Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

“From early childhood, people with Asperger’s syndrome are less likely to recognize and understand thoughts, beliefs, desires and intentions of other people in order to make sense of their behavior,” writes Tony Attwood. My husband is happy to do any job which needs doing. He runs errands, does household chores, repairs anything broken, assists our children or dog after an accident or brief illness. But when I slipped during a hike and fell to the ground and scrapped my knee, all he did was look at me and said, “you’d better get an alcohol wipe and band aid up that cut.” He made no attempt to comfort or help me.” I thought he was insensitive because if he was the one who got hurt I’d be showing him some empathy saying, “that scrape looked like it hurt.” There’s another time our dog got bit by a rattlesnake and the Vet said he might not make it. I cried like a baby in the examining room. My husband just sat there and looked at me. Didn’t come toward me to comfort me. I vividly remember shaking and hyperventilating I was crying so hard. Thank goodness my dog made it, but that was a most disturbing memory. He showed he cared by paying the $5,000 hospital bill. Again, as generous as that was, I could have used a hug and a kiss.  Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married.

Tips to help stay married to an Asperger husband:

  • Pursue a diagnosis; even if the diagnosis is not formal
  • Understand how AS impacts the individual
  • Manage depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Self-exploration and self-awareness
  • Create a Relationship Schedule
  • Meet each other’s sexual needs
  • Bridge parallel play
  • Cope with sensory overload and meltdowns
  • Expand Theory of Mind – limited ability to “read” another person’s thoughts, feelings, or intentions
  • Improve communication
  • Manage expectations and suspending judgment
  • Co-parenting strategies;

Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

A skilled counselor, can help implement the suggested tips to able to gain awareness of the AS and NT’s own individual patterns of behavior, and learn how they can make both attitudinal and behavioral adjustments to become more relational with one another. A counselor can also facilitate conversations, and help both partners learn to be more relational. With acquiring tools for better communication, implementing a process utilizing the tools, and putting a system in place the couple will be able to connect emotionally, and problem-solve around sensory integration issues, meltdowns, and co-morbid conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Being in a neurodiverse relationship myself, I know first hand how difficult it can be to get the life you want given the situation at hand. Nothing changes if nothing changes. With any challenge if changes aren’t made to adjust and manage them there is poor prognosis for a long and happy life together.

For more information on managing your neurodiverse relationship, understanding Asperger’s and how it plays out in a relationship, or managing Cassandra Syndrome please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage

How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage. I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have worked with over 2,000 couples for 25 years. I am also married to a man with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). We have been married for 22 years. During the early years of my marriage I coped with indescribable hardship, communication and severe emotional deprivation without even suspecting my husband might be on the autism spectrum. The beginning of our marriage was challenging as we did not become aware of my husband’s Asperger’s until about 13 years into our marriage. I fell in love with my husband because of his kind and genuine nature. I always knew he was different in an odd kind of way but being a divorced single mother in the dating arena meeting a lot of narcissistic men, I thought his behavior at the time was refreshing. No drama, calm, agreeable, and he loved me.
How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage

Being married to a man with Asperger’s makes us a Neurodiverse couple. Meaning coupleships are comprised of one neurotypical  (NT) and one partner with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I’m the NT. There are pros and cons to every relationship. My husband’s most admirable traits are as a result of his disorder rather than in spite of it. That being said, I did experienced behavior that appeared not considerate or thoughtful. It made my husband look like he was only interested in getting what he wanted. This egocentricity (self-centeredness) is what some might call “ass hole” behavior. I knew he wasn’t behaving like an asshole on purpose, but, nevertheless, it looked and felt like asshole behavior to me. So much so I acted out my feelings in not so good ways. I would yell, criticize, cry, etc. and he would respond as if he hadn’t done anything wrong. He’s also forgetful and has poor time management skills when it comes to our relationship. Again, I know, he doesn’t do these things on purpose. He never has any ill intent. But you wouldn’t thinks so unless you understood Asperger’s and how it affects relationships.

