Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile. I must say this has been the biggest challenge in my entire life.
Although I do love my husband dearly, I am finding myself slipping into feelings of resentment quite often. Therefore, the Aspergers spouse may see the neurotypical spouse as irrational or illogical.
Aspergers adults, because they have a hard time separating boundaries at times, may hear criticism of a family member e. Aspergers men in particular may find conflict almost intolerable.
They may hear a difference of opinion or an attempt to explain a different perspective about a situation as conflict or a criticism of who they are. Neurotypical women especially tend to want their spouse to understand them and their feelings. However, they need to realize that this is something they may not be able to get from their Aspergers spouse.
The most basic elements of speaking and hearing are the most important issues that the Aspergers-Neurotypical couples may have.
Aspies often have a very difficult time hearing negative emotions expressed by their spouse. They may refuse to communicate, but then end up lashing-out in a very hurtful way later on. So what can Aspergers-Neurotypical partners do to maintain their relationship.
Here are some important tips: Both spouses must make a serious commitment to making the relationship work. Even if the Aspie accepts and understands their diagnosis, the truth is that your brains are wired differently. As a neurotypical partner, you will need to shift from "what is wrong" about your spouse and the relationship, to "what is right.
Both spouses need to have an in-depth understanding of Aspergers and how marital relationships are affected. Conflict is normal, even healthy. Differences between you mean that there are things you can learn from each other.
Often conflict shows us where we can or need to grow. Couples often derail a resolution when they try to acknowledge the other spouse's position, but then add a "but" in their next breath and reaffirm their position e.
Defending yourself, whether by vehemently protesting your innocence or rightness or by turning the tables and attacking, escalates the fight. Instead of upping the ante, ask for more information, details, and examples. When you meet a complaint with curiosity, you make room for understanding. Develop the self-discipline to set limits on your anger and your behavior. If either of you resort to physical force and violence in your relationship, seek professional help.
Each of us has a right to be safe and free of abuse or physical danger in our relationships. Fighting ends when cooperation begins. Asking politely for suggestions or alternatives invites collaboration.
Careful consideration of options shows respect. Offering alternatives of your own shows that you also are willing to try something new. Become students of each other's culture. Pretend that you are learning a new language from a new country. If you are an Aspie, remember that, in many ways, your spouse is from another planet, the neurotypical planet.
And if you are a neurotypical, remember that your Aspergers spouse is from the Aspergers planet. Celebrate the diversity and the differences. For the Aspergers partner, reconsider your perception of your spouse and of yourself. Going to bed angry is often the best choice. It allows spouses to clear their thoughts, get some sleep, and make a date to resume the fight which might seem less important in the light of day.
Friendly fighting sticks with the issue. Neither party resorts to name calling or character assassination. When you have complaints, do your best to give your spouse examples to work with. In the heat of an argument, threatening to leave the relationship is manipulative and hurtful.
It creates anxiety about being abandoned and undermines your ability to resolve your issues. Trust is not easily restored once it is broken in this way. It makes the problems in your relationship seem much bigger than they need to be.
It is best if the diagnosis of Aspergers is made and accepted by the Aspergers spouse. One of the best things that can happen is for the couple to seek help from a therapist or marriage coach who understands the unique differences between Aspies and neurotypicals.
If the therapist does not understand the unique differences, all that will happen is the couple going back and forth, arguing for their own view of the situation. Blaming your partner distracts you from solving the problem at hand. It invites your partner to be defensive, and it escalates the argument. In sports there are many rules that prevent one player from intentionally injuring another. In marriage and relationships, similar rules must apply. I will do whatever it takes to protect myself or to win.
If you give a little, it makes room for the other person to make concessions too. Small concessions lead to larger compromises. Stay in the present and resist the temptation to use the situation as an occasion to bring up other issues from the past. You can only change today. You can look forward to a better future. Try to keep your focus on what can be done today to resolve the issue at hand and go forward from there.
If you get off-topic, on to other issues, stop yourselves and agree to get back on track. You can always come back to other issues later. Taking a 1-minute break can help a couple push the reset button on a fight. Stop, step out of the room, and reconnect when everyone's a little calmer. The louder someone yells, the less likely they are to be heard.
There almost always are parts of a conflict that can be points of agreement. There are two things that derail intense fights: This can be difficult, but typically is extremely successful. Letting down our defenses in the heat of battle seems counter-intuitive, but is actually very effective with couples.
There comes a point where discussing the matter doesn't help. So couples need to just hold each other when nothing else seems to be working.
Reconnecting through touch is very important. Use words that describe how you feel, and what you want and need, not what your spouse feels, wants, or believes.
Instead, work on identifying your own unmet needs, feelings, and ways of thinking and describe these needs and feelings to your partner. When one speaks, the other should be really listening, not just planning their rebuttal. Take turns speaking and listening so that you both have a chance to say what you need. Have you ever tried to work through a difficult issue when your partner was talking over top of you and interrupting you?
How did you feel? Consciously remind yourself about this when you feel an overwhelming urge to interrupt or speak your mind. Respectful listening means acknowledging their feelings, either verbally or through focused attention.