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Adults with Asperger's and the People Who Love Them

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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"Asperger's Syndrome" (AS) is a term that's fairly new to many of us. "Neurotypical" (NT) is another one. A neurotypical individual is simply one who doesn't have Asperger's Syndrome, a neurological condition related to autism. Asperger's affects the lives of those who have it and the lives of those around them.

Some people with Asperger's Syndrome choose to stay single. Others will marry, and some will have children. Some will have happy marriages and families. And some will not. One important factor in determining their chances of happiness is ... awareness. Awareness that there are two different languages of two different worlds being spoken (or not spoken) in the household.

Anger, resentment, depression, grief, rejection ... all are experienced on both sides of the great neurological divide. That is, unless the spouses have the chance to realize that this divide exists. And learn how to translate for each other.

Due to the nature of this neurological condition, empathy and emotional intimacy are lacking in a relationship with an Aspie. This doesn't mean that love is lacking however. Aspies love just like anyone else. But they do not grasp the need of having this love expressed, and they don't know when and how it should be done. Unless their neurotypical spouse is willing to teach them. Verbally, concisely, specifically. Not depending on hints, or hoping he or she will just "pick up on it". Aspies don't pick up on it. Like color-blind people can't tell when the stop light turns to green.

The neurotypical spouse has their hands full. So does their Aspie partner. Both may be in for far more than they'd bargained for and certainly have had no real help until just recently, as research has come to light.

A diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome may not sound appealing to most of us. But for the AS individual who has spent their life bumping up against misunderstandings and anger and rejection for reasons they couldn't begin to understand, such a diagnosis can bring relief.

And for their NT spouse, there is reassurance that they are sane after all. There was something different at play all through their relationship.

Add a Comment26 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My granddaughter was diagnosed with AS a few months ago. In all the research and discussion since then it's become apparent I probably have it too. I never knew.
This resonated with me: "..for the AS individual who has spent their life bumping up against misunderstandings and anger and rejection for reasons they couldn't begin to understand, such a diagnosis can bring relief. "
And it can bring relief. For about a week or so. Then further research reveals all one can expect from this is more ostracism.
Point proven in the ridiculous, judgmental comments here: "oooh that sounds like my stubborn, broken husband! It's all HIS fault! Yay me!" They can blame AS now. When he needs some peace that's just his AS, not her inability to shut up for 5 minutes. When he's disinterested that's because he's disabled, not because she's boring. When he can't keep up with her need for attention that's his failure, not her insecurity. What a lucky wife she is to have no responsibility in her marriage!
AS or not, I know I love deeply. I'm the most loyal, forgiving, understanding person I know. But it's been my experience that people don't want that kind of love. They want me to fake something LESS. They want tokens, not the real thing.
So I've spent my life lonely. Even within a "good" marriage I became so lonely my choices boiled down to divorce or suicide.
I put it you, long suffering wives of aspies: with your allegedly superior neurotypical capacity for empathy, can you even begin to comprehend the pain of a "life bumping up against misunderstandings and anger and rejection for reasons they couldn't begin to understand?"
Love thy husband. He's only human.

December 29, 2012 - 2:12am
Jody Smith HERWriter

Thanks for commenting.

I think it's so good that information about Asperger's Syndrome is becoming more available. So many of the misunderstandings and frustrations can be much more manageable with the knowledge that this is not about a lack of love.

More knowledge also makes it easier to find ways to deal with the translation problems between spouses. And of course, reassurance that you're not losing your mind is always beneficial. :-)

March 11, 2010 - 3:13pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

i have been married to a man who i am sure has AS for 22 years. We have 2 daughters and a very happy and successful life together. My husband has many special qualities and does everything in his power to make me happy and i love him for that. However, we are unable to socialise normally and I can find this very frustrating at times. I am so grateful for online posts like this that assure me I am not alone and not going mad as my husband simply does not recognise that he has a problem.

March 6, 2010 - 1:49pm
jean low (reply to Anonymous)

hi married to a/s man for 45 yrs ,and yes they do not admit to having a problem.because THEY DONT HAVE A PROBLEM,we do/to them they are normal.the world and all the people who are not a/s have the problem.the a/s people in our family[many]are happy with the life they have.they just cant understand why we find it hard to live with them.so no good lecturing them on how they should change[been there,done that]as i am sure you found out,that makes things worseen leads to non a/s partner having breakdown[been there too]
so we have to accept them/adapt /learn to cope by reading all the good books about a/s.and of course its our choice to stay or not.

December 9, 2010 - 4:26am
Jody Smith HERWriter

Many Asperger's men are highly intelligent men. Many are very well educated and do very well in the business and professional world.

October 7, 2009 - 2:16pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It does reflect on maturity, wich means that men with Asperger's rarely have any education beyond 9th grade.

October 7, 2009 - 2:11pm
jean low (reply to Anonymous)

people in my family did go on to normal further education.college or uni.they are often genius level in thier own field.in our a/s family we have one best selling author,one legal secretary.one proff driver.one hypnotherapist.one proff dog show judge.one is a proff musician.have i made my point.yes i meetpeople at my carers group that have a/s people in thier family that do need ongoing care and probably will never lead independant lives.
as in our non a/s world we are all different.so yes aspergers people come with different levels of education.please do not judge.

December 7, 2010 - 9:08am
Jody Smith HERWriter

There are as many "types" of Asperger's men as there are neurotypical men.

Asperger's is a neurological condition, which does not reflect on maturity or education. And these days it is possible to an AS man to learn social skills even though most of this does not come naturally to them.

Many Asperger's men care very much for the women in their lives and go out of their way to make their wives and girlfriends feel loved and valued.

October 7, 2009 - 7:35am
Rosa Cabrera RN

Hello all, just thought I might share some information about Asperger's:

Asperger's syndrome is a lifelong condition, although it tends to stabilize over time, and improvements are often seen. Adults usually obtain a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. They are able to learn social skills and how to read others' social cues. Many people with Asperger's syndrome marry and have children.

We respect everyone's opinions. But when stating facts please do your research prior to posting something that is inaccurate and may hurt someone's feelings.

Thank you,
R. Cabrera
EmpowHer Guide

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/tc/aspergers-syndrome-symptoms?page=2

October 7, 2009 - 6:03am
jean low (reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

thank you.yes they do marry/the aspergers people in my family all have had relationships,and lots have married.they are certainly attracted to the opposite[or same]sex.
i am not saying that its easy for aspergers people to marry.and they often divorce,because they find it so hard to show affection.but the ones in my family all wanted a family of thier own.
and yes it is in the genes.in our familt the grandparents were first cousins.the doctors who specialise in aspergers have said that is probably where it came from.at least 10 now diagnosed,but more still undiagnosed.they are all very bright,clever,and have good careers.but all lacking social awareness, and social skills.

December 3, 2010 - 5:30am
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