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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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query empathy. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query empathy. Sort by date Show all posts

Why Some ASD Men Fall Out of Love - Seemingly Overnight

"Out of the clear blue, my boyfriend with Aspergers stated he's not in love with me anymore, but doesn't want to break up. We haven't gone on a date for several weeks. He stopped being intimate with me last week. And now ...well, I don't know what to think. Is this common for men with Aspergers? He swears he hasn't found another woman, and I believe him because he's not the type to cheat like that. (Plus I've peeked on his cell phone and FB page and see nothing suspicious.) How can someone just fall out of love like that - seemingly overnight. ~  Hurt and confused!"

I wouldn't say "falling out of love overnight" is common for these men, but it does happen. As a counselor who has worked with many couples affected by Asperger's and high-functioning autism, what I see most often has to do with the fact that most men on the high functioning end of autism are very "task-oriented."  
The scenario often plays out something like this:

In the beginning, a new girlfriend is his new task. He works on getting her to like him, to go on dates, to have sex, and so on. Also, in the beginning, he may try very hard to appear "typical" (i.e., tries to avoid exhibiting any traits that may reveal his disorder).

Once he feels that he has "won her over," he begins to feel more comfortable around her. And it is during this time that he lets his guard down and begins to exhibit some symptoms of the disorder that his girlfriend picks up on (although she may simply view his behavior as "odd").

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Once he has achieved his objectives -- mission accomplished! In other words, he has completed the task of getting her to be with him. Unfortunately, due to (a) mind-blindness issues and (b) problems with empathy, he does not understand that the "relationship task" is never-ending. As most of us know, couples need to work on the relationship throughout its entirety, providing ongoing nurturing, love and support.

This doesn't make sense to some men on the autism spectrum. They think they have officially "arrived" and that there is no need to continue to "work" on the relationship.  
Think of it like this: 

You live in California and drive to a vacation destination in New York. That's a long hard drive! Once you arrive at your hotel in New York, you wouldn't continue to drive in circles in the parking lot, because you have already arrived at your destination. As odd as it sounds, this is analogous to romantic relationships in the ASD mind (e.g., "I'm here - the work is done").

Another issue that results from "mind-blindness" and "lack of empathy" (two traits of the disorder) has to do with the ASD partner confusing love with obsession. I've talked to many men on the spectrum who thought that they were in love, only to find out that it was just an obsession or a "special interest" in the romantic phase of the relationship (i.e., the first three months or so when everything is noncommittal, fun, and interesting).

Once the romantic phase is over with, the real work begins. For example, he has to have conversations about things that may not be so "fun" (e.g., has to listen to your past troubles, trials, and tribulations; listens to you sharing your past, which is what most people do in order to build trust and a bond).

He may have to go with you to family gatherings (socializing is NOT a strong point of people with Asperger's). He has to work on conflict resolution (another skill that is typically lacking). He has to deal with the anxiety that goes with moving to the next level of the relationship, such as a proposal and marriage - AND KIDS! Now, in the mind of some men on the spectrum, the relationship is getting too messy and complicated. Thus, they rethink their commitment level.

This may or may not be the case in your situation, but I can tell you from experience, the scenario described above is very typical of the man that - as you say - seemingly falls out of love over night.

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism  

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

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

  • So how do I survive this? I loved him completely. I cherished every moment. And I loved every part of him. He said he had loved me for 30 years. (obsession?) He was so happy we were together and so was I. I didn't want anything more than for us to be what we were. I didn't ask more of him. And now I am a casual friend, if that. Thrown away like last night's supper. I am truly dying inside.
  • Run. I’ve been there for 8 yrs. three married. They drain you emotionally. I finally left recently. I moved. I am at peace, even th I miss him and love him. They have a way of sucking you in an sucking the life out of you. If you knew what it’s like (worse married) you’d run. I wish I had walked away all the yrs I tried to get a commitment. Get therapy or go to a 12 step program. They are defective people. I’m sorry. It doesn’t work. I bought books, tried to communicate but it’s always my fault. Run. Fast. God bless you.
  • Take it from me. Run. I was where you are seven years ago âne he finally married me 3 yrs ago. I had high hopes. I’ve recently left him. I’m drained emotionally. He hasn’t called on his own for over two was now. I am so at peace for leaving, even tho I cry and miss him. They have a way of sucking you in and sucking you dry. God be with you!!!
  • I wanted to take care of him and receive in return. But I made a serious error and opened myself up to him just a few months after her death. He was happy with me but couldn't get past feeling guilty because of that and said this often. This escalated after her grandson whom they raised together committed suicide. He couldn't really grieve and began to be distant at times. It slowly escalated until he in complete opposite of any thing he had ever said, informed me that he was "done" and no longer has any feelings for me.
  • Obviously you have been through Hell. There are some differences though. He was married for 23 years and his wife died. It was supposibly an iconic marriage. I have talked with her closest friends who have no question that she/they were very happy. Of course, her style was quite different than mine. Per one of her best friends, she was the queen and he was her "devoted lackey". Well I don't want to be queen. I want to 2.

