Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? 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...
Coping day-to-day with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism can be stressful to say the least. Sometimes due to various circumstances related to living on the spectrum, your mood may fade a little and leave you sad. And although you know that fighting the feelings can be overwhelming, there are ways to strengthen yourself in those moments and get ahead.
With the following tips, your mood will be uplifted (and perhaps help others who are going through the same as you):
1. Be thankful. This is part of the "count your blessings" proverb we've all heard. Being thankful for all you do have, and saying thanks to others helps you to see the good around you.
2. Change your facial expression. You experience emotion, in part, to communicate to others. Part of the way you do this is through making muscular changes in your face - hence a grimace, frown, look of horror, or smile. We all assume that when we are happy, we look happy – and when we are sad, the result is a sad expression. But it's actually more intriguing than that. Researchers have found that it also works the other way. For example, if you feel blue, start smiling at people and watch how your mood improves. Try it! What have you got to lose?
3. Don’t blame yourself for past mistakes. This is the simplest and most important thing you can do to beat depression. The stigma of depression, plus feelings of guilt and inadequacy, gets in the way of happiness. Managing the symptoms of depression requires a practical, proactive approach—and patience with yourself.
4. Do some form of exercise every day. Exercise can lift your spirits. One reason is the release of endorphins, a morphine like hormone sometimes referred to as "the runner's high."
5. Get a good night’s sleep. Much remains unknown about the connection between depression and sleep, and everyone has different sleep needs, but experts recommend that depressed people need to get enough sleep and maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule.
6. Laugh out loud. Laughter has positive health effects. Search diverse sources of comedy as books, presentations or movies, and enjoy a good time for recreation.
7. Let the sunshine in. Brightening your bedroom when you wake up helps you feel happier all day. Leave curtains and blinds open, and put lamps on a timer to switch on 15 minutes before your alarm sounds to get a “dawn simulation” effect. Just being outdoors can boost your mood as well. Morning sunlight is most beneficial, so take a pre-work walk.
8. Play with a pet. Petting a dog for just 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. If you’re more of a cat person, no problem. Other research has found that playing with your kitty gives a similar mood and health boost.
9. Look on the bright side. How you frame something can change everything. Try to consider the sunny side of a situation rather than focusing on the negative. If it’s pouring rain, think of the good it will do for your garden. A more optimistic and inventive you who can take on just about anything will result.
10. Use herbs to improve mood. A soothing cup of chamomile tea comes in very handy, especially late on a winter's night. The warmth is welcome and the mild nerve tonic can help relax you. For an added boost, try some jasmine, lavender or passionflower.
If you find yourself constantly alone, and if you would really enjoy having a love relationship but don't know how to get one, you will want to consider starting with an “online dating” approach.
Too much anxiety and self-consciousness create a bad first impression; therefore, believe me when I tell you that online dating is infinitely better for adults with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism compared to a first-time, face-to-face blind date. Dating sites will help you break-out into the dating scene, and help you talk to potential dates in a more relaxed manner.
Imagine walking into the local pub with 50 strangers in it. If you’re looking to start a conversation with someone, where do you start? (You’re feeling anxious already, aren’t you?!) Do you just sit there by yourself in hopes that someone will come up to you and starting talking? Do you risk being offensive by asking someone if you can buy him or her a drink?
An online dating service is like having a friend go into the pub ahead of you as a “scout,” and this scout picks 5 people who you could go out with. How cool is that?! Of course, this doesn't mean that any of those 5 people are perfect for you, just that they share important traits and interests that are the basis for a compatible relationship.
10 reasons to consider dating online:
1. Most online dating sites have a "matching algorithm," (i.e., a formula that matches people in a way that helps ensure they are compatible, thus significantly increasing the chances of romantic success).
2. Adults on the autism spectrum often tend to be better at writing out what they feel and think (e.g., in chat messages), whereas in “real life,” they might hold back feelings or thoughts, or be too afraid or embarrassed to talk about some things.
