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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Wife's Account of the Ups-and-Downs of a Neurodiverese Marriage

I'm a 'neurotypical' (as they say) wife of a man, David, with ASD [level 1]. We've been together for over 18 years. And I've learned a lot about him in that time period. Fortunately, we knew he had the disorder from the start. So, there were no shocking surprises along the way (although there was a steep learning curve for me). I think that for those who have already been diagnosed, they have a better chance at making the relationship work.

Life is like a complex puzzle for David. With time however, I was able to see why his behavior (that often seems inappropriate to me) is the only right way for him to react.
Once we got married, the true traits of his disorder become more noticeable. His constant need to be reminded of things and the way he lost track of time was cute when we were dating, but not so much now. Sometimes I still get angry as I wonder why - after so many years of being together - he still can't understand what I am saying or understand my feelings.

At times David appears egotistical, selfish, and uncaring, but I've learned that this is not truly the case. He has a 'neurological' condition in which he is often unable to understand the emotions of others. He just has difficulty interpreting other people's feelings adequately or figuring out the sarcasm in their speech. And sometimes he is surprised and a bit embarrassed when he finds out his actions were perceived as rude and hurtful.

While it was nice to have David's unwavering attention when we were dating, a married couple needs the socialization of others. I am often surprised how unsociable he can be. But I understand he is not intentionally trying to frustrate me. And he is not trying to ignore me when he gets so wrapped up in his hobbies. 

David has certain rituals and routines. He hates surprises and not being able to handle changes. He has a hard time remembering 'the little things', and is easily distracted. All of these traits, though, are not meant to hurt anyone.

Accepting the differences that come with the disorder is crucial. No relationship is perfect, and neither is one with an Asperger's husband. Having a better understanding of Asperger's has been the 'saving point' in our marriage. I'd like to say thanks to Mark Hutten for his book on Living with an Aspergers Partner - as well as his online therapy groups. Things would have been much more difficult without his advice.

Together, couples can work out a better understanding of one another and learn how to better communicate and to send clearer messages to each other. For a successful relationship, knowing that their spouse with Asperger's really does care (just shows it differently) makes all the difference.

David is a very reliable and responsible person. He works hard and is a good provider for our family. He doesn't try to meet the obligations society has for men in general. For example, he is quite happy to help clean and cook. Most of the time when asked, he is more than willing to help out with whatever task is needed …all I have to do is ask.

Love you David. For now and forever!

Your wife,

What I Do to Cope with Asperger's: My Personal Story

My name is Cal. I'm 52 and have been asked to share some of the things I do that help me with day-to-day functioning.  Each person with Asperger’s is unique, so what works for me may not necessarily work for you. I think that interventions definitely need to be individualized. Most of the Aspies I know come to this awareness at different ages and stages of their lives, which can influence the approaches they choose. 

Anyway, while there is nothing particularly profound about what I do, here are a few things that have helped me cope with life in general:

 About three years ago, I worked with a Job Coach (you can find them online) that really did help me with goal direction and employment-related skills. If you have a hard time sticking with a job for any length of time, you may want to enlist the help of one of these professionals.

I try to teach others about the "disorder." I don't provide a lot of detail though. I try to disclose strategically, only sharing the information that is required for that time and place. I mostly say that it's "just a different way of thinking." For example, I'll tell them that "typical" people can read facial cues and pretty much know exactly what the other person means when he or she is being purposely vague. But, I can't. So, I ask them to be direct with me in their statements.

I used to be very good at blaming other people for my issues. But, I discovered that "blaming others" is a trait of the disorder. SO, I've tried to stop the blame game. Blaming yourself or others is common -- but not helpful.

I've learned that sensory and social demands of daily life make more "down-time" indispensable for me. If I start to get overwhelmed, I remove a few things from my schedule for that day. I call it my mental health day. Basically, I just slow down, maybe allow myself to take a nap, do deep breathing, drink lots of water, and try to keep it simple.

I know my weaknesses, and work on those things (e.g., impatience in long lines). Also, I know my strengths and build on them. For example, I know a lot about how to lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass, and share that knowledge often. There's always somebody that asks me how I stay in such great shape for my age. So, I give them some good tips on what they can do in this regard. Honestly, I should be a trainer, because I'm running into people all the time at the gym that ask my advice.

While I do need some down-time to recuperate, I don't allow myself to isolation for lengthy periods of time. Each day, I make sure I'm out with people for a portion of the day, even if it's just a short casual conversation with someone at the grocery store. 

To reduce my stress, I hire people to do the things I'm not good at, such as housework (when my wife is out of town on business), organization, and bookkeeping.

Sensory sensitivities make some environments unpleasant for me. So when I can, I change the lighting (dimmer), decrease the noise as much as possible (even wearing earplugs in some cases), and I always wear comfortable clothing (unless it's something formal, like a wedding or funeral). Also, a slower-paced environment is usually more tolerable and allows for a greater sense of comfort and competence.

Lastly, Mark Hutten's ebook Living With An Asperger's Partner, as well as the 3 Skype sessions I had with him, have helped me immensely to relate better to my wife. She has learned several things from the sessions that have helped her too.

I hope something I said here can help you have a better quality of life.

Have a great day,


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