Asperger/Autism Relationships

Asperger/Autism Relationships. I write about How I Survive An Asperger Marriage which is designed to explore specific areas of concern for Neuordiverse Couples. They are known as neurodiverse relationships. It refers to one or both partners being on the autism spectrum. Neurology matters because neurological differences in the ways your brains work may make it hard to see eye-to-eye, live together, co-parent, be in social settings together or communicate about certain topics.

Asperger/Autism Relationships

I use the word “Asperger” in the most endearing way despite the DSM-5 making the change to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). What distinguishes Asperger’s Disorder from classic autism are its less severe symptoms and the absence of language delays. Many professionals believed Asperger’s was a more mild form of autism, leading to the origin of the phrase “high-functioning.” Regardless, I believe we are all on the spectrum to some degree.

ASD is referred to as a spectrum so individuals possess a range of strengths and challenges. Some of the challenges include experiencing social anxiety. Sensory challenges make being in close proximity with others uncomfortable and loud noises unbearable. My husband has a sensitivity to bright light so dining outdoors can present a problem for him. I prepared brunch al fresco in our backyard one morning and he didn’t look pleased with the meal or the environment. He didn’t have the words to express himself at that time, (pre Asperger’s acknowledgment), and was quiet. I took the silence personally and became angry, really hurt and disappointed, that he wasn’t pleased. There were other situations where we would have a picnic at the beach. Again, he was quiet and looked uninterested and distressed. When we went to happy hours he was quiet and not engaging in conversation.

We eventually came to realize his sensory challenges stem from his ASD. The bright sunlight hurt his eyes, the sand on the beach felt annoying, the people during happy hour were loud, and socializing at house parties were anxiety provoking. When we understood what was happening I was able to manage my feelings more appropriately as they felt like a personal assault.

Asperger strengths include:

  • Intelligence
  • Special Interest
  • Focus
  • Good memory
  • Detailed oriented
  • Unique humor
  • Honest
  • Fair and just
  • Desire to connect

The Challenges include:

  • Theory of mind – inability to understand and take into account another individual’s mental state or of “mind-reading”
  • Hidden cirriculum – everything you learned that you were never directly taught. It includes the unwritten rules and expectations that you intuited from your environment, rather than being directly taught about them.
  • Social pragmatics – aka practical everyday use—or the social use of language and communication
  • Self advocacy – knowing when and how to approach others to negotiate desired goals, build better mutual understanding and trust, and achieve fulfillment and productivity. Successful self-advocacy often involves an amount of disclosure about oneself to reach the goal of better mutual understanding.
  • Flexible thinking – develop rigid ways of thinking and lack flexibility in their thoughts and perceptions. This affects their ability to problem solve. It also means that they often find it difficult to cope with change and unpredictability, leading to a drive for routine and sameness.

Asperger/Autism Relationships

  • Central coherence – people diagnosed with autism can show remarkable ability in subjects like mathematics and engineering, yet have trouble with language skills and tend to live in an isolated social world. The theory is among the more prominent conceptual models that try to explain the abnormalities of autistic individuals on tasks involving local and global cognitive processes.
  • Executive Functioning – AS individual have great memories for facts and details, but have trouble organizing their thoughts and accessing and integrating the information they have to make it useful for them

As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor/coach I assess couples through a neurological lens translating for the AS and NT partner what their behavior means to the other. Both learn to speak each other’s language to become more communicative. More importantly, help their relationship become less transactional and more relational so they feel emotional connected.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Learning each others’ love language is a start to establishing that intimacy. For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting With An Asperger Husband

Parenting With An Asperger Husband. It’s important to receive parenting effectiveness training (PET) or some form of parenting where you understand childhood developmental stages and what to expect from each stage so your parenting benefits your child’s needs, not yours. Whether your husband is on the spectrum or not, being an effective parent means you love your children enough to teach them how to become independent, self-sufficient, and kind, along with other quality traits you role model for them.

