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 Aspergers: Help for Couples

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA


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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 Seven said...


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.

Unknown 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.

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.

Unknown 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 :)

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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

Anonymous 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.

anonymous 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.

Unknown 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!

Unknown 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!

Unknown 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

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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown said...

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

Mab 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

Unknown 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 :)

Mab 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?


Unknown 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. :)

Peacebringer 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.

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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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...


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...


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 naΓ―vety 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...


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

Unknown 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

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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 .

Unknown 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

Unknown 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.

Unknown said...


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.


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.

Unknown 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

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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 Γ²ur 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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

Unknown said...

I've learned a lot being with my aspie husband. We are now at a healthy place. I've learned to share that I'm feeling sad because I don't get much physical touch, or that hearing I'm beautiful would really make my day. He is intelligent, he just doesn't think that same as I do.

I'm large and pregnant now, with our second child. While in conversation with my husband the other day I became animated with signs of pain and shouted "oh ouch!" And my husband was so focused on his story that he didn't notice my back cramp. I was so upset, in that moment I wanted to yell and cry about every other time this has happened in the past, but I didn't. What I did was inhale deeply then ask "did you not recognize my face and see the sign of pain" he was honest and said "no" I let the anger go and filled that space with understanding and mild confusion. After all this time, I'm still so baffled that something so obvious isn't obvious to him, and that's just a fact. It's not because he is inconsiderate or stupid. It's because his brain doesn't read faces subconsciously. He is a great people reader but that is because he was diagnosed as a small boy, growing up with this diagnosis he learned to train himself in his areas of weakness. If we were in a social setting and he was "on" he'd be in overdrive reading all and ever face and body language he could see. When we are alone and at home, he is relaxed, not "on" and not prepared to read unanticipated faces. While cooking dinner on the night of my back pain incident, I told my husband how I felt. I said it really mad me angry you didn't leap to my aid, but then I realized you didn't know I was hurt so for me to be angry with you was like being mad at you for something you knew nothing about.

I've learned to not get annoyed when my husband can't find the jam, when it's on the top center shelf. He is looking in the door where it should be. He will never see the lost item that is right in front of him, however he will see the patterns that form from the falling leaves, the fractures that form on the side of the plastic play structure, and he will have a wealth of knowledge to share.

I've learned to not compare our life to others but to appreciate our relationship and our love. I'm getting better at learning how to ask for help without upsetting my husband and how to gently let him know when I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the house chores and need some help. In the early years I'd make a chart and we assign who does what, but my husband is too independent for this and it makes him feel controlled.

I'm currently working on asking for more help at home. Sticking to routines we can all count on, as I'm an organic fly of my pants kinda gal. Sharing more of the parenting duties as this was really hard for me. Building more of a social life in our community, so my husband can have more alone time and I can have more social time. Still haven't figured out how to address our sex life, as it's fairly one sided, but we have years to work on it. I have a feeling a waxing is part of the solution here...

In the end it's about communication, compromise, and solutions. I'm certainly learning lots but I don't think my husband's brain type is a sentence of doom. My husband is a unique human but aren't we all?

Sharon Gunn said...

I think you need to establish now a routine for him to share the responsibilities of your home.It doesn't work for Aspies to pitch in on occasion l know my husband operates better if he has predictable routines

Sharon Gunn said...

Hi l know you are more of a free spirit but l know most Aspies function much better with routines. I am like you and am more a spontaneous person but l can't be critical if he doesn't know what is expected.My husband looks for things to do but is simply not aware of all the routine jobs. So if l wrote them down l believe we would function better and l would not feel so burdened. Having someone come to clean every week or every few weeks would really be a big help just to do floors bathrooms and door jambs. My husband is a bit OCD so he does the laundry the grocery getting. No jobs are shared so that makes me feel lonely. He cannot stand to be doing things together as l would want to discuss how we will do it. An example might be calibrating the fertilizer for the lawn. He cannot do that and it is just better for me to do it. So it is difficult for us free spirits to work with Aspies who might be OCD. Yet finding some middle ground with routines posted might relieve you/me of some of the responsibilities.l try to focus on what we can do together beach walks are on our list or regular walks in the neighborhood. Just for exercise. We also enjoy lunch out or gallery visits or the movies. Still it really takes planning to have a relationship with him as he is very contented on his own. He never thinks of the future. All the responsibilities of finances and house repairs fall on me. In that respect he is a child.

Anonymous said...

It's very typical that NT partners will show their frustrations while the aspies will defend their rights. Whatever. I take no offence from any aspie who thinks that my feelings aren't valid, nor do I have intention to condemn any of them. But my experience is very much like all of the NT partners have described their negative experiences. For years, I thought he was just emotionally abusive and I was sticking around due to finances. After 4 years together, he was just diagnosed with Aspergers and it all kind of makes sense. But I was planning on dumping him this spring when the lease was up. Now what? I'm going to be made out to be a monster if I leave him. He says nothing will help him at this point and I just have to live with it. I don't care what disease you have, if you're unwilling to try to manage it, how can you expect me to stick around? I have depression and anxiety, I have NEVER told him "you'll just have to live with it". I manage it, sure I could stay in bed all day but I want to be a good wife and partner. I want to do what I can to make sure our relationship lasts. He refuses to. Aspie or not, refusal to better your situation or accept that you are the problem is the reason why we NT's are so emotionally distraught and thinking of leaving you, not BECAUSE you have Aspergers. I just wanted to get that straight. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Ginger..... understand you most definitely...I am like you...my partner can stay in bed ....I was painting the hall and he lay in bed playing a game he's 44.... ohhhhhh I was fuming inside I've thought about lot bout giving up myself and ending the relationship... would he care I don't think ...I'm at my wits end at times all about him.

Unknown said...

Ginger, you are some kind of stupid and evil. If your husband got into an accident and lost part of his brain, would you say "Well, you're just not trying hard enough to be NORMAL". F*ck you, I'm tired of NT's expecting me to grow the part of my brain that never developed because I have Aspergers, as though somehow I'm doing it willfully. If YOU were to experience what it's like to be this way, you would probably kill yourself.

Jonathan and Monika said...

I think that while stories like yours are quite common online, it's hard to say how common they are as a proportion of NT/AS relationships. Diagnoses often happen when there are problems, so there are presumably many undiagnosed aspies living happily with NT partners. I can recognise why relationships could follow the pattern you and others have experienced, but it isn't the only possible outcome.

I do think that you should look to your own interests and choose to stay or go depending on what's best for you (and you aren't a monster either way), but if you are willing to reconsider based on this diagnosis: what does he mean by the claim that he can't change? What are his limitations? What would he be willing to change in his lifestyle to allow him to contribute more to your needs? Does he seem indifferent to the relationship, overstressed from other commitments or something else? I've found a change in my working routine to be very helpful, but this would only work if he's able and willing to invest in the relationship.

It could also be that your interests aren't aligned and you need to negotiate what you want from the relationship. My wife likes a lot of social activity, but there would be a lot more friction if she expected me to participate every time. I like playing games (occasionally) or discussing issues online, which my wife thinks of this as a waste of time. But she goes to church and dedicates a lot of her time, effort and money to that. As long as we're clear that the other person considers these activities to be hobbies that shouldn't take up too many resources and should make us feel better, it's ok.

@Tracy funnily enough, today I was renovating the house while my wife was chatting with some couchsurfers she invited last night (we moved earlier this week so everything's still being organised). Tomorrow I will be taking rubbish to the recycling centre while she gives a talk at church. At the end of the day, she earns money and helps at home, so I'm ok about her choosing how to spend her time off. I don't know whether this is analogous to your situation at all, but in any case I wouldn't consider playing games to be a waste of time if you enjoy it and it doesn't eat up too much of your time.

Unknown said...

How dare you call her stupid you emotional cripple!
Ignore him Ginger, if you read through the entire thread you will see he gets off on antagonising neurotypically developing individuals who have the 'audacity' to speak out about the abusive consequences of the childish antics of his Asperger counterparts.
You have done nothing wrong.. Your feelings are valid.. You are an intelligent and incredibly courageous woman to have survived existence with one of these soul raping parasites.
Follow your gut and ignore the following abusive posts that Jimmy's Aspie brain will inevitably compel him to make.. So predictable..
You keep fighting girl.. Much love..

Unknown said...

Perhaps a useful analogy for some...
If you're drowning in your relationship, does it matter why your Aspie partner can't swim?? Fact is they can't and you make a conscious decision to either allow the drowning person to pull you under too so you both die OR you let them go and save yourself..
An easy decision to make given that the Aspies are the ones that dictate life is lived by the 'every man for himself' rule..

Unknown said...

Much love and appreciation for your reply..

Unknown said...

Soooo surprising for an Aspie to resort to bullying and abuse to feel he has won an argument (that wasn't an argument to begin with as all NT's would relate to)..
The emoticons show the only option that would be more productive and fulfilling than attempting year after year to reason with an Aspie...

Mab said...

I have responded to this post before, But I don't know whether I have Asperger syndrome or not, certain symptoms certainly. I would wish everyone else on this post Aspie or NT whoever all good wishes for the future and a timely answer to all your problems. Life for me is hard but I try to be as polite and compassionate as I can nowadays.

Catie Stark said...