So years of being on the receiving end of his odd behavior took a toll on my sense  of self. I ended up feeling lonely, disappointed, angry and very frustrated. I didn’t feel like my strong self for years. As a result, I was experiencing what  NT partners refer to as Cassandra Syndrome.

Neurology Matters in Couples Therapy. If you are married to someone on the Autism Spectrum normal couples counseling will not help.  A Neurodiverse Couples Counselor, is better equipped to work with Neurodiverse Couples:

  • Identify root cause of issues through a Neurological lens
  • Understand meltdowns in one or both partners and how to manage them
  • By making an assessment using an Asperger’s profile in one of the partners
  • Interpret for each partner what behavior means
  • Acquire tools that initiate communication, express thoughts and feelings, and ask for what is needed
  • Implement those tools
  • Put systems in place for healthier and more effective interaction
  • Understand and appreciate that both have their own perspectives and see things differently

Courtesy of  https://www.aane.org/neurodiverse-couples-institute/
How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage:
  • Avoid talking down to your AS (autism spectrum) partner
  • Acceptance that life will be challenging
  • Take your AS partner at face value. In other words, don’t try to read too much into what they’re saying. …
  • Have your AS partner “reflective listen” back what you said so you know they understood you
  • Ask questions to get clarity
  • Be clear and specific about your expectations
  • Be explicit when asking for something
  • Be explicit when giving instructions
  • Get some relational tools for emotional connection and effective communication
  • Respect your AS partner’s need for down time
  • Manage Cassandra Syndrome – Have a well rounded life of your own. Work, hobbies, friends, etc.

Being married to an Asperger husband is quite challenging. If you don’t have a well rounded sense of self, positive attitude about your neurodiversity, and relational tools you may not choose to remain in the marriage for too long. More importantly, it might not be feasible for you to stay. Like with all challenges, nothing changes when nothing changes. Get the tools needed to make your marriage work. Just like everything else, effort and commitment is key.

For more information about neurodiverse couples, Asperger husbands, and surviving an Asperger’s marriage please contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

Asperger Husband Shares His Thoughts

Asperger Husband Shares His Thoughts. Having Asperger’s is embracing life the way it is. After a relational diagnosis from my wife, Sarah Ruggera, LMFT, who is a Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor, I felt a sense of relief. Everything made more sense and I no longer shy away from people and social situations. I’ve realized that I was the contributing force to most of our arguments. My wife always told me her meltdowns were in reaction to my Asperger’s. As a psychotherapist she is able to manage her emotions appropriately, however, due to what she was experiencing all these years (Cassandra Syndrome) she was lost in our world of neurodiversity.

Asperger Husband Shares His Thoughts

I’m still semi detached from everyday emotions and still get wrapped up in my special interests, like computers and writing programs, nonfiction reading, and spending a lot of alone time.

I appreciate my wife and her efforts in enabling us to communicate more effectively with the tools she provides Neurodiverse Couples in her practice. She still has her meltdowns and can become impatient with me but she knows I don’t act that way on purpose as it’s how my brain is wired.

Asperger Husband Shares His Thoughts

My thought process is still mostly reactive in that, if a situation A comes up I’m suppose to do B, but sometimes I should have done C instead, that’s when I get frustrated when I misread situations. Because I understand I have Asperger’s I am able to manage these types of situations as I ask questions sooner rather than later validating what I’m thinking opposed to what others are thinking and getting the clarity I need to better know what to do in those types of situations.

In moving forward, the most important thing is to be more relational with my wife as I put her through some tough times where she was talking divorce. She cared about me so much she invested the time and energy to get the help I need.  Because we didn’t receive much help in traditional couples counseling I’m amazed she had the initiative to become certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor helping others who struggle like us.

So having Asperger’s was something I thought was a bad thing, actually turned into something good as the awareness put things in perspective. If you think you might be on the spectrum, or if anyone tells you they experience something “off” about you, get the help that’s out there. There’s no shame in doing that. I feel good about what all this did for me and my family.

For more information on Couples Counseling and getting a relational diagnosis contact Sarah Ruggera at (858) 735-1139.