ASD Men's-Only Group Therapy: Help for Husbands Experiencing Chronic Marital Discord

Are you a man on the autism spectrum married to a neurotypical (NT) wife? And have you been in the “doghouse” for a very-very-very long time? If so, you really should read this:

How many times have you said the following things to yourself?
  • “My wife seems to harbor so much resentment.”
  • “She has been unhappy with me for many years now.”
  • “It doesn’t matter what I say or do, it’s never good enough.”
  • “She complains that she’s both mentally and physically sick because of how I ‘treat’ her.”
  • “She thinks I need to be ‘fixed’, or our relationship will continue to deteriorate.”
  • “She has mentioned separation and divorce several times.”
  • “She has become my #1 source of anxiety, which contributes to me either shutting down or melting down!”
  • “No matter how hard I try, she’s always disappointed in me.”
  • “She frequently complains that I don’t show empathy or affection.”

Guys: What if I told you that I can help you come up with some strategies that will actually meet many of her needs and wants - perhaps for the first time?

Well, I’m telling you that - right now!

No, I don’t work miracles. But I have worked with people on the autism spectrum for several decades now, and am pretty good at helping them cultivate social skills and increase emotional competences.

The autistic brain is low in both social and emotional intelligence. And you’re married to a wife who is really high in both of those areas! So, you can see why there is such disagreement and conflict. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Your disorder is not your fault. But it is also not an excuse to avoid working smart (not hard) on salvaging your marriage.

I have an “ASD men’s-only” group that will take a deep dive into some highly effective communication and relationship strategies. These will reduce your relationship-stress, while at the same time, give you some concrete methods to meet your wife’s emotional needs.

==> How many times has your wife accused you of being uncaring, insensitive, selfish - and even narcissistic?

==> Does she view your empathy-level as being SO LOW that she wonders if you are a sociopath?

==> Are there times when you can’t wait to get out of the house and go to work just to get away from her?

You know change needs to happen. Your self-esteem is probably already in the toilet at this point. You’re tired of living this way – and so is she. Arguing and defending doesn’t accomplish anything, and just drives a wedge even deeper between the two of you. 


Don’t let your anxiety hold you back from resolving the marriage conflict that has robbed you and your wife of the peace, joy and prosperity that you both deserve. Take action RIGHT NOW!  

I look forward to working with you in the next therapy group,

Mark Hutten, M.A. 

==> Register Here <==

Comments from Women Who Are in Relationships with Men on the Autism Spectrum

We asked a group of women who are members of our Facebook page Neurodiverse Relationships: Support for Couples Affected by ASD the following question:

“For those of you who are in (or where in) a relationship (marriage or otherwise) with someone on the autism spectrum, what was your greatest challenge (or the biggest problem you had to endure)?”

Here are their responses:
  • Anonymous said…  Hard to communicate with, doesn't like to be social, doesn't like change, never compliments me. He shows his love by actions and not words but has changed a lot since we were married 35 yrs ago. Our son has Aspergers and I have learned through his therapy and progress that my husband is on the spectrum. He thinks I can read his mind because it seems so painful for him to communicate. Very passive-aggressive.
  • Anonymous said…  his "special interest" is a lifelong addiction that he wont recognize as such but also wont spend time doing anything else to the exclusion of helping around the house or interacting with his children. He will go to work but as soon as he gets home he shuts down, and focuses on his interest. If I ask him to do anything that doesn't involve his "special interest" he gets very irritable and tries to sabotage whatever else is going on a) his way of trying to manipulate so that he isn't called on again, b) so he can get back to his addiction.
  • Anonymous said…  Hostility towards me and thinking everything I say is having a go at him when it isnt
  • Anonymous said…  I didn't know. They didn't know. I got close to a diagnosis of myself with two books. NOBODY NOWHERE and SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE but got side swiped by movie Mr Jones. I was more like that. I still dont know about myself. The psychiatrist says you cant find out at 65 .... I differ but I dont care anymore. I take the drugs and try not to die of light and noise and travelling and boxes and suitcases and loneliness. My marriage ended. My child tried so hard to be normal I thought she was fine. Now I am just sad because I didnt know. My child figured it out watching Parenthood. She's in therapy and doing well. I think.
  • Anonymous said…  I love social events but it is like Chinese water torture to him.
  • Anonymous said…  Lack of connection.
  • Anonymous said…  Lack of empathy, lack of affection , lack of communication, lack of support through very difficult times. Always always always feeling lonely in my marriage.
  • Anonymous said…  Missing the physical and articulate expressions of simple affection and of passionate curiosity of ones object of desire. It is like reading music when you know what the orchestra sounds like and seeing the branches move without the sound of the breeze.
  • Anonymous said…  Poor communication, defensiveness, rigid thinking and lack of empathy.
  • Anonymous said…  Socializing with others as a couple. He often offends others because they don't know him.
  • Anonymous said… Aspie....Altered reality. Them not being responsible, affectionate, honest, paying bills on time, or fully understanding the consequences of their actions etc.
  • Anonymous said… Communication.
  • Anonymous said… Coping with the constant and repetitive verbal stimming.
  • Anonymous said… Everything is a challenge! It's like walking on eggshells. What is the helpful solution?
  • Anonymous said… His inability to adapt to change, twisted perceptions, selfishness, refusal to communicate, & not caring about my needs
  • Anonymous said… Lack of emotional support during crisis. Inability to solve problems.
  • Anonymous said… My greatest challenge was understanding that my paradigm of what our future looked like could not exist. I had to modify my desires to meet with his abilities. It has caused amazing growth in him and our marriage. No it doesn't look like anyone else's, but it sure works for us!
  • Anonymous said… my hubby is honest but everything else is spot on.
  • Anonymous said… Pretty much yes to everything in the comments list :(
  • Anonymous said… The defensiveness, the mind blindness (wrong conclusion jumping), saying one thing and doing another
  • Anonymous said… All of above !!  Hard work and draining. Emotionally exhausted 
  • Anonymous said... If you understand that you have aspergers and you understand how that impacts you and your partner and are willing to work toward the same goal, you will not be lonely. Depending on your partner, they may need to build other relationships and support, but you certainly have the ability to be happy.
  • Anonymous said... I am married to a man with Asperger's and my biggest challenge was learning not to read into things and take certain things personally. I had to realize if he can't read non verbal social cues, how can he give them? Instead of assuming, I just ask him. When I stop and look at what he DOES do for me vs. what he would do for anyone else, I can see how deeply he loves me. With that understanding, he has been able to go beyond his challenges and be a wonderful, loving husband.

