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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Rules of Effective Listening: Tips for Men on the Spectrum

Being a good listener won't just make a big difference in your relationship and sex life, but in every part of your life that involves social contact. Effective listening may be the most crucial factor in keeping your relationship running smoothly.

Rules of Effective Listening: Tips for Men on the Spectrum

1. Always give your partner your undivided attention. Make sure that you're not watching the basketball game while she's trying to discuss your next weekend get-away together.

2. Don’t be judgmental. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as positive, constructive criticism.

3. Don't try to fix things. Most guys are under the misconception that they need to provide all the answers in a relationship. WRONG! Make sure your wife is involved in ALL decision-making opportunities. In this way, she will feel more loved, involved and special.



4. Help your partner along by asking questions to encourage her to open up and to clarify things for you.

5. NEVER be sarcastic. If you do, it insults your wife’s intelligence.

6. Realize that listening to women is a great man-skill to have. Most likely, no one ever told you that listening to women is an important part of "being a man," so you may have tended to discount it.

7. Remember that your one and only job while listening is to understand your partner’s experience, feelings, attitude or point of view.

8. Show your wife that you truly understand her point of view. Whether or not you agree with her, talk to her in a calm and composed manner. Don’t forget, as soon as your tone of voice goes up, so will hers. If she is shouting, then bring your voice down and she will probably do the same.

9. Try to recognize the different sets of emotions that your wife speaks with. For most wives, the feeling is usually more important than the content of a conversation.

10. Understand that listening is not the same as agreeing. Men don’t have to agree with their wives, just listen and try to understand. Women are usually more receptive to working things out and comprising when they feel understood.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples
 
 
COMMENTS:
 
Somebody on the internet...

This was a good post, but I don't just want to play the part of an active listener, I want to truly connect with my wife and feel that warm, fuzzy bond where each of us feel like we're sharing our soul, not necessarily because of the topic, but just being able to open to each other and feel that deep connection. I don't just want to intellectually understand, I want to *feel* something. The only thing I feel is broken and defective when she reaches out to me and no emotion comes up. We recently bought a house together and it's a really nice house. She's so excited and happy, and all that comes up for me when I look around are projects and things that could be made even better, and thinking about all the money involved. I want to be excited too! And she gets all deflated when she's practically jumping up and down and she looks at me with those beautiful, sparkling eyes and all she sees in me is mild bewilderment and a forced smile. What is wrong with me!?

I do feel almost overwhelmed with love for her, but it feels like it's trapped in me and I don't know how to let it out. I want to pour it straight into her heart but I don't know how! Seriously, if I had one wish I would say f**k world peace or a cure for all diseases, I just wish my wife could feel how much I love her for one minute. I feel like I'm in one of those horror movies where someone's trapped and screaming through a thick window at someone outside, but no sound gets out. They can't hear. I've told her this, and she understands it intellectually, but she doesn't feel my love. I force myself to try to look deep into her eyes and make a connection, but it feels like trying to bite a tomato seed (they always just slip out from between your teeth and you can never quite do it - I feel like the connection should be right there, but I just can't lock it in!). I seriously wish I could just reach into my brain and rip out whatever wall is in there.

I read all these posts from women who feel no connection or emotional support from their husbands and how miserable they are, and how they all just want out. I try to keep skimming their comments, hoping someone will have some actual advice, but it's all just more of the same - "it will never get better, they never change, get out as soon as you can!" I feel terrible. It's not that the advice in this post isn't good, I need help with all that, too, though I feel I am getting better at responding to comments and making small talk, although I really have to force myself to and feel weird doing it. It's just that I want more. I want my wife to have more. I see her unhappiness and I feel like I should leave her for her sake, though she tells me she wants to stay with me. If this were some epic movie where I could go on some perilous, long, arduous journey to find some wizard or potion or something that could cure me, I'd be right out the door with a few cliff bars in my pocket. Would so appreciate it if anyone had any advice or a success story around this. Thank you.


Nnnn...

I fell in love with a man who I suspect to have mild aspergers recently and we have communication and emotional reciprocation difficulties also. He, like yourself, has some issues connecting with emotion at the 'right' moments, understanding when I need to feel emotionally supported etc which has left me feeling quite lonely at times in the relationship. We are going to go to see a professional to help us gain a better understanding of one another's perspective and hopefully come up with some creative solutions to our problems. For what its worth, and bearing in mind I'm very new to all of this, I just thought I'd let you know I was moved to tears by the emotion and love in your comments above about your wife as I suspect she would be if she read it. Perhaps show them to her as your feelings jump off the page in writing :)

Unknown...


I am in love with someone who has mild autism and aspergers too. He is 23 and I am 44.I could care less about the age difference between us. To me age just a number and a state of mind. The biggest problem is that the family does not approve of the age difference between us. I am trying to read everything I can on aspergers and autism especially on communication and relationships. I have learned that if we are alone together we do communicate easier.I have to speak in a very calming voice. And I have also learned I have to be very patient and he will talk to me and tell me what is bothering him. We were engaged for a while,but he got cold feet and broke off the engagement for now. I have been reading a lot about this. All I can say is be very patient and except him for who he is on the inside. I know I was supposed to meet him for a reason. We are definitely soul mates.

The worker...