3. Dating sites allow you to place a photo along with a personal ad, and some even have audio capability so you can listen to your potential partner’s voice. While this may sound a bit superficial at first, it actually takes the whole "meat market" aspect out of the dating process because it allows you to weed out the individuals that you feel uncomfortable with from the start.
4. For the frugal minded “Aspie, online dating saves you a lot of money. When you go out on a “real life” date, you have several possible costs involved (e.g., gas to and from the date, a meal for two, movie or concert tickets for two, etc.) – and this is just for one date! When you date online, you save all of that money (and if the date does not go as you had hoped, you will not be out any money).
5. If it turns out that a particular “online person” is not for you, you can graciously back out without the awkwardness of a “real life” date.
6. One of the “hidden” benefits of online dating is that it allows you to critically examine what you want out of life (not just out of a potential relationship) in a way you haven’t done before.
7. Online dating helps you meet potential partners rapidly so that you can quickly determine whether or not there is any compatibility. Initial contacts may be through online chats and messaging exchanges, which help you get to know your potential date.
8. Online dating offers you access to potential mates that you would be unlikely to meet through other avenues.
9. When you look for that special someone online, you are able to be yourself, to relax more, and not feel so pressured to impress the other person. You can just be you.
10. With online dating, you get to know the “real” person. Once you have chatted with someone online for a while, you begin to know that person, how he or she feels and thinks, and what makes him or her happy or sad.
So if you’re tired of being single and isolated, consider joining a dating site soon (or how about now?!). But before you do, understand this:
In romantic relationships, many of us are somehow convinced that one particular individual (yet to be discovered) will make us completely happy. This is a myth! The modern idea of romance, the idea that one “special person” is out there, that there is a perfect match waiting for you, is simply bullshit. There is not one specific individual for which everything should be given up so that you can have a “happily ever after.” So, forget about it. Get online and start looking over all the available matches, pick on, then see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, simply go on to pick #2, then #3, and so on. Eventually you will find someone who will be just fine as they are (which won’t be perfect, but that’s O.K.).
Are you an adult with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism? Do you want to be in a relationship, but you suffer from commitment phobia? Do you keep picking the wrong person to be with? Would you really like to discover the underlying cause of your fear and what you can to do about it?
Many adults on the autism spectrum never get to have the experience of a satisfying, loving relationship because they fear commitment. If they do have a committed relationship, they are constantly fearful and worried about breaking up, fighting and other conflicts that can enter a relationship – so they manage to mess it up.
Your ability to open up and feel comfortable with commitment is affected by a host of factors, which include the following:
Society shapes the extent to which you might feel comfortable opening up (e.g., many male heroes in movies, television and novels are usually portrayed as emotionally distant and independent).
Previous romantic relationships can also shape your behavior and expectations for future relationships (e.g., a person who was in a very intense relationship with someone who was emotionally abusive could develop a distorted perception about what to expect in a relationship).
How you were treated as a youngster has profound effects on how comfortable and secure you feel getting close to others (e.g., kids who were raised by warm and accepting parents tend to feel much more comfortable getting intimate and close to their romantic partners later in life).
How your mom and dad interacted and treated one another serves as a model of how you're likely to communicate with - and behave toward - your romantic partner. Individuals who grew up with moms and dads who were emotionally distant or argumentative tend to express their emotions and develop communication styles that are similar to the styles they observed as children.
What is your reason for not wanting to commit? For example:
Can't trust the opposite sex
Fear of being rejected
Fear of not finding your "soul mate" – a person who is nearly perfect
Fear of sacrifice (e.g., relinquishing your identity and independence)
Fear of trusting people in general
Fear related to relationship performance (e.g., pleasing the other person, meeting his/her expectations, not letting him/her down, etc.)
Fear that the consequences of a future “relationship breakdown” will be all the worse the more time you invest in that relationship
Loss of space
No more freedom
Not ready for it
Only one sex partner – forever
Prefer to be alone
Have a history of painful breakups
Have an “inferiority complex”
Been burned before
Experienced feeling "trapped" in a relationship before
Witnessed the rocky relationships of parents and have the blueprint that “no relationship ever works out”
Research on romantic relationships suggests that there are at least four different types of people with commitment phobia:
People who find partners who are good matches, but then pick them apart (e.g., this person is not attractive enough, too tall, likes country music, etc.). No matter what the potential partner’s strengths are, people like this are able to dissect them to the point that they are no longer desirable.
