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...

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Why Your Partner/Spouse with ASD Blames You For All the Relationship Problems

This audio clip from one of Mark Hutten's lectures will help explain why a person on the autism spectrum will tend to blame others for his/her trials and tribulations:


Theory of mind [summary]:
  • allows people to infer the intentions of others, as well as to think about what's going on in someone else's head, including hopes, fears, beliefs, and expectations
  • develops as children gain greater experience with social interactions
  • encompasses the ability to attribute mental states, including emotions, desires, beliefs, and knowledge
  • social-cognitive skill that involves the ability to think about mental states, both your own and those of others
  • the ability to understand that other people's thoughts and beliefs may be different from your own and to consider the factors that have led to those mental states

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development


Chronic, Invasive Thinking-Patterns in People on the Autism Spectrum

☹️==> Audio Clip: Chronic, Invasive Thinking-Patterns in People on the Autism Spectrum

What I hear from a lot from clients with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: "I just want the thoughts to stop!"

In working with clients on the autism spectrum, what I see pretty much 100% of the time is the individual’s tendency to chronically get lost in thought - usually stressful thoughts. The autistic brain is very rarely paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment.

Oftentimes, they are either (a) ruminating about a past stressful event, or (b) worrying about the potentiality of a future stressful event, or (c) they are experiencing stress in the present moment - the event that’s occurring now.

The only reprieve they get from being lost in this rabbit hole of random stressful thinking is to get lost mentally in their special interest. They are rarely at peace in the present moment unless the present moment involves their mental engagement with a preferred activity.

We all have random unwanted thoughts that show up in our head without permission - automatic thoughts. But, I have a ton of anecdotal evidence that the autistic brain seems to run on auto-pilot without the user’s permission pretty much 24 seven. 

We don’t have to beat our heart, it beats without us putting forth any effort. In the same way, the autistic brain thinks without the individual putting any effort toward the thinking. In other words, the autistic individual is no longer in charge of his thoughts, rather his thoughts are in charge of him. He is literally a prisoner of chronic intrusive thinking patterns. 

Low Social-Emotional Intelligence and Confusion Around Prioritized Allegiance


“My husband with Asperger seems to have a better relationship with his mother than with me… certainly more intimacy and consideration there. I don’t mean in a sexual nature of course. But he and his mother or like buddies and I’m kind of like the outsider in that group.”

==> Audio Clip: Low Social-Emotional Intelligence and Confusion Around Prioritized Allegiance


Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development

Anxiety Associated with Excessive Verbal Instruction and Performing Mundane Tasks

“My partner has high functioning autism, when I talk to him about something that’s important to me, he will zone out or he will pretend to be paying attention. But I always know when he has not heard me because he will not follow through with what he said he was going to do. He will agree to something but later will not complete the task.” 

==> Audio Clip: Anxiety Associated with Excessive Verbal Instruction and Performing Mundane Tasks


Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development

Toxic Guilt and Toxic Shame: The Autistic Dilemma

==> Audio Clip: Guilt to "Toxic Guilt" to "Toxic Shame"


People on the autism spectrum make social errors frequently. They already know that. But as they get reminded of how they keep "messing up," they often begin to view themselves as a mistake; it becomes a part of their identity. This often occurs at an unconscious level such that the individual doesn't even know he is experiencing chronic, low-grade, toxic guilt


Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development

Adults with ASD: Enough with the Negativity!

“I’m so tired of hearing all the negatives about Asperger’s. Those of us with the disorder are often on the receiving end of prejudice – and often misunderstood. It would be nice to hear something positive for a change!”

I agree wholeheartedly. There are significantly more positives associated with ASD (high-functioning autism) than negatives. And the general public does seem to focus on the negative stuff.

For example, people on the spectrum allegedly (a) talk forever without pause about their favorite topic; (b) say things in conversation that are inappropriate, divergent or tactless; (c) respond violently to frustrating situations; (d) fail to read others’ standard body language; (e) are not good at small talk, especially intimate bantering; (f) dislike establishing eye contact; and (g) can’t do things that require social interaction …just to name a few.

The truth is that SOME people on the spectrum have SOME of these traits. To say that ALL "spectrumites" have ALL these traits is just plain stereotyping.