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism  

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

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

Empathy 101: Tips for Husbands on the Autism Spectrum

Empathy is the ability to understand others to the point that you can experience their feelings and internal drives. Most men with ASD (high functioning autism) have difficulty in this area. So in your honor, below is a quick course in how to be more empathic (or less non-empathic).

Let’s first look at the things to avoid…

  • be contemptuous
  • correct the plot line
  • correct what you view to be a misperception
  • counter critique
  • explain why you did what you did 
  • get defensive
  • play the guessing game (in other words, don’t set your wife up to fail by requiring her to guess what you are feeling or what you need)
  • respond to your wife’s constructive criticism with your own criticisms
  • try to attach permanent negative labels on your wife
  • try to prove that your wife is inherently flawed
  • tune your wife out or put up a figurative wall
  • use justifications for what you said
  • use over-generalizations (they tend to not have solutions)
  • use your logic and reason to attempt to disprove the validity of your wife’s emotional reaction or narrative (it doesn’t matter if you believe your wife misperceived a particular event – her emotional reactions are related to her perceptions)

Now let’s look at the things you should be doing…

  • allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you feel (if you experience strong authentic feelings of your own – rather than feelings related to avoidance, denial or defensiveness – then simply let them flow as long as they are not disruptive, such as in the form of anger)
  • ask for what you want (if you want your wife to just listen and to not “fix” the issue in question – tell her that)
  • be curious and open-minded
  • be interested in your wife’s experience rather than being fixated on making her perception consistent with yours
  • be vulnerable and accepting of your body’s natural responses to conflict
  • free yourself from trying to create consistency between your perceptions and your wife’s perceptions
  • listen as if your only job is to understand
  • listen as though the narrative is not about you (when your wife makes a complaint about something you said or did – or something you were supposed to say or do, but didn’t – listen as if she was referring to a third party, which will help you control your defensiveness or guardedness)
  • listen without using your preconceptions
  • notice your bias and choose to not let it control your actions
  • stay emotionally available, tracking your wife’s narrative and the emotions being displayed
  • take a break when needed (if you are overwhelmed during an argument, ask for a break and take some time to cool down, but tell your wife what you are doing and when you will be able to return)

Practice these ideas, then practice some more. Eventually, you’ll get it. I have faith in you! We, as men on the spectrum, aren't stupid. We just need a little extra help in understanding other people's emotions.


Cassandra Syndrome and Marriage to an Asperger’s Spouse

“I’m married to a man with AS (17 years), and I think that I may be suffering from Cassandra Syndrome. Have you heard of this? Is this common for NT wives who are married to an emotionally unavailable (abusive) husband with AS?”

Cassandra Syndrome (CS) is basically the neurotypical (NT) spouse’s experience of emotional suffering that results from distressing interpersonal relations with a spouse who does not understand, empathize with, or validate the NT’s pain and sorrow. Many NT partners are negatively affected by a number of Asperger’s traits (e.g., lack of empathy, mind-blindness, alexithymia, etc.). 

Over time, the NT spouse may begin to feel isolated, invalidated, and even ‘held hostages’ in their own home. A common phrase expressed by many NTs is, “I’m simply not important to my spouse.”

The emotional distress felt by the NT usually occurs when the Asperger’s partner:
  • exhibits communication problems
  • has an inability to be intimate
  • is emotionally distance
  • prefers to relate to the NT partner from a distance (the Asperger’s partner fails to realize that he/she must be intimate, vulnerable, and empathic in order to truly “know” - and cooperate with - the NT partner)

The NT wants a deeper, more personal and satisfying relationship (of course), and therefore “pushes” the Asperger’s partner to “step up” and participate more fully in the marriage. However, this pushing and pleading results in further difficulties, because the Asperger’s spouse now views the NT as being increasingly bitchy, irrational or hysterical. Thus, the Asperger’s spouse distances himself/herself even further for anxiety-reduction purposes.

Symptoms of CS may include any of the following:
  • avoidance of going places (e.g., social events) with the AS spouse because it “always ends badly”
  • being easily irritated and angered
  • difficulty sleeping and concentrating
  • emotional numbness
  • feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
  • intrusive distressing recollections of past encounters with the AS spouse that were perceived as him/her being selfish, uncaring, and insensitive
  • markedly diminished interest or participation in previously-enjoyed activities
  • persistent and distorted blame of self
  • persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself
  • persistent anxiety, anger, guilt, or shame
  • persistent inability to experience positive emotions
  • depression
  • suicidal ideation
  • severe resentment

As one NT wife stated: “I've grown to utterly despise him, and then, of course, hate myself for despising him because he ‘can't help it’. Living with an AS spouse is living with an abusive spouse. Period.”