Neurology Matters in Couples Therapy

Neurology Matters in Couples Therapy.  If you are married to someone on the Autism Spectrum traditional couples counseling will not help.  My husband has Asperger’s.  We have been married for over 20 years.  As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I always knew there was something off with the way my husband communicated.  I love my husband very much, but the first decade of our marriage was very challenging.  I “acted out” quite a bit as I came to understand I was suffering from Cassandra Syndrome. I don’t know how many times I threatened divorce.

Neurology Matters in Couples Therapy

We sought Marriage Counseling, however, our communication did not improve. My discouragement and frustration lead to more acting out behavior which wasn’t helping. What we needed were relational tools and education about how Neurodiverse couples (Asperger husband; Neurotypical wife) process information differently. The understanding was quite eye opening.

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor, I am able to effectively help Neurodiverse Couples:

  • Identify root cause of issues through a Neurological lens
  • Understand meltdowns in one or both partners and how to manage them
  • By making an assessment using an Asperger’s profile in one of the partners
  • Interpret for each partner what behavior means

  • Acquire tools that initiate communication, express thoughts and feelings, and ask for what is needed
  • Implement those tools
  • Put systems in place for healthier and more effective interaction
  • Understand and appreciate that both have their own perspectives and see things differently

As a Therapist that works with Neurodiverse Couples, I normalize behavior that may be construed as odd and unkind. I know first hand how it feels to be a woman married to a husband on the Spectrum. With education, tools and adding levity to our sessions to difficult situational stories my couples present, we are able to develop and exercise more relational behavior to receive the emotional connection desired.

Many couples have spent thousands of dollars on therapy to no avail. They still feel disconnected, frustrated, and angry. No one wants a divorce. Couples have a lot invested in their relationships. Some have children, they have their history and resources that they want to keep intact. Neurodiverse couples can see the light at the end of the tunnel when they have the tools to communicate. Or as I like to say, tools to relate.

 

For more information about getting the right kind of counseling please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Vacation With An Asperger Husband

Vacation With An Asperger Husband. I recently took a vacation to Italy and wanted to share what travelling with a partner on the Spectrum looks like. To start off, I love my husband very much and we both have been working hard on maintaining a cohesive Neurodiverse Relationship. As mentioned in older posts his inability to be relational made me feel more like a group leader/organizer than a woman on vacation with her man in one of the most romantic places in the world.

Vacation With An Asperger Husband

We visited Naples, Rome, Tuscany and Venice and during our down time from sightseeing he was on his phone listening to audio books which were of apparent interest to him. While napping in a Villa in Tuscany he was listening to his audio books as he did when I took a bubble bath in our Grand Canal view suite in Venice. Had I not been educated on Asperger’s and being married to a spouse on the Spectrum I would have experienced many melt downs which include being upset, yelling, ignoring, shaming, crying, and threatening the relationship. In the past I wouldn’t bring his behavior to his attention, rather, ignore it or make some excuse about why he isn’t more interactive. Because I do so now and share what it means to me I am able to manage my emotions more appropriately. He learns with each opportunity as I tell him exactly what I need and want in challenging situations. He appreciates my input and is mindful to adjust his behavior in meeting them.

Being married to someone on the spectrum can make you feel alone, lonely and invisible. Cassandra Syndrome shares more of these kinds feelings. To help manage these emotions it’s important to have a good sense of self and do things to overcompensate them. On vacation I like to carve out time to be by myself for a couple of hours. As a Marriage Counselor, I enjoy people watching and observing couples interacting within their own dynamic. Helps me get some perspective as all couples have their ups and downs.

It isn’t easy travelling with someone on the spectrum as most of the time you do all the work. As with anything life isn’t perfect and being married to an Asperger husband has it pros and cons. In conclusion the trip was fabulous. Due in part, to our understanding of our Neurodiversity and the two of us being able to express our expectations.

For more information on being married to someone on the spectrum and how to manage being in a Neurodiverse Relationship please contact me at (858) 735-1139.