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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Dealing with a Complaining Partner: Tips for Couples Affected by ASD

As couples get down to the business of life after a few years of living together, they often realize that two people may not see eye-to-eye on how things are to be done around the house or in the relationship – especially when one partner has ASD (high-functioning autism), and the other does not. Very often, one partner (usually the “autistic”) draws back while the other (usually the "neurotypical" spouse) goes overboard.

In any event, if you find yourself in a relationship with a chronic complainer, use the following tips and learn how to deal with her or him:

1. Always create a space for yourself (e.g., a shed, a study room, etc.) …somewhere to retreat from the complaining when it erupts. Your best hobby is done in this safe haven from the chronic complainer. Everybody should have a hobby to counteract the grumbling of a partner.

2. Be patient with your complaining partner. Most people have a good reason for blowing their top. They can only be pushed so far before they explode. Sometimes a good dinner and a good night’s sleep makes things much better the next day.



3. If your partner frequently complains about how you don’t contribute to the household daily tasks – and you really DO help out as much as possible – explain how you prioritize your time and defend your reasoning. Jot down what you do in an average day (on work days and on non-work days). Post these two lists (including time frames) on the refrigerator door, but do not point them out to your partner in a condescending way. 
 
When your partner wants to talk to you about how she or he does all the work around the house, stop her or him and redirect the attention to your lists. If your partner criticizes your lists, point out that while she/he may feel her/his demands are more worthy, you will decide how you prioritize tasks and periods of rest in your day based on your own good judgment. 
 

4. Include periods of relaxation and entertainment – and defend them. Just because your partner may feel overwhelmed by all the things she or he noticed needing attention doesn't mean it would be wise of you to indulge your partner the misconception that her or his priorities are reasonable and shared by you.

5. Listen to what your partner has to say. People like to express themselves when they’re feeling hurt. If you don't understand what your partner is talking about, tell her or him to calm down, take a deep breath, and explain what she or he is really trying to convey.

6. Make your partner feel special (e.g., buy your lady some flowers, order pizza delivery and watch a ballgame with your man). Let your partner know that she or he is still important to you.

7. Support your partner. People who complain a lot are usually in a state of discouragement. They need the support and love of their spouse or partner – even when they don't agree with her or him. A hug or a kiss can go a long way.

8. If your partner is being insulting and hostile, call her or him out. There’s no good excuse for one partner to speak scornfully to the other. You are both grown-ups and should always treat each other with respect. If your partner shows contempt for you and treats you rudely, speak up and let your partner know what impact her or his behavior is having on you. 
 
A simple, "Well that was hurtful" in response to a demand made in a nasty tone should be adequate. If it's not, take a moment and tell your partner that she or he is hurting you and the relationship, and ask your partner to find another way to deal with personal frustrations.

9. When you feel that a complaint is about to happen, just go for a walk. The key here is to be consistent so that every time a complaint is about to occur, you just get out of the way. This saves wasted energy all around. And if you are out of the way, then you will not hear it.

10. Be patient with your partner as she or he adjusts to your new way of responding (not reacting) to frequent complaints.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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


Body Language 101: Tips for Adults on the Autism Spectrum

As most of us know, people with Aspergers (high functioning autism) often have difficulty with social skills. A BIG part of this is due to the fact that they have trouble reading body language, which makes it increasing difficult for them to interact with others. The good news is that it’s possible to learn how to read body language through practice and role playing.

Noticing the signals that people send out with their body language is a crucial social skill. A few of us “Aspies” can read it naturally, but most of us are notoriously oblivious. Fortunately, with a little extra attentiveness, you can learn to read body language, and with enough practice it can become second nature.

Body language often encompasses (a) how our bodies connect with material things (e.g., pens, cigarettes, spectacles and clothing), (b) how we position our bodies, (c) how we touch ourselves and others, (d) our breathing, (e) our closeness to - and the space between - us and other people and how this changes, (f) our eyes – especially how our eyes move and focus, and (g) our facial expressions. Being able to “read” body language therefore helps us greatly to understand ourselves better, understand better how people might be perceiving our own non-verbal signals, and know how people feel and what they mean.

The following list will no doubt seem daunting in its entirety. Thus, I suggest just picking a few (3 or 4) to work on (possibly the ones that feel the easiest to implement given your current strengths).

40 Tips for Reading Body Language:
  1. A clenched fist can indicate anger or solidarity.
  2. A thumbs up and thumbs down are often used as gestures of approval and disapproval.
  3. Blinking is natural, but you should also pay attention to whether a person is blinking too much or too little. People often blink more rapidly when they are feeling distressed or uncomfortable. Infrequent blinking may indicate that a person is intentionally trying to control his or her eye movements. For example, a poker player might blink less frequently, because he is purposely trying to appear unexcited about the hand he was dealt.
  4. Clasping the hands behind the back might indicate that a person is feeling bored, anxious, or even angry.
  5. Closed posture involves keeping the obscured or hidden often by hunching forward and keeping the arms and legs crossed. This type of posture can be an indicator of hostility, unfriendliness, and anxiety.
  6. Crossed arms might indicate that a person is feel defensive, self-protective, or closed-off.
  7. Crossed legs can indicate that a person is feeling closed off or in need of privacy.
  8. Dilated pupils mean that the person is interested. Keep in mind, however, that many substances cause pupils to dilate, including alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA, LSD and others. Don't mistake having a few drinks for attraction.
  9. If people purposely touch their feet to yours, they are flirting!
  10. If someone mimics your body language, this is a very genuine sign that they are trying to establish rapport with you. Try changing your body position here and there. If you find that they change theirs similarly, they are mirroring.
  11. If someone’s eyes seem focused far away, that usually indicates that he or she is in deep thought or not listening.
  12. Lowered eyebrows and squinted eyes illustrate an attempt at understanding what is being said or going on. It's usually skeptical. This is presuming they are not trying to observe something that's far away.
  13. Lowered heads indicate a reason to hide something. Take note if someone lowers their head. If it is when he is complimented, he may be shy, ashamed, timid, keeping distance from the other person, in disbelief, or thinking to himself or herself. If it is after an explanation, then he may be unsure if what he said was correct, or could be reflecting. 
  14. One of the most subtle cues that eyes provide is through the size of the pupils. While light levels in the environment control pupil dilation, sometimes emotions can also cause small changes in pupil size. For example, you may have heard the phase "bedroom eyes" used to describe the look someone gives when they are attracted to another person.
  15. Open posture involves keeping the trunk of the body open and exposed. This type of posture indicates friendliness, openness, and willingness.
  16. Overly tilted heads are either a potential sign of sympathy, or if a person smiles while tilting their head, they are being playful and maybe even flirting.
  17. Pay attention to how physically close someone is to you. The closer they are, the warmer they are thinking of you. If you move slightly closer to them and they move even closer to you, they probably really like you or are very comfortable around/by you. But this could also mean that they have a special comfort with you, a strong friendship, or they consider you a member of their family. 
  18. People sometimes bite their lips when they are worried, anxious, or stressed. 
  19. People who are rubbing their hands together or somehow touching their own body might be comforting themselves (which means they aren't enjoying the current situation).
  20. People who look to the sides a lot are nervous, lying, or distracted. However, if a person looks away from the speaker, it very well could be a comfort display or indicate submissiveness. Looking askance generally means the person is distrustful or unconvinced.
  21. People with crossed arms are closing themselves to social influence. Though some people just cross their arms as a habit, it may indicate that the person is slightly reserved, uncomfortable with their appearance (i.e., self-conscious and trying to cover it), or just trying to hide something on their shirt. If their arms are crossed while their feet are shoulder width or wider apart, this is a position of toughness or authority.
  22. Personal space is culturally fluid; keep in mind that what is considered close in one country is far away in another.
  23. Pursed lips might be an indicator of distaste, disapproval, or distrust. 
  24. Rapidly tapping fingers or fidgeting can be a sign that a person is bored, impatient, or frustrated.
  25. Slight changes in the mouth can also be subtle indicators of what a person is feeling. When the mouth is slightly turned up, it might mean that the person is feeling happy or optimistic. On the other hand, a slightly down-turned mouth can be an indicator of sadness, disapproval, or even an outright grimace. 
  26. Some cultures believe that looking at someone in the eyes is a sign of disrespect, or is only done with intimate friends or family, so this could explain why someone is avoiding eye contact with you.
  27. Some people may point their feet to the direction of where they want to go or sometimes their interest. So if it's pointing at you, he/she may be interested in you.
  28. Someone that looks down at the floor a lot is probably shy or timid. People also tend to look down when they are upset, or trying to hide something emotional. People are often thinking and feeling unpleasant emotions when they are in the process of staring at the ground.
  29. Someone who brushes their hair back with their fingers may be preening, a common gesture if the person likes you, or their thoughts about something conflict with yours. They might not voice this. If you see raised eyebrows during this time, you can be pretty sure that they disagree with you.
  30. Standing with hands placed on the hips can be an indication that a person is ready and in control, or it can also possibly be a sign of aggressiveness.
  31. The "Okay" gesture, made by touching together the thumb and index finger in a circle while extending the other three fingers can be used to mean okay. In some parts of Europe, however, the same signal is used to imply you are nothing. In some South American countries, the symbol is actually a vulgar gesture.
  32. The V sign, created by lifting the index and middle finger and separating them to create a V-shape, means peace or victory in some countries. In the United Kingdom and Australia, the symbol takes on an offensive meaning when the back of the hand is facing outward.
  33. Tilted heads mean that they are confused or challenging you, depending on their eye, eyebrow, and mouth gestures. Think of how a dog slightly tilts its head when you make a funny noise.
  34. When a person is sitting, feet crossed at the ankles, this means they're generally at ease.
  35. When a person looks directly into your eyes when having a conversion, it indicates that they are interested and paying attention. However, prolonged eye contact can feel threatening. On the other hand, breaking eye contact and frequently looking away may indicate that the person is distracted, uncomfortable, or trying to conceal his or her real feelings.
  36. When a person who wears glasses is constantly pushing them up onto their nose again with a slight frown, this may indicate they disagree with what you are saying. 
  37. When people want to hide an emotional reaction, they might cover their mouths in order to avoid displaying a smile or smirk. 
  38. When someone rests their arms behind their neck or head, they are open to what is being discussed or just laid back in general.
  39. When we meet someone for the first time, their body language, on conscious and unconscious levels, largely determines our initial impression of them. In turn, when someone meets us for the first time, they form their initial impression of us largely from our body language and non-verbal signals. 
  40. While standing, if a person seems to always keep their feet very close together, it probably means they are trying to be "proper" in some way. Sometimes feet together means that they are feeling more submissive or passive.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA


COMMENTS:

Anonymous said... I'm 27 and feeling very frustrated about Love i have had one Girlfriend but still find myself in doubt about Love. Yet I feel something telling me I will love again. I find myself also very out of place, and wondering why I compare myself to a few college friends a few years younger than me who are engaged. Sure their relationships aren't easy I know that but I don't wanna spend the rest of my life alone. I already dealt with that pain of loneliness which is what I hated going through as a child. Personally I also have a hard time asking people for help cause when I was younger during my late teens in high school I was going through an extremely stressful time and whenever I would ask for help from someone I knew they would always say "I'm too busy to hear your problems".  Lastly i'm still trying to get over suppressing my emotions in general. the area I live in doesn't have many people with Asperger's Syndrome and there's only one other person 4 years younger than me with Asperger's and she's far more happier.

