Is It Your Husband’s Autism Or Personality?

Is It Your Husband’s Autism Or Personality? When a couple is aware that their relationship is affected by autism it can be quite difficult to decipher what traits are caused by personality and what are due to being on the autistic spectrum. I’ve been married to a man with Asperger’s for over 20 years. During the first 13 years he displayed some behaviors that looked pretty much like he was being a jerk. His lack of consideration and thoughtfulness made him appear self-centered and self-serving. Not all differences are due to your partner being on the autism spectrum, and not all personality traits can be attributed to or blamed on autism.

Is It Your Husband’s Autism Or Personality?

I’m working with a couple whose Asperger (AS) husband is talkative with anyone and everyone. He is also quite flirtatious with the ladies. He flirts with waitresses, grocery store clerks, and women at the bank. He states he just wants to be personable and doesn’t mean anything bad by it. This bothers my neurotypical (NT) client (his wife) as it is a trigger for her due to trauma from past relationships where there was cheating. With tools they’ve acquired during counseling he shows her the empathy needed so she feels seen and heard. Some think people with Asperger’s have a difficult time with filter and being impulsive when interacting.

I have another client who discovered her Asperger husband had been having an affair for the past eight months. They were in counseling with me during that time which makes it even more horrific and disappointing for this neurotypical wife. Her husband states he thinks he’s a sex addict and manages his anxiety with other women. He blames his Asperger’s for his inappropriate behavior. I point out being unfaithful is not a trait caused by being on the spectrum.

Traits caused by being on the autism spectrum:

  • Highly focused
  • Single minded
  • Obsessive
  • Clumsy
  • Logical

  • Rigid/inflexible
  • Reactive to noise
  • Reactive to smell
  • Reactive to touch
  • Reactive to taste
  • Reactive to light
  • Pendantic

 

 

Traits not caused by being on the autism spectrum:

  • Flirtatious
  • Unfaithful
  • Inhibited
  • Frigid
  • Promiscuous
  • Verbally abusive
  • Boring
  • Reliable
  • Emotionally withdrawn
  • Withholding
  • Unsympathetic

  • Stingy
  • Unhygienic
  • Unkempt
  • Intuitive
  • Passionate
  • Irrational
  • Impulsive
  • Defensive
  • Critical
  • Opinionated
  • Religious
  • Political
  • An unloving parent
  • Forgetful
  • A loner
  • Generous
  • Extravagant

When a couple is aware that their relationship is affected by autism it can be quite difficult to decipher what traits are caused by personality and what are due to being on the autism spectrum. Not all differences are due to the partner being on the autism spectrum, and not all personality traits can be attributed to or blamed on autism. Knowing whether a trait is caused by having autism or personality is confusing for both in a relationship, especially the neurotypical partner. It’s confusing because everyone on the spectrum is different, that’s why they call it a spectrum. All will have their own unique personality with their own childhood history. We are products of our upbringing which has moulded who they are now and will have encouraged certain beliefs, behaviors, and opinions.

When working with neurodiverse couples in neurodiverse couples counseling, I emphasize any kind of abuse is not a trait of having Asperger’s. Sometimes bad behavior is just bad behavior and should never be tolerated. I work with the couple through a neurodiverse lens where I help them recognize, understand and treatment the problems in their relationship. When we are able distinguish what is an Asperger trait versus a personality trait, both can see more clearly where the work needs to be done.

For more information on neurodiverse couples counseling please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

Need Asperger Relationship Tips?

Need Asperger Relationship Tips? I’ve been married to a man with Asperger’s for 23 years. The first 13 years were consumed with frustration, heartache, and thoughts of whether I should stay or leave the marriage. The symptoms I experienced are what is known as Cassandra Syndrome or Ongoing Traumatic Relationship syndrome. This is my second marriage and I had some serious doubts about its ability to survive let alone thrive. As a Marriage and Family Therapist and relationship counselor, I believe we all are on the Spectrum to some degree. Some more so than others which creates a major communication problem for neurodiverse couples.

Need Asperger Relationship Tips?

There are strengths and weaknesses in all marriages. But living with an Asperger husband is challenging. There are good days. There are bad days. It all depends on whether the communication is being processed and received. As a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor certified by Autism/Asperger Network AANE, I help couples recognize, understand and treat the overt and covert ways of communicating. Asking for what we need and want and sharing thoughts and feelings are easier said than done, but in a neurodiverse relationship both partners speak a different language and therefore, need to learn each other’s language.