It’s usually both a blessing and a relief when an NT partner learns about Asperger’s and realizes that there is an explanation for the Asperger’s spouse’s “hurtful” behaviors. In this way, the NT realizes she is NOT crazy, and that she may have taken a lot of things personally that were in fact part of the disorder. If you’re an NT spouse experiencing such difficulties, know that you’re not alone – and that this plight is indeed recognized in the literature (i.e., CS).

In a nutshell, a relationship that results in CS is one that lacks “emotional reciprocity.” Emotional reciprocity exists when partners provide empathetic support to each other. It's a mutually beneficial relationship with balanced levels of “give and take.” With CS, one partner does most of the “give” with very little “take” in return.

Note: It’s not uncommon for the NT spouse to feel lonely, anxious, and depressed because he/she has tried to tell others (e.g., family members, friends, coworkers) about the Asperger’s-related marriage difficulties, but receive little-to-no validation or empathy from others – or be viewed as melodramatic and whiny. This is due to the fact that the Asperger’s partner often presents himself in quite a different light in the public eye (i.e., appears “normal,” kind, composed). But he/she is a very different person at home behind closed doors.

Relationship Difficulties Due to Deficits in "Theory of Mind"

"I have been married to my Aspergers husband for 17 years of emotional hell. I have not had any physical touch for 10 years, no hugs, kisses, hand holding. I am completely alone in this marriage. No emotional support and raised 2 kids who felt completely rejected because of him. He doesn't support his family because he is a droid …looks like a regular person on the outside but empty on the emotional scale, it just doesn't exist. 
I now understand that what I have called "socially inappropriate behavior" has a name called Aspergers. I now understand that his brother and mother also share this diagnosis. The behavior I have been exposed to during our relationship has been devastating and painful. I have come to believe that my husband does not love me. I began drinking to be comfortably numb and what he did and said and didn't do didn't hurt so much. I entered AA over a year ago and believed him when he said I was an alcoholic. I thought it would solve all of our problems – but it hasn’t. Still at square one."

I'm not sticking up for your husband here. He will have to face the consequences of his behavior just like everyone else does. But, you need to understand the difference between (a) blatant, intentional disregard for others' feeling versus (b) difficulty empathizing.

Empathy can be defined as understanding the emotional makeup of other people. It is a core component of emotional intelligence and helps us to develop deep levels of trust. Unfortunately, many adults with Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) do not seem to resonate very well with the experiences of others.  While they may understand others’ circumstances, they may not have the necessary emotional response.

The Aspies' solitary lack of engagement with others may develop to some degree into what can be described as apparent selfishness. Your husband may seem narcissistically concerned only with his own needs. However, what is really going on has more to do with deficits in “theory of mind.” Theory of mind involves the ability to attribute mental states to others, and to be able to describe what others may be feeling in a given situation.

Theory of mind is the capacity we have to understand mental states (e.g., feelings, desires, intentions, etc.). It’s the way we imagine others’ feelings or thoughts. Theory of mind enables us to understand that the behavior other people display is caused by their inner feelings, beliefs or intentions. We can predict some of those behaviors and anticipate them. Whatever goes on in the mind of others is not visible, so it will remain a “theory” we create for ourselves. However, most people on the autism spectrum lack this ability to “theorize.”

What if one is unable to link the behavior of others to their inner feelings? Answer: the person can’t understand or predict the behavior of others. How can the Aspie make sense of the behavior of others around him if he doesn’t understand why others are feeling sad, angry, resentful, etc.? And to make matters worse, the person with AS or HFA can’t link his own behavior to the feelings of others so he can be unable to anticipate or predict their response.

Sadly, the absence of the ability to understand what others think or feel is at the root of most difficulties people on the spectrum have in communication and social interaction. As one husband with Asperger’s stated, “Never knowing how my wife feels or why she reacts the way she does makes me feel stupid. I’m like a blind man that keeps running face first into the same wall over and over again.”

This is a man who has given up on himself, as so many other autistic men have. If these men could “fix” their theory of mind deficits, most - if not all - would have done so long ago. Instead, they continue to be misunderstood and labeled insensitive, selfish, and uncaring. Oftentimes, the result is serious relationship difficulties and divorce.