Anonymous said... I take too much time to understand what people want and this time is enough to make me feel that the relationship is lost forever. When I was a teenager I thought it was only a phase, but in the last years I was getting tired of it and trying to live only by myself, believing that it was the only way I could live. But Just a few days ago I became aware of asperger and I suffered a lot thinking on how much harm I may have done to people and frustrated of not knowing of asperger before. However I feel as if a new door was open to me and I am trying to understand it better.

Anonymous said... I am 30 years old and I've ever thought that my problems should disappear with time. I am married and a few days ago my wife told me I looked like an autist and I started to remember that many colleagues and friends have told me the same when I was a teenager and I thought they were kiding. After that I started to read about asperger and I feel that I am an asperger, but I don't know what to do. I am reading a lot about it now and it looks like my way of dealing with my asperger was creating a crust to pretend I am normal and believing I will find my way somehow. Now I don't know exactaly what to do, most because I have created a social face that looks very self-centred and it is very difficult to find someone to talk about that. I've have learned how to stabblish casual conversations with people, but I never know how to go further. I suffer a lot and now I am experiencing a sort of relief by knowing what my problem is. If someone want to chat, please contact me here, since I can't find anybody like me around right now and those with who I could talk about that are not near and I have difficulties on reestablishing those relations. 

Anonymous said... I know about smiles and frowns, but the rest just seems like too much. Even if I memorize it, I won't remember it while it's happening. Plus there is so much that involves eye contact. How can I know what they are thinking and feeling when I can't even look at their eyes??

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Double Trouble ==> ASD plus ADD: 50 Tips for Adults on the Autism Spectrum


If you have ASD level 1 (high functioning autism) and ADD, everything from paying the bills on time to keeping up with family and work can be super stressful. Your symptoms may lead to trouble making deadlines, extreme procrastination, impulsive behavior - and even heated arguments with your spouse/partner.

You may feel that family and friends don’t understand how difficult you have it. Luckily, there are strategies you can learn to help get your symptoms of ASD and ADD under control. You can develop techniques that help you work more efficiently, improve your daily habits, increase organization, interact better with others, and learn to recognize and use your strengths. Change won’t happen in one day, though.



The following self-help techniques require practice, patience, and a positive attitude:

  1. After someone gives verbal instructions, say them aloud to be sure you got it right.
  2. All those great concepts that keep popping into your head – jot them down on paper for later consideration. 
  3. Allot yourself limited amounts of time for each task and use a timer or alarm to alert you when your time is up. For longer tasks, consider setting an alarm to go off at regular intervals to keep you productive and aware of how much time is going by.
  4. Ask yourself what is the most important task you need to accomplish, and then order your other tasks after that one. 
  5. Ask yourself what you need on a daily basis, and find storage bins or closets for things you don’t. Designate specific areas for things like keys, bills, and other items that can be easily misplaced. Throw away things you don’t need. 
  6. Avoid caffeine late in the day.
  7. Avoid getting sidetracked by sticking to your schedule, using a timer to enforce it if necessary.
  8. Avoid sugar as much as possible.
  9. Break down large projects or tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
  10. Choose something vigorous and fun that you can stick with, like a team sport or working out with a friend.
  11. Color-coding can be very useful to people with ASD and ADD. Manage forgetfulness by writing everything down. 
  12. Create a predictable and quiet “bedtime” routine.
  13. Cut up all but one credit card. When you shop, make a list of what you need and stick to it.
  14. Eat fewer carbohydrates, while increasing your protein intake.
  15. Eat small meals throughout day.
  16. Effective use of a day planner or a calendar on your smartphone or computer can help you remember appointments and deadlines. With electronic calendars, you can also set up automatic reminders so scheduled events don’t slip your mind. 
  17. Exercise by lifting weights several times a week.
  18. Exercise in the form of cardio is great, too – but not within an hour of bedtime.
  19. Face your desk towards a wall and keep your workplace free of clutter. To discourage interruptions, you could even hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign. If possible, let voicemail pick up your phone calls and return them later. If noise distracts you, consider noise-canceling headphones or a sound machine.
  20. Free services (e.g., Mint and Manilla) can help you keep track of your finances and accounts. Both services take some time to set up, but once you’ve linked your accounts they automatically update. Manilla consolidates your statements and bills from all of your accounts into one place. Mint tracks all of your bank account and credit card transactions, and also offers budgeting and other financial analysis tools. 
  21. Health professionals can help you manage symptoms of ASD and ADD, but they can only do so much. You’re the one living with the problems, so you’re the one who can make the most difference in overcoming them. 
  22. If you don’t have your own office, you may be able to take your work to an empty office or conference room. If you are in a lecture hall or conference, try sitting close to the speaker and away from people who chat mid-meeting. 
  23. If you prefer not to set up automatic payments, you can still make the process of bill paying easier with electronic reminders. You may be able to set up text or email reminders through online banking or you can schedule them in your calendar app. 
  24. If you're attending a meeting, lecture, workshop, or another gathering that requires close attention, ask for an advance copy of the relevant materials (e.g., a meeting agenda or lecture outline). At the meeting, use the written notes to guide your active listening and note taking. Writing as you listen will help you stay focused on the speaker’s words. 
  25. Impulsiveness can lead men and women with ASD and ADD to agree to too many projects at work or make too many social engagements. However, a packed schedule can leave you feeling overwhelmed and affect the quality of your work. Turning things down may improve your ability to accomplish tasks, keep social dates, and live a healthier lifestyle. Check your schedule first before committing to something new.
  26. Increase stress relief by walking outdoors—people with ASD and ADD often benefit from sunshine and green surroundings.
  27. Make use of lists and notes to keep track of regularly scheduled tasks, projects, deadlines, and appointments. If you decide to use a daily planner, keep all lists and notes inside it. You also have many options for use on your smartphone or computer. Search for “to do” apps or task managers.
  28. Men and women with ASD and ADD are notoriously bad at estimating how long it will take to do something. For every thirty minutes of time you think it will take you to get someplace or complete a task, give yourself a cushion by adding ten minutes. 
  29. Minimize the amount of paper you have to deal with. Request electronic statements and bills instead of paper copies. You can also reduce junk mail by opting out of the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service.
  30. Money management requires budgeting, planning, and organization. However, most common systems of money management don’t tend to work for people with ASD and ADD because they require too much time, too much paper, and too much attention to detail. But if you create your own system that is both simple and consistent, you can get on top of your finances and put a stop to overspending, overdue bills, and penalties for missed deadlines.
  31. More important tasks should be done first. Set deadlines for everything, even if they are self-imposed. 
  32. Relaxation exercise (e.g., meditation, yoga, tai chi) can teach you to better control your attention and impulses.
  33. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes a day to clear your desk and organize your paperwork. Experiment with storing things inside your desk or in bins so that they don’t clutter your workspace as unnecessary distractions. 
  34. Set aside a few minutes each day to deal with the mail, preferably as soon as you bring it inside. It helps to have a designated spot where you can sort the mail and either trash it, file it, or act on it.
  35. Shop with cash only—leave your checkbook and credit cards at home.
  36. Signing up for online banking can turn the hit-or-miss process of balancing your budget into a thing of the past. Your online account will list all deposits and payments, tracking your balance automatically, to the penny, every day. You can also set up automatic payments for your regular monthly bills and log on as needed to pay irregular and occasional ones. The best part: no misplaced envelopes or late fees.
  37. Stay away from places where you’re likely to spend too much money.
  38. Stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule, even on weekends.
  39. Take a hot shower or bath just before bed.
  40. The effects of ASD and ADD may have led to you and others labeling you this way, but the truth is that you are not unmotivated or unintelligent—you have a disorder that gets in the way of certain normal functions. In fact, men and women with AS and ADD often have to find very smart ways to compensate for their disorder. 
  41. The hallmark traits of ADD—inattention and distractibility—make organization perhaps the biggest challenge men and women with the disorder face. If you have ASD and ADD, the prospect of getting organized, whether it be at work or home, may leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, you can learn to break tasks down into smaller steps and follow a systematic approach to organization. By implementing various structures and routines, and taking advantage of tools (e.g., daily planners and reminders), you can maintain organization and control clutter.
  42. Throw away catalogs as they arrive.
  43. To prevent restlessness and fidgeting, go ahead and move around—at the appropriate times in the right places. As long as you are not disturbing others, taking a walk or even jumping up and down during a meeting break, for example, can help you pay attention later on.
  44. Use a calculator to keep a running total when shopping (hint: there’s one on your cell phone).
  45. Use a wristwatch or highly visible wall or desk clock to help you keep track of time. When you start a task, make a note of the time by saying it out loud or writing it down.
  46. Use dividers or separate file folders for different types of documents (e.g., medical records, receipts, income statements, etc.). Label and color-code your files so that you can find what you need quickly.
  47. While it is true that there is no cure for ASD or ADD, there is a lot you can do to reduce the problems it causes. Once you become accustomed to using strategies to help yourself, you may find that managing your symptoms becomes second nature.
  48. While medication can help some people manage the symptoms ASD and ADD, it is not a cure, nor the only solution. If used at all, it should be taken alongside other treatments or self-help strategies.
  49. Write down appointments for fifteen minutes earlier than they really are. Set up reminders to ensure you leave on time and make sure you have everything you need ahead of time so you’re not frantically looking for your keys or phone when it’s time to go.
  50. You can avoid forgetfulness, clutter, and procrastination by filing papers, cleaning up messes, or returning phone calls immediately, not sometime in the future. If a task can be done in two minutes or less, do it on the spot, rather than putting it off for later.

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



COMMENTS:

•    I have both ASD and ADD. This list is very helpful. I will do my best to implement it. Thank you!
•    I feel like I just found the Holy Grail! AS and ADD...that's me. Thank you SO much for this list...I'm an unorganized mess.
•    I think I intuitively worked all this out already eg: setting reminders early and completing tasks as soon as they are delegated to me. The internet has made everything better. going onto your bank account and being able to see the joining accounts all on one page and even have reminders sent of your bills from your bank and of your bank balances! I have definitely changed since I was a young mum. If only I had the skills I have now back then! Oh well :)

Post your comment below…

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. 
 
Please post your comment below…


Help for Sleep-Deprived Adults with Asperger's and HFA

“I am a 29 year old male with asperger syndrome. I have had trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep most of my life. It’s gotten to the point now where it is affecting my work and my marriage. Any help here is greatly appreciated. Thanks!”

