and are capable of these things. I would still love him even if we weren't dating and I do support us having healthy boundaries and little exercises where we list needs and wants in our relationship.

Loved You 100% said...

Hey Kelly, my boyfriend definitely wasn't a monster, he was loving and kind hearted, he just couldn't handle the world and everything in his life, which resulted in me getting the brunt of him as he had to do the other things first like go to work, look after his daughter etc. I told my ex that I love him with all my heart, I will always be there for him if he needs me, if he breaks down and gets stuck, if he is hurt and there is nobody around to help him, I just can't be with him because he betrayed me, but like you say, anyone can do that, Aspie or NT. If an NT had betrayed me I would leave them too!

There is a book I have found since my break up, called Connecting With Your Asperger Partner, by Louise Weston. I wish I had read this years ago, and tried some of those techniques. There are tips on emotional and sexual intimacy and they look to be really useful. Good luck.

Helen Cocks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

It's not technically emotionally abusive but the side effects are the same. The NT loses who they are, feels undesirable, unwanted, and unimportant.
Then you can't walk away because it's not their fault and you went into this knowing that this person was different.

Lindsay Bozeman said...

Thank you for sharing your side.
I'm getting the feeling that AS/NT relationships are very difficult on both sides.

Anastasia McPherson Pilcher said...

Your sentence about aspies noticing our patterns made me able to look at things from a different perspective during a very difficult time, so thank you for that. I know the marriage can't be saved as a marriage, but it does help a little to know that it is things beyond both of our control. There is so much pain here for everyone. My husband is in actuality very low functioning and his undiagnosed Aspergers along with comorbid mental illness ruined his life. Even though it is taking chunks of my chi, I feel so terrible for both of us and wish there was help for him. His savant skills are such that he appears normal for short periods but give him something real world or fluid and he completely loses it.

Anastasia McPherson Pilcher said...

You write "....someone who isn't selfish and who is prepared to do a lit of work without getting much back."

That describes a lot of As/NT relationships. Right now I'm depleted from my one-sided relationship with an aspie but even in a calm moment of clarity, why should anyone do this in a romantic or marital partnership? These relationships are supposed to be between equals and about reciprocity.

I believe that there are some aspies that could have a relationship that is give and take. It depends on how high their functioning is, where their deficits are and what compromises and accommodations the other partner can make. Post a here speak of clear communication, BUT these are the areas where people with Aspergers have trouble. If my husband and I could communicate, things might be at least bearable.

An example. Once, when very emotional after days of passive aggressive stonewalling from my partner, I shouted. "I would rather die than continue living like this. Please, talk to me. Just talk to me." My husband proceeded to start giving me a lecture on Winston Churchill. He was watching a documentary on Churchill at the time. When I responded "What the F ars you doing?" He replied "Talking to you. That is what you asked."

Here's the irony. I went into this relationship expecting to give more than I got. I just didn't expect it to be entirely one way. I didn't know about the Aspergers,which I got professionally diagnosed a little more than a year into our marriage. I didn't know that he has basically been a parasite on other people for the last twenty years because he lied and obfuscated. His savant qualities make him appear intelligent until you ask him to apply information or solve a real world problem. He is very good at diverting attention away from his deficits and almost bullies in conversations to keep the focus not only on his areas of interest but on them in the specific abstract ways he is able to cope.

I have responsibility here too...I ignored some red flags, but I'm left holding a disabled man who needs help, disability and services that don't exist.

So, if you are an aspie who wants a relationship, that is fine and good and doesn't have to be impossible. Ask yourself Do you and can you work? Are you able to at least provide for your own needs? Can you communicate on an intimate level? Do you have a friend or two or a family member that you are genuinely close to? The skills learned in these relationships apply to a partnership. Can you work with another person to accomplish a task from idea to completion? How bad are your difficulties with meltdowns and anger? Talk to other people in your life to get a sense of these things, even if some of what they say isn't welcome at first. Sit with it a while because one of the hallmarks of high functioning autism is the inability to assess these things.

So, no, you aren't cursed to a loveless life but knowing strengths and weaknesses and communicating with prospective, serious partners is important. Most of the NTs on this list didn't know their husbands and partners had aspergers. To be fair, neither did the husbands and partners. Then the added issues of anger, anxiety, rage, depression and other concomitant mental health issues added stress to the stew.

We arrive here worn out from years of confusing, abnormal interactions, lack of communication even though we've tried, not having any of our needs met and feeling like a caregiver instead of a wife. I know we sound shrill and unhinged in places, but there really is reason for it. It is all the more heartbreaking that our partners can't see any of this, no matter how many times we explain. I know my husband has pain and shame around this, that breaks my heart for him. But, he dishes out abuse and neglect in his avoidance of reality and that breaks my heart for me.

Jonathan Roberts said...

I am an aspie guy who has been married for 12 years. I'm really sorry for the issues many NT partners here have faced. As one or two other AS commenters have said, it hurts to read this as it's very important to me that I don't hurt anyone or pull them down. I started reading the comments a few months ago and felt terrible that I could be putting my wife through something similar. I couldn't finish at the time, but I appreciate your honesty with us and patience with your partners.

I was only diagnosed about two months ago and have been trying to address different issues over the last year since I started to suspect that it was an issue. According to my wife, she's known since we first met about 16 years ago, and it didn't stop her from marrying me. She didn't tell me because she didn't want to upset me and she thought I was doing ok. She didn't know how much I hated myself and didn't understand why I would fail at studies, not understand relationships, or have sensory and emotional problems and issues in many work environments. Having a diagnosis has really helped me to understand and accept myself more. After some difficulty and many job changes, I have managed to find work that allows me to give time and energy to the family - I work from home and look after the kids during the day when they're not at school. I try to focus on activities that help the family, so I do a lot of cooking and use it as an excuse when I need to get away from a group if I'm a bit overwhelmed. My wife understand this and we've found ways to communicate our love for each other and our needs.

