Asperger Husbands Can Make Good Partners

Asperger Husbands Can Make Good Partners. Marriages or partnerships with a person on the Autism Spectrum (AS) are often very challenging, with mental health challenges for both members of the relationship, for their children, and for extended family. Neurotypical women (NT) may appreciate that her AS partner marches to a different tune and does not exhibit some of the negative social or interpersonal attributes that she may have encountered in other potential partners or previous ones. Women may be attracted to men with AS because they appear safe, are highly intelligent, gentle, appreciative, interesting, creative, well read, unusual, quirky, and loyal.

Asperger husband in IT profession
Asperger Husbands Can Make Good Partners

As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor/coach, I tend to see couples who present with neurodiversity at its worst. Couples come in complaining about communication, lack of emotional connection, and time management to name of few. There are many strengths that enable an AS man to be highly functional. Because an AS husband and NT wife speak different languages neurology matters. I work with my couples through a neurological lens or Asperger profile. Traditional marriage counseling is not effective and can sometimes be detrimental to moving forward.

Strengths include:

According to Myhill and Jekel of Asperger Association of New England (AANE), people with ASD can be good partners. The women’s choice to marry someone with AS is not intrinsically a bad one. Some women aren’t aware they are entering into a neurodiverse relationship until enough time goes by where they notice communication is more transactional than relational. The women are often the ones who seek help as they are confused and don’t understand why their relationship seems different than others’. With the appropriate resources Asperger marriages can be just as rewarding and fulfilling as other happy marriages. Yes, there is work to be done, but just like anything else, if you do the work it should pay off. With putting systems in place, acquiring relational tools, and implementing the process you can have the relationship you want. All marriages have challenges. If two people who care about one another truly want to move forward, they can.

I am married to a man with Asperger’s. My Asperger marriage will continue to have its challenges. We are grateful for what we have learned to be able to say our marriage works for us. I look forward to working with neurodiverse couples because I know firsthand of the many challenges. I also know every couple has their strengths and I help them look for them.

If you would like more information about moving forward in your Asperger marriage please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

 

Halloween With My Asperger Husband

Halloween With My Asperger Husband. Before we understood my husband was on the autism spectrum he displayed some odd behavior. During the beginning of our marriage this odd behavior was challenging in that his communication was a bit hit and miss. Because I love and care about him I just thought he was peculiar in a “geek” kind of way. He is quite cerebral so his IQ is so much higher than his EQ (emotional quotient). IQ tests measure your ability to solve problems, use logic, and grasp or communicate complex ideas. EQ is important for emotional connection because without it couples can feel like they are roommates rather than romantic partners.

Halloween With My Asperger Husband

During Halloween I noticed my husband felt comfortable in his costume of choice. It was somewhat of an alter ego where he could comfortably behave as the character he was dressed up as. Asperger’s and comorbidity of anxiety and depression can make social situations very taxing. As easy as it is for us neurotypicals to engage in conversation, asking questions of my husband is like a deer in front of headlights.  It is nerve racking and uncomfortable.

In costume my husband could feel free to express his feelings as being in character felt safer than being himself. He tends to feel awkward in most situations and appears quiet and antisocial. As a pirate he can become animated and sound like Captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean. As a cowboy from Toy Story he comes to life as Tom Hank’s character Woody. As a gangster he takes on the enigmatic persona of a powerful ladies man. I love Halloween because it gives my husband the opportunity to strut some of his emotional intelligence. And I find that very sexy.

When I need him to behave in a certain way for particular social situations I tell him to get into the Jack Sparrow character, or the cowboy Woody. When I want him to be mysterious and assertive in the romantic arena I suggest he behave like the gangsters from The Godfather. Some of you may think this is strange but it works for us. Every year we look forward to selecting new costumes and acting out the roles of each. It’s fun, but more importantly, it can be a great tool for someone on the spectrum when needing to know how to behave.

When the costumes are put away for another year they may be in storage, but are still utilized as useful tools in helping my husband not only in social situations, but, in our day to day interaction to enable us to behave in a way that makes us feel less vulnerable.

When working with neurodiverse couples I help them put a systems in place, acquire tools for communication, learn to become more relational, and continue to coach them so both get what they need and want out of their relationship.

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

 

 

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

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s. What exactly is Asperger’s? Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that impairs development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. The precise causes of autistic disorders have not been identified, although an inherited (genetic) component is believed to be involved. Supporting this idea is the fact that Asperger’s syndrome has been observed to run in families. Based on my clinical observations of my husband and his parents, he may have inherited it from one or both of them. Does your husband ever display these types of behavior. I know mine does.

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s:

  • Is your husband not thoughtful?
  • Is he forgetful?
  • Does he appear to have no self-awareness?
  • Tends to be late all the time?
  • Shows little to no Empathy?
  • Seems Antisocial?

My husband is a kind, generous, and intelligent man. We’ve been married for over 20 years. Often quiet in his demeanor and less animated than myself, my friends thought we were an unlikely match. I know now what I didn’t realize then is my husbands’s comments and behavior offended some and made others feel uncomfortable. As the years went by I started to observe and experience a dynamic between us that consequently lead to feelings of loneliness, frustration, and irritability. He behaved in ways that were almost hurtful and rude.