Sleep difficulties are very common in people with Asperger's and High Functioning Autism. If sleep problems are a regular occurrence and interfere with your daily life, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders cause more than just sleepiness. The lack of quality sleep can have a negative impact on your energy, emotional balance, and health.

Here are some ideas that can help:

1. Avoid evening alcohol consumption. A few hours after drinking, alcohol levels in your blood start to drop, which signals your body to wake up. It takes an average person about an hour to metabolize one drink, so if you have two glasses of wine with dinner, finish your last sip at least 2 hours before bed.

2. Certain smells, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you sleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.

3. Check your meds. Beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure) may cause insomnia …so can SSRIs (a class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Zoloft). Write down every drug and supplement you take, and have your doctor evaluate how they may be affecting your sleep.

4. Deep breathing helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, releases endorphins, and relaxes your body, priming you for sleep. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3, then exhale to a count of 5. Start with 8 repetitions; gradually increase to 15.

5. Don’t sleep with your pet. Cats can be active in the late-night and early morning hours, and dogs may scratch, sniff, and snore you awake. More than half of people who sleep with their pets say the animals disturb their sleep. On the other hand, if your pet is a sound sleeper and snuggling with him is comforting and soothing, let him stay put.

6. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady so you rest better. Also, exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or going outside right after you wake up.

7. If you fall awake but can't fall back to sleep within fifteen minutes, get out of bed. If lying in bed pushes your stress buttons, get up and do something quiet and relaxing (in dim light), such as gentle yoga or massaging your feet until you feel sleepy again.

8. If you're a stomach sleeper, consider using either no pillow or a very flat one to help keep your neck and spine straight.

9. Light is a powerful signal to your brain to be awake. Even the glow from your laptop, iPad, smart phone, or any other electronics on your nightstand may pass through your closed eyelids and retinas into your hypothalamus—the part of your brain that controls sleep. This delays your brain's release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Thus, the darker your room is, the more soundly you'll sleep.

10. Load a familiar audiobook on your iPod at bedtime—one that you know well, so it doesn't engage you but distracts your attention until you drift off to sleep. Relaxing music works well, too.

11. No coffee, tea or cola after 3:00 PM. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 8 hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it'll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether.

12. Position your pillow correctly. The perfect prop for your head will keep your spine and neck in a straight line to avoid tension or cramps that can prevent you from falling asleep. If your neck is flexed back or raised, get a pillow that lets you sleep in a better-aligned position.

13. Set your bedroom thermostat between 65° and 70°F, but pay attention to how you actually feel under the covers. Slipping between cool sheets helps trigger a drop in your body temperature. That shift signals the body to produce melatonin, which induces sleep.

14. Sleep is not an on-off switch. It's more like slowly easing your foot off the gas. So give your body time to transition from your active day to bedtime drowsiness by setting a timer for an hour before bed and dividing up the time as follows: (a) first 20 minutes: prep for tomorrow (e.g., pack your bag, set out your clothes); (b) next 20: take care of personal hygiene (e.g., brush your teeth); and (c) last 20: relax in bed, reading with a small, low-wattage book light or practicing deep breathing.

15. Sound machines designed to help you sleep produce a low-level soothing noise. These can help you tune out barking dogs, the TV downstairs, or any other disturbances so you can fall asleep and stay asleep.

16. Take a warm bath or hot shower before going to bed. Both temporarily raise your body temperature, after which it gradually lowers in the cooler air, cueing your body to feel sleepy.

17. The ideal nighttime snack combines carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan—studies show that both of these combos boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm. Enjoy your snack about an hour before bedtime so that the amino acids have time to reach your brain (e.g., a piece of whole grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or turkey, a banana with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, some whole grain cereal and fat-free milk, or some fruit and low-fat yogurt).

18. The number one sleep complaint I hear from adults with Asperger’s is ‘I can't turn off my mind’. To quiet that wakeful worrying, every night jot down your top concern. Then write down the steps you can take to solve the problem. Once your concerns are converted into some kind of action plan, you'll rest easier.

19. To help you understand how your habits affect your rest, track your sleep every day for at least 2 weeks. Write down not only what's obviously sleep related (e.g., what time you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you wake up during the night, how you feel in the morning, etc.), but also factors like what you ate close to bedtime and what exercise you got. Comparing your daily activities with your nightly sleep patterns can show you where you need to make changes.

20. Try to quit smoking if you smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant, so it prevents you from falling asleep. Plus, many smokers experience withdrawal pangs at night. Smokers are 4 times more likely not to feel as well rested after a night's sleep than nonsmokers, studies show, and smoking exacerbates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, which can also stop you from getting a good night's rest.

21. Working out—especially cardio—improves the length and quality of your sleep. 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for about 4 hours, inhibiting sleep. When your body begins to cool down, however, it signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, so then you'll get drowsy. Don’t exercise right before bedtime though.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

  • Jen... This issue has gotten worse for me as I got older. I fall asleep easily usually, as I am hypersomnolent. However, I have trouble staying asleep. I eventually started taking trazadone. It helps keep me asleep. Not perfectly, but it does help a lot. I also go to bed earlier, so all of the sleep added together is sufficient. There are heart watches that have sleep tracking also. It might be helpful to monitor how well you are doing with different approaches. Good luck! Jen
  • Kirsty... My son has Aspergers and PLM and RL. He has never slept normally although went from waking up 16 times a night to waking up 5 times a night and now only partially wakes 5 times during the night. I just found out that he has to share a room with 10 other boys for school camp. It is upsetting to realise that this is going to be an issue for him forever. Thanks for the tips. I guess he will never sleep in Youth Hostels when he gets older.
  • Kallya... Ok I will literally start awake for hours on end thinking of thing like, how would I survive in thrown back 20000 years in time. So yeah the i can't sleep so now my mind is running in weird circles, so I can't sleep cycle. Meditation seems to only make it worse. But something that does seem to help is an app call "mysleepbutton" stupid easy thing. It says some random word. You focus and picture to word in as much detail but before your brain takes off on some weird tangent the app says another unrelated random word and refocus on that word. I find with in 15 minutes in will fall asleep. And it works just as well if i wake up in the middle of the night.

Brad's Success Story: Tips for Aspies Who Can't Find a Job

Hey guys. My name is Brad. As a young man with Asperger’s, I was down and hard on myself for not being able to find a job …and in those rare cases where I actually did find a job – I didn’t keep it for very long (for reasons that I won’t go into here).

I kept on thinking, what the hell is wrong with me? I graduated almost near the top of my class! I volunteer! I (think) my resume and cover letter is O.K.! Then one day, I decided to contact a job coach for guidance. That man turned my life around. Here’s what I learned and what helped me find a “good” job (and yes, I’m still working there today):



As I was being coached, I constantly reminded myself of my prior accomplishments, skills and positive traits. I kept them in the front of my mind. My "failure to land a job" is NOT ME! It’s just a temporary setback. Everyone faces a setback at one time or another. That's a fact of life.

I contacted my local and state employment office, as well as my college career center for resources and leads. (Hot tip: Most job openings are not listed in the newspaper help-wanted section.)

Next, I forced myself to get out and about. I discovered that the most direct way to learn about job openings is to contact employers themselves. I targeted an area downtown, dressed the part, and stopped in at every appropriate business establishment, including employment agencies, to fill out an application.

I finally found a part-time, temporary job, which wasn’t something I wanted to do for very long, but at least it was a start. I reminded myself that ANY job that helps pay the bills deserves respect. But I didn’t stop looking for other opportunities.

During my spare time, instead of sitting around moping that I didn’t have a permanent job and wasn’t working full-time, I did some volunteer work.  

(Hot tip: Helping people in need is very satisfying and rewarding in itself, but helping those who are in a situation that's worse than yours can help put your own situation in a better light.)

Also, I discovered that, as with dating, "weak" personal connections are the best way to find a new job because they can expand your network beyond options you were already aware of. I wasn’t afraid to ask the friend of a friend or another slightly removed acquaintance for recommendations during my job search.

I also made sure that – as often as possible – I surrounded myself with people who tended to be positive and upbeat, not negative and downcast. 

(Hot tip: Network with like-minded people who are in similar shoes – online or offline (in my case, other people with Asperger’s). You will immediately see that you are not alone, and this can help put things in perspective. It also puts your self-esteem back on track.)

During the job search process, I made an ongoing effort to “spread the word.” I told everyone I knew and meet that I was looking for a job. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of opportunities I discovered this way.  

(Hot tip: Remember that you are not alone. The hiring personnel are not singling you out. Thousands are in the same situation, which is why it is taking longer than ever before in securing a job of choice.)

Thanks to my job coach, I found out that the best companies to work for tend to rely heavily on employee referrals. I made a list of all of my friends, relatives and acquaintances. I contacted them one by one and asked them if they knew of any openings for which they could recommend me.  

(Hot tip: Don't be too humble or apologetic when you do this. Tell them what you're looking for, but let them know you're flexible and open to suggestions. This is not the time to be picky about jobs. A connection can get your foot in the door, and you can negotiate pay or switch positions once you've gained experience and established your reputation.)

Then I finally found my dream job! You want to know where? At home! That’s right, I created my own home-based business. I’ve always had an intense interest in woodworking (ever since 8th grade shop class). So I started my woodworking business with no capital, a few shop tools, and lots of nerve in a 10 foot by 20 foot space in my garage. The kicker is, I was NO "expert" woodworker at the time – far from it (I pretty much am now though). Really, the hardest part was understanding how to turn a hobby into a real business that made money (I sell my crafts on Ebay). 

(Hot tip: The best type of jobs that you can do are the ones you do out of your home that you develop yourself. If you create a job to operate from your home, then you control what happens. When you are the boss, you can't get fired or laid off. You may lose clients or suffer from some business lows, but you can't lose your job.)

So, you may not be lucky enough to find a job coach like me. That’s why I wanted to share my story with you guys. I hope it inspires you to keep your chin up and find a job that you can enjoy the rest of your life. Not all people with Asperger’s have a miserable life – far from it!

Good luck,

Brad

P.S. Thanks to www.AdultAspergersChat.com for letting me post this!

Life-Coaching Online for Adults with Asperger's and HFA

Counseling for Adults on the Autism Spectrum: Live Q & A for Members of "Life-Coaching Online" with Mark Hutten, M.A.

How To Deal With An Angry Asperger's Husband

"My Asperger’s husband (Robby) has an awful temper, but blames me for causing it. What can I do to avoid triggering him? Is there anything I can do to take the steam out of his temper if he won’t work on it?"