While I don't know your partners and I may only share their gender and diagnosis, I find that clear communication and positive reinforcement are both really important to our happiness together. We have had times when both of us were wearing ourselves out at the same time without feeling like we had anything in return, and feeling worse for the fact that we thought our efforts were not being recognised. This creates a negative feedback loop and there's less energy to keep going. On the other hand, being explicit to the point of saying "I did this for you" shows the other person that you care and are trying to show them that. I've also found that recognition of when I do the right thing is much more effective than picking up on times when I get it wrong - I'll get it wrong a lot, and just feel worse about myself and our relationship without actually getting better if I hear a lot of criticism. I learned early on in life that there are many times when my perspective is flawed and listening to other people's perspective is a good way to learn. I was very stubborn beforehand, so I guess it was a useful relationship skill to develop.

It can't be easy being in a relationship with me or other aspies at times. However, my wife assures me that she is very happy and feels that I do consider her needs. Maybe I'm not very low functioning, maybe our strategies and the things I've learned have helped. I do know that my wife works hard to understand me and I try to do the same.

I know a few commenters have said that they felt the expressions of love that they were given seemed hollow. In my experience, it takes a lot of effort to say "I love you" or express similar sentiments, even if I mean it. The fact that my wife accepts it means a lot to me, and helps me to do better. It's like a foreign language. It sounds awkward and forced, even though it's genuine. Accepting it reinforces the connection we have and helps me to get more fluent.

I wish you all the best in your relationships and hope you will be able to have your needs met.

Jonathan and Monika said...

I'm an aspie guy who's been married for 12 years (since I was 21). We have two kids (6 and 3). I first suspected that I was autistic over six months ago, and had my diagnosis two months ago. To be honest, this surprised me more than other people around me - now I know why my brother recommended books like "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" and asked me and my brothers to take the AS test (41 - isn't it interesting that my shyness looks a bit like what people with neurological issues face? Why do I seem to find HFA people's ways of thinking fairly easy to understand, but other people find them weird?). I spent a few months thinking of myself as being on the spectrum (in the sense that "everyone's somewhere on the spectrum"), before reading more and connecting the dots. It hit me like a freight train and explained a lot of my life up to this point, even though I'd thought that I had already accepted the differences in my thinking patterns.

Reading articles like this (and especially the comments) was very painful. As an earlier commenter said, it's very important to me that I have a positive effect on those around me, and difficulties with empathy do not mean that I feel nothing or have no need for connection with others. It was very upsetting to see traits that I could identify with being the cause of so much harm to partners, and I'm really sorry that you had to go through all of this with someone you love/loved. I got my wife to dictate a letter to the psychiatrist assessing me, after going through the issues with her. I was depressed for weeks afterwards and had to take time off work, but it was useful. While she was often quite indirect with me, explaining the issues in a straightforward way with me writing them down gave me a much better picture of what it was like for her in the relationship. Phrases like "I need help and I don't know what else I can do by myself." - as far as I know, she'd never said anything like this to me (it's not that she was absolutely burned out, just that she didn't know what other strategies to use). It's the same kind of thing that some NT commenters have mentioned (not as extreme though) - feeling that your husband is loving, loyal etc., but sometimes feeling unloved and emotionally drained. It seemed like mixed messages to me at first, especially when I put a lot of effort into showing love for my wife and at times it's been hard to see her love for me. The fact is that for both partners, it's incredibly draining to feel that you're not being heard. It makes it more difficult to try when you feel unappreciated or the other person responds in ways that you don't understand. This has been the case for both of us. I'll want to talk with her about a theory I'm considering, and she'll find it boring. She'll want to talk about her work or her friends, and I'll be the same. Recognising this difference and each other's needs is important, and we have found ways to support each other or give each other space if we need it.

Jonathan and Monika said...

(continued)

One thing that I've found helpful is to be realistic about the amount of energy I have for different parts of my life. When we were first engaged, I wouldn't necessarily talk to my wife or even say hello if I'd just come back from work. I needed time to rest before any more social contact, even with family. Now I work from home and am much more comfortable spending time with my wife and kids. I've tried to find ways to take away stress where possible, as it isn't always easy to have patience if there's a lot of other stuff going on. A couple of years ago we invited my in-laws to live with us, as they were having trouble supporting themselves in retirement. This works out well for us, as we all help out in different areas and make allowances for each other. I get the kids ready and take them to and from school, clean the floors and do the cooking, and most of the other stuff is done by other members of the family. I'm a freelance translator, so I can often adjust my workload to my own needs and those of the family. When it comes to visitors, we have quite a few people over (especially couchsurfers) but I can take time away from the group without feeling too awkward about it, and without neglecting my wife.