To create the desire to want to grow old with your Asperger husband I recommend some of the following tips:

  • Pursue a diagnosis; even if the diagnosis is not formal. (My husband appreciated the informal diagnosis as he was able to put a name to the problem that he was experiencing all his life)
  • Understand how AS impacts the individual. (Education and counseling can do that)
  • Manage depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (Sometimes medication can manage that)

  • Self-exploration and self-awareness
  • Create a Relationship Schedule. (When you know what to expect anxiety decreases)
  • Meet each other’s sexual needs. (Talk about what you like in and out of the bedroom)
  • Cope with sensory overload and meltdowns. (My husband needs a lot of time alone – quiet time- so he can recharge and re-engage with me)
  • Expand Theory of Mind – limited ability to “read” another person’s thoughts, feelings, or intentions. (Talk about expectations and what they look like so there are minimal surprises which increase anxiety)
  • Improve communication. (Learn to speak each other’s language by acquiring tools the tools I know are effective)
  • Manage expectations and suspending judgment.
  • Co-parenting strategies. (Put a system in place which includes who does what with the children and on what day)

Need Asperger Relationship Tips?

Because every couple is different and have their unique set of circumstances I provide other resources for stability and harmony. An indicator a neurodiverse relationship can survive is the Asperger husband’s willingness to learn from couples counseling and providing effort while the neurotypical wife manages her emotions about the process in appropriate ways. Meaning she doesn’t act out her impatience, frustration, resentment, and anger in ways that negatively reinforce her husband’s effort.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. Call me and see how communication can become your new realty.

Date Night With My Aspie Husband

Date Night With My Aspie Husband. Date night is important for couples as it maintains emotional connection. Date night is challenging for some as the details of life, including parenthood, keep couples in a transactional rather than romantic relationship. Without regular bonding couples can become dreaded roommates. If you are in a neurodiverse relationship like myself, (neurotypical wife and Asperger Husband) date nights can be even more challenging as emotional connection is not a strength for someone on the Spectrum. Socializing in general is sometimes difficult for my husband and when the venue is especially loud his sensory issues can make him appear aloof and distant.

Date Night With My Aspie Husband

Before we knew about my husband’s Asperger’s date nights were not that enjoyable. We’d go to dinner, eat, have little conversation, and sometimes he’d be in a what looked to be a bad mood because of the noise or the waiter said something to which my husband would reply in a rude way. I am a social and personable person. I can banter with wait staff and bring humor to the interaction. My husband would appear matter of fact and couldn’t exchange pleasantries. I would become upset and think he wasn’t having a nice time during our time of bonding. I would keep the conversation going for many years during these dates and finally became very tired of keeping the proverbial “ball” in the air. Half the time we’d go on dates he wouldn’t get dressed up. He wear the same clothing he’d wear around the house indicating to me he lacked effort in preparing for our time together.

One time on our way to La Jolla Playhouse my mother commented as we dropped our daughter off for child care, at the way my husband was dressed compared to the way I was dressed. I was a little embarrassed and made excuses that he needed to feel comfortable. Come to find out people on the Spectrum have sensory issues which include touch and sound. T-shirts and jeans were the norm whether he went to the office, hung around the house, or going on a date. After awhile this became really old and I did not appreciate the lack of effort.

Years later when we came to understand and accept Asperger’s everything made sense. In developing our system to become more relational we talk about what we want and what we don’t want. We talk about what the expectations are for anything we are participating in. Dates included. He tends to plan the dates and sometimes I change those plans. He is more interested in me being happy and content so most of the time I suggest where we go and what we do. He dresses up so he looks attractive to me and I tell him how much I appreciate him and how hot he looks in certain attire. Positive feedback helps him want to be more relational. We still have challenges as we are not perfect. Being explicit with what we want and what it looks like really helps make for an enjoyable night out.

We also utilize tips for managing our relationship and use tools to be more conversational. After years of implementing these tools we have so much fun being together. He has learned how to keep the conversation going. As a marriage and family therapist specializing in neurodiverse couples counseling, I emphasis the fact that you will always have to ask questions and get clarity when needed and reframe from wanting him to read your mind. It never diminished a request just because you ask for it. Having Asperger’s is like speaking a different language. Learn to speak each other’s language and any situation, including date nights are welcomed.

For more information on Asperger Husbands, neurodiversity, making your date nights more enjoyable please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website CoupleCounselorSanDiego.com

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s? Being married to a man with Asperger’s has its challenges. But, like anything else, there are strengths and weaknesses to every relationship. I’ve been married for over 20 years. The first 13 years were frustrating to say the least and I felt alone most of the time. My husband is a kind and generous man so I wondered why he could look and act like a jerk. There were times when he seemed thoughtless and showed no consideration or regard to my existence. Being a strong and confident person I developed Cassandra Syndrome aka Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome where I lost my sense of self. Not being seen or heard left me a shell of a person. My best seller on Amazon. “Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship”

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

I cried a lot, had major meltdowns where I ordered him out of the house and threatened divorce on a monthly basis. Of course, I never wanted a divorce or for him to leave. It was the fight/flight mode where being exhausted from fighting one fantasizes leaving. An acting out way of displaying emotions that most certainly undermines relationships. As the years went by the clinician in me, and my strong gut feeling said there is definitely something going on with his odd behavior.