People who engage in relationships with partners whom they are very incompatible with. These types of relationships always fail and serve to confirm the individual's expectations that commitment is unattainable. These people select romantic partners who will reinforce their fear of becoming too close to them.
People who go back and forth with the same partner. One week they're together …the next week they're apart …the next week they’re together …the next they're apart, and on it goes. This can go on for a very long time and allows people to carry on in a relationship without feeling committed. It's their way of avoiding commitment.
People who are too idealistic. They're always in search of Mr. or Ms. Right. Unfortunately, "right" is equated with "perfect." These people have super high standards for their partners. Their potential partner has to be attractive, intelligent, physically fit, have a good sense of humor, be financially stable, have loving parents, a nice car, and so on. If the potential partner fails to meet even one of these criteria – he or she is dropped.
Luckily, there are ways you can overcome your commitment phobia, letting you enjoy a relationship and experience love with that special someone. Here’s how:
1. Why are you afraid to commit? (e.g., “Because I’m afraid of being rejected!”). Write down these questions and answers. It's important to know what the issue is before you can find an answer. Read the list to yourself. Do these answers make sense? Expand on them into the smallest detail you can go into. Take each question from many angles. Also, you may want to spread this process out over the course of a couple days so you don't make rash decisions in the heat of a moment.
2. Sometimes we like to “control” everything, but “control” is often out of your hands in a relationship. This can be very fearful for some adults on the spectrum, and in turn makes them fear commitment. You have to learn to trust that things will go the way they are supposed to. You may not be able to control everything, but there’s no need to do this. Give up the idea that you must be in control of everything at all times. Life doesn't work like that -- never has -- never will. Period.
3. Indecision becomes a habit over time. Whenever we make a “choice” about anything, we are committing to it (at least for the time being). If commitment to any particular “choice” has been a problem for you, then start practicing being more resolute in a few small ways. Sometimes the more time we spend reviewing the pros and cons, the more perplexed we get. Research has found that “over-thinking” a decision can lead to poorer choices. So get used to just deciding what to do, where to eat, and how to spend your money, and you'll find decisiveness becomes a habit, too.
4. Learn from your friends’ experiences in relationships (e.g., how they have been intimate and loving with each other, how they have stuck together even when problems occur, etc.). Look at your parents and grandparents who have been together for so long and still keep the bond they promised. By knowing about other’s success stories, you will realize that it's a beautiful experience to be committed – and there's no reason to be fearful.
5. Learn how to make small commitments in general. What are the non-romantic choices in your life that paralyze you? Deciding what to eat? Deciding what to wear? Making firm appointments? What type of computer to purchase? When to take a vacation? Which car to buy? Which interests to pursue? Which movie to see? Which organizations to join? Start with the commitments that you perceive to be less intimidating and begin to take small steps in overcoming your indecisiveness. As your successes accumulate over time, challenge yourself to take on slightly more ambitious commitments. Don’t punish yourself with unnecessary pressure, just keep building slowly.
6. Seek support from others when you want to commit, but are afraid to do so. Having someone to help you through your reservations and concerns when you enter a relationship can really do wonders.
7. Consider discussing your fear of commitment with a therapist who can really understand your situation. Talk about anything and everything about your fear, your reasons, and the causes. You might have a specific fear that comes in mind when you think of committing yourself in a relationship. What is the main reason for this fear? Did someone you know go through something that made you feel this way? Discovering what triggers your commitment phobia can help you tremendously in overcoming it. Consulting a therapist is the quickest and most effective way of working out these problems. However, be sure to be proactive, and be willing to cooperate with things the therapist asks you to do.
8. Face your fears head-on. Inform your potential partner of your commitment phobia, but let him or her know you are willing to give it a shot. Who knows, maybe this person can help you overcome it as well!