While we have had a number of issues, being really explicit about what we need and not slipping into a parent/child or caregiver/patient role has been really important. I don't want a carer, I am quite capable of supporting myself and others. I do need to see that I'm respected and loved regardless of differences that we may have. Understanding problems that come up and seeing them as issues to solve together strategically rather than sources of conflict has helped too. One of the biggest things for me has been the realisation that things that seem logical or obvious to me are not necessarily rational and may not make sense to others. This is also true for my wife, or anyone else, but there are particular issues that come from the difference between NT and AS ways of thinking. Where it's clear that we both respect and listen to each other and feel safe backing down without feeling that we've lost face, it helps a lot. Recognising that speaking each other's language is authentic even if it seems awkward helps us to get better at it. For example: my wife wanted me to write her texts telling her that I love her, or telling her these things in person. It feels weird, it probably looks or sounds forced. But the fact is that I do it because I want her to feel better. It's as genuine as someone who sounds much smoother (possibly even moreso, since that person might not mean it). I started off spending a lot of time trying to get the wording to sound natural, and sometimes just copied what she or someone else said. If I know that she accepts it, this encourages me to keep trying and get better at sounding more natural. She accepts that I think of a lot of things from first principles rather than intuitively, so she explains her character, what interests her, what she'd like from me etc. I can use this information to try to make her happier.

As they say, if you've met one aspie, you've met... one aspie. I'm not sure how much I share with your partners outside of my gender and diagnosis, but I can say that those two things do not necessarily rule out connection, emotional fulfilment and a happy relationship. I'm sorry that many of your own experiences have been different, and I hope you can find these things in the future.

Sushin said...

Hello,

I am the NT wife of an undiagnosed AS. He is 65 and I am 72 and we have been together for 14 years although I have know him for 20 years. I always knew there was something weird about him and that he had many characteristics of an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD, which is different from OCD). But I knew there was more to it, although I just couldn't put my finger on it. I only found out about a year ago. My husband is not really an adult, more like a child. At first that was something I liked about him because he was fun to be around and there was some kind of naïvety in the way he acted that I found... refreshing! I can be serious when necessary, which is how adults should be, but I don't want to be around people that are serious all the time. So, at first I liked his personality. And also his looks. And the fact that he was making good money doing something he loved (too much... I learned later!) was also a plus. He comes from a very dysfunctional family of 10 children and his mom is very...special to say the least. Some of his brothers too. And they're all workaholics, except for one who just works when he feels like it or runs out of money.

The first years of my relationship with my husband were not bad. He was trying to do the «right» things to keep me relatively happy. But he got back to his normal self when he felt more secure in the relationship. He is always right, feels like a victim each time I ask him for a compromise, even a small one, laughs inappropriately or walks away when I try to have a normal conversation between adults with him. He doesn't know what he is feeling, if he has feelings, and forget about him expressing anything that would resemble a feeling of some kind. For him everything is white or black. And people are good or bad, never in-between. When he comes back from work I say Hello, but he doesn't seem to be able to say Hello in return. He can say Thank you, does it occasionally, but never ever said Sorry when it was appropriate to do so. If he walks on my feet unintentionally he will say it is my fault, I was too close to him or whatever, so why should he apologize for that? His priority number one is his work and everything that is related to it, the second one is his parrot that he treats like a human being, the third one is my cat...and then there is me, his wife. Yup! When I ask him if I am important to him he says that of course I am and that I should know that and also that I am insecure for no reason at all. When I ask him why he loves me he says that I have...nice boobs and that I am pretty! What about the person I am inside? I am nice, understanding, caring, intelligent, and a very good...secretary for him, among other things. He starts a job at home and I finish it. I do his paper work because he has..more important things to do, etc. I would like him to tell me that he appreciates who I am not just what I look like. But he doesn't. (to be continued in my next post)

Sushin said...

(continued)

He still enjoys sex a lot... but I have to initiate it. He never asks... because he thinks it is my job to do so! So, if I don't ask he will make some remarks about it but will not ask himself. I told him lately that if he wants sex he will have to ask it from now on. He said it was fair enough...but is still waiting for me to initiate it. Which I don't do anymore. To show me his affection he sometimes touches me inappropriately instead of holding me in his arms, for instance. He doesn't feel at ease being too close to me for more than a few minutes. He doesn't know how to behave around children, he doesn't like or understand sports, doesn't like music either (just people yelling, he always says). And that could go on and on for pages. He has qualities too, and sometimes (very occasionally!) he realizes that he is hard to live with. Then he will say something like: gee, you are sooo lucky to have a man like me in your life, aren't you? And he will laugh wholeheartedly. He understands my kind of humour and we laugh a lot together. He never yells at me, never belittles me or puts me down. When we are away on vacation he is like another man, more relaxed, more caring. I love those moments.

I stay in that relationship because I want to. There are bad sides and good sides but I always take the time to take care of myself. When I have enough of him I go visit a friend. And I tell him he gets so much on my nerves that I feel like strangling him! If he is in a good mood he will laugh, if he is not I have to watch out because he will play the role of the poor victim (which he is very good at, by the way!) and it will make me angrier! Life with an AS husband or wife is not an easy life, let's face it. I understand that some partners want to leave or even run away. Sometimes it is the only solution. Some days I hate my partner, I admit it, but most of the time I love him and that is why I will stay. And keep taking care of myself by doing all the things that feel good to me...not necessarily to him! I am as strong willed as he is and he knows it! When I decide to do something for myself there is nothing he can do to make me change my mind. And I think he secretly admires me for that!

Jump said...

I find NT-AS relationships confusing. I have high functioning autism/aspergers and will only date men with the same. I have tried and failed at dating neurotypical men in the past. Finding a partner was an interesting experience, as most of the autistic men that I met were in failing relationships with neurotypical women and would tell me how stressed they and their partners were all the time. So it made it very difficult to meet a single autistic man (I have absolutely no interest in dating 'taken' men). Two of my 'NT' cousins are with autistic men (one diagnosed, one not) and have all the same issues as those described by the posters above and are miserable. One is in the process of breaking up, the other in therapy but remaining in the same house for the sake of their child. Both knew about their partner's 'issues' early on. Yet still chose to stay involved and complain constantly about how hurt they feel. Another aunt has autism (it runs in my family) and has been in several very dysfunctional relationships with neurotypical men. I can't feel sympathy for any of them, as they have made this choice.