Temper gets a particular hold on men with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism, because of the tendency for emotional flooding to occur. Here are a few ideas for you to try with your husband (in no particular order):
  1. When Robby is “going-off,” you can calmly say something like, “I’m going to read for a while” …or “I’m going to the store to pick up some milk.” Tell him you’ll be back in a little while.
  2. Never try to deal with a temper when it is active. When all is calm, try to help Robby identify the feeling underlying the anger (e.g., fear, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, etc.). Help him find the words to express that feeling (e.g., “I feel helpless in this situation” …or “I felt frustrated by your comment” …or “I feel put down by you”). Allow him to be brutally honest here. It may be hard at first, but pays off once he has learned to do it. He can start by making the statements to himself if it’s too difficult to do so with you initially. Know, however, that Robby needs to take responsibility for his display of temper in the end. It’s his job – not yours.
  3. Most men with hot tempers will display just as much temper as they can get away with. So, if you don’t like the temper outbursts, tell Robby you are simply unwilling to put up with them. Tell him what will happen when he allows his temper to get out of control (e.g., “When you scream at me, I’m going to leave the house. I’ll come back home when you can speak to me in a normal voice.”). Then you must be willing to follow through.
  4. Do not reinforce Robby’s temper. When he blasts off, do not argue. The most you want to say is, “I’ll talk with you when you’ve calmed down.” (Note: You may need to wait until he is calm to say this.)
  5. Be patient with Robby as he tries to figure out what to do with your new plan. Since you are going to be "responding" to his temper using the ideas above (rather than reacting to – or participating in – the tantrum), he will be forced to come up with a different coping strategy, one that doesn’t involve you being on the receiving end of his rant-and-rave technique.



You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can break Robby’s temper cycle by following these steps. It doesn’t have to be a long, trying process. Once he (a) learns that you will not take part in his tantrums (since you are going to make yourself absent during that time) and (b) sees that you are taking an active role in helping him to uncover the “real” feelings that are going on underneath the fa├žade of anger, he may decide that his temper is his temper.

In other words, he's the one choosing to have a temper ...he's doing it to himself rather than someone else doing it to him ...he's in charge rather than being a victim of uncontrollable external circumstances.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


Best Comments:

  • Julie said... If my husband is angry he almost alway screams, cusses, names calls and will not stop talking to me. I have suggested let's take a break to cool down, leave the room, or do something else. He will get more angry that I even suggested it and say I'm not leaving until I fix( fill in the blank) problem. many years of arguing back and other non affective things. I've prayed to God my Lord and savior Jesus about how to handle these things and I would be praying for him during the fight and for myself. I will not say anything unless he demands it. He wants me to admit whatever I did wrong and to fix it. If I humble myself, not lash out, speak kindly and admit fault. (I can't say I didn't mean to do it that will make him angrier.) If I do the things I just mentioned correctly and calming the fight will probably last 30 minutes to out a hour. If I argue back, get defensive, shift blame EVEN IF IT'S TRUE! The argument will and can go on for hours! We have three small children and I don't want them to see us fighting and him belittling me and calling me names when he is angry. Praying to God for wisdom and in this situation is the ONLY WAY any of its got ebetter. If the fight is not my fault and I know it's not my fault I have to find a way to make a sincere apology in any way I affended him and this will help calm him. There is not rashalizing with him when he is angry. It talks everything in me to pray and stay calm and repent to him what I've done to affend him with. But I do see the fruit of it. I can't convict him off his sin only God can and I do see changes in him. He does not get as angry as he used to and he has realized what had caused him to be angry. ( he does not like to scream and yell and shows remorse after the fact when he has calmed down .) By the way we just recently found out he has AS a few weeks ago and we been married over 6 1/ 2 years. I found this site yesterday and it's been helping me to understand my husband so much better. thanks for all the helpful information.

  • Stacy said...  If he can't process or understand his emotions as an AS, he seeks comfort by using his defense mechanisms to gain clarity, seek reassurance, and Ultimately he will use and hold you accountable for how he feels. This is his disorder, his confusion, and only he can choose to accept it, learn about it, process it, and become accountable for his inability to adapt in this world. Becoming offended by what you say or do, needing your admission, and refusing to step away from conflict, guarantees hes unsure of his own emotions and guilty feelings. Leave him to sulk and reflect on what it is that makes him angry. Don't conform to his inner world and way of adapting. Admit to him your wrong doing, and apologize for it. Dont be responsible for how he feels. He chooses to become irate and be verbally abusive when its he that is offended in someway....allow him to decompress and talk while emotions arent high. His disorder does not excuse his behavior. Seek help or get out of that marriage.

The Downside of ASD for Men

A lot of men with ASD level 1 [“high functioning autism”] have never been diagnosed and are regarded as being eccentric, a little odd or loners. If you are in a relationship with a man on the autism spectrum, you have probably noticed many of the traits listed below.

Notice I said “traits” – not “character flaws.” We’re talking about symptoms that come with having the disorder.  And the affected person often has little - or no - control over most of these symptoms. This post is not designed to blame or ridicule men on the spectrum, and it should be noted that they do have more strengths than weaknesses (which we discuss a lot on this site). But for the purposes of this post, we will focus on some of the features associated with AS that can negatively impact romantic relationships.



Men with ASD often have some of the following traits, but they will vary in both number and level of severity from person to person:

1.    A special interest (e.g., coin collecting) is common in males with AS, and this may be something they have pursued for years. They will be passionate about it and often have an extensive collection of related items as well as incredible knowledge on the subject.

2.    Although AS males are often highly intelligent, they may have held down a menial job or drifted from job to job for years. This stems from their problems with social skills and communication.

3.    An AS man may have a pet (often a dog) that he becomes quite attached to. The pet is a friend that does not place demands on the man and accepts him as he is. 

4.    AS males may seem set in their ways and can appear to be selfish or insensitive. They may speak without weighing how their words will affect others.

5.    AS men have been known to pass blame onto other people. In an effort to save face and protect their fragile self-esteem, these males may blame others for things that they should take responsibility for themselves.

6.    Hot temperedness is not uncommon. AS men have been known to explode over relatively minor things (e.g., a burnt meal, a missing book, etc.). Frustration is another trigger for hot tempers. However, the man may feel that he is a “bad” person to behave in such a way, yet feels powerless to change.

7.    In a romantic relationship, the AS man may resist physical touch and public or private displays of affection.

8.    Job interviews often pose a problem since the AS man has impaired social skills and may not respond appropriately, or may misread the interviewer’s body language.

9.    Males with AS have normally spent decades learning how to get by in life.

10.    Males with AS often have a reputation for being cranky and difficult. People around them assume that they are simply ill-tempered or prefer their own company. 
 
==> Living with an Aspergers Partner: Help for Struggling Couples

11.    Many AS males often desire friends, but may also be considered loners. Typically they have a much lower capacity for social interaction than a “typical” man.

12.    Many AS men have learned to lie to help them cope with life. For example, instead of admitting they are overwhelmed by noise, tired of being around people, or simply want to go and work on a favored interest, they may lie and say they feel sick or they have an appointment they need to get to.

13.    Many males with AS do marry, but unless both partners are willing to work on problem areas, the relationship may not last.

14.    Many males with AS fit into the stereotype of “geek.”

15.    Most AS males are not good at making small talk. They can focus on a subject that interests them and talk endlessly about it, but they may not fully understand the give-and-take of a shared conversation.

16.    Most males with AS can find employment and are generally reliable workers. However, even if they have the same qualifications as “typical” males, they may not find a job as easily due to a deficit in social skills.

17.    Sensory difficulties may mean that the AS man does not like seams in clothing or labels in shirts. Hearing may also be affected, and he may dislike loud noises and certain music. Also, crowds may be overwhelming, and he may avoid them all together.

18.    Sexual issues may arise if the AS male has not received an appropriate sex education earlier in life. In some cases, he may have learned about sex through watching porn on the Internet. This can be extremely disconcerting if he tries to act-out similar scenes with his partner/spouse.

19.    Social activity may be limited, and the AS man’s wife often forms her own friendships and socializes while her husband stays at home.

20.    Some AS males end up living a secluded life style and become known as a “hermit” or a “recluse.” They seem to cope better by being isolated, and feel less anxious than when they are confronted daily by the difficulties of interpersonal relationships.
 
==> Group for ASD Men Struggling in Their Relationship with an NT Spouse

21.    Some AS males prefer to have a confirmed diagnosis, while others would rather carry on with life as they have in the past. Still others refuse to accept the possibility that they may have AS – and are offended when the issue is raised.

22.    Some males with AS may have become defensive as years have passed and are difficult to confront or reason with. This is often the result of bullying and exclusion by their peers when they were younger.

23.    Teamwork may pose a problem, and the AS man may function better if he is in a separate office without noise or distracting social interaction.

24.    When courting a lady, an AS man may come across as quiet and reserved. In marriage, these qualities may become a point of contention if his spouse/partner becomes frustrated by his lack of communication.
Additional traits in some AS men include the following:
  • Are often "in their own world"
  • Attention is narrowly focused on their own interests
  • Can be obsessive
  • Can be preoccupied with their own agenda 
  • Can be very critical of themselves and others
  • Can become quite defensive when others ask for clarification or a little sympathy
  • Can engage in tasks (sometimes mundane ones) for hours on end
  • Can obsess about having friends to prove they’re “normal”
  • Can often be distant physically and/or emotionally
  • Can spend hours in the library researching a special interest
  • Collect things 
  • Desire for friendships and social contact, but difficulty acquiring and maintaining them
  • Difficulty understanding others’ feelings 
  • Don't always recognize faces right away (even some family members)
  • Find emotions messy and uncomfortable
  • Great difficulty with small-talk and chatter   
  • Have an urge to inform that can result in being blunt or insulting 
  • Intense focus on one or two subjects 
  • Lack of empathy at times
  • Lack of interest in other people 
  • Likes and dislikes can be very rigid 
  • Limited interests
  • May be clumsy and have uncoordinated motor movements 
  • May find their partner’s “need to connect” to be smothering
  • May have a flat or blank expression much of the time 
  • May have a hard time saying “I love you” and showing physical affection
  • May have a strong need to withdraw and have solitude
  • May have an eccentric personality 
  • May have an idiosyncratic attachment to inanimate objects 
  • May have difficulty staying in college despite a high level of intelligence
  • May make few attempts to keep a friendship going
  • May shut down in social situations
  • Non-verbal communication problems (e.g., difficulty reading body language, facial expression and tone)
  • Often feel as if their partners are being ungrateful or “bitchy” when they complain (e.g., “you don’t really care about me” or “you never listen to me”)
  • Often takes things personally
  • Preoccupied with their own agenda 
  • Repetitive routines or rituals 
  • Rigid social behavior due to an inability to spontaneously adapt to variations in social situations
  • Sensitivity to the texture of foods 
  • Single-minded 
  • Speech and language peculiarities, or early in life may have had a speech impediment
  • Strong sensitivity to sound, touch, taste, sight, and smell 
  • Unusual preoccupations 
  • Use word repetition (i.e., may frequently repeat what you've just said)

In no way is the above information provided to discourage relationships with AS men. Again, these traits are part of the disorder. These men often do the best they can in relationships. But unfortunately, it is too often the case that the “neurotypical” (i.e., non-Asperger’s) wife/partner views these traits as “defects that could be corrected if the man would just try harder,” resulting in the wife/partner feeling depreciated, unloved and resentful (which is truly the downside of AS for men).