Indeed, there are certain features of ASD (level one) that people with the disorder can use to their advantage. Here are just a few (and there are many more that I could add to the list):

1. Exceptional Global Insights: Many people with ASD possess the knack for finding unique connections among multidisciplinary facts/ideas that allows them to create novel, rational, and important insights that other people would not have reached without them.

2. Rational Decision Making: Their ability to make logical decisions and stick to their course of action without being influenced by impulse or emotional responses enables them to navigate effectively through tough situations without being yanked off-course.
 
==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples

3. Internal Drive: Rather than being swayed by social pressure or fears, social convention, or the opinions of others, they can hold firm to their own purpose. Their exceptional ideas often thrive – despite the pessimism of others.

4. Self-Governing Thinking: Their willingness to consider unpopular or strange possibilities creates new options and opportunities that can pave the way for others.

5. Ability to Live in the Moment: The “typical” individual often fails to notice what's in front of his eyes because he’s distracted by social cues or random chitchat. However, the person with ASD tends to truly focus on the sensory input that surrounds him (e.g., he may see the beauty that others miss). In other words, he has achieved the ideal of mindfulness.

6. Intense Focus: Many people with ASD have the ability to focus on one objective over long periods of time without getting sidetracked, which enables them to accomplish large and demanding tasks.

7. Seeing Past the Bullshit: Their ability to recognize and speak the truth that is being "conveniently" ignored by other people is often crucial to the success of a project or business venture.

8. Passion: Many are truly enthusiastic about the things and ideas in their lives. They often take the time, imagination, and energy necessary to master their area of interest – and they persevere even when the going gets tough.

9. Attention to Detail: Their ability to remember and process small details without getting lost or overwhelmed gives them a unique advantage when solving multifaceted problems.

10. 3-Dimensional Visioning: Their ability to employ 3-dimensional thinking gives them a distinctive perspective when designing and creating solutions.

Having a person with Asperger’s in your life can have a profound and positive impact on your beliefs, perceptions and expectations. The person's unique way of thinking is often both refreshing and enlightening.


Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development



COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…  My 20 yr old son is the MOST amazing person I've ever known. It has been my greatest pleasure, guiding him through life. He makes me laugh, teaches me so many things (ridiculously intelligent) and is always there for me, when I need help (very kind) He's the best guy to hang out with (witty & cool) I wish life was easier for him, and that he could see himself through my eyes, and know how utterly incredible he is.  I adore him, just the way he is...  :)
•    Anonymous said…  My grand girl is amazing ,I love having conversations with her  ❤she always tells me exactly how she feels . and loves a joke or a laugh
•    Anonymous said… Aspergers is not a disability, it's a gift.. Everyone with Aspergers is CONNECTED... Autism was discovered in 1944, around the same time 6 million Jews were slaughtered... Aspergers was discovered in 1981, the same year I was born.
•    Anonymous said… Being married only half a year, you might want to save your post and read it again 40 years from now. Then I think you might have greater understanding of what others have shared. Just a thought...
•    Anonymous said… Boy get this a lot. I'm a mum and drive and been a carer for mum but still get negativities back at me. My children grown fine 2 are autisic and my daughter not. I no I done my self proud but only my kids seen that. I'm aspie.
•    Anonymous said… Having an Aspie in your life may be positive IF they aren’t your spouse or child. The traits that make them special also destroy the soul of the people closest to them. 28 years married to one.
•    Anonymous said… I agree! My 11 yr old is fine his diagnosis Also! But when it's meeting time at school I hear nothing but negativity... 😠
•    Anonymous said… I agree, my 12 year old daughter is fine with her diagnosis!! It does always seem to be the negatives people focus on in life in general. It’s sad.
•    Anonymous said… I am so proud of my daughter. She worked really hard to overcome the obstacles that were preventing her from being able to read and when it finally clicked with her she took off running. Her teachers all brag on her and tell me what an amazing influence she is on the other kids because she actively participates and shows a true joy of learning. She is a natural artist and when given free reign to express herself on her chosen medium (her skin) she makes the most beautiful drawings! She sings, draws, computes, writes stories, wants to be a leader and an activist. She may have some obstacles, but she has many more strengths.
•    Anonymous said… I feel them, especially with all this streotype culture going around while most being so busy therefore not having enough time even for a second subsequently which gets worse there are people poorly educated about people with Autism because they fail to understand that people with Autism have a mind of their own!
•    Anonymous said… I know that my boyfriend is the first man I’ve dated that can communicate with me in a way that really registers with me more than anyone else. When there is an issue, he is direct, spells it out in no uncertain terms and makes sure that I understand what is going on. As I sometimes have difficulties with relationships and communication due to my own psychological issues, I am grateful to him for this blunt honesty each and every time.
•    Anonymous said… I see Aspergers as a blessing and a gift that I wouldn't trade for anything. I love that I'm a Aspie and glad to finally have been diagnosed (at age 53). I have only one purpose in calling my Aspergers a disability and that is to get the medical, mental, and financial, help I need (which I can't get if there is "nothing wrong with me"). The only reason for that is having finally fallen apart (long long term Autism burnout) from having been forced into the life of a neurotypical since my birth.
•    Anonymous said… I see patterns where others see only chaos.
•    Anonymous said… I️ tell no one, and nobody even notices, yet everyone loves my personality and says how funny I️ am to be around. I️ excel at work and have never been reprimanded, The sad truth of it is that had they seen the label instead of the person their opinions would have changed
•    Anonymous said… I truly feel you. I hope in the future there is a dating site strictly for aspies. I think my wasband would sign up.
•    Anonymous said… I'm the same. I struggle in the social side of life (and therefore to get jobs) but once there I ignore all the banter in the staffroom and just get on with the job.
•    Anonymous said… IMO, our world needs people with aspergers. My son is so smart and pragmatic. He's a natural problem solver. Thank God for people like him, because we surely have plenty of problems that need solved.
•    Anonymous said… January 26, 2016. I met the man of my dreams. He definitely has aspergers and was diagnosed at a young age. In his heart he cares about people, wants to be a wonderful, providing husband/stepfather, and he is doing just that. We were married June 4th of this year, he is amazing. I really hate when people stereo type and categorize based on a diagnosis. Everyone is different, just because you had a shitty experience doesn't mean everyone else will and that you should preach that no one should date an aspie.
•    Anonymous said… Like most things in life, I find it's a very mixed thing. On one hand I have frequent nightmares and can get overwhelmed by too much perception coming in all at once.
•    Anonymous said… lol my son is so unique and interesting!
•    Anonymous said… Memory stronger than an elephant
•    Anonymous said… My 12 yr old often astounds me with his knowledge of odd facts and trivia he's absorbed goodness knows where. He also loves the cats and is so loving with them. He has fantastic hand/eye co-ordination. I'm always learning something about their view and take on the world, and their quirks. I feel like I've just scratched the surface and yet I know them the best.
•    Anonymous said… My 17 year old son is amazing! He's our gentle giant!
•    Anonymous said… My 23 yr old is funny, and loves her cats like they were her children. She's really good at ordering bookcases full of books. She can be blunt but very perceptive. Her problem solving often comes in totally from left field, I love that about her.
•    Anonymous said… My DS 12 has an excellent eye for detail. And different ways of solving problems.
•    Anonymous said… My husband has the benefits and I wish I were more like him in some ways. His Aspie traits are minimal but just enough to cause me occasional frustration and loneliness. I only wish he had as much interest in understanding me as I do him.
•    Anonymous said… My husband is amazing! I love him to pieces and think he and my daughter are the greatest things since sliced bread. There are times when it isn't perfect, but what the heck is? Contrast is what makes it all worth it in the end. So many people questioned how I could be with him, given I'm super spiritual and he's a progressive humanist, I tell them plain and simple, "He's the greatest man I've ever met." My aspie has all the traits listed in the second half of the article. I just wish he could apply that single-minded focus to cleaning the house. Lol
•    Anonymous said… My partner displays only 1 out of 10 of your positive traits but displays all of the stereotypical negative traits.
•    Anonymous said… My partner has Asperger's and yes it can be frustrating at times as I'm sure I can be. I wouldn't change a thing about him. To me, he's perfect. I've read some really awful things about how people treat their Aspie partners. My partner doesn't like being bought presents and I was originally offended but why should I or others try to impose their cultural values on him? I think people need to be kinder. 12 years and still going strong!
•    Anonymous said… Negativity comes mostly from people who are in relationship with some one with Asperger...We are on receiving end of it. Maybe it's a gift to the person that has it, but for those around them , I would say that 70-80% of the experience is negative.
•    Anonymous said… People on the outside are quick to notice what is perceived as a difficulty. Try living on the inside.
•    Anonymous said… Same. Mine is 14 and he's determined, clever, thoughtful, pragmatic, money-concious and polite.
•    Anonymous said… Similar for me - once I realised I didn't have to follow the social norms with my partner, I found I liked being free of them myself! We buy each othrr gifts when we want to, we never have to. And the gifts have more meaning now. It's just one positive example.
•    Anonymous said… This is similar to what I said recently, if I had the choice I would choose to be an aspie every time
•    Anonymous said… This proud Aspie can understand my students because I've been therre! And I'm therre every day!
•    Anonymous said… Um, I’m 24 years in, 5 children and yes, some of that has been really hard. But, a definitive diagnosis a few years ago, the right type of counseling and I have come to see that my husbands traits both positive and negative have changed me for the better.
•    Anonymous said… Ummm....There's many wonderful things i can and do say in regard to my friend but nothing positive comes to mind re the moments i understand as Aspergers...but will stay tuned to this post in hope that there is something.