I don't understand why NT people don't date other NT people and autistic people just date other autistic people. There is a lot of awareness of autism now, so that seems like the logical thing to do. I obviously can't speak for NT people here, but for me the comparison between dating NT men versus autistic men is huge. The latter share my thought process, are really easy to understand, don't get annoyed by honesty, tend to have similar interests, aren't as bothered by the social 'stuff' that NTs value (buying expensive items or cards on certain dates, for example), don't mind if I want to spend 10 hours working on my projects (at times in the same room, without talking), understand things like hyper-sensitivity or preferring routine and planned activities... the benefits are endless. I don't need to walk around on eggshells all of the time and can relax and be myself when I come home, which makes it easier to cope with other areas of life.

The first time I dated an autistic man it felt like I had finally met one of my own species and the sense of calm was immense. I felt like I had actually connected to another person for once on a much deeper level. I still kick myself for wasting two decades of my life struggling to connect to incompatible people. I can't imagine how stressful and confusing it must be for an NT to work out how an 'aspie' thinks, but I guess it must be like the frustration I felt trying to do things the right way all the time when dating NT men. Not good for anyone!

I appreciate it is difficult if you meet someone and don't know they have autism, but if there are no kids involved then I can't understand why the couple doesn't amicably break up and find likeminded partners instead. There is no reason for anyone to remain in unhappy relationships. Dating/marriage is hard work anyway, but adding in all of the additional stress of dating someone who you can never fully understand is just pointless. Everyone deserves to be happy and understood.

NTSister said...

I am a sister of a recently diagnosed 30-something with Aspergers. I just found this blog, and I think it really echoes some of the things that the families can start to feel as we all get older. I literally read this and subbed out the word spouse with family member and marriage with relationship and it hit home so hard.

I know that she is living in a world that doesn't understand her and that if the numbers were the other way and NT's were the major minority that we would be in opposite situations, but she also doesn't seem to try to understand the world. OR understand herself at least. Or her loved ones. At a time where my parents felt they might be retired and have semi-self sufficient grown kids they don't. The rest of us are slogging on through massive debt and she is just miserable and bringing everyone around her down seemingly on purpose (though I know maybe she literally doesn't get how her direct blame and complaining can hurt the rest of us). I work my butt off for barely enough money to make ends meet on my bills and she complains about her credit card debt because she thinks she can not work and still buy whatever she wants. She blames everyone around her (the credit card people gave me ridiculous fees because I COULDN'T pay when I COULDN'T work because I was so upset about _________ (leave out identifiable situation). She won't ("CAN'T!") come visit them or live with them, doesn't call for anything but to be negative and blame them, and doesn't seem to think about others. I love her and it terrifies me when she threatens something like suicide, but I don't really know what any of us is supposed to do. It is worse than a marriage because you can't divorce family.

All I hear is that my sister CAN'T do this and just CAN'T do that, but supposedly people with Aspergers are so rational? If you need to have a place to live and you "CAN'T" work and "CAN'T" go to the therapist to try to get to a place where you can function in society again and hold any job and be kind and caring and not horrible to your family, then you CAN'T have money. If you don't have money you CAN'T live anywhere but a)with your parents (" I CAN'T" go there!!!!!!), b)in some sort of group home for people with disabilities ("I CAN'T!!!!!!"), or I don't really know, on the streets? It seems pretty damn logical to me. If you want to live and do things you need money if you need money you need to work, if not... there is no if not. Then you don't get to buy your obsessive toys. You don't get to buy fast food. Maybe you have to live on PB&J for a while or some other cheap food but oh yeah I forgot, of course, you "CAN'T" eat that. Not don't want to, not it's hard to, but CAN'T. WON'T TRY. DON'T UNDERSTAND MAKING ANY TYPE OF COMPROMISE OR SACRIFICE. It can be incredibly draining on everyone who loves her, but we DO LOVE HER.

NTSister said...


And then there is the guilt. The resent we end up feeling makes us feel terrible. When you love someone, even when you are allowed to have feelings of resentment, they come with major guilt attached, especially when they say things like "maybe the world/you all would be better off without me!". No, the world/we would be better off if you would TRY HARDER. I can appreciate that maybe what looks like ZERO effort from her is actually a LOT of effort to her, but it is not enough, and if you're literally willing to consider suicide because it is that hard then WHY NOT ACCEPT HELP!??? GO TO THE THERAPIST!!!!! If what you are doing is failing so miserably why not try something else!??!?!?!?!?! Aspies are logical? That sure doesn't sound logical.

The second biggest thing I hear is "you just don't understand". And guess what? No matter how hard I try, sometimes I DON'T understand her perspective because it makes no sense to me. If in some instances we "just don't understand", then it ALSO MEANS THAT SHE JUST DOESN't UNDERSTAND OUR SIDE. When that happens it doesn't mean our side is always right, but it ALSO DOESN'T MEAN HER SIDE IS RIGHT! She assumes her side is right and we don't understand and won't try to understand her. It is just as hard for us to feel that she won't try to understand how we work.

For everyone who makes Aspergers out to be a difference and sometimes even an advantage... something that shouldn't be SOLVED and CURED... you don't know what it is like to live with and love someone like my sister. I fear every day that she will end it, I love her so much it hurts, and she SEEM unwilling or unable to care or try. This is not all people with Aspergers, but it really is pretty horrible and to see it cured would make me very happy.