COMMENTS:   

•    Anonymous said… As a woman with AS who has been happily married for almost 30 years to a man with AS, the mother of a daughter and four sons who are all on the spectrum, the grandmother of little Spectrumites and as a fully human being with a complete range of emotions I would like to say that it is the mis-match between different neurologies that causes most of the problems. Oh, and I'm the daughter and grand-daughter of Spectrumites too. I have dropped my non-AS 'friends' over the years as I was unable to meet their expectations that I should change to be more like them. They never tried to understand me, yet expected ME to understand THEM! I have great Spectrum friends and we have fortnightly family get-togethers that are huge fun. Socializing with other Spectrumites is easy. We understand each other’s body language; eye-contact is not a problem nor is bluntness and honesty in conversation. We make allowances for each other's sensory difficulties and can tell if the other is uncomfortable, and why.
•    Anonymous said… Being married to someone with AS is so lonely. I feel that all my time is spent on how I can make things better for my husband to cope with life. Yet I am the one that has to handle everything and there is never someone there to help me. I agree about being fin/soc ind. For a long time I pushed aside my friends when it came to social outings since my husband always seemed so awkward at these events. I have started going to things by myself which may sound rude but at least I feel alive!!!! To have another adult to talk to is worth more than anything.
•    Anonymous said… Compliments are the hardest thing to give and to take. Call me an "Aspie" and any chance of me wanting to talk to you goes straight out the window. An asp (supposedly) killed Cleopatra. I am not an asp.
•    Anonymous said… Dear Mark, Thanks for such a quick response. I see that I am responsible for my own anger and resentment and criticism, and the response it has provoked in him. I feel terribly guilty about that. But I also see that he will never be someone who will hug me spontaneously, kiss my cheek when I am crying, grab my hand when we are walking, look me in the eyes and truly understand emotionally what I am going through. Not sure I can live with that in a husband, although I can love him as the wonderful father of my child that he is. Do you understand that? Very Sincerely, Marietta
•    Anonymous said… Dear Mr. Hutten, Thank you for your wonderful book. I wish I had read it about 15 years ago, before I married my husband in 2000. I believe my husband has Aspergers. I am a physician myself who has worked with many children with DD and have also been reading every book I could find on the subject since I realized Aspergers was likely the cause of my husband's odd behaviors. For a long time I thought it was his upbringing --with selfish, distant parents, or me, that he wasn't in love with me, or I was too emotional and needy. He doesn't like to make eye contact, unless it's an overly direct, almost aggressive stare, and pulls away quickly after a stiff hug. He is very intelligent in some ways, especially about mechanical and electrical things and political topics, and oddly off base about very basic aspects of pleasant human interaction. I have been driven into a rage more than I care to admit by his rudeness, and into despair, near suicidal, living with someone who has so little empathy. He absolutely refuses to accept he has Aspergers. He even took an online test where I felt he basically lied so that it would not come out as Aspergers. His parents are the same-weirdly rude and unemotional and isolated and very intelligent. Who knows-maybe Aspergers is the evolution of our species. But I am not there. For me, love and joy and art and music are more important than anything else. If I had parents or other family members or friends I could rely on for love and emotional support in my life, perhaps I could stand this marriage. But we have gotten to the point of no return. We have been to 3 different marriage counselors, I have been to counseling alone, and I have read dozens of books (he has read none as the only problem he sees is my dissatisfaction with him!) I have told him I am sure I want a divorce and his main concern, appropriately, is that he gets enough time with our 6 year old daughter. Inappropriately, he has suggested I sleep on the couch and let him come to the home for visits, have him continue to live here but in the basement room, and has had coffee to discuss the divorce with a divorced father with whom we are only distantly acquainted through our children in the same neighborhood. I know he is dependent on me for his social and family life, not to mention finances. I want to continue to have him as a friend, and will continue to help him. He is tall and attractive and self-confident so I expect he will find a new partner much sooner than will I. I also want to be happy, and especially to give my daughter a peaceful household. I am hoping you have some advice to get through a divorce and set up a healthy "after marriage" with your ex-Aspergers partner.
•    Anonymous said… Eight years of going through hell and back, you either sink or swim. Delphi forms AS Partners is a wonderfully supportive group of pro active women it is worth checking out. Good luck to you all.
•    Anonymous said… Have you seen a movie called "Mozart and the Whale" --- It's about finding love when you have asperger's.......very uplifting even to someone who doesn't because it made me see accepting each other in imperfect condition is such a wonderful sign of loving each other.
•    Anonymous said… I agree that living with an Asperger's person is not easy, but the marriage can be manageable and happy if the two talk about the challenges and work through them. It is only natural for a person with any difficulty to choose someone who complements them to be their partner. Reading this article gave me a very negative feeling about people with Asperger's Syndrome; but this is not accurate. Beneath all that "oddness" lays a very vulnerable person who is easily overwhelmed and overloaded. The "selfishness" is just a means of coping with that. The partner can be happy as long as he/she lower their expectations and look at the other half of the cup.
•    Anonymous said… I am a 40's male, and I guess I'm probably an Aspie. I've achieved well academically and financially in a narrowly focused scientific field. I agree with the AS lady that says that the partners who choose us do it for the safety of not having to let anyone very close. They may say they regret it later, but how do you not notice that someone is self-absorbed and emotionally distant? Give me a break. A while back, after having a high fever for a few days, I had delirium, and along with it some startling realizations about how my spouse must feel. For some reason (you explain it 'cause I can't) I understood that I could be more nurturing and tuned-in. I understood that I needed to notice her. It's not like I think it "cured" me or something, but I got a good glimpse at something more like typical. Here's the rub. When I try to learn about my NT wife and my NT parent, I repeatedly find that they won't talk about themselves, their feelings, or what's important to them. They are pleasantly evasive. They do not want me to become more emotionally available. They were comfortable with the idiot savant who went away and worked really hard on stuff they didn't understand. My wife has been touched by the deeply intimate, very personally focused love-making (that part of it all, she seems to like just fine). But now that I have understood the intimacy I've been missing, I'm seeing that she is resistant to me growing and healing. I'm breaking free from self-absorption - as much as I can in the life I have left. Now I understand that she never was emotionally available. I was just so focused on me that I never noticed. Maybe time will heal. Anyway, my overall impression of this whole Aspie/NT thing is this: I don't steal. I don't cheat. I don't lie. I am intellectually gifted and valued by those who can't focus for long enough to understand the things that are obvious to me. I use those talents to help humanity to the best of my ability. And now, I am aware of another dimension to the people with whom I interact. (It's not like I can't do it. Now that I know it's there, if I work at it and watch people more closely, I can pass. It's exhausting, but people no longer look at me like I'm an insect they've never seen before.) So, who is it exactly that has a problem? Can you imagine a bunch of aspies starting a war? systematically starving a population? perpetrating genocide? hiding a beneficial discovery? I don't think so. If you ask me, having a working knowledge of how this sick society functions is the illness. Am I wrong?
•    Anonymous said… I am a 45 year old AS man married to an NT woman for the past 17 years. We live in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada and have 2 teenage daughters. My wife and I self-diagnosed me almost a year ago. The initial suspicion entered my wife's mind when she first met my father (17 years after we first met) whom she suspected immediately to have AS. She ordered some books on-line in an effort to help me understand and resolve and some of my childhood issues growing up with him. However, I wasn't very far into the first book when I realized that it was describing our tumultuous relationship and the effect it has had on my wife which has been called "Cassandra's Syndrome". So in my case I didn't immediately associate myself as an AS man but definitely recognized the effects an AS man can have on his NT wife. From there is was not difficult for both of us to accept that I had AS - albeit not in many of the text book stereotypical ways used to characterize AS men and in a very different way than my father exhibits his AS. My wife started exhibiting physiological symptoms of Cassandra's Syndrome a couple years ago and it has gotten to the point where she is anxiety ridden and unable to handle traffic, crowds let along get on a plane to attend an AS workshop. Her inability to cope with everyday things has hampered our progress and is testimony of the problem our relationship brings to her. It has gotten to the point where she often concludes that change is impossible and that leaving me is the only solution to her well being - something I have been hearing for 17 years now but am finally starting to sympathize with. Luckily, we still love each other, are devoted to our children and have always been fully dependent on my self-employed income - typical reasons couples stay together. However, this doesn't seem to be enough anymore now that the initial elation of diagnosed AS is over and very little has changed in our marriage.
•    Anonymous said… I am a 50 year old Aspie woman. I have had to admit that I am emotionally unavailable. I find being in a couple difficult, and I am infatuated with another man who is also emotionally unavailable (and he infatuated with some lover he had years ago, long gone). So what I say is this: Emotionally unavailable people are drawn to one another. If you are with someone who cannot show you love and tenderness, then there is a reason within yourself for that. Easier to focus on the partner's inability to love than your own (I know this because I have done that myself). We choose each other. We have some need, some craving, for the pursuit of someone who can never truly be with us. All the focus goes on to "if only s/he'd change, I'd be happy". Not true. It's a bitter, repulsive fact that people like us love each other because of the guarantee of coldness and distance. I have come to believe this is all part of Asperger's, not lack of self esteem, childhood trauma etc (though being Aspie, we are rich in both those things). He can't love? Nor can you. Nor can I. I want to face this miserable, hurtful truth. I suspect some partners of Aspies are also on the spectrum, or have some other condition that draws you to us. There's no right, no wrong and (short of domestic violence) no victim and no villain. We can't love as we'd wish to love. What now? Accepting that is the first step, for me. Not that I know what comes after that.
•    Anonymous said… I am a 64 year old man who has lived a good life. I have recently become aware that I am most likely AS. I had few problems in my 31 year career at one company and was even able to complete my Masters Degree late in my life. My problem with this article is that it strongly suggests that the only way to learn is by going to a Professional Therapist. To do that seems like I will need a formal diagnosis and other sites I have looked at suggest that may not be the best route for me given my age and position in life. After the death of my first wife, I met and married a really nice woman. We had the typical AS courtship and after 4 years have discovered my AS issues t be a problem in the relationship. I love her very much and want to learn about how to live with this woman and provide for her emotional needs, but do not do well at remembering what I read or listen to with regards to dealing with my AS tendencies. So what is the suggested best course of action for me to follow.
•    Anonymous said… I am a non-aspergers male, married to a self diagnosed aspy female. We have been married for 14 1/2 years and I am really struggling. Struggling with the whole aspy thing as well as her reaction to my 16 year old son who came to live with us 1 1/2 years ago. Is there anyone out there like me? I'm sinking fast...
•    Anonymous said… I am dating someone with AS. I really care for him as a person and want to take things further. Any advice on how to proceed? Do I need to be the one to initiate things? Do I need to be more revealing in my feelings?
•    Anonymous said… I am married to a non-diagnosed Asperger Husband and we have a diagnosed Aspie son. My older brother shows classic signs of Aspergers – very socially inept and has difficulty holding down a job. He is currently unemployed and has been taken care of by my parents both have now passed away. He constantly blames the world for his problems – thinks the world is out to get him, when in reality, it seems he sabotages himself and makes downright stupid decisions. Recently, the state was going to pay for him to go to Truck Driving School and right before the class when my oldest brother sent him some money to live off of, he bought some pot and smoked a joint so he failed the drug test and got kicked out of the school. I think he self-medicates – he also has been diagnosed with Manic Depression and Bi-polar. Just this weekend, he decided to go camping with his dog and took my mother’s van on a back road and ended up rolling it and totaling it killing his dog. He is very upset about the dog as it was his only companion and friend. He is currently being seen by an Army Psychologist as he is a veteran. I would like to write his doctor and let him know of my suspicions and of the strong family history of Aspergers. Do you recommend I do this or do I just forget about it? We are fearful that my brother may one day take his own life or worse – become a mass shooter because he is ticked off at someone. If you have any suggestions, articles or resources we could use to help our brother, we would greatly appreciate it.
•    Anonymous said… I am separated from my husband/Partner of almost 15 years. I noticed quirky/bizarre behavior from the start of our relationship, but never gave AS a second thought until now. We went to marriage counseling, the therapist suggested I get a book regarding AS, OMG! Now I know why I've felt insecure for most of my marriage...I always initiated any intimacy. He's told me less than 10 times in 15 years that he loves me. We have 2 children; otherwise I would have left sooner. Now that I have moved out, I find myself reading more about AS. Part of me feels sorry for my husband, the other half feels relieved...I'm so exhausted, mentally and physically. I also noticed that every time I made a comment, his response had nothing to do with what I had just said...He has no emotions and it's frightening?? I would like to join a support group as well...Any ideas?