Post your comment below…

Why Your ASD Partner Has Difficulty Understanding How the Social World Works


Your Asperger's or high-functioning autistic partner has a neuro-cognitive disorder that affects many areas of functioning. This includes a difficulty with the basic understanding of the hidden (i.e., unspoken) rules of social behavior – especially if they are not obvious. Life has many of these rules. Some are written, some are spoken, and some are learned through observation and intuition (and intuition is not a strong point for people on the autism spectrum).

In trying to understand how the social world works, your AS or HFA partner will try to make sense of your explanations, but sometimes is not able to do this. As a result, your efforts at trying to “fix” the relationship difficulties will often fall short. This occurs because your “reasoning” has no meaning. He can usually only understand things for which he has a frame of reference (i.e., a picture or idea about this from other sources or from prior discussions).

For example, your partner is not able to sit in a room, observe what is happening, and understand social cues, implied directions, or how to "read between the lines." Instead, he learns facts. He does not "take in" what is happening around him that involves the rest of the social world, only what directly impacts him. And you have probably had the thought that he is “overly-logical,” only living in his head with few true expressions coming from the heart.


Many of the conversations you have had with your AS partner or spouse have generally been about knowledge and facts – not about feelings, opinions, and interactions. This occurs because he does not really know how the social world works and what one is supposed to do in various situations. This can apply to even the smallest situations you might take for granted. Not knowing the unspoken rules of situations causes anxiety and confusion. This leads to many of the behavioral issues that appear as he tries to impose his own sense of order on a “mysterious” world he doesn't fully understand.

Thus, your partner creates his own set of rules for everyday functioning to keep things from changing - and thereby minimize his anxiety. Sometimes, he may even make up some rules when it is convenient. Other times, he may attempt to make them up by looking for patterns, rules, or the logic of a situation to make it less chaotic for him and more predictable and understandable.

If there are no rules for an event or situation, he may create them from his own experiences based on what he has read, seen, or heard. He will usually have a great deal of information to use in reaching his conclusions and forming his opinions. As a result, some of his conclusions are correct - and some are incorrect. And we will likely argue with you until the cows come home if you disagree with him or have a different point of view.

He will rarely consider your point of view if he does not consider you to be an "expert." The more he views you as an illogical and overly-emotional “amateur” on the topic in question – the more stubbornness you will see. He will argue with you about your opinions if different from his own, because he views his truth as THE truth!