We went to marriage counseling where we found no relief. As there were little resources to help Neurodiverse couples such as ourselves, I became Certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor through the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) to help those who are truly suffering in their relationships. Your Asperger husband wants to meet your needs and make you happy, but needs the tools to do so.

Here’s a checklist to see if your husband may have Asperger’s:

  • Conversations are fact based and more transactional than relational – doesn’t feel personal
  • Awkwardness in social situations you used to think was shyness but now appear strange
  • Memory problems
  • Time management issues
  • When it comes to sex he initiates in a childlike manner where it appears and feels awkward
  • Not able to show empathy
  • Incapable of validating your perspective
  • Seems thoughtless where the lack of consideration and regard for you can make you feel as though he doesn’t have your back
  • Family and friends say his behavior is odd and may not take a liking to him or they think he does not like them
  • Not able to console; lacks compassion
  • Has special interests like computers, astronomy, cars, etc.
  • Sensitivity to loud sounds, light, crowds, and certain types of clothing
  • Can appear selfish and/or Narcissistic

As it is a Spectrum the combination of characteristics will vary from one individual to the next. Typically, adults with Asperger’s feel a sense of relief once they receive a diagnosis. Because it is a Spectrum I don’t like placing a label as much as I want to help them acquire tools for communication and becoming more relational. My husband felt that sense of relief with his undiagnosed Asperger’s. It made a lot of sense and was the turning point in our marriage for moving forward.

I appreciate the ability to recognize, understand and treat Asperger’s as it pertains to relationships. I help couples put systems in place, acquire the necessary tools to be able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what you need and want. I always loved my husband but now I can say I actually like him again.

For more information on developing a functional and harmonious relationship please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or at my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living With An Asperger Husband

Living With An Asperger Husband. After finishing my book, “Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship,” I understand the root of happiness starts within yourself. Our external environment can affect our ability to make choices that make us happy or unhappy. When you concentrate on yourself and what you want things fall in place to make your life more functional and content. It’s a game changer when you start with you and what you want. Sometimes codependency makes for getting other people’s needs met over our own. We become codependent as a means of survival in some families as you grow up. Asking for what you need and want for some growing up was deemed as disrespectful and selfish. And often times met with negative reinforcement in the form of judgment, criticism, and abuse.

Living With An Asperger Husband

As a Marriage and Family Therapist I help you reframe the negative experiences you had to bear as a young child (inner child). I help your Functional Adult manage those scary feelings from childhood to assert oneself so you get what you need and want. As a Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor I help the Neurotypical (which is typically the wife) manage Cassandra Syndrome aka ongoing traumatic syndrome. Feeling like you are losing your sense of self is frustrating and disheartening. You can tend to feel like leaving your marriage as saving your sense of well being becomes the focus for survival.

Living With An Asperger Husband

Living with an Asperger husband is very challenging. Even during what can be deemed as stable times can instantly turn into another awful situation where feelings are hurt and anger increases. I lived a life that was confusing to say the least. As a clinician, I was flabbergasted when I realized my husband had Asperger’s. For 10 of our 23 years of marriage we had major problems with communication. My husband is a highly intelligent and kind person so I didn’t think he was doing these inconsiderate behaviors on purpose. I had a meltdown every six weeks and threatened divorce over and over again. Threatening the relationship is never appropriate as it undermines any chance of safety and security within the dyad. My acting out behavior included yelling, cursing, belittling, threatening, and name calling. I’m ashamed of my behavior because I should know better. However, I am only human and am not immune to what living with a person on the Spectrum can do to one’s self esteem.

I desperately needed tools to better communicate with one another. Traditional marriage counseling was a total waste of time. I did appreciate it being part of the process in educating myself about Autism Spectrum Disorder. I studied many journal articles written on the subject and became certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor through Asperger/Autism Network AANE.

Through neurodiverse couples counseling, my husband and I recognize and understand that we speak different languages and have very different perspectives. We have effective tools to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what we need and want. We have learned to be explicit in saying what we need to say and describing what it looks like so we get a visual of what is being talked about. We’re not perfect and I still have meltdowns every now and then but they aren’t as devastating as they were in the past. Understanding is key and acquiring tools to show each other empathy is a game changer.

For more  information on managing your life with your Asperger husband please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or through my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com