•    Anonymous said…  i have feels for you and completely understand. I have been married 14 years to my aspie husband. First time i did not aware of his condition, ( and even have specific name for it) even himself not aware of. But last year he figure out himself (no clinical diagnosis) and as years goes by, our relationship is not easy, lot of negativity, criticism, unsuportive behaviour from him for me. I feel so lonely have to cope things on my own, and raise my kids who seems have same behaviour. His family knew this from long time but they ignore it and defend him. I have no emotional support at all. My family is overseas and my husband and i hardly visit them as it is expensive. I have no permanent job, and my husband not even help me to find one for me. He does his own business and i only help when he needs me and he is so perfectionist and fuss, particular on his own way to do things. If i talk like this to others, then they will direct me to the questions: how did we met ? I am not trying to deny this question, but even him self not aware that he has this condition. Same like other people who have illness or disorder, do they always aware of their condition until someone else can notice it ? Or until they can feels themself are having lot of trouble (uneasy) specially in their social life.
•    Anonymous said…  I'm afraid I'm on the opposite end of this dialog. I'm a recently diagnosed Aspie who has been the callous, melt-down prone, controlling, ice queen that destroyed several very important relationships (one of which still haunts me with regret). I had no idea that I was on the spectrum and I'm sure most folks just thought I was bat-guano crazy. Heck, I even thought so for years. I began to have suspicions at the late age of 53 that something about me was intrinsically different from other people, and I took the initiative to consult a specialist. Now that I have a "label" for the indescribable chaos I have unwittingly inflicted on the world, myself and my near and dears, it has helped me to monitor my responses to the world more carefully and hopefully function a bit more adroitly. I will not, however, EVER be able to make amends for the hurt and destruction I have caused along the way. Believe me, we DO feel, and VERY deeply--but sometimes, we just have no idea how to express it. It's almost as if by simply feeling, I've assumed that the significant person at the time knew. They didn't. I am sorry for all of us, Autistic and NT alike. Our struggles to understand each other do leave casualties. ( ; _ ; )
•    Anonymous said…  Just putting it out there, but narcissism can get confused for Aspergers.
•    Anonymous said… Aspergers is something you must read about and study to understand. It is a higher form of Austism.
•    Anonymous said… Being married to an aspie is very hard. I can relate to the woman who wrote this letter.
•    Anonymous said… Everyone is our mirror and we can learn from looking into that mirror. Calling him a droid breaks my heart for him. He may not be able to feel her feelings or understand what she needs in a given situation, but as someone else pointed out, he can learn to give this woman what she needs. He can learn to give their children what they need. And the children can learn to understand him better, as well. Understanding others is something people with abilities take for granted. It's able privilege. Our abilities can do us a disservice by allowing us to ignore the plight and the pain of people who are unable to do what we can do. She needs to stop blaming him and learn some empathy herself. She needs to make sure her children become intimately acquainted with empathy, as well. She does her children just as much harm as she believes his Aspergers has done. She chose to stay, she chose to let her children live this way, and apparently she did nothing to learn about or teach her children about Aspergers. She chose to drink. Blaming him for her own choices is just plain silly. This is my opinion based on this woman's very harsh words, but I realize that others will disagree with me.
•    Anonymous said… Have you been to marriage counseling? Or therapy just for yourself? Honestly, it might help.
•    Anonymous said… Honestly my hubby is the same way, but marriage to my hubby has been very fulfilling. He may not be physically or emotionally available but he says he loves me in other ways. In his own ways, the world is not made up of ALL the same kinds of ppl *emotionally available*. And also what is it you want them to do? They can't just like a switch turn on emotions. We've been married 21 yrs and I don't expect things from my hubby that he just can't give. Because he just can't feel emotions, and he falls into his own depression because he doesn't know why or how he just can't feel,and he struggles himself with feeling like I need or want more, but Blaming him isn't the way to go about it, I find fulfillment in other things, we are best friends,we go on long rides on our harley, he buys me those stupid little things he knows I love *my favorite granola* he's always home and comes to bed every night, he shares his food with me and let's me steal drinks from his cup, he gives hugs on occasions and kisses. I find it horrible that anyone could blame someone who can't help who they are, because it's just who they are. And you either love them or you don't, you either stay or you leave. My wonderful hubby is the best part of me because he loves me out of the box.
•    Anonymous said… HOw bloody rude some other people have been. Its never just as simple as that, especially when you have spent 17 years with someone and have children with them. OP- there is a huge difference between him having AS and him being abusive. I believe his behaviour in regards to him blaming your alcohol usage is abusive. My advice? You deserve to be happy, as do your children. Leave him and find someone who will care for you and demonstrate that love.
•    Anonymous said… I feel so sad for the woman in the op, but she has one thing wrong-- aspergers does not mean a person is 'emotionally empty'. He may not love her, but that does not mean he is incapable of love. I'm sorry for the awful marriage, but it's untrue to equate someone not loving you or not being able to show you love to them not being capable of it
•    Anonymous said… I find this society difficult because we have it drummed into us that we shouldn't treat people differently because they have a disability however you can't leave an unhappy relationship because they can't help it. I feel that more people will feel stuck unhappy because of this in between mentality. OP he may not be able to help it, but your expectations when you married him are not being met, and it's ok not to be ok with that. You don't have to blame him or yourself but whether he had a diagnosis or not, sometimes people don't grow together the way they expect to and you're allowed to feel unfulfilled.
•    Anonymous said… I was thinking the same thing, Jennifer. I have a son who is an Aspie and I would think she would have noticed his behavior before she chose to say, "I do".
•    Anonymous said… if he did used to hold her hand and kiss etc and then stopped it is not his aspergers at fault, he may be falling out of love with her
•    Anonymous said… I'm confused, do people with Aspergers just suddenly become emotionally absent? I guess I'm confused as to how people wouldn't notice this when they are dating and considering marriage. I'm not trying to be snarky in my comment I really just simply don't know.
•    Anonymous said… It is a very, very difficult problem sometimes... Not all people with Aspergus are difficult... But my life has been hard due to my Father having this... He is 92 and was never given any help throughout his life.
•    Anonymous said… mine never says 'i love you' but he shows me every day in his actions we have been together 12 years
•    Anonymous said… most people with aspergers are not this way
•    Anonymous said… My Aspie hubby is very loving and giving, his main differences is logical order, sensory sensitive, and can seem aggressive due to these. My Aspie neighbour is very affectionate and appreciative gentlemen, his differences is mainly understanding life skills. Everyone is different, but there is always some level of affection given. Get counselling.
•    Anonymous said… My son is 12 and is Aspergers, I worry on a daily basis that he will grow to be an emotionally abusive partner but then I remember that nurture trumps nature. We will ensure he has the upbringing he needs to navigate life and treasure family above all else. I am sorry for all you have been through but do not be naïve and write people off because of a condition.
•    Anonymous said… No, this is wrong. Many people with Aspergers display emotions and empathy for others.
•    Anonymous said… She said that in the last 10 years she's not had any physical touch but has been married for 17. I've heard of many occasions when Aspies have said they could only pretend for so long so perhaps he began shutting down. I feel for both parties involved.
•    Anonymous said… So you married him because you thought you would 'fix' him or 'cure' him? What you describe is not typical of autism. I think there are issues other than autism. Seek counseling together.
•    Anonymous said… The emotions are very limited. The mind works different. It is very difficult to deal with Aspergers. Doesn't mean he don't love you. When they reject you can be long term. I worry about my teen and relationships. It is definitely a challenge because of social skills, limited emotionals, obsessions, rituals, or daily habits. Sometimes, they can not help the things that they do. They just do things that we don't understand. Please understand that he will likely never change, even if her desires to. Ladies, know who you are getting involve with pertaining to a relationship. Aspergers is not a bed of Roses and it will never be.