9. Be patient with yourself as embark on the journey toward developing self-assurance in relationships.
10. Use the "Law of Attraction": Visualize yourself being confident, assertive, calm, cool, and collected in all your relationships – romantic or otherwise. Start with an easy relationship first (e.g., your next door neighbor), then graduate to a “love interest.”
How can men and women with Asperger's (high functioning autism) go about overcoming self-doubt and fear in relationships? Answer: By creating a very powerful shift in your self-perception. This enables the light to shine more clearly on your authentic self. The pathway to authentic living will provide you with many positive tools for change.
How to overcome feelings of self-doubt in relationships:
1. Allow relationships to progress in a natural way. If you really like someone, it’s only normal that you would hope for the relationship to move to the next level. But, it’s very important to allow it to do so on its own time, in a natural and healthy way. Avoid “forcing” the relationship due to your own fear that your “special someone” is going to leave you for another person.
2. Avoid over-generalizing. If you’ve been burned in a past relationship, it doesn’t mean that you will be burned in the next one. If you dated someone previously that cheated on you, it understandably could make you feel anxious about a new relationship. But, that situation can be very unfair to your current “special someone.” Take a step back and stop generalizing about people and relationships. You wouldn't appreciate it if someone did that to you. Remember that just because you’ve been hurt before doesn't mean you will be hurt again. Your ex-partner and your current partner have nothing to do with each other.
3. Avoid spying. Don't let self-doubt turn you into a “snoop.” For example, if your boyfriend has a female friend that makes you feel uneasy (perhaps because she is good looking or intelligent), avoid sneaking around and playing back her voicemail messages to your boyfriend. If you listen to something without knowing its proper context, you could be setting yourself up for confusion and unnecessary distress. Also, you don't want to come across as a “nib-shit.”
4. Stay positive. If your feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt are really strong, chances are you put all of your energy towards agonizing about the relationship. Agonizing all of the time is no way to create a happy relationship. Instead, think about why your “special someone” is in a relationship with you in the first place. Remember why you want to be in a relationship with this individual, and focus on all of the good experiences you’ve shared so far. Staying positive will help you eliminate feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.
5. Enjoy what you really like to do. If you enjoy doing something quirky or odd, don't be afraid to show the world. It will make you more contented and inspire other people.
6. Find a new talent. If you have low self-esteem because you feel like you are unable to do anything, then find a talent. Start dance classes or swimming lessons …how about guitar lessons? …may even learn how to scuba dive.
7. Find out the causes of your self-doubts. Do a self-reflection and write down which areas in your life where you lack confidence or assurance. Go over your list of insecurities one by one. Beside each item, write down an explanation why you feel this way. Go back to the time when the self-doubt was born, then examine your feelings. Is your self-doubt justifiable? Or is it just your fear magnified? By looking honestly into the source of your self-doubt, you will discover that you are the one who is punishing yourself.
8. Take a moment to ask yourself what you can do to make progress in the area you are not confident about. Maybe you don't like your appearance. Do a major makeover of yourself (e.g., get a new haircut, change your wardrobe, etc.). Maybe you are fearful of getting into a new love relationship because of poor social skills. Do something about it (e.g., read some self-help books, enroll in a class that will address your concern, etc.). There is always something you can do to start building your self-confidence instead of wallowing in apprehension all day.
9. Find support groups that will help you feel better about yourself and your life. They could be your trusted friends, members in your family, online chat groups, etc. Let them know your struggles and your wish to change them. Having another person to help you change yourself makes it easier than doing it alone.
10. A lot of adults on the spectrum become timid in relationships due to their overactive imaginations. If, for example, you are constantly imagining that your girlfriend is showing interest in other men, even when she really isn't, you are letting your insecurities get the best of you. Look at what is really happening around you instead of letting your imagination run wild.
11. Find new friends. The more friends you have the better. But remember that if you are going to get a new friend, he or she has to like you for who you are. If he or she doesn't, then you’ve found the wrong person to like.
12. Don't be timid because you are not like other people. If you love yourself for who you are, others will also. Notice features and aspects of yourself that you like – and be proud of them.