Situations I now understand:

  • We were in Bora Bora on our Honeymoon. After a long flight, we were escorted to our beautiful over-the-water bungalow. As we were settling in I heard a knock at the door where room service brought my husband a refreshing Mai Tai cocktail. I asked where mine was and he said he didn’t order me one. I thought that was strange and nicely called him out on it. He said he didn’t think to ask me. (Aspie’s are often times not thoughtful)

  • When our daughter was 5 years old he forgot to pick her up from school after being reminded several times. (Memory problem)
  • Whenever I had a conversation with him he wasn’t able to show empathy and continued to talk about what was of interest to him. (Lack of Theory of Mind or Mind Blindness)
  • He could go on and on about a topic that was of interest to him and fail to recognize facial expressions denoting I was becoming uninterested or even bored. (No self-awareness)
  • He can go MIA (missing in action) for long periods of time working on his computer and not realize it and is often times late. (Time management problem)
  • I made a lovely Brunch one day and when we sat at the table to enjoy it he didn’t talk much and appeared troubled. I asked him later what was up as I was angry, more hurt, actually as I was expecting him to appreciate my efforts. He later told me the sun was brightly shining and hurt his eye. (Sensory Issues)
  • Unable to show compassion. My dog was bitten by a rattlesnake and the Vet said he may not make it. (No motion to comfort me as I was breaking down crying)
  • Doesn’t like change. Our daughter was part of a carpool. When parents made changes to the schedule, which benefited my husband he would become aggravated and unappreciative.

As a Marriage Counselor who is married to someone on the spectrum, I work with Neurodiverse Couples (one partner has Asperger’s AS and the other does not, Neurotypical NT). Because I’ve lived with my AS husband for over 20 years, I am able to help women who suffer from what is referred to as Cassandra Syndrome where the NT partner experiences psychological trauma from attempting to have a close personal relationship with a person who has deficiencies in interpersonal relationships, in areas such as reciprocity, compassion, empathy, recognition of facial expressions, putting themselves in another’s shoes, and a constellation of features known as “mind blindness.”

During the first decade of our marriage, I was experiencing psychological and emotional distress. The daily trauma of living with an AS can best be described as ongoing traumatic relationship syndrome (OTRS) aka known as Cassandra Syndrome. Even if someone comes into a relationship with a strong sense of self-esteem, it can still be demolished by a partner who has difficulty showing empathy. During the years before we obtained an unofficial diagnosis, I was quite troubled. I was so unhappy I wanted to leave the relationship. I didn’t like the way I felt as I was acting out emotions where I was angry, unreasonable, hurtful and verbally abusive. There was either something terribly wrong with me or there was some psychological challenge with him.

As I didn’t want a divorce I started to educate myself on this syndrome and acquired coping skills to manage my emotions more appropriately, while getting my husband the tools he needed to be more relational. We acquired a process and put systems in place for better communication. With the commitment to moving forward, I can honestly say I am so much happier. There was never any doubt I loved him but the Asperger’s was making for too many challenges to want to stay. 

For more information on being able to move forward with your Aspie husband please contact me at (858) 735-1139. I know I can help.

Do You Suffer From Cassandra Syndrome?

Do You Suffer From Cassandra Syndrome? Cassandra Syndrome is what a woman experiences after years of being married to a man with Asperger’s. Women I see are desperate to feel a connection of some type within their marriages. Some couples have been married for years before they come across a possible Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) aka Asperger’s (AS). The term Cassandra comes from Greek mythology; Apollo gives Cassandra the gift of prophecy; the ability to foresee the future. Cassandra Syndrome is also referred to as Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome or Affective Deprivation Disorder and abbreviated as CADD, OTRS or AfDD. Cassandra is a debilitating condition that can lead to physical and psychological problems if not managed experiencing distress as a result of their emotional needs not being recognized, or met by their AS (autistic) partner.

Do You Suffer From Cassandra Syndrome?

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and woman married to an Asperger husband, I suffered for 13 out of the 23 years of my marriage. The past ten years have been filled with hope and appreciation for one another as we acquired the tools necessary to become more relational. As traditional marriage counseling does not work, I became certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor by the Autism/Asperger Network (AANE) to help Neurodiverse Couples get the help they need to make their marriages work. Cassandra tends to have a negative and blaming connotation to the Asperger husband. Asperger husbands don’t give their wives Cassandra symptoms, the symptoms manifest due to the lack connectedness between the couple. It is usually both a blessing and a relief when the wife (neurotypical spouse) learns about AS and feels she now has an explanation for her husband’s unusual behaviors. Asperger husbands also have feelings about their relationships. That’s for another article.

You may suffer from Cassandra if you:

  • Feel lonely in your marriage
  • Are frustrated, resentful, angry; feel guilt
  • Doing all the work in the relationship
  • Are self-medicating with alcohol
  • Are not sleeping well
  • Act out your emotions inappropriately looking like you’re a crazy person
  • Feel like you’re going crazy
  • Are eating too much or too little (weight changes)
  • Are always yelling at your husband and other family members
  • Have a loss of libido (sex drive)
  • Are Moody
  • Experiencing a lot more premenstrual tension
  • low self-esteem
  • Are having social problems
  • Experiencing incredible fatigue
  • Experiencing high level of anxiety
  • Depressed
  • Losing your sense of self (self identity)

Do You Suffer From Cassandra Syndrome?

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. I read all I could read about Asperger’s and Asperger’s and relationships. I consulted with experts in the field in the United States and in England and finally came to the conclusion that my husband was on the Spectrum. We consulted with a psychologist who worked with Autistic individuals, but didn’t have the expertise in working with Neurodiverse Couples. We were frustrated for our relationship and disappointed realizing we were spending hundreds of dollars on marriage counseling that wasn’t working.

The most important indicator for success in neurodiverse couples is for the wife to be able to manage her emotions while the Asperger husband acquires tools to learn how to communicate with her in her language of neurodiversity. When the couple becomes stable enough to be able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what is needed and wanted, can they move forward harmoniously.

I love my husband I wanted to help our relationship not only become relational and functional. I wanted it to thrive. As a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor, I work with couples all over the world to acquire tools needed for communication, put a system in place to implement, and get traction on becoming more relational. I coach to maintain stability. I use the tools I give out and can say the past 13 years have been successful….even thriving.

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