•    Anonymous said… The one person with Asperger is not the other person. What works in one marriage, and how the husband/wife with the Asperger is in that marriage cannot be compared to how other people are in other mariages because everyone has an own character. My exhusband does not feel a thing inside. He says it every time again. He simply does not feel, except for who he choses to feel and for himself. So when my youngest daughter cries for her daddy, calls him and asks him to please come by he just says, sorry, no can do. He says he has learned how to act by looking at the reactions of other people but when I would lay on the street through an heartattac/accident he would not help me and would just drive further. He has said it time after time, sorry, I know it is very hard for you but when I walk out of the door I do not miss you or the children, I do not think about you at all, no matter the time. And he has proven it time and time again, that he cannot feel much. Like an empty shell, who acts automatic. He falls asleep while talking to me, he does very strange things, he is not capable to care for our children and told me that he only wants to be part when the happy things are happening and does not want to be a parent. And the happy things only before a certain time. His parents and brother are the same, no emotions, except for themselves and for the ones they chose too. For the outside world they seem very nice but inside the house it is cold. It is hard to live with someone like that and I have made the choice to leave him after trying it over and over again because I wanted my kids to have their daddy and I wanted to not leave him alone because he has not chosen to have Asperger. Now he tells me that it is better this way, that I have made the good choice, that he is happy. And I try to have some kind of friendship with him so that my kids can have both parents. I really try. But one thing I have learned is that one can have Asperger and still care about his or hers family. So I will never judge other families cause I do not know a single thing about their life except what I have read which can be read or felt in more than one way. Drinking is not the solution though but I think you allready know that. I feel with, and give you a big hug!
•    Anonymous said… This poor woman. I can completely relate. Here's a couple thoughts. 1. I think this lady is expecting too much from her husband. He cannot make her complete. He isn't capable and even if they attend counseling, she will still feel like a checklist. BUT counseling will at least give give an answer of where his heart is and if he does love her, he can learn how. My theory is that this cannot happen without a counselor because although she is the expert on herself, he may now be aware of his social shortcomings unless an expert in Asperger's tells him. 2. It's not fair to blame him for the drinking. She made the choice to start (not knowing she was an alcoholic) and from there, her brain took over. 3. Her "emotional numbness" sounds like textbook depression. I want her to know that neither the alcoholism nor the depression was her choice. Why would anybody choose that? Her brain lacks the ability to make the hormone for happiness (the drinking replaces the hormone). It is treatable. I would advise her to start with counseling for herself only and regular exercise and planning some regular fun. She needs to love herself instead of expect her husband to do it for her. I think that once she's done these things, she'll be able to think more clearly and make a good decision to either accept her husband as he is, or leave. There is no right or wrong choice. It's her life, it's her choice. I just want to make sure she's able to think and feel clearly before doing something she regrets.
•    Anonymous said… This will sound judgemental and I apologise. You've made the way he is turn you into an alcoholic?!! You should have left him years ago. I'm sorry but you should have protected YOUR kids! They are the ones that are COMPLETELY innocent!
•    Anonymous said… this would have shown through before she married why did she marry him in the first place???
•    Anonymous said… We have been martied for 18 yrs there are struggles. He doesnt get some ques but we work together on it. That doesnt mean i dint have days i want to bop him and say really??
•    Anonymous said… well as an aspie/autistic myself, this makes me incredibly depressed for my future...
 •    Jane said... I have a teenage son who was diagnosed by a highly recommended neurologist with HFA when he was 10 years old. There are times me and his teenage brother have grown frustrated by his apathy, and hurt by the way he has expressed himself, but that was before we came to an understanding. My son has autism, which is a neurological disorder of which there is no treatment or cure, therefore, expecting him to change is an expectation held in vain. He CANNOT change, he can merely adapt. He is NOT a robot, nor is he emotionless, he just has a different way. He is different, he will always be different, and expecting HIM to overcome a disorder of which there is no cure, like somehow he will eventually learn to communicate like we do is a dangerous thought pattern. It NEVER goes away, it DOES NOT "get better" and it is selfish to expect him to overcome something he truly cannot help because my feelings get hurt. he has come a long way, but the autism will always be there. WE needed to learn how to communicate his way, in a way that HE understands, and because I love him, I took the time to research autism and find ways to bridge that gap and have a close relationship with my son. You have NO IDEA what the world is like in his head, and how each day is a struggle for him. There is no "fixing" him. learn to adapt to HIS needs (because they will never change) or move on and let him have the chance at love with someone who is unselfish and willing to make the effort to love him the way he deserves.
•    Naynay … For the person who said "why did you marry them in the first place?" As for me I had no idea about aspergers, I just thought I can change him and make him love me and make him more affectionate!! I didn't know what it was until I was completely broken and thought there was something wrong with me!!! You feel so unloved and so unwanted!!! It's devastating!! We have been married for 3 years and I'm at a point of can I live with begging for affection for the rest of my life or moving on from a man I really love with all my heart. It's torture.
•    Wyldkat …Wow. I'm sorry, but really? Why on earth would anyone marry anyone with the plan to change them into something else? That is about the most self-destructive and, well sorry about this, but abusive thing I've heard in a long time. If you didn't love your husband the way he was, then you didn't love him and that is completely your failing, not his. I know this sounds mean, but your reply really turned my stomach. I feel very sorry for your husband.
•    Unknown …The comments posted so far seem to fall into two camps. The first are those who have lived with an Aspie and sympathize with this woman's anger, grief, and exasperation. The other camp are those who think she is being too harsh because she feels angry, sad, and exasperated. These folks insist that the Aspie husband does indeed love her but just doesn't know how to express it because he can't feel empathy. He just needs to learn how, and she has no right to feel what she feels. But there lies the rub: Aspies often don't see why they have to learn how to show love and care. From inside, it seems that other people are just over-reacting or making incomprehensible and unfair emotional demands on them. Change occurs when Aspies acknowledge that their behavior elicits these responses from the world, and that it is incumbent on them to learn how to interact with those who love them in ways that nurture rather than enrage. There is a saying from AA that is particularly appropriate here: It's not your fault, but it is your responsibility.
•    Dishodiwaba …WTF, all these women married to these off the scale autistic men...I cannot get a date. I have been diagnosed with each of a, but I am nothing like what these article describe! I have plenty of problems with communication but it's all subtle and most people I know don't even realize I am on the Spectrum. Your husband treats you like shit? Give me a chance. I'll treat you like gold. What the hell is this come out I'm reading about these fucking monsters, and they're all married; and I cannot get a date! This is insanity!
•    oliveyew…I've been married to an Aspie for 13 years and just recently figured out what was going on thanks to my therapist. We've been to over 8 therapists, trying to make our marriage work. When she recognized some of his behaviors as matching those of people on the spectrum she gently asked me and blew my mind. I feel so stupid after all of these years. To those asking how we married men who are emotionally unavailable, I can only speak for myself. I never really thought I could change him but I was a workaholic when we met climbing the corporate ladder. The space he gave me worked at the time in many ways. I accepted or chose to not look at the ways our miscommunication could be to the detriment of our relationship. I was also raised in a non-nurturing home (by a non Aspie), so it felt comfortable to me in a way. For this reason I chose to not have children (THANKFULLY) - I don't want to imagine this man with kids. He's wonderful in many ways, but caregiving/empathy is not one of them. I don't know if we'll make it through this, we're not in a good place right now. It is comforting to know others are out there though, and this forum has been very helpful.