Jesus Christ, you people are horrible. I'm a female bodied autistic person married to an autistic husband. I just can't fathom the bullshit all of you are spewing. Talking about us like we're subhuman, like we don't have feelings and saying that relationships aren't a priority to us?! What the actual fuck???. I sincerely hope that none of you have children on the spectrum because this shit is deplorable. I can't even.... And don't you dare try to turn this around and say I'm "acting badly" because I'm autistic. You ask are the sort of people who want is dead, who think that parents who kill their children are committing "mercy killings". I chose every weird if this post absolutely deliberately and with intent. You don't get to have the out of blaming my autism for who I am and what you deserve to hear because of the awful shit you've said here in this comments section. This is deplorable and despicable. If you have marriage problems, take them to a therapist. Don't come here and publicly hate on an entire group of people who did not choose to be born autistic anymore than anyone with neurological differences chooses to be born that way. Fuck all of you so hard for having zero understanding and this much utter hatred and nonsense for people who are simply different than you are.

Unknown said...

Catie Stark- I don't agree with everything that was said here by other or by you. I came here to try to lend my experience and maybe find some support. Everyone on the autism spectrum is a little different, I appreciate that you value relatshionships- my husband, self-admittedly says he'd love if he could just be a recluse and not have to deal with people. He is 35 and just learning the value of relatshionships, through the one with his daughter, till her he never really cared (his words) to build relatshionships or maintain them. My husband is well liked and has many friends, but I think it's also partly because he is this mystery to many. He doesn't let others in and often only offers blips of higher level intellect on the matters of AI, Physics, and many others topics. Your blanketed hate to all of us here is really lame and not want I wanted to read first thing this morning. I do agree that some people posted some really incorrect facts or highly insensitive comments. Why continue the hate? I have a child and I often hope she is on the spectrum- I think it's a super power in many ways and a big reason why I fell in love with my husband. He cut through my BS and taught me how to view my emotions objectively- not something all of us know how to do. My husband is a person like you and I. However, Our relatshionships problems aren't understood with therapists and the dynamics of a group like that make him shut down and fly on autopilot followed by rage in private. This wasn't the case with my other partners. We have problems that need different solutions, acceptance, support, and education. Normal relatshionships therapy tactics hasn't worked for us.

Unknown said...

I can't believe this is what people think about people like me. I have Asperger's myself, and I would like to have a girlfriend someday(i'm also a girl, which makes it a little harder) but it seems like people just think we're incapable of giving love. That is untrue. Maybe there might be some differences, but I can't help the way my brain is wired. I wish I had someone to give my love to.

KatieKV said...

I have been reading these comments with interest- I am a woman in my thirties with an as mother, only recently diagnosed as such. I understand how maddening AS behaviour can be. I would not say I hate my mother, but I definitely hate the condition. I started to search for threads like this to get a different perspective- my mother wears her diagnosis as a badge of honour and uses 'neurotypical' as a sneering insult. It is devastating to have been brought up with very little physical comfort or affection- my mother still looks at me confused if I want to give her a kiss on the cheek goodbye. I feel like I have been conditioned never to criticise her on anything due to her backlash of complete denial and disregard for my feelings or needs, shouting and crying episodes, or shutting me out completely for at least two days. I also feel that because she feels unaffected by something she thinks I should be as well. This has actually meant she has tried to block me from getting support from professional bodies because she doesn't see the need (once when I had postnatal depression and once after I was sexually assaulted). When I was little her obsessive behaviour around her interests meant that I was ignored and not fed etc. I feel like any pretence of trying to be reasonable has disappeared now she has the diagnosis. The only conversations I can have with her are the ones where I show appreciation for stories and information she has already told me. I just feel complete rage about anything aspergers related. Thank you for sharing your stories about how awful it is to live around it has made me feel less crazy.

Unknown said...

Katie xx

We all a little crazy... bless you and a big hug for you xx autism is a challenge for both parties involved....I do feel most of the time that my feelings do not matter in my partners eyes .... my daughter is also as... doesn't matter how hard it try with my partner...I feel lost and most definitely alone ....when I need support he just no there emotionally or physical.... I get angry as I do feel emotions.... I too feel like I'm the one going crazy and he's just watching me ....it's very frustrating...it's don't know what lies ahead....really wish I did glad you found the site I really like and appreciate people's stories and views...it is reassuring that someone is there...

Keep strong

πŸ’• Tracy πŸ’•

Unknown said...

I met my partner through a Facebook page. We lived on opposite sides of the country but just "clicked" After weeks of texts and phone calls he told me he loved me. He came to visit me for a weekend and it cemented how much I loved this guy. We wanted to be together so it was decided I'd move state to be with him. I've since been living with him for 8 weeks now. I noticed he wasn't affectionate or particularly loving which fuelled my abandonment/insecurity issues. He works away as an interstate truck driver and last week he made no contact whatsoever for 3 days and I freaked out. He eventually replied to a text I sent saying I was genuinely worried about him to which he replied "I'm ok just want to be alone". In an effort to try and understand I eventually came across Aspergers and a light bulb went off. Everything I read described him to the letter. I spent a very uncomfortable weekend with him at home with his 7 year old son, he's not spoken a word to me and I slept elsewhere in my attempt to give him the space he wanted. I'm so scared he means alone permanently but he's not given me any indication he wants to break up. I haven't tried to call or text him to respect his wishes. He told me all his ex girlfriends left him and I kinda understand why but I want him to know I haven't given up on him. I have a suspicion he may have been diagnosed at some point but is in denial. Why do I think this? Because a few weeks back, and I can't remember how the subject came up, he commented Aspergers was a load of shit. I love this man and I'm not sure if he's being cruel to be kind or just needs some alone time for awhile. I'm 42 he's 37. Any insight would be appreciated.

Sharon Gunn said...

Sounds like he is aware of Aspergers and in denial. It will not change. I have a lifetime of experience with this. Some very astute Aspies will develop strategies to be reciprocal in a relationship. It is a lonely path for the NT. Can you tell him what you need in the relationship? It's early yet for you, moving on is still an option.

Unknown said...

Hi and welcome 😊 Kelly

I've been with my partner 3 years and it's
not been easy, he can go for days not talking to me with hurts my feelings as he's pushing me away and I haven't a clue what to do myself πŸ™ it's hard ...at the moment we are not talking and I'm lost and lonely.... I tell him how I feel but he doesn't seem interested and says I'm moaning so I feel I can't talk to him ...and how is that going to sort anything out ....sorry for going on and on ...I'm just as lost as you Kelly..πŸ€—

Unknown said...

Hi sharon
Reading your advice... what to do if you do ask the AS (my partner)what you want and need all the time and upsetting yourself and still no response...liking he don't care about me ...very sad time for me atm ...

Unknown said...

tracy r, I get the exact same reaction! He tells me I'm a "sook" which I can be but it's hard not knowing what's going on in his head and of course I start to imagine what he's thinking and get myself all worked up. I can cope with the lack of affection and the other symptoms but I'm struggling with being shut out completely without contact. I have no friends or family here and I'm not coping well. My Mum died in July and this stress is getting to be too much to cope with so I'm going to see a GP today 😞

Julie Martin said...

I've been married to my husband for 14 months who I suspect has high end Asperges. Prior to that we had been together for 4 years. The last 12 months have been incredibly tough. I've had a lot of different life changing events, my father dying, changing a job because of bullying and breaking my ankle. My husband has had very little empathy to some of the situations and has told me I would be able to get on a motorbike after 6 weeks when the consultant told me at least 12 weeks. My husband was angry and made the comment just because the consultant said 6 weeks you don't have to believe him. This is just one example of hundreds of inappropriate behaviour.

I have been to a counsellor purely to see what I was doing wrong and when she said to me regarding some of his behaviour he could be Asperges, it all came together, I read books, articles. Spoke to other people with Asperges partners and I felt a great relief. Unfortunately before I knew my husbands condition my behaviour was questionable. I thought I was going mad. Couldn't function at work properly. Couldn't sleep. Felt hurt by his sessions of controlling, every time I spoke I was told I was critising him. Couldn't say I knew how to drive as he knew best. Couldn't have an opinion without him flying off the handle. I couldn't have opinion about children as I had only had one child he had bought 3 children up so he knew best. These are just a few things I'm having to deal with. I'm seriously at the end of my tether. I don't know what to do, he has said we need to part but I love him and feel I would be abandoning him when he has a condition that needs help and he is in denial. I'm going for further counselling on Friday as I have told my husband this will help for me to deal with him.

Unknown said...

Hi all
Yes we do love them in a strange way ....but do we have to sacrifice our happiness I know that my partner is not there for me emotionally,physically or mentally 😩 it is so draining ...so is that OK...to him may be not me he saying he not showing me affection because I'm moaning why do i literally have to beg for attention and then still none I really do feel alone and angry that he just not caring ...just don't know what to do

Jonathan and Monika said...

Hi Kelly,
Aspergers is just a label – if your partner doesn’t like it, it may be better to avoid it around him. If it helps you to understand him better, that’s great – you can still work with his traits and learn more about what you can expect, what might improve and what probably won’t. One thing I find is that this is very personal – you cannot separate my autism from me, so I need to know that I’m not going to be dismissed because of something I can’t change. A common thread in a few comments is that they suggest you split up – I’ve done the same before, and in my case it’s a statement that this is who I am. If it’s a dealbreaker, we’d better break the deal now on good terms because I don’t want to hurt my wife. If not, we need to accept each other.

Consider his behaviour a kindness of sorts. He’s showing you who he really is rather than putting on an act. As with any partner, you need to decide whether you’re happy to stay with him even if he never changes (and many get less sociable as they age). In my experience, I cannot always be with people, and it can be very helpful to take some time away. My wife is very sociable, but she doesn’t expect me to be present all the time and often I can just greet the guests when they come and go. She also lets me take a few days away now and then, because I need the space to think. In turn, I don’t try to stop her from seeing people and support her where I can.