He thinks that his opinion is as good as yours, so he chooses his. This represents his rigid thinking. He finds it difficult to be flexible and consider alternate views, especially if he has already reached a conclusion. New ideas can be difficult to accept ("I'd rather do it the way I've always done it"). Being forced to think differently causes a lot of anxiety. And the more anxious he becomes, the more he tries to squelch this uncomfortable emotion by “resisting change” even more – sometimes resulting in a meltdown or shutdown.

NOTE: The above statements are in no way intended to be criticisms, rather to simply explain why it is often difficult for NT spouses/partners to work on the relationship problems. Living in - and trying to cope with - a very confusing social world of results in rigid behavior that can look like insensitivity, narcissism,  and even cruel disregard for others.





Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development

Why Your Partner with ASD is So Inflexible

Neurotypical individuals often don’t understand what their partners with Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (ASD level 1) are thinking, how they interpret what is going on, and how their deficits cause relationship problems.

In these cases, it’s best to collect information and analyze what’s going on (i.e., do an investigation). Without investigating the reasons behind the relationship difficulties, NTs may very likely do something that backfires. But, if they know what is really going on, they can make a positive change in how the relationship operates.

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Because a situation was one way the first time, does my spouse feel it has to be that way always (i.e., being rule-bound)?
  2. Does my spouse see only two choices to a situation rather than many options (i.e., black-and-white thinking)?
  3. Has my spouse created a rule that can't be followed (i.e., he/she sees only one way to solve a problem; he/she can’t see alternatives)?
  4. Is my spouse blaming me for something that is beyond my control (i.e., he/she feels that I must solve the problem for him/her, even when it involves issues that I have no control over)?
  5. Is my spouse exaggerating the importance of an event? 
  6. Is it the case that there are no “small” events in his/her mind, and everything that goes wrong is a “catastrophe” (i.e., black-and-white thinking)?
  7. Is my spouse expecting perfection in him/herself (i.e., black-and-white thinking)?
  8. Is my spouse misunderstanding what is happening and assuming something that isn't true (i.e., a misinterpretation brought about by mind-blindness issues)?
  9. Is my spouse stuck on an idea and can't let it go (i.e., he/she does not know how to move on when there is a problem)?

Realizing that people with AS and HFA will NOT be  good observers of their behavior is your first step. This is where you, the NT partner, may be able to provide some insight. Not knowing what to do results in anxiety that leads to the AS/HFA individual taking ineffective and inappropriate actions. Inflexibility is usually a result of this anxiety, which leads to difficulty moving on and letting go of an issue and "getting stuck" on something.


Understanding your AS or HFA partner involves knowing the autistic traits and how they manifest themselves in everyday situations. How does he/she see the world, think about matters, and react to what is going on?  Below are a few reasons that will help you understand why people on the autism spectrum act the way they do.

Reasons for inflexibility:

  • misunderstanding or misinterpretation of your motives or actions
  • violation of a rule or ritual (i.e., changing something from the way it is “supposed” to be)
  • anxiety about a current or upcoming event, no matter how trivial it may appear to you
  • lack of knowledge about the “hidden rules” of social engagement
  • sensory sensitivities, inattention (ADD), OCD, or other psychiatric issues
  • need to avoid or escape from a non-preferred activity, often something difficult or undesirable (often, if he can’t be perfect, he does not want to engage in the activity)
  • need to control a situation
  • need to engage in -or continue- a preferred activity (usually an obsessive interest)
  • transitioning from one activity to another (usually a problem because it may mean ending an activity before he/she is finished with it)

Never over-estimate your AS or HFA partner’s understanding of a situation because of his “high intellectual” capability or his/her other strong points. People on the spectrum often need a road map and a set of instructions, one example at a time.

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development 

Anxiety and Associated Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors in People on the Autism Spectrum

 


“Can anxiety and/or OCD be the cause for my (ASD) husband's shutdowns?" 

 

Obsessive-compulsive issues (e.g., rituals, rigidity, perseverations, creating rules, black-and-white thinking, etc.) originate in the ASD person’s difficulty understanding the social world. This creates anxiety, which is the underlying cause for obsessive-compulsive behaviors. You, the NT wife, will see anxiety in many different ways depending on how your husband manifests it. 