Post your comment below…

Why People on the Autism Spectrum Are Confused by Neurotypicals

Individuals with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) see the world from a different point of view. They think that NT or “neurotypical” people (i.e., those without an autism spectrum disorder) speak in riddles (e.g., Why use non-verbal signs like body language instead of just telling something like it is? Why don’t they say what they mean? Why are relationships so messy? How come they are not interested in details like me?).

People on the autism spectrum think their world is more logical then NT’s. They have to adjust to NT’s “strange” way of relating to each other and ways of communication. It’s very hard for them to adjust to something so far off from logic. Most of the time, they are truly unable to do so.

People with AS and HFA usually have three basic impairments: (1) communication (both verbal and non-verbal), (2) social imagination (combined with inflexible thinking and repetitive behavior), and (3) social interaction (e.g., being unable to make and keep friends).

These are the most obvious symptoms of the disorder, and they ALWAYS occur together. There is no random combination possible; one can’t be there without the others. These three impairments have a huge impact on every aspect of life when one is diagnosed with AS or HFA, and they all relate to an overly-logical brain (as opposed to a brain that is more in-tune with emotions and relationships).

The brain is not a single-working organism. It has different parts to it, with each part controlling different parts of the body, thought, and emotions. We have a higher thought plane than other animals due to the development of the “neocortex,” which is responsible for problem solving, conscious thought, and language. Before this area of the brain developed, we were like every other type of animal, acting mostly on instinct instead of logic.