Parenting With An Asperger Husband

If your husband is on the spectrum, it’s important to put a system in place where there is structure, tools and a process in which to implement those tools for good communication and teamwork. Every couple is different with their own set of circumstances so develop a system that works for your household. A sample system could present like this:

  • Develop a concrete and structured household schedule  – what weekdays look like and what weekends look like
  • Determine the strengths and weaknesses of each parent. – The parent with good organizational skills can make sure the household is operational. Both are following the schedule and knows what is happening at any time of the day.
  • Who is responsible for what chore? – cooking; laundry, feeding, dishes, etc.
  • What times are feeding? – with a newborn – every 2 – 3 hours;

  • What days and times are bath?
  • What time is bedtime?
  • What is bedtime ritual?
  • When does a babysitter/nanny need to be put in place?
  • Recognize that children have different needs at different developmental stages.
  • If children are in school what time is drop off/pick up and who gets what day?
  • What time is dinner?
  • What time is for homework
  • What time is for computer, screen time, video games, etc.
  • What is the expectation for older children (for the household; grades)
  • Personal time for each parent (self-care)
  • How do extended family fit into the schedule

When my Asperger husband became a father he was happy and filled with a lot of anxiety. As we didn’t know he had Asperger’s at the time, his mixed emotions hurt my feelings. Our daughter is his only child. I have a daughter from a previous marriage who is twelve years older. I was experienced as a parent. He was not. I expected his expressions to be filled with excitement. He was helpful enough bringing food home after a workday but did not have a momentum that felt like a team. My parents live a few miles from our home and without their daily help I would have been more of a train wreck.

I asked my husband why he wasn’t helping out more. I asked him if it was because he didn’t know what to do or I was overfunctioning and didn’t give him a chance to help out. He said the latter. He was eager to help me and wanted the experience of parenting so he could feel the bond with his child. I got to work and developed a system where he covered hours of feeding throughout the night so I could sleep. He learned how to bathe and put our daughter to sleep.

My husband has a lot of strengths despite his Asperger’s. He helped me become more grounded and less reactive when my expectations weren’t met. Parenting this time around, despite communication challenges due to ASD, was so much smoother.

When working with my neurodiverse couples, I find structure is key to success. Just like with children knowing what the expectations are keeps the system functional.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Learning each others’ love language is a start to establishing that intimacy. For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

Cassandra Recovery

Cassandra Recovery. If you’re married to a man on the Autism Spectrum (has Asperger’s) the lack of adequate psychological nurturance from him feels like a form of emotional neglect. Being unable to engage in your feelings and his own make for a lack of emotional intimacy. As a result of his mind blindness you tend to feel more like roommates than romantic intimates as communication tends to be more transactional than relational.

Cassandra Recovery

Neurotypical wives who chronically feel affection-deprived may exhibit the  following symptoms:

  • Feel a loss of sense of self
  • Feel like they are going crazy
  • Are more lonely
  • Can feel empty inside
  • Are frustrated, resentful, angry; feel guilt
  • Feel rejected
  • More likely to experience depression, anxiety and fatigue
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Thinks there is something wrong with themselves
  • Have difficulty to find ways to “self-soothe”

  • Have social problems
  • Feel like they are doing all the work in the relationship
  • Tend to yell at their husband and other family members
  • Tend to self-medicate with alcohol
  • Not sleep well

I’ve been married to my Asperger husband for over 20 years. For years I thought I was losing my mind, as well as my sense of self. I kept telling myself I was a licensed clinician trained to study human behavior and interpersonal relationships. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I started to see couples in my practice suffering from the same disconnectedness. I had empathy, as well as compassion for the “Neurotypical” wife. I related to what these women were saying.

Recovery from Cassandra starts with accepting the fact that your Asperger husband is not going to meet your emotional needs to the extent that you need him to. Developing an independent life outside of the interdependent relationship (marriage) is key to moving forward.

Managing Cassandra can include:

  • Self-love and self-care
  • Identify own needs and take steps to get them
  • Develop a support system to include friends and people with your same interests
  • Get an emotional support animal
  • Develop a hobby or volunteer
  • Make a list of things that make you happy and do/get them
  • Understand that recovery is an ongoing process and doesn’t happen overnight
  • Cognitive – Behavioral Therapy can help if you choose counseling

For more information about my services and fees please text me at (858) 735-1139 with your email address.