It might help if you established some guidelines for these times away. You need to feel that he cares about you while he’s away, and he needs unpressured time alone, or else he feels overloaded. At this point you could negotiate only to call or text him once a day at a set time, so he can mentally prepare. He needs to respond during those times, but for the rest of the time there’s no pressure. Otherwise you get into assumptions about the other person’s motives, which are often not true when you’re dealing with people of different neurologies.

One of the main things is that you mustn’t rely on him to provide you with emotional support all the time. It’s unfortunate, but if you can negotiate about meeting each of your needs this doesn’t have to be a big problem. One of the problems with begging for attention is that if you’re not ready for it, each request brings the stress levels higher. Often this can be about affection *right now*, when this is particularly unlikely to work – AS people often react strongly against sudden changes of plan. In my case, it can have the opposite of the desired effect – I just shut down and it gets longer the more my wife asks for my attention. It’s not voluntary or a lack of love for her, I’ve just reached overload and need to decompress. It does help if I tell her briefly what’s going on at the time and discuss it afterwards, so she knows that I’m not ignoring her.

Unknown said...

My Aspie husband functions at a 14 year old social live. Marvelous for hanging out and having fun. Forget anything adult like.

He was diagnosed at 45. If I had money and could move across the country with our kid, I would have. His executive functioning skills are garbage.

It isn't the lack of cuddle time that is my big b*tch, but me being "mom". It's his never ending sensory issues. It's stress of visiting/appointments that puts him a fetal position.

Maybe there are some women that can bucket it up and go the extra mile, I can't anymore. I work and raise our kid. He screws around with his special interests. I do all that point blank Aspie command crap you are suppose to do when talking. A direct question makes him panic.

A child with an Aspie is an 18 year prison term. I have 3 more to go. As soon as our kid is firmly in college, I'm walking away. He can keep everything. I don't care. The only other thing is filing a restraining order, because I'm sure he'll show up on my porch crying.

He'll be crying because life is hard, and I'm not there to be the human shield anymore. Friend, 25 years of helping, pushing, enabling, baby setting you through life...you don't want me, you want hired help or a mom.

I did not knowingly date an Aspie. Had I known, I would have never EVER gotten married. There is nothing in it for me. I get to watch a man child toodle around with his special interests and have sex ever so often. He's on SSDI,so he really has no reason to do anything now.

Living with an Aspie is either a) beating your head against a brick wall or b) pretend he's a special needs kid and contort your life to make his easier.

If I wind up in hell, it can't be any worse than the past 18 years. Ignored, taunted, shunned? Devil dude, I lived that for 25 years. Expectations crushed? Please...been there.

My husband is a decent human. We should have never married. He would have made a good friend, because there are a lot less expectations with a friendship. He has never learn to progress emotional past age 13/15.

The only NT/ASD marriages I know that work are much older people with no kids and almost have separate lives but live under one roof.

Right now my husband is in meltdown mode, slamming his head against the wall because he let his car battery died. I'm here because there is nothing I can do until he burns himself out.

NTjen said...

I am so glad to find this site. My husband (46 years of age) of 14 years is waiting for a formal diagnosis, which is a technicality for me as I know he's an aspie already. But since he is not a self starter nor taking responsibility for his behaviour, he seems to need the diagnosis in order to take his problem seriously.

I feel for the previous blogger as I can understand her point of view. She is heroically keeping the family together for her child, as I am also. My marriage has brought me to lows no one should reach, and that is the perspective she is writing from. I have had my husband lock himself in the bathroom for hours after a meltdown to avoid facing up to something.

When I get my thoughts together and read a little more of these blogs I will make another entry. At the moment I am trying to process so much information my brain is on fire and it would all come out scrambled!

I am hoping the diagnosis is positive, otherwise I am potentially married to some kind of sociopath or something....

NTjen said...

I have to say after a rather difficult exchange with my husband (everything is difficult) if you can get out of your aspie/NT relationship, do so, please! RUN very fast and get out. They will say to you that it's your problem not theirs. Please please don't stay and get abused like me and all these other poor souls...Being with an aspie is abusive, see it for what it truly is!

Lonewolf101 said...

Omg, there is a sense of being water-boarded...dear Lord it's true. A sense of dying while still alive. Drowning in hopelessness.

Lonewolf101 said...

Omg, you are not married, run. Run like hell. I don't care what anybody says the sex with an aspie does not continue. As things get more complicated with kids, mortgage, life expectation the aspie becomes less able to cope with it all. My aspie husband and I never have sex. It's like he is asexual and therefore I've become asexual. Life is depressing. I cannot stand being near him basically because at any moment he will say or do something completely inconsiderate to myself or our 7 YO son. I'm ready to leave. Eleven years of my life is enough to live with this debilitating emotional handicap. Imagine you life is a 1000 piece puzzle. Your childhood filled with excitement of how all the pieces will come together and the beautiful picture you will create. Your teenage years and early twenties the pieces for the corners and the outside edges start to come together. Suddenly to your dismay you realize that there are 50 pieces of the center of the puzzle missing and no matter how hard you try, the most important key elements of your life will never be seen or enjoyed. "How could this happen? I bought a new puzzle? I want my money back!" You get the analogy, by then it's too late.

Lonewolf101 said...

100% agree. There is no give and take. I'm exhausted.

Lonewolf101 said...

Your story about your husband and his albeit unintentionally heartless comments sounds much like my undisgnosed asperger husband of 10 years. I have very little social support from family. We have a 7 year old son who is NT. I'm 35 and wanted more children, but do not think I want more children with my husband. 37 years is such a long time! Would you make the same choices if you had it to do again, notwithstanding the birth of your children, of course.

Lonewolf101 said...

I think everybody on here had the same questions and no answers as you do. My aspie husband of 10 years and I have same issue. He is basically asexual and therefore I have to be the same.

Lonewolf101 said...

It's so awesome that you are caring and concerned regarding your wife, family and others. The difference between my AS husband and you is that he would never take time away from his own interests to read a single comment on this blog much less create a caring comment. It's heartbreaking because I really love him. I'm a Christian and do not believe in divorce, but this marriage has literally made me physically and emotionally ill. If only my husband could communicate like you or even put forth the effort to connect or care like you do, we could be happy. It's a very lonely place to be as I'm not close to my family and have grown apart from many friends because of our home dysfunctional state. So it's not like it's something my girlfriends could even understand or relate to. There is absolutely no other place in the world other than prayer that I can vent these feelings except on this blog.

Thalia said...

There is an enormous variability among Aspies as well as NTs! I thought Aspies were supposed to be the ones with rigid thinking. Jeez.

Not to mention the millions of people who are ADD, have a personality disorder, have mental illnesses and traumatic injuries and brain injuries from combat... Being human is an enormously complex thing that has infinite variations.

Many non-Aspies are abusive, and many Aspies are known to be very caring people with some differences in how they perceive emotions etc. Aspies are very often bullied by "NT"s in school.

Loads of people here are equating "Aspie" with "Aspie straight male" sounds like...

There are certainly some Aspie men who are abusive or abuse due to emotional regulation trouble and lack of self-understanding; autism has so many different "flavors" though. Most adult Aspies have not had education appropriate for their neurotype; these days, autistic kids are being taught how to recognize their emotions much more explicitly. NTs just "get" a lot of that. But then, some NTs "get" it and then use it to manipulate and harm others!

Some of the Aspie women out here who were forced to pay massive attention to interpersonal details -- and developed a pretty decent working model eventually of how that all works -- due to gender norms to survive (yes survive) would appreciate it if their existence were at least considered... the ratio of autistic men to women keeps going down in the research, too.

Aspie women are often raped due to not getting the social clues about safety, not that it's ever the woman's responsibility if she is raped. Rape can be done to males too of course. Life throws nasty stuff to everyone eventually...

A lot of autistics care very deeply about others; that is something to cherish, as it is in NTs of all intellectual levels, folks with ADD, and people with conditions that don't even have names yet.

Jonathan and Monika said...

Thanks Thalia, that's true that Aspie women are not as uncommon as has been summed. TBH, I have found a number of them very helpful, as quite a few are active online (I like Musings of an Aspie and a number of the contributors on Quora, for example). A few are mothers with autistic kids of their own, and they can comment on their experiences dealing with Aspies and NTs as partners, parents, mentors, friends etc.

Since they tend to be more emotionally aware than the men on the whole, they provide an interesting bridge between Aspies and NTs and can explain the way we think in a clear way. There are plenty of guys who are helpful too, but I've always fit the female Aspie stereotype better and can relate more to Aspie women.

I've been finding out a lot of weird stuff about myself since I find out that I might be autistic. The whole emotional recognition and regulation issue that you describe was a weird one: I took some ADHD medication after telling my psychiatrist that I didn't have any mental health issues, and went straight into suicidal depression. I didn't even realise that I was depressed, so I looked up what it meant to be suicidal without depression. That's when I found out about alexithymia - I didn't even know that I didn't know about my emotions before then, and thought I was fairly even keeled on the whole. It turns out that I may actually have bipolar, but I had no idea before.

I've found intercultural training has been the most helpful thing for me when it comes to appropriate behaviour - if you look at the iceberg model of culture, anything under the surface may well be difficult for Aspies to internalize: http://www.homeofbob.com/literature/esl/icebergModelCulture.html I always found it difficult to understand a lot of these aspects of my own culture, but whenever I asked people to explain they couldn't help me much and told me that nobody really knew about these issues, they were just making it up as they went along and there were no rules. I guess it's like language in that way - you can know how to use it and how to recognise good and bad grammar without actually studying grammar or knowing the rules. When I went abroad and had intercultural training, it made a lot more sense as everything was spelled out.

MissPiggy said...

Love this post! Very true.

Eli Noah said...