I'm not one of those sappy siblings of a person with disability who says how that "differing ability" made them more compassionate, more understanding, more whatever. It has made me frustrated and angry and resentful. To me it meant that my sister always had different rules and that she never had to compromise but we all had to bend to suit her. It means that when my parents go she will be my responsability, since my sister never learned to live in this world. It means watching my parents AND my sister suffer with this HORRIBLE diagnosis that at times makes us all want to cry. It means she will probably never find anyone to love her romantically or become mature enough to raise kids or even maybe a needy dog (***THIS doesn't mean all Aspies won't, she is an individual person, but honestly she can't love herself, won't take care of herself, and won't try any methods of helping herself). It means feeling resent and guilt all tangled up in love. It is some real sh*t, it is. Is my road easier than hers? I don't know, honestly. Probably it is, because I can't know how hard it is for her to live in this world... but I have to take on all of my hardships as well as hers and try and shape myself to her for a relationship... so to those who say NT's "just don't understand" how it is to be an Aspie... you also JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND how it is to be an NT who loves an Aspie.

Sharon gunn said...

Hi I do understand as I am married 46 years to an Aspie (only real knew the last 7 or 8 years.) A word of advise - you need to distance yourself from her and if she has been diagnosed with ASD then she is probably eligible for some SS and could be in a group home. It is your parents responsibility to see to that or contact Social Services because her dependency will not change. You need to change and what your parents are doing needs to change. You and your parents need a life and she may well be happy in a shared or group living situation where the routines are defined and she is comfortable. Just my thoughts. MY HUSBAND who was a great English teacher in retirement is happy with routines l find mind numbing . I need adventure and variety and only now realise it is okay if he does his routines. He has very almost few friends and only socializes occasionally. When he does at my encouragement he will join me. He often chooses to stay at home and has always avoided any new experiences wether it be games or foods or restaurants or new routes. He is a creature of sameness. He also can have verbal dyslexia meaning he often gets mixed up and says the opposite of what he wants to say. His brain is made this way l have to accept it. You need to understand your sister is not capable of changing how her brain works. Executive functioning skills are not part of her brain function. This is one part of her developmental delay and is permanent. She needs to be in a structured environment and your parents need to help her by setting up that through Social Services and mental health. She should then not be a burden on you or your parents but you can be part of her social contact.Hope this helps.

Sharon gunn said...

I realize this is all easier to talk about than do. I am retired and I had worked overseas for 11 years. My husband spent holidays with me. THAT worked. The togetherness of retirement has not worked. Even for two NT retirement is difficult when you are thrown together.So l have spent five years trying to make it work. Stupid me. So together we decided we need rwo cars and we need to definatley have a regular cleaning person. This will give both of us more independence and l won't feel so overwhelmed by all the responsibilities because believe me he is not responsible for really anything in our lives wether it is house repairs or finances car repairs , keeping up with family children of his siblings. Yes he is like the child l had that never left home . Yes the meltdowns , dyslexia and lack of connection and intimacy can get me down. He is never going to change but l can make my life more dynamic. Yes after 46 years it would be too.trumatic to do anything different. I.know that life was peaceful when we lived apart .So the best is to have more independence. You need to separate yourself from your sister and hav
e your own prioritise
.

tracy r said...

Looking for help and advice I'm an NT woman and have been in a relationship for 3 years with an undiagnosed AS man .... I also have a daughter 14 from a previous relationship whom has AS diagnosed.... so I'm pretty much in the know about AS .... well I thought ...at first the relationship was good ...well it would. He hasn't committed to me still goes back to his moms which in a way is a good thing ....but at times its not... he's selfish,cold don't think about how I feel, don't do anything for me as a partner...I feel like a slave .... as this moment it's really getting me down ...I've tried to explain how he's making me feel but I'm just basically being ignored or shut out...he doesn't help at home or financially..I've been at the end of my tether with him ....it's like he wouldn't care if we broke up... feel if I'm being used ..he has said if I stop moaning at him he will show affection.... that's not right.. all about him ... where do I come.. feeling a bit bullied here ...this relationship is all one sided...I love him but I thinking I can't take much more ..I'm a person that's if something bothering me I speak up ... so in need of some advice

Jonathan Roberts said...

Tracy - If it's really that one sided, what is keeping you together? He doesn't want to commit to a long term relationship and seems to be less concerned about whether the relationship lasts than you are. He doesn't show affection or support you emotionally or financially. Why are you still with him if he's wearing you down? This seems to be a dynamic that a few people have mentioned - loving someone but seeing them as cold and selfish - I can't say that I really understand it. To be honest, it seems a little like the famous friendzone - giving too much to a relationship in the hope that the other person will feel the same way that you do and bring the relationship up a level, despite the fact that they don't have the feelings that you want them to have. If you're not happy with the current dynamic and it's obvious that he doesn't want to change, please don't spend the next few decades with him. As with other friendzone relationships, if you keep giving without being happy with what you're getting in return, you will become bitter and the other person will keep accepting your investment in the relationship until you back away.

On the other hand, if you do want to stay I would really recommend focusing on the positive things he does for you and reinforcing that behaviour rather than picking up on negative aspects as much (for example, I cook, clean and look after the kids and my wife notices or does it with me, thereby encouraging me to keep doing those things. Using explicit and positive language really helps in our relationship). If there are no positives, I'm back to wondering why you're still with him. Leaving him and being clear why it's not working for you would save you a lot of pain in the future and would probably help him to act in a better way in the future.

tracy r said...