•    Anonymous said… I dated someone who had Aspergers syndrome and it led to me having a breakdown and suffering from severe depression. He denies to this day that he has done anything wrong and the problem is that the people around him have simply enabled his behavior. He is a high achieving professional but lacked the capacity to understanding that his actions and words were deeply damaging. If someone told me they had Aspergers now. I would run in the opposite direction.
•    Anonymous said… I don't know where we go from here. If he does have Asperger's, it could explain his infuriating behavior. But will that make it any easier to live with? Who knows? We have a long history. Deep down I know we love each other. But unless something changes I will lose my mind.
•    Anonymous said… I have "outgrown" aspergers, or at least symptoms have disappeared. The only social problems I have are a result of previous social individuality, plus all the other teenagers I know seem like idiots. So to answer your question, there are cases you can recover from aspergers, but it really depends on the will of the person.
•    Anonymous said… I have been divorced for a few years from my spouse, but, I do believe that he has Asperger's. Now so much of his personality and so much of what we went through in our marriage makes sense, like pieces of a puzzle coming together. Thank you for posting your article!
•    Anonymous said… I have been with my husband for almost 44 yrs and the last 15 have been the worst. I took a job I didn't want driving truck because I knew in my heart that he would never go it alone. As much as the AS person is a loner many times they work best with someone else by their side, and heaven knows I was an enabler the fist yrs of our marriage. We only know he has AS because our grandson, who is just like him was diagnosed 7 yrs ago. Thank God he has been able to get the social training he needs to help in adulthood. My husband just doesn't get or want to get the fact that he has caused me great sorrow and I am wondering after all these yrs if I can continue. I too know, it's not his fault but I also know it's not my fault and I don't want to end up not giving a da-n about the father of my children. God I need someone to vent to once in a while.
•    Anonymous said… I have suspected my husband of 40 years has Asperger's for the last year. I love him dearly and know he is a good person and has love in him. Even so, I feel isolated and totally exhausted from the continual effort at what often feels like a one sided relationship. No one believes me!
•    Anonymous said… I just want to share my experience and testimony here.. I was married for 6 years to my husband and all of a sudden, another woman came into the picture.. he started hailing me and he was abusive..but I still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost? then he filed for divorce..my whole life was turning apart and I didn't know what to do..he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids.. so someone told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster? so I decided to try it reluctantly..although I didn't believe in all those things? then when he did the special prayers and spell, after 2days, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn't believe it.. anyways we are back together now and we are happy..in case anyone needs this man, his email address prophetsalifu@gmail.com, his spells is for a better life. again his email is prophetsalifu@yahoo.com.
•    Anonymous said… I knew something was wrong for decades and only recently realized it is Asp. I am shocked but now things make sense. I feel like the only real adult in the marriage and do everything for him. He is VERY nice though and high functioning and well liked because he never argues with anybody. His main emotion is happy all the time, even during a crisis. It is totally exhausting and very sad for me. He does not get sad so he is okay all the time. We are in counseling, but even the counselor wants me to be positive. There are no support groups for Asp. wives around here either. Good luck to all of us.:)
•    Anonymous said… I recommend the support group "Aspergers and Other Half" which you can find at yahoogroups.com and there are many members on it that live in Australia.
•    Anonymous said… I seem to have "outgrown" certain traits myself but I'm still an Aspie. There are traits which I'll never be rid of. The bottom line is aspies mature just like NTs (maybe not the same way or at the same pace).
•    Anonymous said… I showed more moderate autism traites in elementary, only when I got older (8 years or so) did i imporve and kept going, b4 that, i was difficult to get through to, very odd, aloof. Im a fully functioning adult today, drive, go to work, and someday plan on supporting a family. I realize once on the spectrum always on the spectrum however.
•    Anonymous said… I split up unintentionally with my undiagnosed interstate partner 3.5 months ago. Despite me apologizing for my frustrated outburst to him...is aid I've noticed that you don't touch me except when you want sex.no response of course! The more he said nothing, the more I tried to get a reaction, as even after eight months, I still had had no signs to show me that he cared. All too familiar? He knows he is dyslexic, but I think has no idea he is Asperger. Mind you, I didn't know either! I was told that he was very shy. Last November, when his ex wife, who left him 3 years before,found out that he was dating me, did an attempted suicide and a rape allegation when she was 11. She drove him mad with text messages for six months, which made him understandably stressed. I became very wobbly and fearful that they may get back together, as I had fallen in love with him...for the first time in my life. I am 61 and have 25 year old twins who I have raised on my own since they were four. So you can glean that falling for this man was a momentous occasion for me! I have just phoned him, and told him I think we had a big misunderstanding, that I had no intention of splitting up with him, I apologized yet again for my outburst of frustration, and said I'd like to think that we could forgive each other. That everyone has misunderstandings,and you need to communicate.I said I would like to see him again...he said he wasn't sure and that he was still going through a difficult time of trying to organize himself and get things done. At no stage did he ask me how I was or say he was sorry too or that he missed me. He did keep lapsing into conversation about what was happening in his life and did not return to the talk we were having. I got off the phone and thought wow this is one hard nut to crack!! You said you may be able to help. Any suggestions? I am wondering if this is just way too hard to get myself back into...it sure makes me wonder what I am attracted to !! But like in your e book you say how boyish and honestly naive and loyal, intelligent and handsome...and he is all of that! Boy is this ever confusing...I find it so hard to know what to do. I would love your advice!
•    Anonymous said… I think that's great that you were able to become more in-tune with our wife. Give it a little time. I'm not sure how long you've been together, but your changes may not seem genuine yet. My husband wasn't at all self-absorbed and emotionally distant while dating and through our engagement. In fact, he couldn't have been more perfect - same dreams/goals, etc. He continues to be/act very social outside our home. The day after the wedding, I didn't recognize the man I married. It took 20 years to figure out what was going on. I'm so glad that there is more information about undiagnosed Aspies now. Hopefully more support for adults and their partners will follow soon. I commend you for the changes you're making. We NT wives all have very similar stories to tell. Though not intentionally done, your marriage has truly hurt/changed/damaged your wife. She will appreciate your efforts and will reciprocate when she feels a little more secure. And, yes, it is a sick society....and I love my Aspie. I just wish we knew about it. Not knowing caused a lot of hurt and confusion for both of us.
•    Anonymous said… I was pretty aspie as a kid and adolescent - although I had a few friends as a teenager I was still horrible at meeting new people, conversation and socialising. That changed dramatically during my 20s - around 23-28 I was very social, had close friends, went out partying, met new people. I guess the fact that I was at university at that time made it easier. I kept a lot of my traits, though, and needed a lot of time on my own to relax, but still I was able to live an almost normal social life with my peers. At a certain point I just had understood how to fit in.
•    Anonymous said… I would recommend the yahoo group Aspergers and Other Half. They are a great group of ladies married to AS. Some are trying to make it work, others are trying to make divorce work. They helped me gain a lot of clarity. However, I recommend anyone who joins to use a new and secret email and a pseudonym to protect yourself from husband cyber stalking and protect the security of the group, as this has been an issue.
•    Anonymous said… If Asperger's is neurological, it's really hard to say you can outgrow it. However, a lot can be dealt with through education. Example, learning about metaphors will help someone take things less literally when needed, as you learn to recognize common phrases. Not only that, but learning something like logic will help you infer when something is a metaphor and something is literal. If you know that you're not good at learning through lectures, you can tailor your education to suit your needs (I am treated like an idiot when someone demonstrates, but give me a manual and I'm fine, usually, depending on the quality of the instructions.) Sensory issues, etc, are probably more permanant, but your best bet is always education.
•    Anonymous said… In response to 12 maybe he likes big butts. A lot of guys do. I am not trying to be a perv here its just that not all straight men are into the hollywood standard of what is attractive in women. I have aspergers and I have gotten in trouble for telling women they are not skinny but I mean it as sort of a compliment because I don't consider skinny to be beautiful.
•    Anonymous said… It is true that I have "outgrown" more juvenile expressions of my AS. That is just a regular part of growing up that everyone goes through (e.g. NTs outgrow juvenile expressions of NTism). But as I engage in the adult social world with its expectations for employment, socializing, etc. I adapt in more contemporary ways. Truth be told, tho, I do indulge in some older behaviors when I am alone.
•    Anonymous said… living with my AH for 12 years now. At first didn't know why he's so aloof and emotional at the same time and it was really confusing. He can get really agrrasive when playing games (rule boy) and totally into any debates in the most defending manners...even when others lost their interest and he wouldn't read their 'signals'. I'm Chinese and he's English, I first thought it's cultural and language differences. Only by chance read something about ASD and got goosebums cause it's matching most of my husband's behaviour. I got to a stage where I have to 'explain' openly and bluntly to our daughter - on every 'odd' behaviour that he display just in case she thinks that is normal. Because I starting to notice she not using the eye contact and begins to ignore people. I'm feeling really exhuarsted and lonely :-(
•    Anonymous said… Me NT, him Aspie. We met 2 years ago. Good friends for 1.5 years. Roommates while platonic but it was getting intense. He moved out. Got all touchy, huggy, kissy then sexual + romantic increasingly over the spring and summer. He has said "I love you" and "I love you, too" to me about 200 times on chat, in person, in bed, via texts. We've slept together and had sex (he was a very sweet and generous giver of pleasure) at least 10 times and even traveled this summer together on vacation. When I tried to have the "relationship" conversation and discuss how to accept our friendship growing into being lovers, he told me could never be my lover or boyfriend, only my friend with benefits and then he stated he only said "I love you" or "I love you, too" or "xoxoxoxoxoxoxo" to me because it was socially acceptable and he doesn't even know what love is. He said he cared for me but only as a friend and he isn't willing to categorize. When I got emotional/upset about him LYING that he loved me and spending months saying false words, which added to my increasing affection and desire for him, he shut me out by blocking my emails, texts, and AOL chat. It's been weeks of hell for me.
•    Anonymous said… My AS husband had a diagnosis 3 years ago and now that we have this framework to understand his behavior we have been able to 'save our relationship'. Pre-diagnosis, it was often difficult for either of us to make sense of many of the things that he did. His diagnosis gave him a new way to understand himself and gave me the necessary information to try to support him with his challenges. We have also been able to begin to change our expectations of how our relationship can be successful. It was a very difficult time emotionally for us both but we found some support online - services for adults in the UK are very few and far between. Sharing helps - so a big "thanks" to Karen and your ex for being brave enough to tell your story to the public. Doing so might save many more marriages.
•    Anonymous said… My ex is an Asperger's man and so is our son. I could not deal with it but it was mostly because of my own personality. I am extremely outgoing and very much a people person. I thrive on volunteering, being with friends, etc. My ex did not and got upset if I wasn't at home with him. I am also highly kinesthetic (I process through my feelings and emotions more than through visual or audio clues). Many Asperger's tend to 'lack affect'--not show emotions very well and tend to not be as affectionate. I am the opposite so on the whole we were just a bad match. Everyone is different however. Some 'normal' (heck who is really normal? I mean non-asperger's people here) people are naturally not so outgoing or strong people-persons. Some tend to not be as emotional. Some don't like as much affection. There are plenty of those out there who CAN deal with the aspects of asperger's. I think it is also easier if you are a woman. It has been said that Asperger's is like being overly male. That on a spectrum men tend to be a little further away from social, etc. than women and that asperger's syndrome people tend to take that a step farther. So the average man is sort of a bit closer to the asperger part of the spectrum than the average woman--making it a bit easier for a asperger woman to find a man than an asperger man find a women. The thing is, humans are all over the spectrum in every trait. There probably is someone out there for everyone--probably several someones to be honest. It may be a bit harder if someone is farther towards one end of the spectrum or the other, but it is quite possible.