Special occasions are always interesting with my Aspie. Gifts are here and there. My Aspie crossed a major boundary issue (for me) by buying a gift for a transferring female coworker. He was always funny about Christmas gifts which is what made it so shocking that he bought one for this person and said it was a transfer gift (about six months in advance). Aspie's skewed thinking almost cost him our marriage. I am glad I saw this article as it makes life with Aspie much more do-able.

usdlphnlvr said...

Every situation is unique just as our aspies are. I have married an undiagnosed and given birth to a now diagnosed. Our son's diagnosis helped me see all the help and services my hubby never received. I chose to grow my patience. I came to realize that the way I envisioned conversations of equal exchange were an unfair expectation. We went on a weekend marriage retreat long before rock bottom. It helped us/ me greatly to see his side. There are a lot more of my asking "are you listening" before I start a long conversation that I would like feedback from. I now know that the feedback may take days after he has had a chance to digest the rant I gave. I will also add that he does well most days in his career being active duty military. But some days, after being out for a period of time, he just needs to stay at home and "not people." I now schedule everything. I also learned that it's ok to go out with my friends as he stays home. This is his personality. I love him for his patience with me and our son. His humbleness, quietness, and his strength to provide for our family. His loyalty knows no bounds. I wouldn't trade him or change him for the world. 12 years of marriage and many more!
I would never encourage someone to stay in an abusive relationship but maybe check the communication skills of both parties before calling it quits.

I❤tomorrow said...

Find another way. If you have endured all this (and being just 2 years into a relationship with an undiagnosed Aspie - we're waiting for the psych appointment and I already know exactly what you are talking about), then you are a VERY STRONG PERSON. You, like me and most of the contributors on here, are a very caring person, but you only get one go at life and you shouldn't destroy yourself for him to be able to continue in his 'groove' that is never going to change. Your child will also benefit from your strength and example.
Yours is an old post so you may have done all this already - I hope so. I am going to leave my own 'relationship ' in the very near future and find someone who can respect, love and reciprocate in a normal way before I succumb to severe depression. I live my partner and really pity him, but I cannot give up the rest of my life for someone who can speak to me like something he brought in on his shoe, or can bore me for as many hours as I can bear to listen about his favourite subject, but never EVER asks me a question about my own needs or interests. To any of you out there:DO NOT LET THEM DRIVE YOU TO THINKING SUICIDE IS AN OPTION!! If you look inside yourself, you CAN leave and start again, no matter how hard it may be. Sending you all massive hugs just for you, the lovely, enduring, patient and caring people that you are.❤

I❤tomorrow said...

Leave and start again. You are strong and you WILL find a way. Your child will benefit from your strength and example. I'm only 2 years into my relationship with an undiagnosed Aspie but am already close to the end of my tether. I have left and returned 3 times because, like you, I am an extremely caring person, but I desperately crave love and a reciprocal relationship and a NORMAL 2 WAY CONVERSATION. So on will shortly be leaving for good. Yes, thus makes me feel guilty, yes I love him, but I cannot sacrifice myself and the rest of my life for a relationship that is already running me into the ground.
Big hugs to you all who are going through this, you SO deserve them (and will definitely NEED them) x

Overgrowing said...

Michelle, this is a very gross comment and I'd be ashamed if I'd left it. I'm sorry you've had negative experiences with 'aspies' (a word NTs should not use) but that is not an excuse for bigotry or glorifying suicide.

Unknown said...

You have the right to your opinion as I have the right to mine. However, I am not responsible for your distorted view of my perspective and I certainly won't be losing any sleep over your insults. After being tormented for decades as the collateral damage of this disability, I'll call them what I damn well please.

Sushin said...

I can understand you Michelle even if my situation is different. Life can be hell with an AS partner. I am 75 and I have been married to my AS husband for 27 years. I knew there was something wrong with him but couldn't put my finger on it until 2 years ago. I was extremely frustrated and at times I was ready to leave. Of course he thought he was the perfect husband and couldn't understand why. However after I found out about his AS things started to change between us. I read a lot about the syndrome and I started interacting in a different way with him and things slowly got better. But he still reacts like a child and I will never be able to have a really adult conversation with him, that is quite obvious to me. On the other hand he is a very responsible person and he is a successful business owner. He never yells at me and we always had a sex life until a couple of years ago when he was diagnosed with diabetes. He tells me he still finds me attractive and that he regrets our sex life. We could cuddle, we do occasionally but not for long because that makes him very uncomfortable. He will very seldom admit he is wrong and will seldom thank me for what I do for him. This could go on and on... In other words he has good sides and bad sides and he has more good sides now than he did before I found out about his AS. I try to accept him the way he is. We very seldom argue now. I have a few good friends, I have my own life, and I do what I want whenever I want and he says nothing. Sunday is OUR day. We often go out, and usually we have a good time. The rest of the week he is at his business place most of the time, which is okay with me. I never feel lonely, have always been like that. When he retires - if he does - we intend to buy a house with a garage - his man cave - so that he can keep busy doing his own thing while I am doing mine. However, I would not stay with him if I were younger. I would leave, that is for sure. Living with an AS partner is a real challenge and it can drive you crazy at times. But at my age I don't feel the need to do that. We found a way that is convenient for both of us. Wish you the best Michelle, you deserve it!

Jump said...

This may sound very blunt, but I would question why you are still with him. You seem to have a 'perfect' aspie. By that I mean he is probably the best version of an aspie you can get. Affection can be incredibly difficult, so it sounds as though you are in a much better position than most NT-AS couples. If it still bothers you then I would suggest you are perhaps trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and it will never work. Neurotypical people and those of us with aspergers have a completely different mindset and although we can hide certain things or get very good at acting, it will never change what is going on in our brain underneath that. We are just wired differently.

A lot of the frustration I read here is from people expecting their aspie partner to just change, and that won't happen. There are billions of other humans on this planet. Find another neurotypical to be with and let your aspie partner find another aspie to be with. I can understand if you have young children and are forced to stay put for a few years for their sake (although they will know something is wrong). But those of you who are able to leave should do so. Aspie's lose the energy and drive to keep up an act as we get older, so if you have problems now then it will only get worse over time. Why trap yourselves (and them) in an incompatible and miserable relationship when there are so many other people out there?

You shouldn't need to change your partner to be happy. If you do then you don't belong together. It really is quite simple.

Jump said...

Well said! I'm struggling to have any sympathy for the people on here complaining about their aspie partners. No one is forcing you to stay with them. There are LOTS of other people in the world that you WON'T need to change to understand. Quit whinging and date/marry someone more compatible for goodness sake! Let them find another aspie who understands them and prefers that behaviour and you find a non-aspie who acts 'normal'!

Jump said...

There are plenty of aspie men out there who will PREFER all the quirks you have. I'm a female with autism and have never had trouble dating aspie men. They love that I think the same way and vice versa. There are now dating sites specifically for aspies (which I didn't have growing up). You can definitely find someone, so don't get down. : )

Sharon Gunn said...

It is not going to change; it will not get better.Believe me lam now into 48 years of marriage and the past 7 knowing he is ASPIE. you can change he can not. Either leave or accept.Yes it's difficult. It is a brain disconnect and if he was your child you would find behaviour modification training or therapist for him or the two of you. Ask yourself do you want a lifetime of this. Or can you accept and change .

Sharon Gunn said...

I have heard that sometimes Aspies attract.Try dating someone who is on the spectrum.

Meeka_Inc said...

I know this is an older post; just wondering what eventuated of this relationship?

Unknown said...

Hi there... I found the notification for this comment to be quite validating given that I rarely even think of Asperger syndrome these days.
I terminated this relationship and my divorce was final at the start of this month.
I have never been happier nor have my children who never see their father as once he 'lost' the fight of keeping us, found it incredibly easy to discard them.
I have been healing faster than I thought possible and am blessed to not be stuck in that hell any more.
All you NT partners that stay regardless of your justification, need to acknowledge that you have agreed to take the abuse or leave. It's that fucking simple. Choose... happy or miserable?
All the best..

What About It? said...

Really? Aspie are not "dictated" by emotions? What do you call a meltdown? Reassurance is for connectedness if you barely look or interact with your partner it would be reasonable to wonder if interest has been lost. Many of us narrowed men who mimicked social skills too and acted in a way that was deceptive making the NT believe this was who they were only to flip a switch once married. I agree with you that if the neurotypical knows the person has Aspergers and move forward with their relationship then the expectation placed on the aspie would be unfair. However thousands of women can tell you that their aspie was very different when courting in essence deceiving the person into a permanent relationship. For those of us who take marriage vows seriously that means to get a divorce which goes against are morals or stay stuck in a marriage where you're slowly dying. By the way I no many women that make more than their husbands and have permanent jobs not all aspie have good jobs or income for that matter.

What About It? said...

One of your parents was likely on the spectrum so you likely did not witness an NT marriage...

What About It? said...

Byron b just so you know many aspie men deceptively hid their disability. not all of us knew that they were aspie

What About It? said...

Jump btw I have witnessed aspie marriages they're actually worse because both are inflexible you need someone to be able to given otherwise you have a complete meltdown and nothing is ever resolved

Amanda said...

Write it out in letter form and give it to him. Tell him there are some things that are hard for him to hear in it and that you want him to know what is going on with you and have the space to react and keep a copy of it for yourself. Then, allow him the space to react.

If you know someones reaction to hard truths is to shut down, give them the space to to it, inform them you NEED follow-up to the information shared, verbal or written (specify) and that you want both of you to grow from it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a blog that has had traction for years and years!
There is a 12 step group now for people who love someone on the spectrum. Trying to change someone - make an AS individual into an NT - really doesn't work very well, but building bridges of communication through compassion does.
PS when AS people marry they do not necessarily marry "the opposite sex" (-: they are more comfortable with gender fluidity than NTs, oftentimes.