13. Remember that you are not a mind-reader. If you live in a constant state of anxiety that your “special someone” simply isn't that interested in the relationship, stop trying to be a mind-reader. This can only lead to driving you totally nuts. Instead of predicting the feelings of the person you have an interest in, ask him or her. Although asking straight out might hurt if you don't get the answer that you want, it might also be able to save you a lot of time, heartache and uncertainty.
14. Smile. It's really important to smile. Smiling givers others the impression that you are a confident, pleasant person to talk to and associate with.
15. Work on eliminating your self-doubts one at a time. Racing to defeat all of them at once is unreasonable and will hurt your chances of getting over them. Be persistent and pray for your success. True confidence is locked inside of you waiting to be opened. You’ve the right key to open the door to a secure future by getting rid of your self-defeating thoughts and welcoming the real you!
Best comment: I was reading this blog and have found that many of things on here match my current boyfriend. We have been dating for almost 4 years. When I first met him I thought he was just shy but as I got to know him better I knew that something was off. If a friend called us to hang out we couldn't go because as he says he wasn't given enough time to mentally prepare. I would have to tell him things a week in advance for him to want to do it. He would make harsh and inappropriate comments and was a bit socially awkward. He also had this obsession with video games. At first I thought well maybe he just needs to learn to communicate better. It wasn't until last year when my father passed away that I realized that his lack of empathy was a huge problem and that he might be an aspie...one Saturday afternoon about a month after my father passed I tell him that my mom and I are going to go look at headstones and pick one out. I ask him if he can come with me and he responded with a shrug and by saying "this is going to be so boring". I was so hurt that I stormed out. I couldn't believe what he had just said. Fast forward a few months later, I'm in my first semester of grad school..stressed out at school and still going through grief...I have multiple sclerosis and I have a flare up where my face and neck go numb. I'm in the ER in pain, cant feel my face. After the first hour or so in the ER he says to me "If this takes too long I'll go home and see you tomorrow"...not really want I want to hear at that moment. So now I'm just really confused because I love the guy, I do, but I have a serious condition where I'm not disabled now but there is a good possibility that I can become disabled in some way in the future and other family stresses (like people passing away, kids getting sick, etc.) are going to happen...I'm just wondering if I can depend on him and if I should stay in this relationship? He is able to self-reflect but it's usually after he has done something wrong. He never really gets that maybe he should make that comment. He can be very affectionate at times and I've noticed that he is very affectionate towards animals, he is often outraged if an animal is abused and doesn't like to kill spiders in our house. one time he made a comment to me that he wants to marry me, then a few months later he says to me in an honest face that he said that because he knows that's what I want to hear. I don't know if he has aspergers and if he does, he has done a damn good job of appearing to be a typically developing adult...I mean he's right, that's what women want to hear but he doesn't understand that it's inappropriate to tell them that he only said that because he knows that's what women want to hear lol. Sometimes I wonder if he actually LOVES me or if he has just learned that that's what people do...? Sorry for my ramble, I don't expect any answers just wanted to share my story. ------------------------------
Anonymous said... I'm 27 with Aspergers and have been without a Girlfriend for 3.5 years nonetheless. I understand that to love is to accept being vulnerable, but that's not so much my issue with relationships. It's trying to find a woman that has the same interests as me, and has Asperger's. I'm not sure what to think right now though I get the feeling i'll be in love again. A part of me has grown impatient but I know that its a doubtful side of my mind that is fighting against me nonetheless. The only thing I find confusion above the rest is when friends and family say to me one of 2 messages such as "don't find love, Love will find you", or "Don't wait for Love, just go for it. Admittingly since this isn't on Facebook I don't have to deal with the embarassment of the sort. Plus i admit its a little embarassing when you realize at your age you're still a virgin. Regardless though as I was talking with a friend of mine about a few college friends we know I then arrived at the realization that getting jealous about those 2 couples was useless because I too will get engaged myself. I wonder when but overall as much as I try to ignore Love it appears everywhere on the internet and when I'm around couples I hear them never Shut The F**k up about it.