•    Anonymous said… My husband definitely is Aspie. He has a lot to learn in the social department. Luckily, he likes to be physical and that is a plus for our marriage (i actually told him I can't marry him unless we have sex at least 3x's a week ;o) haha Yes, I'm a woman! LOL He is not very romantic but he has allowed me to open some doors and travel places I don't think he would have without me. He has been more flexible and so I believe the balance has helped him. I insist on Intimacy. Luckily, this is not uncomfortable with him. The biggest problem is him being a work horse and "shutting him down" almost like a computer FROM the computer and him learning to "realize" that it's "too much" He needs to check in to Life, the kids, me Things he once felt was important (and still does) I guess it's the transition. I don't like the emotional detachment (like i feel he could have sex with someone else and it wouldn't be a BIG deal) and so yes, I feel he would be more likely to "wander" but he does know the difference right/wrong and hopefully he will keep to his vows/promises. I know he loves me and the kids. He's just a bit "impulsive" and so that sometimes makes me worried that it will ruin our marriage. We've been married for 10 happy years though and I feel we both compliment each other, though I'm not on the Spectrum. I love that he's a very logical thinker and he is more involved with the kids activities than most men. He also is not into sports so that frees up some time for the family. I love my Aspie husband and I like that he sees/knows he has weaknesses (isn't arrogant) and knows he has much more strengths.
•    Anonymous said… My husband DOES have aspergers (and ADHD), as did his father and uncle. It is stressful and I am exhausted. The groups I've tried to join basically say the same thing: Be positive, accept him, it's not his fault. I'm not a good wife for not "enduring". I understand that. I really do-but I am losing it. Fast. It's been 15 years and I am EXHAUSTED.
•    Anonymous said… My husband has always been kind of difficult to live with. Neil can be charming and witty, but he also tends to be callous, selfish, and detached. When my kids were young I focused on them so my husband's indifference didn't bother me. But now that they're gone he's really driving me crazy.
•    Anonymous said… My man is also an Aspie. Not diagnosed, but he recognizes it in himself, and we have an Aspie grandson, as well as an autistic granddaughter. Their mother also has certain Aspie traits. Our marriage was torture for me for almost 30 years. The loneliness and frustration finally became overwhelming & we divorced. We actually got back together about a year later because we do really love each other, but it took some really brutally honest sessions to work past things. He was shocked to learn how hurtful he had been, in spite of my trying to communicate this for years. He was finally ready to listen after the divorce. We haven't remarried, mostly due to his horrible financial management. I refuse to be tied to his debts. All that being said, one key for us has been just accepting each other as we are. I no longer expect him to come to concerts with me, so there is no disappointment when he won't. I understand his tendency to be a hermit. I have learned to make my own life and enjoy what we can together at the same time and to be content with that. It has been difficult - I'm a very tactile person and that deficiency in the relationship has bee very painful to me. The confrontations surrounding the divorce ended the verbal abuse, and my advice to those who suffer it is to be very direct in saying that they are being mean and hurtful. You newd to refuse to listen to it. Get the positive strokes you need from friends and family - they aren't likely to come from your spouse very often if at all. After all these years, I can now say that I am content, and often happy in the relationship. It isn't everything I dreamed or even needed, but it works.
•    Anonymous said… My social skills were and still are, reasonably poor. I have never been able to like myself. I have never cared about my appearance, having long ago decided that I was ugly and unattractive anyway and that grooming and clothes would make no difference to the obvious. Even though I was able to marry a very beautiful woman who loved me deeply and many have assured me that this is not the case at all, inside I have always felt it to be the truth.
•    Anonymous said… My traits have become less of an issue as I've aged. I noticed it first when I was about 38. I'm 50 now. I sure can't say the traits have been eliminated, but the other adults I'm around aren't as judgemental as younger people when I was younger (if that makes sense). Also, I'm less reactive and more accepting of myself.
•    Anonymous said… Thanks for the comprehensive article. You've identified the ideal client I want to work with. I have found that dialectical behavior therapy teaches a lot of these EQ skills as well. Have you considered that model for teaching EQ?
•    Anonymous said… The problem is that we are already separated. I'm in Arizona and he's still back in Michigan. Have you dealt with Asperger's folks who's parents are ultra controlling and possessive? He comes from a nightmarish family that never accepted me even though I did the best job care taking him and was the best woman he has ever had. I know that I did a great job and so did my 11 year old son. I did everything and anything to keep the marriage going but his parents were jealous of me and Kent's happiness as well, so they poisoned him with negative talk about me that is just not true. Being a disabled person he probably didn't have the sense to not listen to them even though he admitted to me on several occasions that his family was 100% crazy. I have no doubt that they had been coaching him to leave us because back in February his dad came with him to our house to move him out (without giving me any warning). So here I am with my precious son and no hubby. How can a wife compete with a spouse's parent? I feel helpless and hopeless, even with your communication techniques because I'm afraid that his parents will continually try to break up our marriage. His dad told his mom that he does not want Kent to be happy. It's sickening to watch them continually ruin his life by not letting him live it on his own without their control. Do you have any ideas of what we can do? My son and I thought of sending him an email this Thursday about watching the brand new office episode since we'll be watching it at the same time at our house. We used to always watch The Office together as a family so it would be something to connect us, we thought. I know we are supposed to be together but I couldn't move back to Michigan since his unstable family lives there. I would need him to move out here if he did want to get back together. We have had very little communication since the split (a few weeks ago). My dad did yell at him and told him he would have Kent arrested if he continually emotionally abused me anymore (Kent was blaming me for all kinds of untrue things at the end of the relationship. He also struggles with bipolar and was having paranoia. He would not go to the doctor even though I encouraged him to). My dad told Kent he better not ever bother me again after I moved out here to AZ, so I think he really scared Kent into not calling us.  We have a tough situation because I feel deeply that we should be together but I'm up against his medication issues (not taking his health seriously), his family, and his fears of my dad.
•    Anonymous said… There are many aspects of this article that really hit home but I don't feel that being married to a person with Asperger's is the worst thing in the world. Would you just up and run if your part developed cancer or was seriously injured in a car crash and need care all the time? My husband has Asperger's and OCD. We have been married for 6 years but together on and off for 13 years. We have 5 kids together, two of whom also have Asperger's. My daily life is VERY exhausting mentally and physically caring for my children and my husband especially since they all have their own set of challenges to tend to but I wouldn't trade my family for anything in the world!! I think as long as you (the neurotypical spouse) have some outlet to keep yourself balanced it is very doable. I know my husband loves me with all his being. It may not always be perceived that way because all his love can seem small in comparison to a "normal" relationship but I know that he is giving all he can and that means something. It would be nice to have a forum to talk to others who understand where I am coming from though.
•    Anonymous said… There is some evidence that kids with Aspergers may see a lessening of symptoms; up to 20% of kids may no longer meet the diagnostic criteria as adults, although social and communication difficulties may persist. As of 2006, no studies addressing the long-term outcome of people with Aspergers are available and there are no systematic long-term follow-up studies of kids with Aspergers. People with Aspergers appear to have normal life expectancy, but have an increased prevalence of comorbid psychiatric conditions, such as major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder that may significantly affect prognosis. Although social impairment is lifelong, the outcome is generally more positive than with individuals with lower functioning autism spectrum disorders; for example, ASD symptoms are more likely to diminish with time in kids with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism. Although most students with Aspergers/High-Functioning Autism have average mathematical ability and test slightly worse in mathematics than in general intelligence, some are gifted in mathematics and Aspergers has not prevented some adults from major accomplishments such as winning the Nobel Prize.
•    Anonymous said… This article is so welcome. For many years I had no idea what the reason was for the strange, nearly indefinable problems we had in our marriage. Now I realize that there must be many exhausted, isolated, deeply sad women out there trying to cope with a very difficult situation alone, because so few understand. My husband is a beautiful, gentle, intelligent individual but this does not prevent my suffering. Denying one's self and sacrificing all basic emotional needs every single day, giving up the most important personal desires bit by bit as the years go by is so damaging. I wish support was better organized for partners of Aspergers. Many of us live in a trap, denying ourselves more and more as times goes by but finding it unacceptable to abandon a good and in a way helpless person who is the way he is out of no fault of his own. It is enough to make one crazy and there is no help around. Thank you for your article. This is a first step.
•    Anonymous said… Total honesty. You have to become as brutally honest as he is - it will feel awkward but will open up all kinds of doors. "Giving me a rose, every now and then, makes me happy..." and then explain the symboism.  Or, "when we are intimate - can you touch me here or kiss me there, it feels good."  "I know that it isnt something you would normally do, but when you do this - it reminds me that you love me."
•    Anonymous said… Well I have AS and people are always telling me that I need to change who I am to become more outgoing and social. I don't think there's a problem with me. That's just my personality, part of who I am. Unfortunately there's not much out there in terms of books and things that give dating advice to people with AS. People just assume that we like being alone and don't desire to date but this isn't necessarily true. I want to feel emotional attachment I'm just kind of unsure about how to achieve it. I don't really have the social skills to form last lasting relationships with people.
•    Anonymous said… While there is currently no cure for Aspergers, treatment can help improve social skills and coordination. Treatment is best started as early as possible. Even with treatment, some people with Asperger's Syndrome may still have trouble socializing, but most are able to work and live independently as adults. -At least one study has shown that 20% or more of children with AS grow out of it and do not show evidence of it as adults.
•    Anonymous said… Yahoo group Aspergers and Other Half are what kept me sane for the longest time. I think very few people who do not live with Aspergers have any real understanding of how tough it really can be, particularly undiagnosed partners. I am not really surprised we are not believed half the time, their behaviour can be so outrageous yet they are so plausible in their genuine belief it is us that are the sole cause of the difficulties, we are often emotionally exhausted and fragile so we are seen to be the problem and most just think 'it can't be that bad, you must be exaggerating'. I read my life over and over in AS&OH forum. They give incredible support and you get the validation you need to believe, no, you are not nuts or too needy or 'the problem'.
they are misunderstood but loving and living with a spouse who has AS can be a difficult experience
•    Anonymous said… You can curb your aspie traits in various ways. But not completely. I guess it is important to understand that AS is a difference and, for many, a set of more difficulties on top of everything else. But it isn't a disability.
•    Anonymous said… Your not alone...I too lost myself, my friends, and my family by letting him isolate me..After 6 years we started reacting violently towards each other..which i never ever do. He refused to accept his diagnosis..and when we broke up..he treated me like he never knew me..he replaced me with ano5her he met online (like me )..months before we splt....six long painful years.
•    Anonymous said... i hope one day we stop QUANTIFYING (PS i mean "counting") "strengths and weaknesses". they are not quantifiable, since they are abstract concepts, and as such, they can be subdivided into any number of sub-categories, or even merged into more general ones. i hope we stop measuring and comparing the value of individuals. this is entirely missing the point.
If we say something like "you have difficulty with xyz", we DON'T HAVE TO "balance it out" with something like "but you're good at abcde". if the point you're making is the difficulties, then don't change the subject, discuss the difficulties honestly and clearly.
If something is true, it's true. we don't have to sugar-coat it. The quicker we get to the truth, the quicker we get to helping, solving, improving, or simply understanding and accepting.
•    Anonymous said… Not too bad a list and is pretty much right I guess. I can sum it up a lot more easily than listing symptoms of what is good and bad, by looking at the root behind why these symptoms exist:
1) They have no id, no automatic way to do things. Because they have no id, they can learn absolutely anything, without limitations that other people face.
2) They learn things in their own little way and communicate in their own little way. Because they spend their whole lives trying to interpret things so that other people can understand them, they find it a lot easier to understand other people with differences, not just other people with disabilities, but people from other countries and cultures - learning another language is a piece of cake in comparison.
3) They are very meticulous and need to do things in a very organised way. Because they need to do it in this way, they make extremely good workers, as they are absurdly well organised, and even better if their chosen obsession matches neatly with a job.
4) They have no automatic social skills and have to learn even the most basic social functioning. Because they have to learn everything, though, it means that if they do learn it, they can learn it to a much higher level than most people are capable of.
I could go on but hopefully you get the point. As with anyone, it is not a matter of strengths vs weaknesses so much as looking at the exact same thing from a positive perspective or a negative perspective. It is really just a matter of perception. This goes for people with AS and anyone else too. I hope that this makes sense.