 

 

How Social Is Your Asperger Husband?

How Social Is Your Asperger Husband? It takes a lot of work to make a marriage a success. And when one partner has Asperger’s, the relationship can be even more challenging. Asperger’s makes emotional connections and social communication extremely difficult, it’s no wonder that a partnership between a person with Asperger’s and someone without it (neurodiverse couples) can be filled with stress, misunderstandings, and frustration.

How Social Is Your Asperger Husband?

As my own husband has Asperger’s I know first hand how difficult it is to socialize with family and friends, let alone with the general public. I’m very social and an extrovert while my husband is quiet and an introvert. There were many events where my husband appeared antisocial as his demeanor was standoffish with limited words in any interaction. Before we knew about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s my friends, family and colleagues thought he didn’t like any of them. They later shared with me his odd behavior was disconcerting and made them feel uncomfortable.

Some people with Asperger’s tend to mask. Masking can be a way of “camouflaging” to fit in. I have a neurodiverse couple whose Asperger husband did a lot of masking while they were dating. The neurotypical wife said her Asperger husband appeared “normal” until shortly after they were married. He became rigid and controlling which leads to the discord in their relationship.

Because ASD is a spectrum, every individual with autism differs from another. People with autism do not all share the same mix of traits. People can be anywhere on the spectrum, sharing some traits and not others, but most people with autism are labelled as either high-functioning or low-functioning.

As well as social anxiety ASD (Aspergers) includes levels of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCD), and sensory challenges. Being in loud and crowded spaces can created overwhelming feelings where they tend to shut down or act out inappropriately creating drama for themselves and the people they are with.

Learning how to self-soothe can help manage the over stimulation. Understanding one’s triggers can help prevent melt downs or manage them so getting back to homeostasis is possible. Talking about expectations for any event or social situation can help diffuse unforseeable challenges. Knowing what to expect manages anxiety. When I’d like my husband to accompany me to a house party we talk about his expectations and I talk about mine. We agree upon a time of arrival and time to leave. We talk about what happens if he feels too much anxiety and needs to leave earlier than agreed upon. He can leave by himself or we can leave together. If it gets too loud or crowded for his comfort level he can go outside for a time out and return. We continue to communicate about whether or not he’d like to stay. Communication is the key to managing any difficult situation.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Learning each others’ love language is a start to establishing that intimacy. For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

World Autism Awareness

World Autism Awareness. April is the month for Autism Awareness. Autism Speaks is an organization who focuses on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support. Every April Autism Speaks celebrates World Autism Month, beginning with United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

World Autism Awareness

As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor, I tell my clients, “we’re all on the spectrum to some degree.” When working with couples where one or both are on that spectrum, neurology matters. What are the odds of being on the spectrum? In 2021, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2018 data. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
These children will grow up needing tools to become more effective communicators. Being able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and assertive enough to ask for what they need is crucial to being in any relationship. Being more relational and less transactional makes for the intimacy required to distinguish between romantic partners and roommates.

As a neurodiverse couples coach, I am often asked if getting a diagnosis is important. It’s not that important for adults to get a formal diagnosis. Minors tend to receive one as it supports their need for community resources. Working with adults I don’t place labels on anyone who may be on the spectrum, rather, I help both partners acquire tools to become more relational rather than transactional.

Being on the spectrum is a challenge to the ASD individual, as well as their families. It takes a lot of love and effort to get the help needed so all can enjoy what life has to offer. Differences can make some people feel uncomfortable. These people can act out their prejudices, fear, ignorance, etc.

Autism has been receiving more attention than the last couple of decades. Understanding and being curious about ASD beats being judgmental and critical. Learn how to talk to someone on the spectrum. Neurotypicals and ASD individuals speak different languages. These differences don’t make one or the other any better. Just different. I grew up with the notion that different was bad or wrong. No, it’s just different. As soon as we understand and respect other’s differences and their perspectives can we live in a world that is more embracing of the diversity that is our reality.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Learning each others’ love language is a start to establishing that intimacy. For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

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