Anonymous said... Why does it seem that articles dealing with a relationship with a High Functioning Aspie are about the neurotypical person in the relationship doing all the work and making all the sacrifices to make the relationship function? As a High Functioning Aspie who just destroyed a beautiful relationship, but long distance with a few other obstacles, I find my isolationism a necessary obstacle to overcome. I have fought hard to overcome many of my Aspir traits throughout my many years and have been successful in many regards. Yes, it is hard work and yes it is tiring and does require down time. The problem with downtime or isolationism in a relationship is not the need for it but the communication with the other partner about the need for it. Sometimes we just need to buck up and spend time with our partner, because he or she may need that time. A relationship requires work from both partners and the neurotypical partner should not be the one who has to give constantly. He or she will tire of the work they are putting in and go seek a partner who is willing to give rather than just take. I lost a beautiful soul because I was going through many things at once for a long period of time and literally shut her out and did exactly those six things mentioned above. With all of the obstacles, the distance and my isolationism she feared that I would be that way throughout a relationship, leaving her to nothing but loneliness. I sat and spoke to her about what I had been going through and she spoke to me about what she had been going through. Sadly she has been hurt before and simply wants to protect her heart...and wasn't sure she was making the right decision but went with her instinct and ended our relationship. I, of course, am devastated...I'm head over heels in love with this woman but I understand her need to have someone there who does not make her feel lonely while in a relationship. I also understand that she could not be the one making the sacrifice, that I too had to buck up and be the man she needed. It's not going to be easy to work on this while not being in a relationship but I will find a way because at 48 years old I'm tired of being alone and destroying relationships with my isolationism.
"I feel so isolated and alone in my 12 year long marriage to my AS husband. How does one cope with this - what I call empathy deprivation."
Isolation is a problem that afflicts nearly every relationship with an Asperger’s (high functioning autism) partner at some point. When one of the partner’s is on the autism spectrum, it’s not uncommon for some couples to slowly drift apart in ways they don't even recognize at first. Signs of isolation include the following:
feeling of being unable to please or meet the expectations of your partner
feeling that keeping the peace by avoiding the conflict is better than the pain of dealing with reality
feeling that your partner isn't hearing you and doesn't want to understand
refusal to cope with what's really wrong
sense that your partner is detached from you
attitude of "who cares, why try?"
If you, as a “neurotypical” (i.e., someone without Asperger’s), are starting to observe these symptoms in your relationship, you have begun experiencing the problem of isolation. All relationships need a plan to reverse isolation and to bring about intimacy. Isolation is like a virus that invades your relationship – silently, slowly, and painlessly at first – but by the time you become aware of its harmful effects, it’s too late. Your relationship can eventually be crippled by monotony and indifference, and it could even die from emotional malnutrition and neglect.
Follow these steps to defeat isolation in your relationship to an Asperger’s partner:
1. Attend meetings, lectures, and other activities that inform you about autism spectrum disorders. This is an opportunity to meet people who share similar problems as you do. And the more you get out, the more you will see - and be seen - by others (a remedy to feelings of isolation in-and-of itself).
2. Develop a network of friends and family to help support your relationship – a key in overcoming loneliness.
3. Develop your own identity and get involved in activities that interest you (e.g., self-enrichment classes, yoga, social functions, etc.).
4. Develop relational skills. You can develop skills in relating to your partner just as you can develop skills in golf, cooking, or painting. Most of us develop some bad relational habits over time, and we need training and practice to develop skills in practical, yet vital, areas of relationship (e.g., speaking the truth in love, resolving conflict, listening to each other, forgiving each other, communicating expectations, adjusting to differences, etc.). Your determination to improve your skills in areas like these will show just how serious you are about revitalizing your relationship.
5. Enrich your life by learning something new to bring fresh insight and communication to your relationship.
6. Get a pet. Pets can be great companions, and having an animal waiting for you to come home every day can really boost your outlook and make you feel as though you have a companion.
7. Get involved in causes important to you (e.g., walkathons to raise money to fight breast cancer).
8. Handle anger constructively. You've heard the old adage, "Don't go to bed mad." Well, it's older than grandpa. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Choose to forgive daily. Leave the past behind and move forward together.