Thank you Jonathan for you wise words....what you say it true .. I don't like being negative.. but can honestly say he does nothing for me ...don't cook clean I'm like a maid whom don't get paid ... I'm am starting to resent him.i don't know how long I can do this for.. he has had a few relationships before me ..he says he's always been like this and not going to change... all I can think is how would he feel been treated this way (he wouldn't put up with that) in the end I will have to make the decision to walk away ��

Sharon gunn said...

Tracys you have only been three years in this relationship. It is one sided as you say and l can say from experience it will not change. You may think his behavior might change if he would only see how he can do that. Well from experience it is you the NT person who needs to change your expectations. The statistics for relationships with Aspies are something like 80 percent live apart or are divorced. If l knew when l was younger what was the reason for the complications in our relationship ie very one sided relationship difficulty with communication and social issues l believe l would have moved on. I am an independent self sufficient woman but l see now all the issues were stemming from ASD. We raised two children together but it was 99% me as the parent. I had wanted more children but instinctively knew that l had a third child. Every important decision in our lives has been directed from myself. His decisions are not well balanced as he can not weigh all the options ; executive functioning , planning,predicting and organizing are not an Aspie strength. I forget this at times and go against my better judgement which l often regret. Don't get me wrong he can be an amazingly intelligent person.You need to get on with your life and find a person you can build a life with and this chap can be a friend but not the life partner. He will not be a life partner as he can not fill that on even a partial basis. I have been married for 46 years to an Aspie; 40 of those years with only the knowledge that something didn't work in our marriage. He never was a partner in that he never stepped up to the plate to even try. He was however an amazingly funny and witty guy. He was more a child and l looked after his life for him. Had l known l would not have risked the genetic consequences that our children would be ASD. His father and other relatives I believe we're ASD. His parents divorced and l can see why.So move on with your life.Let him be a friend but not your life partner; he will never provide the partnership and intimacy you are seeking.

Sharon gunn said...

Tracy your thoughts are on the mark-he will never get it. He is not able to think about your point of view.He is not able to put himself in your shoes. That is the whole crunch of the " Theory of mind" an ASPIE can not relate or find empathy for another person.My husband spends a lot of time studying the bird life in our property and relates to them in many ways but can not anticipate how l am feeling so you are right move on .

tracy r said...

Thanks sharon.... it's very true what you say and very hard .....I know what I should do ...it's doing it and hurting people ...and walking away...i do try to accept him ...but feel like a constant robot ....no interaction with the kids or me is soul destroying... my 3 years have been all about him ...so lost myself along the way ..I will have to make a decision as don't know how long I can keep giving and him taking x thanks sharon x

Jonathan Roberts said...

Tracy - I've always told my wife that it's very important that she respects me and doesn't treat me like a child - not that respect is automatically deserved, but I think people should be in relationships for their own benefit and not because it's good for the other person. Once you're afraid to leave because it might be bad for them (other than if they get sick, disabled or something similar that would be covered in marriage vows, more that they are fundamentally unable to live independently and you are carrying the relationship), it becomes more of a carer/patient or parent/child relationship. If it gets to that, I think we may both be better apart, because I want an equal partner, not a carer. In your case, you have the advantage that you don't have to read between the lines - he's been honest with you that he feels unable or unwilling to change regardless of how it affects you, and you need to choose whether you'd be happier with him as he is or alone/with someone else.

Sharon - while I agree with a number of things you said, it's not my experience that only my wife has changed and she doesn't believe that it's a one-sided relationship. In fact, she has said that the last decade and a half have been the happiest of her life and that I do a lot of the work around the house, especially since she had a shoulder injury that affected her ability to work. (Recently I commented that maybe my Aspergers is very mild if we are able to make things work and be happy together - she strongly disagreed). I'm certainly not accusing you of saying this, but I'm not a robot and I can account for my shortcomings or potential problems that I could bring to a relationship, and try to make accommodations.

For example, I realised pretty early on that I can be active in a workplace or at home, but not really both. I do translation work from home and prioritise time away from people for a large part of the day so that I can concentrate on my work and have the energy to spend time with family and friends later on. This is an important part of being married, so I need to find a way to do it. A few years ago I wouldn't want to speak to my wife when I got home, and I'd need a good hour or so before I was ready - it isn't that I didn't care about her, I just had no energy left. We've also spent a lot of time trying to understand each other and our different needs, so it's not so much that I'm incapable of knowing what she feels like, just that I don't learn in the same way.

I also realised that intrinsic motivation is really important to me - I will not do well if I'm nagged or pushed to do something, and I have to find ways of enjoying what I'm doing if I'm going to be able to do it at all. As you say, executive functioning, planning, predicting and organizing are not my strengths (I have ADHD too, which doesn't help). I try not to label myself with my shortcomings though, so while I only have a certain amount of energy to do everything, I am not necessarily unable to do any specific thing (i.e. budgeting energy and prioritising activities are important). I can't follow verbal instructions well, so my smartphone is really important for reminders, lists, organisation etc. I'm much more functional if I've had enough sleep, healthy food, exercise and time to myself, so I prioritise those things - and so does my wife. She knows that nagging me will make things worse, so we try to work out ways of getting things done without being unrealistic about what we can do or pushing everything onto one person (not necessarily her - she has a number of her own limitations or bites off more than she can chew and I often have to take the slack). Finding the right time to discuss appointments and plans is important, because I need to be mentally prepared to be able to concentrate.

Jonathan Roberts said...

