==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples
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How Aspie Husbands Can Avoid Arguments With NT Wives
Given an Aspergers man’s social skills deficits, arguments with his wife may be fairly frequent and intense (as compared to that of “typical” marriages). Aspie males fight with their women for many reasons, but the most prominent ones tend to be due to (a) mind-blindness and (b) difficulty with empathizing.
If you seem to always end up in a fight with your NT (i.e., neurotypical) spouse - seemingly over the most ridiculous and irrational things - then you may want to take some action before the marital bond is damaged beyond repair.
Here are a few ideas to implement that may keep arguments from starting (or from repeating):
1. Don’t be passive-aggressive. Frustrated Aspies often fall into passive-aggressive behaviors, because it is one way to avoid expressing true anger. You may think of anger as a “negative,” so instead of being honest and saying something like, "Your comment is upsetting to me," you might withdraw, become silent, engage in your “special interest” as a way to avoid discussing the issue at hand, sulk, or demean your wife by “correcting” her as if she were a child. There is always a way to express anger in a healthy way. Thus, explain that you are upset and why, using "I" statements to highlight your emotions over objective facts.
2. Use little white lies every now and then. Do you want to be rude to your wife for the sake of brutal honesty (e.g., “Dinner was terrible!”)? Then you will have another fight on your hands. Dinner may have very well tasted like crap, but you’ve got nothing to gain by saying so. And honestly, nobody cares about your opinion on the matter anyway. Keep it to yourself. Smile and tell her dinner was appetizing. Be a peace-maker rather than a trouble-maker.
3. Compliment your spouse every day. One of the major reasons for fights between spouses is that they don't feel acknowledged. Compliment your spouse regularly, and she will feel appreciated. Wives who feel appreciated are less likely to fight.
4. Create a process for resolving fights without anger. Anger often makes it hard to respond to a situation rationally. A good way to keep anger out of the equation is to take a few minutes to express your emotions when you have a misunderstanding, rather than immediately trying to “change” your wife’s viewpoint.
5. Take your spouse out on dates. A lot of disagreements result from issues that haven't been fully explored. It's very important to have a way to stay up to date and to create some kind of ritual that has the two of you talking on a regular basis. In this way, you may catch problems early BEFORE they become unmanageable.
6. Swallow your pride and learn to keep your mouth shut. There will be many opportunities for you to respond to a comment your spouse has made that will be an invitation to fight. When this happens, bite your tongue, take a hard swallow, and change the subject. Just do it!
7. Discuss new issues immediately. When you notice an issue is building up to a boiling point, do not sweep it under the rug. Rather, discuss the problem while it is still small. In this way, you can prevent a future explosion. Keeping issues bottled up means when the next disagreement occurs, you run the risk of bringing up the past, in which case, you will be fighting several battles at one time. This will make your wife feel attacked. Even small problems can lead couples to build resentment over time.
8. Know your specific triggers around fighting. Take an inventory so that you can discover what comments and situations elicit anger and quarrelsome behavior in you. List them – write them down. Then come up with an action plan so you won’t get trapped by them in the future.
9. Have a sense of humor about conflict, without discounting your wife’s viewpoint on the matter in question. Laughter can help lighten the mood in a heated situation. Spouses tend to bond over shared comical moments. Laughter can help remind you both of your shared love and passion. So, when the argument begins to dissipate, try finding some humor in the situation, which will help return a sense of normalcy to the state of affairs.
10. Lastly, summarize what was discussed to make sure you understand. How are you both willing to work on the issue to make sure it doesn’t happen again? How does your wife feel? How do you feel? Taking a few minutes to summarize the situation after a fight can prevent it from reoccurring.
==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples
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