Anonymous said...

I have high-functioning Autism (f.k.a. Asperger’s) and I don’t care if someone called me an Aspie. I can categorically tell all the NTs out there not to have their insecurities being fixed or have their emotional void filled with something they most crave (especially having children!) by dating an Aspie. If you accept dating an Aspie, then go ahead, but Aspies will NOT change – it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s simply that it hurts so much (emotionally and sensory overload for them, that’s why they are 9 times more likely to commit suicide). Aspies are extremely logical and only see emotions objectively (even their own that’s why they don’t show them) – to a degree that it’s literally pathological – which means they will not entirely understand a NT’s common illogical feelings; maybe this is the cruel irony, but their brains do not physiologically function the same way as NTs’. If an NT tries or hopes to change an Aspie, then they are delusional – it’s an long-term uncurable disability! It can be managed, though, with very good planning techniques, but it could be very exhausting, especially for the NT side. Just be cognisant that NTs will sacrifice more than what they want to gain from a relationship unless you strongly share a common interest. On one hand, don’t feel bad for the Aspies, they don’t mind the solitude; on the other hand, Aspies are not psychopaths – so don’t have your unfortunate experiences turn into unconscious biases against all the Aspie population.

Hawkeye said...

My husband has aspects and won't attend counseling and I am in treatment for most ptsd depression and anxiety what are some things I can do that will help our relationship without much effort from him ?

Anonymous said...

I really understand the PTS as a spouse of someone with Aspergers.l 4am married 50 years to my wonderful ,eccentric and maddening spouse whom l only knew in the recent past is on the spectrum. I only discovered this because l had a student with Aspergers. What can you do? You can love yourself and focus on making life wonderful for yourself.yep l understand the PTS. It is stressful to have to deal with his anxiety disorder and that almost everything requires you to clarify understanding. Best thing to do is keep life simple for him and you get out as much as you can socially on your own.Yes it is not the marriage that you envisioned but keep in mind that he is still the same person you married for all those wonderful eccentric qualities that attracted you to him. The way l handle the stress is to limit the time together and plan ahead .He can't change his lack of empathy .love yourself go on holidays on your own with girlfriends. If you focus on the stress it becomes more stressful. Cut down on the chores by finding alternatives.My husband use to cook . I would so love him to cook dinner for me.That isn't going to happen treat yourself to easy meals at home he can set the table pick up a pizza or a bbq chicken and salad. Go out for breakfast with girlfriends. Don't make life drudgery for your self. I read or watch TV in a different room from him as his habits are so distracting to me. The quality time we spend together is going out for coffee or lunch at a local book room.Walks on the beach working in the garden or out for concerts.Yes if l was younger and knew what was in store for me l wouldn't have stayed. I simply thought he was selfish and lacked any caring or empathy .l realize now it is a cognitive dysfunction.Yes l know Aspies will just say it is a difference.well they can think that but when social anxiety, sensory overload, communication problems resulting in mix ups, delays in being able to process new information and problems in anticipating,planning or initiating any activity or responsibility ---all these things overload the spouse who must take on all of that. This is overwhelming and combine the the burden of responsibility is on the NT spouse with the eccentric behaviours and meltdowns it is over the top and no wonder you have PTSD. Emotional intelligence is the key here for you and counseling for yourself might help. I keep telling myself this is what l need to do . Saying less and holding back not getting into disagreements is hard but the only way as he doesnt see or can not understand and becomes fixated on his construct. My best advice is find a counselor who has experience with Aspergers and will be there for you to help you develop strategies for your self that will make your personal life richer.

Unknown said...

I know this was posted years ago but thank you for sharing. I think most the individuals on here are upset about what society tells then should be a "normal" relationship. I love my aspie partner so incredibly much. I was well aware of his diagnosis before dating and did my research. Your last statement is powerful. People often forget that asperger's syndrome is a disability because you can't see it. There are challenges and often I put in more of the emotional work but he works hard in different ways. Being in a relationship with an aspie has actually helped me grow as an individual. Yes, he doesn't shower me with affection and attention but that has helped me understand that you don't need someone to make you feel attractive or sexy that is all on you. When he does show affection or say loving things it makes it, I think, even more special because it is something he's saying just because that's what you're supposed to do. He's saying it because he means it. I know, just like you said, he doesn't want to fail me and he works, in his own way to show me his dedication and love. When in a relationship with an aspie you have to put aside what society has told you are standards for a "normal" relationship. Define what works for your unique relationship. I've been in relationships with "normal" individuals and can safely say my relationship with my aspie partner has twice the love and happiness as those. I don't need him to pick up on my emotional queues, I acknowledge how great his and then tell him exactly what I'm missing i.e. Give me a kiss and hug before you leave the house. No questions or hurt feelings he simply does it and he doesn't it to make me happy, now that's love.

Anonymous said...

It’s been a while since you posted this, but as an NT dating a newly discovered Aspie this is very helpful. I believe much can be learned and emulated (yes, I’m a very emotional NT yet naturally say things like “emulate”...I think it’s one reason my Aspie loves me.) Thank you so much for taking the time to share from your PoV, you’ve given me both hope and strategy!

Anonymous said...

Phew! I just read this article and ALL of the comments...I feel like I just made it through War and Peace. I can relate to much of what’s written here, both positive and negative. THANK YOU for sharing your experiences, because it is super helpful in trying to navigate my situation. I see a lot of people (both NT and AS) who are hurt, confused, angry, hopeful, resourceful, bitter, resilient, happy, diminished, and just worn out. I am all of those things right now and more.

If my partner were being honest (that’s a joke; he’s HfA so of course he’s honest) he would say he is worn out too because we fight about the same issues over and over again. Namely, my “illogical and inefficient obsession” with his weak to middling outward signs of empathy, reciprocity, and unity. I say outward, because I know there’s something important going on inside of him...we just don’t speak the same language. When mutual understanding is low, we start talking louder at each other, like people do to tourists, until it escalates and we’re yelling and raging. After a cool down period, we’re able to recover...mostly.

So, such is my life as a not-so-very NT woman (c-PTSD, ADHD) in love with a very recently self-diagnosed Aspie. He took an online assessment after he couldn’t understand why I was SO upset he didn’t plan anything or get me a gift for our 3rd year together...yes, it was an “anniversary” in my mind, and I still don’t know what he truly thinks it was. I have had many a holiday/birthday/event/vacation that turned sour because he typically doesn’t celebrate or reciprocate, and because of my own bullshit baggage I’ve internalized it as a reflection of my value and worth. As a result, I look like I’ve aged 10 years in 3 with worry, crying, and negative self-soothing habits (wine and ice cream). Conventional wisdom would tell me I should have dumped him on the spot on “my” anniversary, but there was something about the sweet way he was acting that was incongruent with the assumption that he was just being a selfish jerk. With eyes swollen shut from crying, I asked some questions with a (mostly) genuine sense of curiosity and was shocked to learn that at 50+ years of age, he really, truly didn’t understand the expectations of an anniversary. That triggered memories of him joking about being autistic, and a light bulb went on. So he researched, found and took an AS assessment on his own, shared the unexpectedly high results, and here I am a few weeks later. We are both working through our grief and acceptance cycles, it comes in waves. He oscillates on the idea of getting formally diagnosed; its only a formality to me. Thanks to you guys taking the time to post above, I think I’m starting to get a true sense of what I’m really working with. I thought I was dating a part-time narcissist, but this is starting to make a lot of sense...God help me! (Continued in next post)

Anonymous said...

(Continued from above)
We’re both middle aged professionals with kids from previous marriages, and we feel like we should have met 25 years ago when the trajectory of our lives were forming. Does that count as a connection, even though I’m so hungry for a deeper one? I’m very emotional and empathetic (Myers-Brigg INFJ), he’s definitely not...and couldn’t care less what his personality profile is. However, like a few posters above, my AS guy is super obsessed with guitars and music...I’m not talented, but I like the one poster’s idea of picking up an instrument to be able to connect more with him.

When my guy is on, he’s fantastic! Really affectionate, smart, funny, insightful, talented in and out of bed...fireworks! When he’s overstimmed and not at his best, he’s over the top sarcastic, rage-y, doesn’t care what he says to whom ever regardless of the impact and damage...fireworks of a different kind. I’ve had to do a lot of apologizing for this behavior. When he’s tired or in the “in between”, I get hurt and confused by the silence/lack of response, and my fear gets me into my irrational zone and it doesn’t help matters. Sometimes I feel like I have to initiate and do everything. I’m already a mom, when do I get to be queen for a day? The dynamic has definitely damaged our relationship; after reading the posts above I see have also let it damage my relationship with myself. I often wonder if the NT/AS dynamic heightens the triggers of each of our previous abusive relationships from childhood and beyond. We acknowledge we are both in a healing process; he supports me going to therapy but is flatly disinterested in participating. (He did say once that because therapy is good for me, it is good for us. I was over the moon - he said “us”!!!!) For those of you in truly abusive situations, please get out of the relationship...especially if you have kids, the impact of trauma can last a lifetime.

I’m starting to understand that Aspies are complex individuals like anyone else...with or without the condition, people can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between. Despite the high drama I think mine trends positive, and I know we’ve helped each other become better people with each other’s differences. He shares his dessert more often, and has surprised me by stoically taking care of really big problems even though he’s oblivious to small to medium sized daily problems. I am becoming much more direct in establishing my boundaries...but it is soooo hard sometimes. Am I deceiving myself in thinking that things can work out with mutual (key word) effort, or am I being foolish when I feel self-righteous by risking the most important relationship of my life? By the posts above I see that regardless of how he is, I need to more assertively claim what makes me happy in my life. My kids, friends, hobbies, self-care...it makes sense to prioritize these areas in my life for so many reasons. I do wish there was a support group in my area! Best wishes to everyone, and thank you for letting me articulate what’s been swirling around in my head and heart...I hope you all find what makes you feel content, appreciated and respected.