Continued:

I think this is a difference between me and NTsister's experience of her sister. It's not that I CAN'T do something, it's just that a lot of things don't work in expected ways. We need to be creative and work together, or else we are unintentionally sabotaging our relationship. A big thing is that I know I can be stubborn and unable to see alternatives if our plans change, so I work against that and once I recognise a pattern in my responses, I'm much more likely to back down and trust that my wife is thinking clearer in that moment. On the other hand, it isn't a power struggle, and she hasn't won - we're just recognising our respective limitations and strengths. At other times she'll recognise that I am probably thinking clearer, and she'll be more inclined to trust my judgement.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Parenting-Strong-Willed-Child

While this is aimed at parents of children, I think the advice can easily be applied to partners of adults with autism - I want an equal relationship as much as my wife does, but we need to recognise our differences and make positive plans for how that can work out. Being explicit, positive, acting with mutual respect and believing the best, finding ways of showing empathy and recognising both of our limitations in that area are all important. If something goes wrong, she doesn't act with passive aggression, nag or complain to her friends, and I don't shut down and avoid her. We discuss what effect the other person's behaviour has on us, and where we have particular difficulties in a non-judgemental way. It does require willingness on both sides, but theory of mind is not completely inaccessible to us if we have some help.

Finally, I agree with NTsister that Aspies are not necessarily more logical than everyone else, although NTs and Aspies can look very illogical to each other. I have a very divergent way of thinking, so sometimes a connection may seem very obvious to me and very odd to someone else. On the other hand, it can take me a while to understand something that is very intuitive to someone like my wife (although often my way of thinking can result in nuanced solutions, so it's not that it has no value, even at those times). I also realise that like many Aspies, I have a strong sense of right and wrong - which isn't the same as an accurate one. My wife has her own perspective that, while more conventional in many ways, is also not necessarily accurate. We both have learned to appreciate each other's ways of thinking and not assume that what is obvious to us should be accepted by the other person.

tracy r said...

Jonathan...it's nice to here your views..I do try and understand my Aspire partner..whom thinks he is right all the time ...I would disagree..of course... my 14 old daughter is Autistic too but I've lived with her all her life which at times is tryin..I have had to adapt my whole life around her... I am prepared to work together but how do you do it when only one person is willing to try... I have been nagging lately which I know doesn't help but am so flustered of doing everything on my own ....might as well be on my own

Jonathan Roberts said...

Tracy - please don't think I'm criticising you for anything you've done - I don't think it's possible for this kind of relationship to work out if only one person is willing to contribute, and my comments were only to illustrate how it has worked so far in our case. I try to stay free of ethical judgement on a number of these issues and rather look at optimal solutions - in my case, nagging has never worked even when I've clearly deserved it. I was considered a very difficult child and my parents' and teachers' discipline techniques didn't work. Where I can work together with my wife, we try to see patterns and treat them almost as you would a game strategy - in the moment, it's good to have established techniques that both of us can agree upon and know to follow. I can understand the urge to always be right - growing up you're surrounded by people who tell you that your perspective is wrong, and it's easy to become stubborn. On the other hand, listening and being willing to be wrong is an important way of learning and getting on with others. We disagree on a number of things - for example, she's a strong Evangelical Christian and I became an atheist after we got married - but we manage to respect each other's beliefs and not push our own on each other.

I was only diagnosed three months ago, although my wife has always suspected that I was autistic (I first suspected it less than a year ago). It's been really intense over the last half year - I've been on some ADHD medicine that drastically increased my anxiety and depression, and reading so many comments here and elsewhere about the poor odds of people like me having a lasting relationship, along with the damage it does to the partners, was very hard. Although I would probably have a number of doubts about the accuracy and universality of the 80% statistic, it is *really* high and Sharon's relationship would count as one of the successful ones despite the issues she's mentioned. I can see a lot of parallels in my relationship with common dynamics - my wife is very caring and loves to help other people. She wouldn't consider divorcing me - I spent some time trying to convince her that she shouldn't stay with me on principle if I was just a burden on her. I'm on different medication and thinking clearer now, but it seems to be an interesting dynamic where men with Aspergers end up with NT woman with this kind of personality. Some couples really do seem to be able to learn to communicate better, but it does take a lot of targeted effort by both people.

tracy r said...

Jonathan I don't think your criticising at all it is kind of a relief to hear your comments... I see you do a lot more for your wife than my partner does for me ... I have to be realistic that I spend the rest of my life with him as I don't want to end this is don't want to be with someone whom I'm worth nothing to ...he said if I carry on moaning then he off so ...shut up and put up as he is not willing to work with me ...I do give a lots in the relationship and do like to feel appreciated once in a while ....time will tell I guess ....but carnt get it off my mind at the moment..

Jonathan and Monika said...

To depersonalise it, I think #2 of the marriage tips makes sense:

A relationship with an Aspergers partner may take on more of the characteristics of a business partnership or arrangement.

What I'm worried about is the sort of interplay of personality traits with NT/AS relationships that can cause friction, and are particularly hard on the NT partner. I've noticed that my wife feels very uncomfortable with pushing someone else to carry their own weight. I've seen it happen many times since I've known her - she starts something with a group, then as other people lose steam, she takes on their responsibilities and makes sure that everything stays functioning. She might raise the issue with the group, but there's little impetus to change and she ends up taking up a lot of the responsibility. Last year she agreed to clean the church as one of about 10 people on the rota. Now she's doing a third of the work and she's the one in charge of organising the cleaning schedule. I kept warning her about this, but she keeps jumping into these scenarios. If someone cancels, she feels obligated to drop by and make the church look presentable, because she wouldn't want people to come to a dirty church or for the group to look bad. When she asks others to volunteer, there's not much response.

