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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ASD and The Marriage Problems That Are To Be Expected

More Resources:

==> 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 

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD


Points to consider:

1.    Neurodiverse couples can use a visual system, such as a wipe off board to communicate their stress level at this time of day.

2.    Each person with ASD presents differently with his or her challenges.

3.    Encourage humor in your life together.

4.    Executive function deficits may be mistakenly attributed to lack of motivation, and/or behavior or personality problems.

5.    Executive function tasks include planning, organizing, prioritizing, time management, emotional regulation and impulse control.

6.    Eye contact may be difficult and sometimes facial expressions may not reflect an individual’s true feelings.

7.    Finding a path to a respectful, loving and fulfilling long lasting relationship is every committed couple’s desire.

8.    In a relationship where one individual is on the autism spectrum, there are likely many more opportunities for misunderstandings and frustration.

9.    Individuals on the autism spectrum are not sure how to connect with others.

10.    Individuals on the autism spectrum can have both an impaired and an enhanced time perceiving their own bodily functions.

11.    Inertia, both starting and stopping tasks, can be a challenge for people on the autism spectrum.

12.    Information processed by the senses can easily overstimulate an individual on the autism spectrum.

13.    It is a challenge for most couples to find a balance between their needs and expectations, and their partner’s needs and expectations.

14.    It is important that you both learn your personal ways of de-stressing and express these needs to each other.

15.    Just as in any relationship, individuals with ASD need partners who are understanding and respectful of their needs.

16.    Leisure time together can be an important bonding opportunity.

17.    Light touch may feel like pins yet actual pinpricks may not be felt at all.

18.    Many people with autism crave intimacy and love, but they don't know how to achieve it in a romantic relationship.

19.    NT partners are often relied upon to perform many executive function tasks within the relationship.

20.    People on the autism spectrum suffer from anxiety.

21.    People with ASD almost universally say it is difficult to process verbal information while maintaining eye contact.

22.    Persons on the autism spectrum often have trouble staying on topic and maintaining a conversation.

23.    Realize you might not understand your partner’s perspective.

24.    Remembering the positive characteristics of both you and your partner will enhance your self-esteem and help motivate you as you work through your relationship challenges.

25.    Senses may be overly sensitive (hypersensitive) and/or under sensitive (hyposensitive).

26.    Sensory issues can impact just about all aspects of life from the selection of clothes, foods, bedding and furnishings that are comfortable for both partners to what environments and activities may be enjoyable for both partners.

27.    Sensory issues very often affect individuals on the autism spectrum.

28.    Sitting side by side might work best for communication.

29.    Social cues are often missed or misread.

30.    Social events are often difficult for a person with ASD and you will likely be the one arranging the social events.

31.    Social skills are affected.

32.    Some couples find that texting, emails and/or information written out on paper, sticky notes, calendars or wipe-off boards is very advantageous.

33.    Some people with ASD are hypersensitive to various lighting.

34.    They can feel blind to everyday subtle social cues from their partner, which can cause conflict and hurt feelings.

35.    They may seem unaware of what is in plain sight and/or process words as “noise”.

36.    Transitioning from work to home may be stressful for your partner on the autism spectrum.

37.    Verbal communication is often processed more slowly and words interpreted literally.

38.    You and your partner likely have different ways of alleviating stress.

39.    You may need to give your partner with autism explicit information and practice on how to give hugs.

40.    Your partner likely has executive function deficits.

Introduction to Understanding “Spousal ASD”: Summary for Neurotypicals

Here's a good synopsis of what you can expect to witness in your spouse who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD):

Reasons for Rigidity in ASD—

  • the misunderstanding or misinterpretation of your feelings, thoughts, and actions
  • the violation of a rule or ritual (i.e., you, the NT, changing something from the way it is “supposed to be” … you violating a rule, and this is unacceptable to him)
  • anxiety about a current or upcoming event (no matter how trivial it might appear to you)
  • the need for immediate gratification of a need
  • lack of knowledge about how something with social/emotional components is done (by not knowing how the world works with regard to specific social situations and events, he will become anxious and try to reduce his anxiety, which often results in shutdowns or meltdowns)
  • sensory sensitivities
  • the need to avoid or escape from a non-preferred activity (often something difficult or undesirable) 
  • perfectionism
  • OCD tendencies
  • the need to control people for anxiety-reduction reasons
  • the need to engage in - or continue - a preferred activity (usually an obsessive action or fantasy)
  • transitioning from one activity to another (this is usually a problem because it may mean ending an activity before he is finished with it)

Black-and-White Thinking and Mind-blindness—

  • an obsessive-compulsive approach to life that results in the narrow range of interests and insistence on set routines
  • the inability to take your perspective (i.e., mind-blindness)
  • the lack of cognitive flexibility (i.e., black-and-white thinking)
  • there is always some distress, anxiety, or obsession manifested in every “inappropriate” behavior that you, the NT, may witness
  • cognitive difficulties that lead to inaccurate interpretations and understanding of the emotional world (how he interprets a situation determines how he will respond to it, but many times the interpretation of an event is not an accurate one)

Behavioral Manifestations of Anxiety—

  • wanting things to go his way, when he wants them to, no matter what you may want (he may argue, ignore you, refuse to yield, etc.)
  • tending to conserve energy and put forth the least effort he can, except with highly preferred activities
  • remaining in a fantasy world a good deal of the time
  • appearing unaware of events around him
  • reacting poorly to new events, transitions, or changes
  • preferring to do the same things over and over
  • lecturing or scolding you rather than having a reciprocal conversation
  • intensely disliking loud noises and crowds
  • insisting on having things and/or events occur in a certain way
  • having trouble socializing well with you, or avoiding you altogether (he prefers to be alone, because you do not do things exactly as he does)
  • having a narrow range of interests
  • becoming fixated on certain topics and/or routines
  • eating a narrow range of foods
  • demonstrating unusual worries
  • showing resistance to directions from you, the NT
  • creating his own set of rules for doing something
  • becoming easily overwhelmed
  • having difficulty calming down

Questions NTs Should Ask Themselves Regarding Their ASD Spouse’s Behavior—

To help you determine the reasons why your ASD spouse acts the way he does, you should ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Is he misunderstanding what is happening and assuming something that isn't true? (Misinterpretation)

2.  Is he expecting perfection in himself? (Black-and-white thinking)

3.  Is he blaming me for something that is beyond my control? (He feels that you must solve the problem for him even when it involves issues you have no control over.)

4.  Is he stuck on an idea and can't let it go? (He does not know how to let go and move on when there is a problem.)

5.  Is he exaggerating the importance of an event? There are no small events, everything that goes wrong is a catastrophe. (Black-and-white thinking)

6.  Has he made a rule that can't be followed? (He sees only one way to solve a problem. He can’t see alternatives.)

7.  Does he see only two choices to a situation rather than many options? (Black-and-white thinking)

8.  Does he need to be shown a better way to deal with a problem? (He does not understand the way the social world works.)

9.  Because a situation was one way the first time, does he feel it has to be that way always? (Being rule bound)

More Resources:

==> 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 

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD


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