Is Your Husband On The Spectrum? Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is an Autism Spectrum Disorder – (ASD) and is part of a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). It’s a spectrum of characteristic traits that can make their individual lives and marriages challenging. There’s nothing wrong with being on the Spectrum. I don’t like using the word “syndrome” because it pathologizes and fails to acknowledge the many great traits a person with Asperger’s possess. All of us are on the spectrum to some degree but those who suffer from AS are severely debilitated with respect to social interaction, behavior, and communication. People with Asperger’s, affectionately known as Aspies, are high functioning, have no problem with basic speech, are quite capable and highly intelligent.
Is Your Husband On The Spectrum?
I’ve been married to Phil, my husband for over twenty years. From the beginning, I suspected he might be on the spectrum. Is Your Husband On The Spectrum?
Common traits of Asperger’s Syndrome include:
- Thoughtlessness. The lack of consideration for others, while unintentional, may appear to be rude or callous.
- Mindblindness. This is known as a lack of Theory of Mind, which is the inability to reflect on the contents of one’s own mind and the mind of others. Those with AS are incapable of putting themselves “in someone else’s shoes.” They cannot conceptualize, understand or predict the knowledge, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, feelings, and desires behavior, actions, or intention of another person. This can create major barriers to communication and intimacy.
- Lack of self-awareness.
- Challenges with time management. People with AS can become involved in restricted or special interests and, in so doing, lost track of time.
- Possess a narrow range of interests and can become hyper-focused on one, (often very specific,) hobby.
- Demonstrate little to no empathy.
- Heightened sensitivity to bright lights and, loud sounds. Their skin and their sense of taste can also be very sensitive.
- Repetitive behavior. People with AS are not flexible; they like their routines and have little tolerance for change.
- Difficulty making small talk. Possess limited relational skills.
- Propensity for one-sided conversations.
- Difficulty making friends
- Possess awkward moments and mannerisms.
- Little eye contact.
One might wonder why anyone would want to be in a relationship with someone on the spectrum? My husband is a kind, generous, and intelligent man and I love him very much. But his Asperger’s presented some challenges for me early on in our relationship. I invested in the two of us by learning everything I could about AS, acquired the coping skills needed to manage my emotions (see related article on the Cassandra Syndrome), and found tools to help my husband become more relational. Today, we have several systems in place to foster communication, awareness, and meaningful interactions that work quite well.
If you are struggling with the challenges of a neurodiverse relationship, where you and/or your partner have an ASD, I’m confident I can help you out. Being a Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor (AANE) I can develop successful coping strategies and relational skills to deepen and strengthen your relationship.
For more information on moving forward with your Aspie husband or wife, please contact me at (858) 735-1139. I know I can help.