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.

 

Asperger Husband Have Alexithymia?

Does Your Asperger Husband Have Alexithymia? What is Alexithymia? Alexithymia is a Greek term literally meaning “without words for feelings.” It is the inability to express or describe one’s feelings. Individuals with Alexithymia typically display a lack of imaginative thought, have difficulty distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations, and engage in logical externally oriented thought. Because Autism is a spectrum condition, symptoms and their severity can fluctuate among individuals with Alexithymia.

Does Your Asperger Husband Have Alexithymia?

As a neurodiverse couples counselor and coach, I assess for incapability factors when teaching communication tools to couples needing emotional connection and effective communication. The spouse on the spectrum, typically the husband, is who I find have more difficulty utilizing some of the tools and implementing the process to achieve the goal of feeling more relational.

In romantic relationships being able to share thoughts and feelings is important to developing and maintaining intimacy. Some Asperger husbands are not able to express how they feel and sometimes say they don’t understand their wives’ feelings. This “mind blindness” can create a major disconnect as the process of sharing feelings is crucial to being an intimate partner versus just being roommates.

Signs of Alexithymia include:

  • Difficulty expressing and identifying emotions
  • Difficulty with introspection
  • Logical thinking (more black and white)
  • Emotional distance

  • Confusion about others’ emotions
  • Limited creativity
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Aches and pains from stress
  • Infrequent dreaming

I work with a neurodiverse couple whose husband claims he cannot relate to feelings and needing to be expressive of them. He further states during sessions he is distracted by his thoughts of building and rebuilding computers, machines, and concentrating on household matters, while trying to take in the the tools and relational process being asked of him. We develop a system where their plan is more concrete and structured so he is able to follow through with the tools behaviorally for becoming more relational and hopefully feel the ramifications of his effort (feelings). Doing this helps his neurotypical wife feel some kind of connection with him.

Not being able to identify and express feelings can be very challenging for the person on the spectrum and the neurodiverse relationship. Strategies are different for every couple so it’s important to talk about what can present as helpful in the brainstorming.

In working with my neurodiverse couples we put a system in place where both learn how to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what is needed and wanted. These relational tools set the foundation for long term success.

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.

 

Asperger Husband Need A Diagnosis?

Does Your Asperger Husband Need A Diagnosis? In 2013, the term Aspergers became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) renamed bv the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). There is currently no specific test or diagnostic criteria for diagnosing Asperger’s in adults.

Tablet with diagnosis Aspergers

As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor and coach, I inform new clients it’s not that important 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. We’re all on the spectrum to some degree. Emotional connectedness is what everyone wants.

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.

Asperger Husband Need A Diagnosis?

Couple with an emotional connection

Those who are interested in taking a self-assessment test or looking at an Asperger’s profile (AANE.org) may do so to see where on the spectrum one falls into. Although this is not a diagnosis, it may provide important insights that a person can discuss with their doctor or neurodiverse counselor/coach.

As Asperger’s is no longer diagnosed as a condition in and of itself it is important to see couples through a neurological lens as neurology matters helping each partner understand how they process information and how it effects their communication. A partner with Asperger’s has different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. They also have problems with social communication and interaction with some restricted repetitive behaviors that can hinder their ability to connect with their neurotypical partner (wife). These characteristics can make relationships challenging.

My work with neurodiverse couples consist of putting a system in place, acquiring tools for initiating conversation, sharing thoughts and feelings, and asking for what they need and want. I act as a translator for what may be construed as unkind and rigid behavior, as well as differentiating between spectrum behavior and narcissism. Believe me your Asperger husband isn’t doing hurtful things on purpose.

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

 

Neurodiverse Couples Coaching

Neurodiverse Couples Coaching.What’s the difference between coaching and counseling? Relational coaches focus on creating a new life path for the couple to achieve certain goals. Cognitive behavioral therapy and strategies are used in which to meet those goals. Counselors (therapists) focus on specific problems and look into emotional resolutions through a psychological lens, finding solutions to those specific problems, while making ‘healing’ as one of the main objectives.

