"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. They weren't being oversensitive, being unreasonable. There was a very real disconnect right in the middle of their relationship.
And now, due to the research and media attention, these couples have a chance to bring new methods of communication and understanding to their relationships.
Frequently Asked Questions on Asperger Syndrome
Learning Discoveries Psychological Services: What is Asperger's?
Families of Adults Affected by Asperger's Syndrome
Adults with Asperger's Syndrome often go undiagnosed
Please, Learn About Asperger Syndrome And Give Hope to Non-AS Spouses
Adults with Asperger's Syndrome (from ASpar)
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