Anonymous said...

Yes it IS like smashing your head against a brick wall or drowning. It doesn't change. Mostly l have to steele myselfand make efforts to not be affected by his lack of empathy or connection. Avoid conversations as he only sees it his way.The executive functioning skills are nonexistent.

JULIA said...

Oh, Anonymous [September 17, 2019 at 6:25 PM]; a lot of us have been following and re-posting to this wonderful post for some years now; you and I share a lot of similarities (as many couples on this thread); I too am a Myers-Brigg's, INFJ, attracted to an undiagnosed Aspie [extreamly/highly intelligent, black & white personality, no children, low EQ, fixated on his limited interests: health & fitness, diet, movies, exercise] and I have 3 children from a previous marriage; we don't live together, have no sex life (unless I have a tantrum), and he's just as happy to have me for Saturday night dinners/movies and Sunday afternoon walks - can anyone else identify??!!!!

NOW 12 years in, there are NO more tears left to cry, ultimatums don't work, we have broken up and got back together so many times (always me initiating it and being too co-dependant to just walk away - YES, we do love each other!) - it just is what it is. For whatever reason, I'm attracted to the 'strong, silent type', and while we are 'happy', as extroverts, we are fairly easy-going and enabling, so it's easy for us to step into someone's interests, there's a whole other side of my life he's just not involved in.

It will ALWAYS be like this, never quite making it to 'first base' with wanting to grow together towards marriage and living together; it's just ME getting to the stage that I CAN walk away and not being so co-dependent and wanting to change him. He simply is unable to.

Anonymous said...

Hi all, its “Anonymous September 17 at 6:25” again...clearly I’m new to this whole posting thing, I’ll figure out how to get a name eventually! I wasn’t expecting a response, so I was thrilled to see TWO...it feels so good not to be alone.

I’m grieving the fact that it won’t change, I can’t fix him. Only I have the capacity to change - and so far it hasn’t been in the direction of my (conscious) choosing. You made me laugh, Anonymous — see brick, unceasingly bang head here! I’m looking back at all of my impassioned pleas for reciprocation, the gut wrenching feelings of rejection, his squashing reaction to my “novel” opportunities in the world, the utter loneliness, the new lines etched all over my face. At least I’m starting to understand it’s not anything horrible I did or didn’t do...and I’m starting to forgive. Both him, and myself to a lesser extent.

Julia—when I read your post, I wanted to hug you. I’ve never knowingly met another INFJ in my life! I work in a technical field, so I “flip the switch” and masquerade as an INTJ when needed. It’s like you described my life...down to the Saturday night dinner/movies and Sunday walks. Ugh! When I try to suggest we walk a different path once in a while, fugghedaboudit!

How are the relationship dynamics between him and your kids? I so hoped for my crew to bond tightly; it could be much worse, but no strong connection. My ASp does have an adult son from a previous marriage; he and my kids look and act if they are natural siblings. No evidence of spectrum behavior there, just a lot of hurt, knowing looks when things ramp up. I read the goodtherapy.org article “Married with Undiagnosed ASD: Why Women Who Leave Lose Twice”, and I felt a pit in my stomach because it reminded me of my parents growing up, and now myself to a (somewhat) lesser extent.

That article scares me. I don’t want to be a granite statute worn down to a two dimensional monolith, damn it!

Yet it’s slowly happening, and will be my fate, if I don’t change my way of thinking. My mother was a beautiful, vibrant but wounded woman years ago. I’m not sure if my dad is AS or narcissistic, but over the years she was reduced down to that flat slab of granite with no identity and is just waiting to die. Horrible, sad, and true. I hate it, but after 4 decades I know I cannot change them. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

So I can’t let that be me, for myself and for generations to come. I’m very traditional and sentimental, but I do have a streak of rebellious optimism — how can I turn my dashed expectations into an opportunity to have an AMAZING life?? His prefrontal cortex is wonky and he ghosts me on Fridays? Today he didn’t respond to 60% of the comments that Dr. John Gottman calls “love bids”? So effing what! There are also a ton of great things about him that keep me in love, but I need to work on ME. Cuz there are a ton of great things about me too, and I need to learn to love myself first. No more wringing my hands on Friday night waiting for a text or call - I’m gonna enjoy my alone time and do something fun!

Ok, fevered rant over...

Thanks again for letting me express myself, its so good not to be alone in this!

Godspeed974 said...

It is emotional abuse though not intended....Cassandra syndrome etc...My husband is diagnosed with AS and I suffer emotionally from the disconnect and the inability he has to deeply connect to me as a husband...my counslor says I have to learn to accept it but being an empath it is extremely hard to change my hard wiring to accommodate his hard wiring...its a REALLY HARD place to be

Anonymous said...

Yes l agree and every day l marvel at how l an otherwise strong woman suffer with grief or depression because l know my husband will never share as a full partner in our relationship. He is the child and all my support goes to him.There is never an outreach from him towards me. This makes me sad that l can never have that bond with him. He is a good man.

Anonymous said...

In reading my comments regarding g the lack of support or connection fro. My husband who is a "good man"- there are worse things! I could have ca cer or he could be abusive.i shod thank God every day that he my husband did kind ,non criticalandcan be supportive.

Anonymous said...

Hubby and I are approaching our 14th Wedding anniversary. We have both suffered with depression during our marriage for external reasons, him, the death of his mother, me, my upbringing. When I got together with my husband he was and still is the kindest, most caring man and my friends and relatives think I am so lucky, which I am.
However, we have not had any physical activity in our relationship for the last four years. My husband once said he didn’t like sex as it was messy. I can deal with that and sex isn’t everything and I can ‘look after myself’ so to speak.
We are more like brother and sister and because of the Covid virus my husband has been working from him for the last seven months. My husband will help me around the house with the chores and he is currently cooking a roast dinner. He looks after me financially so I have a lot to be thankful for. However there is hardly any hugging, no holding hands when out, in fact he walks about eight feet in front of me, hardly any kissing apart from the odd peck on the mouth. There is no cuddling in bed at all and I have to admit that I do love my Aspergers husband dearly and would not dream of leaving him but sometimes this marriage is very, very lonely.

Anonymous said...

my undiagnosed aspie husband of 20 years has just run away from his life . He blames me for everything sees things that don’t exist re criticisms . Told me before deciding to leave that we wouid not be having sexual again and that was ok as we are older now ( i am 50 he 53) . He is emotionally void . I used to think he was quiet and kind now I think he is just not interested . If I go away on holiday ( before he left ) with our children ... i ask him if he misses me “ no , I know you will be back “. He mimics social niceties and greetings with others but does not kiss me / hold my hand / cuddle / comfort me when i’m distress . it has been two years since h left- it has been awful - i do love him. I was prepared to put up with it all as I can amuse myself and am busy with the children and work .
Hi father brother and nephew are all undiagnosed aspies but there has been suggestion for the latter two by medics . it all fits now that I know I know . He is great at making himself look good whilst minimamising my efforts . He is always right - the dishwasher needs loaded his way or he will undo it as it is “ wrong”. Divorce now on cards - he treats me like a disposable wife who matters nothing to him . He even had cheek to say he feels no connection to me . I am an outgoing empathetic person who used to be gregarious. Now i feel sad and think I married a man who was going through the motions because his friends were getting married . He has always sought time on his own in his past times - most recently untra running . He does not cherish family / family time although loved his children . That said he sees them when it suits him and is largely superficial... he is now more of an uncle not a dad ... he is not there for the day to day . Now he wants me to pay for everything myself ... all running costs of myself eg my car phone gym etc ... running of family home he really just wants to not pay a thing for me yet knows i earm way less than him and 3 kids in the house costs a ton . He will pay mortgage he says . Thing is he wants to simplify his life as he can’t cope with it all . He has thrown me under the bus tho . He thinks it’s fine and does niot see this as his letting his family down . The children were devastated but are ok now . He left during our daughters most important school year ... but still managed to twist that to “ that shows you just how bad it was for me “ he says to me and anyone . There is no acknowledgment of the pain or on the impact of this on me and abd the children . His focus is on himself - yet he probably wouid not agree and wouid say something like he had to leave to keep afloat fur sake of the family finances ... or something a positive spin to justify his selfishness . I cannot see how it is ok to be this way and not identify an issue . He never gets jokes he hates small talk etc . i miss him and I loved him anyway even though I felt like he was tolerating me and that he was a reluctant husband and father . I have had panic attacks and am on anti depressants- i know he wants to cut me loose ... it’s very painful because I wouid have helped him no matter what . He seems to need nothing and want nothing . He lives on his own in what will be a very ordered flat with no chaos of teenagers . I hope he is lonely but suspect he loves it . He shouid never have got married and did say to me 25 years ago “ i can’t give you what you want “ - hauntingly he used the same phrase two years ago ... at some level I think he knows he has issues .

Charlotte said...

Finally somebody who is defending. Do people think we like being like this? How can we be helped to connect more and to function in a way that is more acceptable? Is someone going to help? Is there help? I am seeing a therapist and nobody has mentioned aspbergers except a friend and I see all of this and think wow, yes, I see that but then all of the negativity towards the condition. Being like this is not a choice it is just who we are as individuals...why the persecution?

LP&E said...