Neurodiverse Couples Coaching
How are coaching and counseling similar? While coaching can be therapeutic, it is not therapy. This would also depend on the counselor’s approach; some approaches in counseling are similar to coaches in that they focus on solution-oriented change. There is room for both coaching and counseling in the service of helping others.
Coaching is a collaborative process with clients in a thought provoking and creative way that inspires them to maximize their desire to move forward or change behavior to reach their desired results.
Traditional marriage counseling is not effective with neurodiverse couples. The asperger (AS) partner, typically the husband, and neurotypical (NT) wife speak different languages and process information quite differently. The nuerodiverse coach acts as a translator interpreting behavior that may appear to be odd, unkind, and unloving to both partners. Sometimes asperger behavior can be misconstrued as narcissitic or emotionally abusive.
Neurodiverse Couples Couching
Most neurodiverse couples need coaching more so than counseling. Psychoanalyzing either partner maybe needed if underlying issues prevent moving forward. Some people have a difficult time with the objectives and may have some incapability factors. That is where individual counseling would benefit to see where and why they are stuck. The moving forward process with me, includes putting a system in place, acquiring tools, and implementation/exercising those tools. The couple states what they want for more harmony and we talk about what that looks like behaviorally.
In between session I coach the AS partner to follow through with what he has committed to and exercise being more relational than transactional. Just like be coached in soccer or basketball, there are certain “plays”/behavior that are given as a directive to the AS partner so the NT partner can feel an emotional connection. Learning a new language isn’t easy but with practice and getting positive results make it worthwhile.
For more information on Neurodiverse Couples Couching and my fees please send me your email address.

My Perspective Your Perspective

My Perspective Your Perspective. No one is right or wrong in their perspective, but both partners often feel misunderstood and rejected or judged and criticized for their opinions and beliefs. Depending on how your family systems operated parents are either supportive and validating or judgmental and critical. Parents do the best they can based on what was role modeled to them in their own family of origins. Often times criticisms were used to try and motivate their children so they become successful. If this isn’t obvious to being counterproductive, please take an effective parenting class.

My Perspective Your Perspective

Anyone who has been in a relationship knows the power of perspective. Good communication is key for being able to share because being able to see a situation from someone else’s eyes helps with being able to show empathy and make a connection. As a marriage counselor, I help couples appreciate how each sees situations. Who’s to say one way is better than another? Who’s to say there is only one way to look at things? I believe a person’s perspective is valid. In couples counseling, the husband and wife are both correct. I also interject that my own perspective is correct. Meaning perspectives are correct for the person having them.

To be successful in relationships it’s imperative to be able to respect each other’s opinions. It helps to acquire tools for communicating that respect. A tool I developed for doing just that is a three-step process I call REV. This tool helps stabilize acting-out behavior to continue a conversation productively. REV (or, as I say in therapy, REV if up?) reduces defensiveness with connection to allow space for a healthy resolution.

REV creates an emotional connectedness needed for intimacy when having normal conversations.

The three steps are as follows:

  1. Do Reflective listening – mirror back the words you heard from your partner
  2. Show Empathy
  3. Validate.

The process of using REV makes conflict easier to discuss. Showing empathy for feelings and validating each keeps conversation neutral enough to come to a resolution and deescalates potential volatility. Using REV in conversations, with no conflict present, makes for a feeling of being seen and heard, which leads to a connectedness otherwise not developed. In other words, REV can make all the difference between staying calm and collected and starting WWIII.

Healthy couples know how to show each other empathy when feelings are shared. Healthy couples know how to validate each other’s thoughts, opinions, and perspectives. If you cannot or will not appreciate each other’s perspective, power struggles can exist which makes for a downward spiral which may put distance between the pair.

If you’d like more information on the REV tool and how it manages conflict please contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or call me at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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