While she's actually gotten better in this area, I think this is part of the dynamic in many NT/AS relationships. Asking, nagging or explaining often don't help, because many AS people don't learn very well that way. I find it easy to act in a similar way to written reminders about bills or other obligations. I try not to, but all the bills, family medical issues, school activities etc. can get on top of you and ignoring the demands for attention and action can be an inclination that I have to resist. Doing it for me can be an urge that's hard for my wife to resist. Thinking of it like a business relationship can help - and that means confronting me with reality and not just taking my part of the work or accepting my inertia. Change and new things are difficult - I've felt overwhelmed many times and my wife does help me (I also help her when she's overloaded). But at the end of the day, if I don't pay bills I will face consequences - the reminders will eventually stop and the company will not wait to become bankrupt before taking away the benefits I'm receiving from them (and probably fining me too). If I said that I'll take my business elsewhere if the letters don't stop, I would not be taken seriously - I am not the one in a position to make demands.

So I guess my point is that I really wish you all the best in your relationship and hope he does change, but please don't feel obligated to save the relationship at all costs. If he is counting on your unwillingness to let him go, call his bluff - relationships take commitment on both sides and he is the one who stands to lose if this arrangement ends. If he is willing to change, it will be hard and he will need support, but it is possible. Ultimately though, you need to look out for your own interests and those of your daughter.

Angelica said...

Thank you so much for this article! My husband of 10 years is currently being assessed for ASD. We have suspected it for a long time. We have a very happy marriage and I wouldn't change him for the world, but this list had me nodding along so much that my neck started to ache!

Although my husband's ASD behaviours can be challenging at times, I believe in true love and believe that with hard work and consideration from both sides we can continue to be happy together.

I especially liked the part about joining in with your partner's (sometimes obsessive) interests. My husband is constantly writing and recording music - he even plays guitar in bed! So I learned to play bass and now we play together in a band and both enjoy it enormously.

Thanks again for the relatable, thought-provoking article and for taking the time to list the tips.

Diepiriye said...

Thanks Jimmy Olsen for reminding us that it really may be hopeless to expect anything other than what you wrote in response.

Diepiriye said...

Michelle S, I can see that you are in no way surprised by the comeback of the likes of Jimmy Olsen and others who came to argue and defend their perspective...the same arguments that folks came here to avoid because it's at home. I appreciate your patience and tenacity- even when confronted by an clear tantrum (again, one of the reasons why folks are here). Sadly, it's all just emotionally tiring. Tiring to see comments like yours met with that trademark Aspi pattern that you laid out in your measured responses to the bullying.

Wife and mom of ASD said...

In what way did it save your marriage? Did he attend counseling? acknowledge his shortcomings and make specific changes? I'm in this situation and we have an ASD child. Im in therapy myself. I'm just so exhausted.

Sharon gunn said...

Hi Of course saving my marriage has always been a priority. Yes counselling for me is always on the agenda. It is debilitating to the NT partner to always be the responsible partner and ad well be under the gun. The constant monitoring of everything is the overwhelming stressful aspect of my life with my partner.l am getting better at ignoring his meltdowns and anxiety attacks.He does admit he has a bad memory and that there are things he cannot process. I believe that one thing l could do is take regularly time away for myself and be more independent of him.He is incapable of dealing with the complexity of òur lives as he can rarely deal with one thing at a time. So l would need to simplify our lives . We own several properties and business rental so all these need attention and he can only deal with mowing a lawn or doing the dishes or folding laundry. I don't know how we have made it through 46 years of marriage. I guess l always looked after most of the responsibilities but at some point began to assess the imbalance when we /he retired. He was a great teacher and musician. His meltdowns and temper tantrums are what really alerted me to something is not right here. His sensory issues to textures ,sounds , light seemed excentric and alerted me to ASD as a possibility. He now agrees and l do have more empathy for him that way. On an everyday level he can cope if not much is expected of him.He is not able to plan ahead or find empathy for any family member. He makes no effort to be connected to others including family or friends that only happens if l promote or arrange that.He is only able to cope in the momentary has no strategies for improvement. I would have to arrange and set that up.Those on the outside looking in would see my husband ad a great guy; he is a wealth of knowledge re history and guitars. He can be very witty and entertaining. He enjoys chatting up waitresses and flattering close women frinds. He is at a loss with new people and in group situations as the dynamics of a give and take conversation are lost on him. He can hold forth and be a great raconteur and that is how he gets by socially. I have learned to live with this. I have given up on social get together in our home as he is not able to cope. Going out and attending functions oe out with other couples works
. Although he is awkward in new situations and l always have to take charge to introduce people to him, find the seats, pay the bill etc.He can not ask the water for things he will do without. I have to make sure he understands the menue or order for him. Being with him is exhausting.

tracy r said...

Wife and mom of ASD

I too am like you my daughter has ASD, my other half has traits and I believe 100% he is autistic.....I'm exhausted stressed and just wish someone was there for me it's hard at times and I feel alone. Life can be a struggle and every day I learn xx just to let you know I understand xx

Sharon gunn said...

Well thankyou for you comment Tracy. It would be great to have a support group where l live. I may just have to approach the provincial chapter of the association.l went to ASD meetings but they are focused on young students and not Adults.

tracy r said...

Hi sharon...where about do you live ....there is not much support for adults with ASD ...I just look up information online....don't think my partner would go to anything anyway... good days and bad days ...it's me that needs support x

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content