It's tough. Sometimes the emotional strain of listening to my wife's problems causes me such agony. I'm convinced every time she has an issue that she's going to leave me, and that I will be alone forever - after all I've never really been able to connect with another woman at all, and spent much of my life feeling empty and alone. She will talk and I feel the emotion in my chest and can smell it as I breath out through my nose - sometimes I clench my teeth and feel the breath come out like a Siberian wind chilling my gums. Sometimes I say I understand etc, and she tells me that I'm just giving her platitudes and I have the look in my eyes of a deer caught in headlamps. I can't help but see her problems as a threat, and am afraid of her responses and catastrophize.

Taking Things Too Personally: Tips for Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Do you frequently feel offended by the remarks or actions of others? Do you take every minor event too seriously, allowing it to scare you or piss you off? Does someone else's bullying personality make you feel worthless? Do you mistake people's antics for subtle insults? Does this justify feeling offended?

Taking things too personally makes life difficult. When you take things too personally, you make yourself more vulnerable to anger, frustration and “meltdowns.” Taking things too personally is like intentionally placing a heavy load on your shoulders. Why would you want to do that to yourself?

Here’s what I have discovered: Most of the time, the way a person acts toward me has little to do with me. It has more to do with how this person was raised, how he/she deals with emotional issues, or other variables like his/her mood, energy level, or health. This is important for me to keep in mind on those occasions when I find myself taking the blame for things that are beyond my control.



Below are some of the things I have learned to do that help me to stop taking others’ comments and behavior so personally. I hope some of these ideas can help you as well!

1. For the most part, I have removed toxic people from my life. These are people who treat me rudely or who dump all their problems on me without reciprocating in a supportive way. I try to surround myself with positive people as much as possible. I definitely feel more confidence in myself when I’m hanging out with people who treat me with respect.

2. I always keep a list of my strengths and abilities to remember what my strong points are. The list is on my refrigerator door so I can review it daily.

3. I also have a list of goals alongside my list of strengths. Having things to work towards gives me a sense of self-worth and purpose. This includes things I would like to improve on or advance in. I take each goal and break it into smaller steps (called objectives) so the goals don’t seem so insurmountable. 
 

4. I constantly remind myself that I don't need anyone's approval. Just because someone isn't happy with me doesn't mean I have done something wrong. In many cases, it means that person isn't happy with themselves and expects me to fill their unmet needs in some way.

5. I find I become more susceptible to someone’s opinion if I am feeling doubtful and placing too much of my own self-worth on his/her opinion. When I am confident in my abilities, another person’s rude behavior or negative opinion is less likely to affect me. Feeling proud and confident in my skills is more important than the passing opinions of others.

6. When I was younger, I had terrible personal hygiene habits (e.g., didn’t comb my hair, brush my teeth, shower, etc.). But over time, I learned that this lack of personal care was a big contributing factor to my low self-esteem. Now I try to take care of your physical self with grooming and dressing to look my best. I keep my clothes clean and wear clothes that fit properly. I have tossed out old clothing that doesn’t fit, is tattered, faded, etc. And I try to keep a good posture. All of these things improve my mood.

7. In order to stop taking things so personally, I try to consider the situational factors as well as the other person’s motivations and background. Improving my self-confidence and communicating assertively are key to being able to handle other people’s comments.

If you tend to take others’ comments and behavior to personally, or take life too seriously in general, here are a few more tips I would like to share with you:
  • When you are about to feel offended, ask yourself, “Is what I just heard true at all?”
  • Think, “Maybe what I heard does not refer to me at all.”
  • Ask yourself, “Why am I allowing words and feelings to hurt me.”
  • Avoid thinking over and again about what upset you. Rather, think of things that make you feel happy.
  • When you take something too personally, go away alone for a walk or do some other form of exercise. This will boost your confidence, and the problem will look smaller.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.
  • Wait a while before responding.

Lastly, here are a few quotes to think about:
  • We often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things and sometimes taking things too personally. ~ Dalai Lama
  • To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~ Lewis B. Smedes
  • I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside. ~ Wayne Dyer
  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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



COMMENTS:

•    I read this article so I could then print it out and put it on my asperger husband's desk. We have been married 28yrs and have known about Aspergers for about 2/12 yrs. I read many articles,books,etc and then reproduced them for my husband to read as I wanted him to know how much I had suffered being married to him. I wanted him to know what he had done and why I am like I am. Talk about playing the victim card. I was all in. I took no personal responsibility for my situation. I would love to say I have seen the light and now am a happy, mentally healthy gramma, not there yet. Knowing my husband has Aspergers and that I have Cassandras syndrome has brought much peace into our relationship. I no longer want to punish him for being sick, and he is trying to make changes for our life together to be better. Biggest thing I learned was to not take things personally. Period. I no longer have to react to criticism, foul moods, silent treatments, and angry comments. They are his problems not mine. I have plenty to do becoming the person I want to become. We rarely argue anymore as I have the attitude that what he does and says is not something I have to react to. What is the use. I am not gonna change his mind in an argument aspies are not stirred to listen in a fight. When we are both calm I will approach him then. When I stopped taking things personally from him, I also stopped taking things personally from others. What a relief not to have to please the world that I could not please anyway. Thanks for the website.

•    I find meditation helps a lot. It helps me focus on responding positively and humbly with the goal of making things right again. I screw up a lot. I'm not supportive of my wife enough even though I try, which makes her stressed and then she lashes out at me. It still hurts, but meditating helps me cultivate a state of mind where I can keep moving forward rather than wallowing in it.

•    Love the.quotes... Im in the early learning process and all you said is true...now i just have to master puttin it into practice!! i wish there was more info about girls with aspergers though...but i guess that will come in this changing world.

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