 

Some people on the autism spectrum will show anxiety in obvious ways (e.g., frustration, anger, isolation). Others show it by trying to control the situation and bossing people around. Some may throw an adult temper tantrum. No matter how your husband displays his anxiety, you need to recognize that it’s there and not assume it’s due to some other cause (e.g., insensitivity, narcissism, not caring about the relationship, etc.).

 

Anxiety can occur for the smallest reason. Don't judge anxiety-producing situations by your own reaction to an event. Your husband may be much more sensitive to situations than you will be, and you may often have the thought that “there is no logical reason for his anxiety.” On the other hand, something that you would be highly anxious about may cause no anxiety in your husband. 

 

Your husband's first reaction to marital conflict is to try to reduce - or eliminate - his anxiety. He MUST do something, and one of the most effective means is to take all changes, uncertainty, and variability out of the equation. This can be accomplished by obsessions. 

 

If everything is done a certain way, if there is a definite and unbreakable rule for every event, and if everyone does as he wishes – everything will be fine. Anxiety is then diminished or reduced, and no meltdowns or shutdowns occur. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to do this in the real world.  

 

Behavioral manifestations of anxiety in your spouse may include the following:

 

  • Wanting things to go his way, when he wants them to - no matter what anyone else may want.
  • Tending to conserve energy and put forth the least effort he can (except with highly-preferred activities).
  • Remaining in his “fantasy world” a good deal of the time - and appearing unaware of events around him.
  • Reacting poorly to new events, transitions, or changes.
  • Preferring to do the same things over and over.
  • Lecturing others or engaging in a monologue rather than having a reciprocal conversation.
  • Intensely disliking loud noises and crowds.
  • Insisting on having things and events occur in a certain way.
  • Having trouble socializing - or avoiding socializing altogether. 
  • Having a narrow range of interests, and becoming fixated on certain topics or routines.
  • Eating a narrow range of foods.
  • Displaying some odd behaviors because he is anxious or does not know what to do in a particular situation.
  • Demonstrating unusual fears, and showing resistance to directions from others.
  • Demanding unrealistic perfection in himself – and others.
  • Creating his own set of rules for doing something.
  • Becoming easily overwhelmed and having difficulty calming down.


  
 
 
==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples [eBook and Audio]

"My husband was recently diagnosed with ASD. Now what?"

Many "newbie” neurotypical (NT) spouses can learn to cope with the demands of being married to a spouse with autism once they learn about the emotions with which they are dealing with – and how to address them. Not all NTs experience all of the feelings listed below. However, it is helpful for them to be aware of the various emotions involved – and to realize that their experiences and feelings are normal.

Sorrow:

Loss of hopes and plans for the future

Loss of the "perfect marriage" that was anticipated prior to meeting her autistic spouse

Resentment:

Long-standing lack of emotional reciprocity from the autistic spouse

Long-standing lack of empathy 

Remorse:

Over her autistic husband's suffering

Less focus on self

Unable to help her autistic spouse in the social and emotional sense

Feelings of Loneliness:

No one else understands what the NT wife  is going through

Avoids having to explain the disorder and answer questions

Can sense that others are uncomfortable around her husband at times

Depressed

Not wanting to interact with others as a couple

Resentment toward others with "typical husbands"

Worries:

The children's future

The children's emotional safety

Keeping a stable relationship with her spouse

Her own mental health

Next crisis

Anxiety:

Advocating for accommodations

Attempting to do all the relationship work

Balancing career and family

Dealing with other's reactions and opinions

Lack of exercise

Lack of prior medical or advocacy experiences

Learning details of spouse's disorder and about related treatment

Making choices regarding treatment

Managing time

Poor eating habits

Sleep deprivation

Feeling Isolated:

Detachment in other areas of life due to focus on the autistic spouse's needs

Feelings of despair and hopelessness


Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

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Midlife Crisis in Men on the Autism Spectrum: Tips for NTs

“All of a sudden my husband (who has ASD) is telling me he is happier being alone. He is trying to find "HIMSELF" and says he loves me and is physically attracted to me but doesn't love me the way i love him. He says he needs space. He is very stressed about his current job and is looking for a new one. His father who he was extremely close to died a little over a yr ago, and he did tell me since his dad died his life has fell apart. He said he has lost enjoyment in things he used to do. We used to hang out and go everywhere together and had fun, but that hasn't happened for a quite a while and now says he needs to keep his distance from me to figure out what he wants. He suffers depression and anxiety. He is 42 yrs old and we have been married almost 23 yrs. Can you please help me …give me some insight …tell me how i should and should not approach this? Does this sound like a midlife crisis?”