I am rather unsympathetic to all of these women saying the same thing about their emotional needs not being met, how hard they struggle, how depressed they are, etc. I have Asperger’s and my wife is complaining. Most of these complains fall into the category of “get over yourself”. Or grow up. Your AS husband forgets your birthday and you go to pieces. He does not fully pay attention to all of your constant not well defined shifting needs and life goes to hell. Really, how am I to take these arguments seriously. I don’t.

Now step back for a min. and ask what does the average NT husband go through? Well I would say that it closely match’s what the NT wife married to an AS husband goes through. We do not hear men crying and complaining that their life is ruined because their wife does not attend to their emotional needs or forgot their BD.

So in summary the NT wife/AS husband is getting a taste of what most NT husbands receive and you are going to pieces and ready to end the relationship. If men applied the same standard to NT wives what a different story we would have.

In summary get over yourself and make an effort for the man as all of you NT women expect the man to do so for you.

Lorenz H. Menke, Jr.

LP&E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Exactly. Poor her. She made choices with a man who's far more than aspergers. And yes, you are angry and bitter.

Unknown said...

This is such an awesome thread - it's been going on for YEARS (I know I have comments from years ago)...

A. Nonamus said...

Wow, comments continuing nearly a decade! Several of the early ones by NT wives unable to cope with or change their Aspie husbands' self-absorbed behaviors are really heartbreaking. As a 53 year-old male Aspie, self-diagnosed earlier this year, I hope I can do better, and that someday soon I get a chance to try. Based on these comments and my perception of my reality, I believe my condition is not as severe as some that were mentioned. I certainly hope that it isn't.

Going back to the article, point 1 about relationships not being a priority: •since "awakening" to my condition, I've realized that being in a relationship with a woman is something that I absolutely can not go on living without, so I must put forth maximum effort to make a relationship mutually satisfying and my top priority.

Point 2, about Aspie relationships being like business arrangements: •ugh, really? Just... yuck. Please don't let that be true for me. I don't want that any more than an NT (or even non-NT) woman would.

Point 3, Aspies not knowing how to show their love •probably fits me, and I will need guidance, but I promise to give it my best effort. I realize that if my partner or spouse always has to ask for displays of affection, compliments, or even for me to say, "I love you" (for example, by her always saying it first), that it becomes tedious and dissatisfying. Being severely affected by social communication disorder, I know that I will need coaching to be able to recognize when such things are desired and appropriate, as well as to pay close attention so that I don't miss those signs.

Points 4 and 6, about interests and passions: •due to my unique circumstances, my hobbies and passions up to now have been primarily solo pursuits. I would be ecstatic to meet and develop a loving relationship with a woman who shares even one of them – The Beatles, electronics repair and design/construction, nixie tubes, pinball, props and prop replicas, trivia, and a few more – but I realize that's highly unlikely, and I'm willing to give them all up, because at this point love is all that matters to me anymore. If a woman can love me for being me, I don't need her to feign interest in my geeky hobbies. Quite the reverse, in fact. If making an effort to at least learn a little about her interests and hobbies (if not actually enjoy them myself) will bring us closer or help keep us together, I'll gladly do it.

5. An Aspie needs time alone. •Not me. I've had a lifetime of aloneness already, and I don't want any more of it. I might need a few minutes of cooling off time if I get upset once in a while, but never hours.

To be continued...

A. Nonamus said...


16. It's important to look at the Aspie's motives rather than his actual behavior. •I guess I have to agree with this one? I have so much experience being hurt, that I have no intention of ever hurting a partner who doesn't try to hurt me. If you feel hurt by something I've done or failed to do, just know that I never meant to hurt you and let that give you insight into what my motive may have been. If you still can't figure it out, ask me. Sometimes we Aspies have our own sort of logic, and it may be obscure to anyone else.

17. Lowering expectations will make the marriage more predictable and manageable, if not easier. •Hmm, wow, that's depressing. I'm not sure how I should respond to that. Knowing I'm an Aspie from the start, may lead to lowered expectations initially. I hope to exceed them, so that my partner or spouse can gradually raise them as our relationship matures. How's that?

18. NT partners may feel defined by the role they fill for their Aspie partner, sensing little mutuality, equality and justice. •Depressing and difficult again. If she is defined and limited by her role, won't I be equally defined and limited by mine? If I'm able to at least learn to be responsive, and perhaps even a little proactive, isn't that growth satisfying? While our roles can never be perfectly interchangeable, I hope to be able to bring something worthy to the relationship so that we can both grow and continually refine our own roles to our mutual benefit and pleasure.

19. NT partners may feel that they are sacrificing their own sense of self to fulfill the priorities of their Aspie partner. •I hope not. Clearly, not every NT is able to handle being a partner of an Aspie, just as not every Aspie is capable of the development necessary to sustain a happy marriage to an NT. There is bound to be a strong caregiver aspect for an NT in such a relationship, and if that doesn't give enough self-satisfaction, then that person should have realized before becoming so committed, that it wouldn't satisfy her.

20. NT partners may resent the reality of living on terms dictated by the needs and priorities of the Aspie partner. •I hope I don't dictate terms. My needs are to love and be loved, and I hope I can make her happiness my priority. If I have to "go to school" every day to learn how to do these things then that's what I'll do.

To be continued...

A. Nonamus said...

Hmm, some of my posts weren't approved, now they're out of order.

If I were Rain Man, I'd throw a tantrum. But I'm not that afflicted, so I'll try again, and move on.


7. An NT partner will need patience, perseverance and understanding that I function on a different emotional level. •I'll add that any woman who would have me would also need a great deal of compassion.

8. NT partners can be frustrated by Aspies' lack of emotion and physical contact. •I don't lack emotion, I just don't know how to express it. Sometimes I don't even know exactly what I'm feeling.

My social communication deficit also leaves me clueless about others' feelings if they don't say it outright or make it very obvious. So if she wants me to hold her hand, hug her, kiss her, or something else, I'm going to need to be taught how to recognize those nonverbal signals. Regarding physical contact, I don't hate being touched completely, but only in specific ways. I'm ticklish and HATE being tickled, and dislike being surprised by a touch. So let me know it's coming by sight or sound, don't be overly delicate about it, and I'll be OK with it. If the issue is that I don't initiate physical contact with her, it isn't that I'm averse to it. The problem is that I know there are boundaries. I'm just not sure how they're defined, so to keep out of trouble I stay too far on the "safe" side. This is part of the whole social communication disorder. Again, patience will be helpful. I believe I can learn when and how a woman wants to be touched, if she's in tune enough with her own needs and desires to be able to teach me.

9. Expressing love and displaying affection. •I'm sure I'll need help in these areas. Buying gifts will definitely be a challenge. I have always had great difficulty shopping for others due to various mental blocks. For example, buying things for someone on an emotional basis, i.e. things that are pretty or smell good, or taste good but may be less than healthy, is an alien concept to me. I've found that most people don't want to be asked in advance about a gift, especially if it's left open as in, "what do you want?" Some people won't even answer "yes" or "no" when asked, "would you like me to get you (item) for (occasion)?" This makes me extremely frustrated and depressed at gift-giving times and likely to give nothing at all.

Point 10, in my case, the understatement of the century: 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. •For me, I fear far too much time has passed already. Those statements still apply to me even though I'm now well past being a "young" adult. "Poor" doesn't begin to describe my level of social skills; "Nonexistent" would be more accurate. I believe my emotional and sexual growth were halted at an early age not just by Asperger's but also by several related incidents of psychological trauma. Not being able to connect to people has kept me in that state of arrested development ever since, leaving me like Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. Sure, I want to cultivate normal adult relationships, but how is that even possible now? Despite how strongly I desire a relationship with the opposite sex, up until now I've been a complete failure at starting one. Even if any of the women I've been acquainted with have shown any hint that they might like our relationship to progress, such hints have completely eluded my notice. Even if I had detected the hints, I would then be at a loss as to what to do next.

To be continued...

Jo707 said...

This will be a different type of response. So these are tips for NT's who love their aspie husband's or for those that want to stay and still continue the relationship.
I'm an NT, my husband is on the spectrum. He is high functioning, as many aspie's usually are. It took me a while to accept a lot of the traits that go with the aspie lifestyle. He is a very responsible, kind, generous, and never shows emotions type of man. However, his lack of emotional awareness and empathy has caused many rifts in our relationship. So, although my husband is not the most intimate or spontaneous type of romantic lover, I know that this is reality and not fantasy. Love isn't like a fairy tale.
I'm very lucky that my husband is a good financial provider. We are both grown adults, btw, no children. I love having my own space and I have my own small business, so I do love that he is not clingy and he doesn't require too much attention. I can literally leave him alone for hours and not have to hear him complaining about my lack of attention, so that's a plus for me.
TIP #1: love language. This works for everyone, even NT's. Although my love language is words of affirmation, I know that he is unable to express his emotions; and because I accept his condition, I do not expect him to fulfill this. Now where does this leave me if he is unable to fulfill my love language. Easy, I tell myself how amazing I am everyday. I give myself the love language that I do not receive and in turn, I accept that he showers me with gifts, a home, and money (his love language). Even though those things do not matter to me at all because I have my own money. You see the lesson here is that aspie's cannot understand the concept of emotion and are unable to express what NTs can express so easily with words and physical touch. You can't ask a fish to walk on land if they're not created to do it. You're the stupid one for asking.
TIP #2: Whenever I want affection or attention, I simply ask for it and he gives it to me. Yes, it can be frustrating that you have to be literal and ask for it because it seems like you're forcing it onto your aspie partner; however, it's the only way to get what you want. It doesn't mean they don't want to do it. It's just that most times they are consumed with what's in front of them that you literally have to go up to them and refocus them onto you.