*    Anonymous said... Thank you for posting this link. I dated a man who displayed nearly all of the traits listed as possible symptoms of AS, but who was never diagnosed. Now, at 30, he struggles with anxiety, addiction, obsessive thinking and violent behavior. He faces significant prison time as a result of criminal activity. I do not condone his actions, but I see now that they may have been related to symptoms beyond his control. I always suspected that he had AS or some related communication disorder. Your link served to strengthen my belief and helped me gain awareness. It is terribly sad to think that many of his demons may have been prevented (or at least mitigated) by the proper intervention & treatment. 
•    Anonymous said… After my marriage ended, my eldest son (then aged 7) was diagnosed with aspergers the physchatrist was talking about whats it like as an adult with aspergers, he described my ex to a 't'.... I'd never really heard of it, so i guess i really didn't understand... Both my sons are now on spectrum.. Now i get it.. Unconditional love.
•    Anonymous said… Aspergated wives is the most solution oriented, positive group there is. (Unlike many that are just bitching fests) The admin is incredible. & the whole group is amazing!
•    Anonymous said… Aspergers partner/spouse support group is the other group I'm a part of, but not very active. I've been in several others, but left them because they were too negative.
•    Anonymous said… I am in a relationship (going on 2 years) with a man whom I believe is also aspergers (no diagnosis). He chose me per se as I sustained a TBI 13 years ago so I am not so neurotypical and well, the same as many women when it comes to a relationship. He says we are meant to be because we are on that same plane. wink emoticon I know that love starts at home, within our own self first. If we love ourselves all else lines up with this and reflects it back to us. I think that those with aspergers are just the perfect mirrors to all that is within a person that they need to work out and love. My boyfriend and I do have our moments but they are short lived as we just "get each other." I know he is doing his best as am I and well when you truly love someone and can remain their friend as well all along learn and grow with them, that is the magic in life. Most people give up too easy and well, run from that reflection in which I admit I have as well in my past and have attempted with my love now but all in all, it is only running from our self. I am grateful he is in my life and that well, we just Be. smile emoticon
•    Anonymous said… I am the aspie...thats worst..
•    Anonymous said… I have an aspie son and he is going to be 18 he had a girl friend for maybe a few weeks he got bored with it I hope things change for him because he has a lot to offer but his challenges get in the way
•    Anonymous said… Is there by chance one of these articles for women?
•    Anonymous said… It is tough for Aspie women as well.
•    Anonymous said… Thank you. As the parent of two Aspie males, I appreciate the thoroughness of this list. I won't lie....it is painful to read how many of those many apply to one or the other of my older two boys, it still reminds me of things that I forget are not their "fault".
•    Anonymous said… Yup! But luckily there are wonderful support groups to help the NT partners to not take things personally & eventually have a successful, fulfilling relationship.
•    Anonymous said… "...wife/partner views these traits as “defects that could be corrected if the man would just try harder,” I'm feeling this, time too time, with my own family, and it hurts.
•    Anonymous said… I am blessed by a woman who understands to the best of her ability, and is willing to work with me, and accept me, just as i am... note: this is my 2nd marriage. My first... she was not as accepting.
•    Anonymous said… I'm separated from my husband of 13 years (20 years together) because of communication issues related to his disorder. I know he can't try harder - all I want is for him to understand what's really happening. Because he can't see it (and mindblindness) and we didn't know about this until later in our relationship, a lot of hurt and misunderstandings occurred both
•    Anonymous said… My first husband saw me as full of character flaws and that I was never making an effort. It was a nightmare for almost 10 years. I was suicidal. Thankfully, he left me. I later met a man who was not afraid of me, my spd, or my crippling anxiety and large number of other emotional and social issues. His strength gave me room to learn coping skills and he stood by me during years of CBT. We have children and a mostly beautiful life together. Even though I have not been a teacher of record for a class, I have earned my teaching certificate and finished my degree. I am also a highly sought after substitute. I share my stories of being non-verbal as a child, hyperlexic, and my years in special ed. Having the right partner makes all the difference in my world. My issues didn't go away, but when I lock myself in my quiet room, I get a note under the door saying I love you instead of someone berating me and humiliating me. Edited to add both of my husbands are NT.
•    Anonymous said… Oh yeah, I guess there are downsides.
•    Anonymous said… Yep, it's not easy...
•    Anonymous said…I only began to "see" mine when I finally had a good idea as to what it is; then I could "see" it in my own thinking and listening, when I finally saw an article on Channelopathies, particularly as related to a condition called Alexithymia, (inability to identify and describe emotions in the self). It's my belief that the Channelopathy causes my own Alexithymia. I found I had relatively zero knowledge of my own inner self. That can be a pisser in communicating with anyone.
•    Anonymous said… These things are true of Aspie women as well for the most part. But, not everyone on the spectrum has the same level of difficulty with each of these things. Also, there are three levels of severity that are usually communicated with a medical diagnosis, with level one being the least serious, so not everyone is equally affected. Finally, Aspies are able to learn coping skills and compensate for some of these issues. Some of us improve social interactions over time. And, I would like to see an equally long list of our charming, endearing traits. I have, for example, learned all of my spouses preferences over the years (down to how he likes his chili seasoned) so that I can adapt what I do to take them into account.
•    Anonymous said… my husband is HF Autism. He came out with no filter so was considered "rude" until about 25 when he realized that he was saying negative things that hurt others feelings. He was called a Ahole a couple of times and said he learned to bite his tongue. lol He would say things from a visual perspective, Like "She's heavy or her nose is crooked." Strange things like that, that he learned to stop commenting on people and listen more. This strategy worked for him as well as reading books on body language. Needless to say, I've been married to him for 15 years and while we have communication "mix ups", our relationship is fantastic. Not only is he very honest and loyal, he helps out more then an average husband, is more gentle and loving and is a great Dad and pet owner. I do believe you need to marry the right person. For him, it was someone who could teach him a bit about social things, someone who maternal and good with babies/kids, not high maintenance who has patience and asks a lot of questions so that things don't get "miscommunicated". Other then that, he is a way better husband than the typical guy who womanized, lied and basically was not very dedicate to his child. Never underestimate. There are few husbands who can come close to being there like he does. Don't count yourself out either (of being married) because you like your alone time too (so do I). So just be honest and open about your expectations and wants and know there will be bumps in the road. I think the key to any relationship is: Chemistry, Caring, Communication and Commitment. The HF individual has to work extra hard on the communicating and caring part. My husband says he has very little empathy (I know, not every individual is like this) but he's being honest. So I sort of expect a disconnected emotional response at times. It's not always what I get or see but it's something he shared honestly.

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