Many men – with ASD or not – go through a phase when they take a hard look at the life they're living. They think they could be happier, and if they need to make a big change, they feel the urge to do it soon. These thoughts can trigger a midlife crisis.


Below are some of the symptoms of the “man-version” of a midlife crisis:
  • has little interest in spending time (or having sex) with his wife
  • displays the classic signs of depression (e.g., sleeping more, loss of appetite) 
  • drinks too much or abuses other substances
  • is overly nostalgic and constantly reminiscing about his youth or his first love
  • suddenly makes hasty decisions about money and/or his career
  • thinks about having an affair (or already has)
  • makes a dramatic change in his personal appearance
  • says life has become boring

If you believe your husband is indeed going through a midlife crisis, here are 20 crucial tips for helping him through it (however, keep in mind that it will probably get worse before it gets better):

1. Find support for yourself (e.g., through a trusted friend or colleague, therapist, clergy, support group, etc.). Taking care of yourself through these times will help you to stay physically and mentally healthy. Only then can you truly help your husband. Take care of you FIRST!

2. A physical checkup may be in order. For both men and women, the physical changes which occur in mid-life have a definite effect on behavior.

3. Don't start off with questions when trying to engage your husband in a conversation. Instead, share with him what you are seeing, that you understand he must be struggling, and that you want to support him.

4. Play some upbeat music that encourages your husband to dance, sing and laugh. Choose anything that reminds him of being young again.

5. Seek counseling if necessary, and be sure that your husband isn't turning to drugs or alcohol to deal with his problems.
 

6. Even if you think your husband is crazy, muster the desire to offer reassurance and validation.

7. Focus on conveying that you are not demanding answers from your husband, but that you want to understand what he is experiencing. Join him in being mystified and even curious about his dilemma.

8. It will always be helpful to stay positive and compliment your husband when possible. This may bolster his self-confidence and let him know that he is loved despite what he is going through.

9. Don't ask the "why" questions (e.g., “Why do you need so much time alone these days?” …or “What has happened between the two of us?”). These questions demand explanations and accountings. Your husband probably doesn't know the answers anyway. Probing questions only add fear and angst to the existing issue.

10. Be open to learning more about yourself, your husband – and how Asperger’s affects relationships. This information will improve your relationship after the crisis has passed (yes, it will pass).

11. In those rare moments when your husband wants to “open up,” listen – not just for what he is saying – but for what he is NOT saying. Listen to what is underneath what he is saying (e.g., feelings, values, fears, etc.).

12. Pay close attention to your husband's mood and behavior. Make sure he is not overloading himself with work or other things. Make sure he is taking breaks so he doesn’t feel stressed-out. Stress exacerbates a midlife crisis.

13. Sometimes a midlife crisis makes men very self-conscious of their bodies. Depending on the physical health of the both of you, you and your husband should consider adopting an exercise or health regimen. This will allow you to participate in activities together while giving your husband a boost of confidence.

14. Your husband might be feeling self-conscious or worried about growing old without having accomplished important goals. If you make an effort to understand these feelings, you can both go through this together. 
 

15. While there are many positive features associated with a midlife crisis, your husband is most likely experiencing the negative features more strongly. Mood swings are common and may range from mild to severe. Watch for signs of depression, rage, resentment or despondency in your husband, and try to talk about it if you feel that things are going too far.

16. Spend time with others who look at the lighter side of life. Look for every opportunity to laugh with them and embrace it.

17. Men in a midlife crisis feel the need to be young again and may develop new interests. Support your husband as best as you can in his new interests – and if possible, participate. Even if you don't have an interest, you should know that new activities will bring the two of you closer together.