TIP #3: Have your own hobbies. It actually feels good to not have someone breathing down my neck, but I've always liked that anyways. I'm a busy person for the most part, so keep yourself busy. Your life shouldn't be all about your partner anyways, it's not healthy for your self-esteem. Even if he was an NT and not an aspie, you shouldn't be consumed by your partner 24/7. The greatest thing about being with an aspie is that you can be completely independent and they would support everything you do - at least mine does.

To be continued...

Jo707 said...


TIP #4: Give your partner the credit. If you keep telling them it's not good enough then that is on you. You are either asking for too much or you are just not compatible with this person. Nobody is judging you if being with an aspie isn't for you. Most times, they are trying but won't tell you. I've noticed that my husband keeps all his emotions to himself, but I do love seeing when he tries. When I get sad and want to talk about my feelings, he will sit there and let me vent. It took me a long time to see this because he would just sit there silently. It always made me feel like I was talking to a wall, but he was listening and trying to comprehend my feelings. He’s done so much better now because I've learned to take a few steps back and stop being so selfish. I have become more patient overall, not just with him but with everyone else I deal with. I realized that I do not need a direct answer whenever I demand it. It takes time for other people to process what is being said, and I accept that more than ever now.

TIP #5: Love them for who they are. If you can't accept all of them, their flaws and all, then walk away. I'm fortunate that my aspie husband has never asked me to change for them, it was always me asking them to be more sympathetic. It took me a while to accept that I was being selfish and judgmental of him. There are times where I have to correct the things that hurt my feelings, but every relationship is like this. I've also stopped trying to control him. I saw how much he tried and how he felt bad when he would always make the same mistake. I used to get so angry, but I've acknowledged that it was me trying to make him someone he was not. Accepting this in myself has made my marriage so much better, it's also made him happier and he has grown from that and has improved himself.

TIP #6: Take time for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Go out with friends, family, go get a massage, etc. Don’t make your partner your entire world. ONLY YOU can make yourself a better happier person. Nobody else can do that for you. I have learned that by living my life and working on my internal self that I am able to overcome my own insecurities and I no longer need anyone's reassurance or approval, not even from my aspie husband. It was hard to accept that at first, but I feel ten times better and more confident because I rely on me and not always waiting for my husband to tell me anything about myself.

Well that's it. At the end of the day, if your heart isn't in it anymore then you shouldn't stay, but if you love your aspie then make sure you're not trying to fit them into a mold that they don't belong in. If they're not asking you to change then you shouldn't do it to them. Reciprocation and compromise is one of the best things in any relationship. We don't have to lessen ourselves in our marriage, but we should at least meet our partner's half way.

I hope this helps someone today.

Anonymous said...

If you are considering marrying someone with Asperger's, don't. No matter how wonderful the relationship is in the beginning, the chances it will end with you being the heartbroken one are 80%. You are literally throwing your life away; don't do it. You can't get back the time. Words from a sixty-something NT wife.

Anonymous said...

As an aspie guy, I am sick of people claiming that we don't show affection or emotions.

I am very affectionate, I have no problem with public displays of affection, I constantly want to hug my girlfriend, kiss her, hold hands, cuddle, stuff like that. I can't get enough of it. I compliment her all the time, I tell her I love her all the time and not only that, but I tell her exactly why I love her and list the traits I specifically love about her. I remember everything she tells me. Every girl I've been friends with or dated told me I'd be an excellent therapist because I have fantastic listening and memory skills.

I have overwhelmingly found that neurotypicals tend to be the ones who cause issues in relationships and that aspergers people are easy to have relationships with. Neurotypicals are constantly late to everything, can't keep the time, don't do what they say they're gonna do, cancel plans at the last minute all the time, play weird mental mind games, or disappear without a trace and you can't get ahold of them on their phones no matter what. Aspergers people are very consistent in their behavior, they are good at being punctual and take responsibilities and obligations seriously.

Unknown said...

Retirement is the most difficult thing for the Neurodiverse couple. If you can afford two different houses, by all means live separately. Too much time together will cause tension and bickering. Don't ever talk about the past or hold grudges, it leads nowhere! Always be polite and affectionate everyday. A hug and kiss when you or he leaves the house! TEACH your husband what you expect especially in bed! Put sex on the calendar and abide by it! The same goes for him! If you need empathy, teach him how to show it to you! If he is unwilling to compromise and learn then LEAVE HIM! You will end up an angry woman who is bitter and resentful If you accept it just to keep the peace you will hate yourself for it! Don't stay in a bad marriage for your kids, you aren't doing them any favors but teaching them how to have a dysfunctional marriage!

Brandon John said...

Why does it seem that the vast majority of women on here, went in to their relationship with their autistic, with the intent to change them? And then getting upset when the autistic person remains autistic, you all realize how crazy you sound right?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog & comments - it's gone on for years.

Anonymous said...

I relate so much to all of this. I married my Aspie 3 months ago. He's never been diagnosed as he was an adult before it was suggested to him. We've since had therapists suggest it. He strongly believes he is and so do I. Unfortunately, this is not our only struggle as he also is bipolar and flat affect. Periodically threatens or attempts suicide and is a former cocaine addict. I am now pregnant with our second child(the other only being 8 months old) and have 4 children from my first marriage. I feel alone constantly even when he's here. I'm a very emotional person and show it and am very vocal about expressing my needs. I struggle daily with trying to accept and understand that he feels all the things I desperately need and want him to feel. That he just can't show it and express it the way I wish he would. He often says very inappropriate things although he's gotten better about saying them to my parents and children. He says things to make me cry all the time and says he hates it when I cry but then rolls over and goes to sleep. I love this man more than breathing and have since I was 13 and only just found him again. No one can understand what I see in him or why I stay. I spend most of my time desperately unhappy and the rest so sure we were meant to be. Pregnancy hormones and mood swings make it all so much worse. Most of the time it seems like he cares more about making money than he could ever care about me or my children, even the ones that are his. He is fiercely loyal and a wonderful provider. But i have struggles in making him understand that I would rather have more time with him than him working extra shifts. I want him to be excited about and enthralled with everything our daughter does and the new one we'll be having but he always seems so uninterested. I've spent more time miserable and crying in the last 18 months since we found each other again than I have in my ntire life. I know a large part of this is trying to manage my expectations. I've always been very needy and clingy and that just doesn't work anymore. But I also feel so blessed that I'm the one who gets to take care of him for the rest of my life.

Unknown said...

** I LOVE that this thread is so old....if you scroll back, you'll find many of my posts throughout the years. Sadly, my Aspie and I didn't make it, after 15 years...

@Anonymous [1st May 2022]

The big plus for your relationship is your husband being self-aware and that is a great starting point. Counseling would be a huge help to you both.

Have you looked into what both of your Attachment Styles are [Secure, Anxious, Dismissive-Avoidant or Fearful-Avoidant] - this is a gamechanger and often explains a lot of the WHY behind both of your behaviours.

Many Aspies are often Avoidants (as was mine) and in my situation, I have/had an Anxious attachment style - the Anxious/Avoidant dynamic in relationships is difficult (not impossible) to navigate.

I highly recommend the book, ‘Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find--and Keep—Love’, by Amir Levine.

Absolute GAMECHANGER!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry. Try to make a like of your own on the side. It’s how I survive.

anonymous said...

I posted a long comment about being married to my Aspie husband on Aug 26, 2015. I was at a low after struggling for 37 years. A quick summary of my post can be stated simply: "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 feel now that it is only fair that I write a follow up now, nearly seven years later. We are retired, our kids are grown, there is less stress in our lives, we moved to a beautiful town in California to be closer to our grown children. We have six grandchildren and one more on the way. My Aspie husband and I have grown old together, each of us has been able to accommodate to each other's needs, and I can honestly say that all the bitterness is gone. We are enjoying life together and I am grateful that our marriage survived. Yes, he still has his quirks and I still have my sensitivities, but the love I felt for him when we first got married is back again. He is a weird but wonderful grandfather and the grandkids adore him. Several of them have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum (high functioning- they don't call it Aspergers anymore), but we are pros at this now. I don't see this as an abnormality, I see my husband and grandchildren as interesting, fascinating people with unusual and intense interests. I think they will be more comfortable in their skin and more comfortable with relationships because they are growing up with complete acceptance and appropriate guidance. I just want to let everyone in this situation know that there is hope and even when things look grim and hopeless, it can get better.

JULIA said...

This is Julia [September 18th 2019].

I just re-read my comment (totally forgot I had wrote it] and thought I’d share my somewhat predictable update.

Since that time, I discovered learning about Attachment Styles (AS): Secure, Anxious, Dismissive-Avoidant
& Fearful-Avoidant, and realised I had an Anxious AS & he has a Dismissive-Avoidant AS (on top of being an undiagnosed Aspie, with ZERO self-awareness), which explained a LOT of the why behind both of our behaviours - me chasing and him avoiding.

As I started to heal through a lot
those tendencies and work towards developing a Secure AS, I had come to the point of healing my way out of our relationship.

[I HIGHLY recommend the book, Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find--and Keep-- Love Book by Amir Levine].

After now 15yrs, I finally realised we were never going to get to first base, and sexual intimacy/ and deep authentic connection has always proved impossible, he’s so fearful of all things being engulfed and losing his autonomy, any attachment is really only to his mother and not to me, and he would happily stay forever in a simple child-like existence of movies, dinners, exercise and occasional holidays; providing I keep to all the unspoken rules (and we all know those exist!), he would happily go on forever, so chose to end our relationship for good.

Its taken me YEARS to put together the puzzle pieces and understand the bigger picture. I know he can’t give any more than what he has shown over the years (and probably doesn’t want to!), despite talking a good talk a very good on future taking as a decoy to avoid any emotional conversations.

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