Before the neocortex, there was the mammalian part of your brain, which acted on emotions, feelings, and instinct (i.e., the “emotional brain”). This part of the brain is responsible for attraction to beauty, preparing your body to deal with fears and dangers, etc.

Then there is the social brain. This part of the brain is responsible for the following:
  • evaluating human voices
  • assigning the emotional value of different stimuli (e.g., deciding when something is disgusting) 
  • attaching an incoming signal with an emotional value
  • deciding whether a social signal really matters
  • deciphering prosody, the additional tones and ways that people add layers of meaning to their spoken words
  • generating an initial emotional response to social stimuli (e.g., Should someone’s tone really impact me as much as it does? What does someone’s look really mean, and am I overreacting?)
  • generating reactions in response to different situations
  • helping control basic visual information
  • helping us notice where someone else is looking
  • selecting which of the myriad incoming social signals are the most important
  • allowing us to observe other human bodies
  • allowing us to know when incoming social signals are rewarding
  • helping us to not just listen to what people say, but HOW it is said
  • observing minute details of facial expression and body language
  • perceiving important social cues
  • regulating strong human emotions

In a way, you can say that people with AS and HFA have an overly-developed rational brain, and an under-developed social brain.

People with an overly-logical brain (think of Spock from Star Trek) often have the following traits:
  • appear to only be concerned with their own needs and wants
  • experience a delay in the development of the idea that the self is equal in importance to that of others
  • have difficulty understanding that others have their own mind, point of view, feelings, and priorities
  • problems attributing mental states to others or to be able to describe what others might be feeling in a given situation (the ability to guess others’ states of mind is related to one’s ability to effectively practice introspection on one’s own)
  • the inability to guess others’ mental states often results in (a) “social mistakes” (e.g., unintentionally saying something highly offensive), and (b) attributing negative intentions in others that aren’t there
  • a lack of developed private self-consciousness, which is a predictor of paranoia (the ability to know one’s self in some way relates to the skill in attributing feelings and motivations to others)
  • will take statements by others in a more concrete and literal fashion
  • they have to work harder than NTs at theorizing what others are experiencing
  • are more concerned with facts, figures, and data than relating to people
  • they need more time than others to understand social subtleties in language (e.g., irony, sarcasm, some forms of humor)
  • difficulty linking behavior of others to their inner feelings, and as a result, can’t understand or predict someone’s behavior 
  • difficulty linking their own behavior to the feelings of others, thus they are unable to anticipate or predict such a response

The overly-logical brain and the absence of the ability to intuit what others may think or feel, what motivates them, how they’re likely to respond in certain situations, etc. may be the root of most difficulties people with AS and HFA have in communication and social interaction.

When attempting to relate better to people with an AS or HFA brain:
  • put more weight on words or actions
  • put less weight on body language, facial expressions, and physical appearances
  • don’t put them in a position where they have to decipher hints, innuendos, subtext, or passive-aggressive behavior – instead, use plain speech
  • don’t assume that their lack of normal eye contact means that they are sneaky, lying, or undependable
  • talk about what you “think” about a particular topic, rather than how to “feel” about it (e.g., “I think a conservative political viewpoint contributes to the individual becoming more self-sufficient and less reliant on government” … instead of, “How do feel about conservatism”).


The NT world is actually perfectly logical, if you can accept that communication is not just I say something and you hear it. It is actually even more logical, like chess -- If I say this, you will hear it as this, so I should adjust and say this, so you will hear it better as this, and then you will react in this fashion, so I will feel this way... It's a dysfunction that they are blaming on other people. What aspies should be taught to understand is that complexity is a further exercise in logic. Understanding context and emotion and action-reaction are skills that underpin most normal human interaction, and if lacking in such skill, that's a dysfunction or underdevelopment of empathy. 

"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.


Loss of hopes and plans for the future

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


Long-standing lack of emotional reciprocity from the autistic spouse

Long-standing lack of empathy 


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


Not wanting to interact with others as a couple

Resentment toward others with "typical husbands"


The children's future

The children's emotional safety

Keeping a stable relationship with her spouse

Her own mental health

Next crisis


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

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

==> Pressed for time? Watch these "less-than-one-minute" videos for on the go.

Group for ASD Men Struggling in Their Relationship with an NT Spouse

Are you on the autism spectrum [ASD - Level 1] and struggle to meet your neurotypical (NT) partner's needs and expectations? Has separation or divorce crossed her mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? Does she constantly complain that she is getting NO emotional support or empathy from you? Then please watch this video:

A MESSAGE FOR ASD MEN (diagnosed or otherwise):

If you're interested in getting things back on track, please read the following:
  1. Create a Skype account, if you haven't done so already - it's free!
  2. Cost: $99.00 for the 4-week class (1 hour per week). Click on REGISTER NOW below to receive your group access link, or simply send $99. using PayPal to   (How to Send Money with Your PayPal Account)
  3. Email me ( after purchase and tell me which group you're registering for so I can send you the access link to that group. (Note: Please give me up to 24 hrs. to send you the link).
  4. Bonus: Get my $19.00 eBook (see below) for FREE! When you register for the class, I'll email you the link to the eBook along with your access link.


*** ASD Men only *** 
             Date: Meets on Wednesdays and runs from 1/3/24 to 1/24/24 - OPEN                
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time)  
Members: No NT participants
 *** You do not have to have a formal diagnosis to attend. ***
NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and need the link to each one sent to you via email.

Got questions? Email:

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