9. Have you ever wondered what happened to your best friend from way back when? There are many good opportunities these days with the internet, and e-mail, and Instant Message to hook-up with just about anybody who is still alive. Rekindling old friendships is a wonderful way to reconnect with the human race.
10. Hire a therapist to help you better understand the fears you have about your relationship difficulties. A therapist can help you (a) work through the fears you have, (b) develop coping skills to deal with those fears, (c) learn new relationship skills that will enable you to feel more confident in your dealings with an Asperger’s partner, (d) learn assertiveness skills that will empower you to get your needs met in your relationship, and (e) learn conflict resolution skills to work through the inevitable issues that arise between you and your “Aspie”.
11. Improve the relationship you have with yourself. When you don’t like yourself, it’s hard to believe that your partner likes you. One very simple thing to do to change the relationship you have with yourself is to change the negative thoughts you have about yourself to positive ones.
12. Join a club. Whether it is a church club, a car club, or any other of the thousands of club that are out there, being around people and making new friends is a great way to overcome feelings of loneliness. You can find clubs in your local paper and on the Internet.
13. Join a support group. Support groups are a good place to meet people and make new friends. Support groups are a good, safe way to meet other people who have similar concerns and interests as you do. Sharing common concerns or interests is a great ice breaker.
14. Keep in mind that you can only change your situation. You can't make your partner change his/her behaviors or attitudes about the relationship until he/she is ready.
15. Keep the lines of communication open daily. A good "home-base" is at the breakfast table where the two of you can take a few minutes to talk and discuss concerns.
16. Make sure that the relationship you do have is based on giving and receiving—not just giving. There isn’t a lonelier feeling in the world than to be involved in a relationship in which you do all the giving without doing any of the receiving. If you are one of those partners who give and give and give with the silent hope that you’ll get back in return someday, then it’s likely that you may feel lonelier than the average bear.
17. Make your Asperger’s partner your best friend, if possible. To be well balanced, also include other friendships, but reserve the number one spot for your “Aspie.” Best friends risk being vulnerable, because they know the other person will still love and accept them for who they are, will challenge them to grow, and stick by them no matter what.
18. Revisit your courtship days. Think about what drew you together in the first place, the goals you shared, the traits you admired in him/her, the places you enjoyed visiting, the activities you did together, and so on. Often this exercise helps you trudge through the muck and mire of relationship problems and regain perspective of why you are together in the first place.
19. Set aside time each day to focus on communicating with your partner. Start with a small item that is of interest to him/her. A funny story from a coworker or the newspaper can be a great conversation starter. Keep the conversation light and easy, and don't bring up problems or issues at first. Remember that the focus should be on increasing communication and feeling of closeness.
20. Share experiences. Go for a walk together, or join in for a favorite show or game of cards. Make your partner your primary focus of attention. Turn off all the cell phones and other distractions.
21. Spend time by yourself to think about what you are expecting from your partner. Is he/she aware of what you are looking for? Remember that all couples grow and change over time. Perhaps your needs have changed. Discuss this with your partner. Sometimes we assume our partner knows things that we haven't communicated to him/her.
22. Talk to your partner about how you're feeling, and take time to hash out each other's feelings about any distance in the relationship. Communication is a key in overcoming loneliness in any relationship.
23. Try to manage conflicts as they arise, but respect your partner’s viewpoints throughout the “conflict resolution” process.
24. Volunteer work is a good way to get involved with others who share similar interests. Not only will you be associating with other people, your life will begin to feel more meaningful by getting out of your self-centered isolation.
25. Write a journal. Lack of communication can lead to loneliness. If you have no one to talk to, you can start to feel very isolated. By writing in a journal every day, you will have an outlet for your feelings. By expressing your feelings, it can help you overcome a sense of isolation and loneliness.
In a nutshell, if you are unhappy in your relationship to an Aspie, be proactive about resolving this state of mind -- whatever it takes. Reach out. Ask for help. Be your own self-advocate. Take care of YOU, because if you don't, no one else will.