18. When your husband initiates conversations with you, be sure to listen without passing judgment. He is probably experiencing doubt and confusion about what he is going through. Giving an opinion or judging how he is feeling or thinking should be kept to yourself.  Yes, your husband may say things that you feel are crazy, and a conversation with him may leave you dizzy in the head. Nonetheless, don't try to explain the error of his thinking no matter how irrational. Don't try to get him to see it from your perspective. He will have to figure it out on his own.

19. Your husband wants to feel validated in his efforts to recapture his youth, so focus on the positive parts of a midlife crisis (e.g., an increased fervor for life). If your husband wants to start going to the gym six times a week, look at it as a healthy endeavor rather than an attempt to stay away from family.

20. Lastly, know that as your Asperger's husband goes through this period of change in his life, you can count on him doing things that will make you pissed as hell. Lashing out at your husband may help you feel better for the moment, but it won't change his thinking or behavior and will only lead to more conflict in the relationship. Get rid of your anger and avoid engaging in conflict. No amount of “reasoning with,” yelling, cursing or crying is going to make any difference if your husband is truly going through a midlife crisis. This thing will simply have to run its course. So, “go with the flow” rather than trying to stop it.

 
COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Sounds like he needs anti depressants.
•    Anonymous said... Ok...might not be what you want to hear but this sounds very familiar to me as my ex husband said the same...then went in to blame me for everything wrong in his life from getting migraines to losing his job due to his aspergers...we tried mediation, it was a nightmare, he went to see a counsellor whom he refused to talk to....he needed time to think, etc etc. Turned out he had met an old friend thru facebook and obviously it was far easier to talk to her online than to me face to face! Advice...try and be completely unemotional when talking to him, remember the world is black and white for him, try communicating thru email if he has left the house as he will find this easier as more distanced but be very very careful what and how you write things, applys to talking too! Try talking whilst going for a walk. Be careful how u give him space, expect everything u have said that he has taken badly but not shared to be regurgiated now... long memories! And good luck...deep breath. You will survive what ever happens by the way....you will find u have far more strength than u ever felt possible. Feel free to pm me...
•    Anonymous said... Don't be afraid to get him the help he needs. It sounds like the time to be alone more is a coping strategy of his. To some extent, it's definitely OK. But to some extent, that's a quality of life issue if he is in solitude so much. In my opinion, start exploring the possibility of psychologists, occupational therapist, or even an autism life coach. Psychologist is probably the best bet in terms of the type of person he should be talking to. OT is not so far behind, and in some cases better, if he/she specializes in mental health (I know it because I studied it.). Autism life coach can be hit or miss. You want to check the coach's educational background to see if he/she is equipped for the task.
•    Anonymous said... Be patient. Give him space. Be understanding. Listen when he talks (no need to try and "fix" anything....because you are already helping just by listening!). Know that his confusion right now is nothing to do with you. He needs to figure stuff out. He will respect you for allowing him to do these things....affairs NOT INCLUDED!!!! I highly recommend having him talk to a psychologist ....scary title ...for someone with great listening skills and therapeutic advice!! The brain is such a complex organ and needs to be taken care of when in turmoil. Talking to anyone (but preferably a medical person) is the best medicine. Good luck to both of you.

*  Anonymous said... Too late for me.... my now ex-wife knew I have Aspergers and did everything she could to trigger my meltdowns and forced me into situations with lots of new people until I isolated myself for my own peace of mind.
*  Anonymous said... My asperger partners behavior was so erratic I never knew which end was up or why. There was no real communication, explanation or taking responsibility for his behavior 
*   As an NT spouse, it can be incredibly lonely. Staying calm and non-judgemental in these kind of situations can be extremely challenging. I myself have been experiencing the same as my spouse’ behaviour has been incredibly erratic especially now, during the pandemic as he also has severe anxiety issues. I have and still am learning to assure my Aspie spouse that he has a safe place at home where he can be, and that I trust in his love for me - yes, he wanted time alone a few weeks ago. It is important not to react immediately, not to question/demand but choose to understand and accept even though it may be difficult. Lastly, I have a family that understands the situation and is supportive...it helps. My spouse has a couple of close friends who now are aware of this and continue to remain in touch. I have been keeping a daily routine of morning walks and yoga which he knows, is my me time and this has helped to bring some stability. 
 
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