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I think this thread belongs here and I believe it is valid and that we deserve a place for support!

Believe it or not, people with Asperger's DO come across as being jerks sometimes. This is not a judgment so much as an observation. Sometimes, due to the fact that their brains process information differently which leads them to sometimes act in ways that are not collectively understood and agreed upon by society at large (when someone is crying you comfort them for instance), the behavior of Aspies *can* appear cold or unfeeling. I don't think the mamas here should be bashed for talking about and working through their feelings -- it is clear they love their partners and maybe getting some of these feelings out and not feeling so alone helps them be better partners!

Anyway, my husband is a self diagnosed Aspie and looking back on the last 10 years together and talking with his mom about his childhood, I am certain of it. It is a funny thing, this Aspergers -- because it has some very common, distinct traits, and then some completely unique traits --

I can relate to a lot of what has been said here. My husband seems *typical* to most people --- if a bit *eccentric* -- but as the posters above mentioned, his eccentricity has always been sort of accepted. My husband is extremely gifted both acedemically and especially musically (he can play ANY instrument...seriously...any) that his eccentricity is sort of a novelty that fits the notion that most people have of incredibly gifted musicians or intellectually gifted people.

He is funny, caring, loving, and a really great guy....

...but I do have to shake my head and laugh at some of the descriptions in this thread, because we have that in common too. My husband works well with detailed instructions. He always has to know what is coming, what is going on, what is to come. He feels very nervous with spontanaity (sp?). He craves order but is often pretty disorganized. He often wants me to basically navigate his life, but then seems resentful when I do -- we have been working on him taking more of a part in navigating his own life... My husband has sensory issues that aren't *too* severe, but that do affect some aspects of life.

He typically enjoys doing things alone or in very small groups with people he is comfortable with. On one hand he likes the *theory* of socializing, but sort of doesn't get it. Or rather, he gets how it is *supposed* to happen, but feels very nervous or pressured to perform or act a certain way --- he felt very early on in life that he was *different* but there was no name for it back then and his parents weren't very up to speed on things of that nature.

He calls me his occupational therapist
because I have been reading and researching this for years and we do exercises relating to it. I know it sounds funny
I don't mean we sit and work on it like we are in school or something, but just little things we do together that I believe (and he believes!) really help him -- things like if we order pizza, he calls and orders. That used to be a HUGE deal for him to do believe it or not, but now he does.... A lot of times, when I just step back and trust that he will do what needs to be done, he comes through --- although sometimes not in the way that I would have done it, but he does.

He can seem cold and apathetic sometimes, but I am realizing that he really isn't. I just think that he literally is unable to put himself in other people's shoes sometimes.

For instance, he is 37 -- and just the other day had a lightbulb moment. He was talking about how he had to break an appointment with someone he is playing music with.... and how the person came to his work (he teaches music) on his break and told him how he was upset because he was counting on my dh playing that day and etc... and my husband got this huge *a-ha* moment that other people feel the same way he feels when he gets disappointed. He was all happy he made that connection. I mean, he *knew* that in theory, but I don't know as he ever felt that connection -- whereas most typical people learn that at a very early age.

He connects well with humor -- I think he learned that as a coping mechanism early on. We both have very good senses of humor so that helps a lot because it helps with our connection to eachother and it helps to open some conversations. We laugh a lot which is awesome ... but then of course with an Aspie, you know they are going to make a joke at a REALLY inappropriate time occasionally (like if you are crying about something
). I try to understand that this is his way of connecting or breaking the ice or coping with a situation that is uncomfortable or overwhelming for him although it is hurtful sometimes.

I found that non-violent communication helps SO much with our relationship and I am glad I discovered it years ago. I just had to accept with my dh that I can not sit around waiting for him to read my mind (or even obvious hints
) about certain things. I have to state my needs and wants specifically and clearly. Like another poster said though, this benefits me in life too because it helps my communication with others.

We have had some rough patches -- but I will say that most of them revolved around me trying to make him into something that he isn't. To answer the pp question, no, most of us don't know when we marry an aspy. We may think they have a couple of *quirks* or that they are a bit *eccentric* but Aspies are good at fitting a *typical* mold while courting -- although it is a lot of pressure and stress for them to do so --

Also too, when you are in the courtship period (we ALL do this!) you tend to think the quirks and such are really *adorable* or whatever until you live with it every day for 10 years

All in all though, we have a very good relationship. Anytime I get down or frustrated I remember that my husband is loyal, decent, funny, good-hearted, talented, smart, and a bunch of other good things that offset many of the frustrating or annoying or hurtful things.

I mean, sure I may have to tell him I need a hug when I am crying
or give him detailed instructions for a simple errand.... but on the other hand, you will never catch him in a strip club or drinking or yelling at me so I count my blessings rather than my troubles (or at least I try!).

· Banned
4,333 Posts
Well with my husband, we discovered together that he has aspergers. I remember very clearly, it was an episode of Law And Order that featured someone with aspergers -- about 9 years ago. Now, this character was just that, a character -- so his aspergers was dramatized and very pronounced and of course, played up for dramatic purposes -- but we watched it and sort of looked at eachother like *weird*, that seems like some things you do -- those types of thoughts.

I began researching aspergers from that program and dh and I came to the conclusion that he most likely has it.

People have all different reactions. For my husband, it was a huge relief and I think a puzzle piece put into place to explain why he had felt certain ways his whole life. He was very receptive to the idea that he has aspergers. To him, it shed such a light over a lot of things that people (and him) had chalked up to being weird/eccentric/quirky/antisocial/anxiety.

I believe we were blessed to figure it out when we did. It allowed him to feel a sense of validation -- he wasn't just crazy all this time in thinking he was a bit different than most people (different doesn't mean bad by the way).

For me, it was enlightening because I could then read and research and learn different techniques to help our relationship run smoother. I had a reason for certain behaviors...

For instance, before the Aspie (self) diagnosis, I thought he was just anal in some areas. Now I know that he needs certain routines and information about things to feel comfortable and at ease and to function in a healthy way. When I began looking at things from that framework, it was easier to accomodate some of those ways --- because I wanted my husband to be comfortable, feel secure, feel at ease and at peace so we were working for a common goal.

The other things is (imo), it makes a huge huge difference that he acknowledges and even embraces that he has aspergers (in our relationship, he rarely tells anyone else). It means he is open to exploring ways to make his life easier and more comfortable and he willingly explores ways to help our relationship run smoother.

It also helps me because I no longer frame things in a "get over it" type mentality and more in the mentality that there are certain things he just processes differently --

As I mentioned above, we had some rough patches -- but in 10 years they have lessened considerably as I have learned to navigate who he is and get inside of how his mind operates and have learned to not take some things personally. Also, he has come a very long way in our relationship too. He has actively sought out ways to better express himself and his love in ways that are important to me -- he has really worked on expressing empathy openly -- as I believe he does feel empathy, but has a difficult time relating to people on how to express it.

As for your question Meg, I don't know a tactful way to approach it because our discovery came about pretty organically. I knew there was something atypical about the way he related to life/people/situations, and more importantly, HE knew it -- he just didn't have the word/name/reason/information. The biggest thing is that HE desired help in understanding the *typical* world more.

Which brings me to my next point -- I think some of the posters here who are offended are approaching it from *their* point of view and not considering the point of view of the actual people with aspergers in question. It seems they are coming from the "we are perfect the way we are and how dare anyone say anything differently!!"

Well, my husband didn't feel that way. For many many years from early childhood he yearned to understand people the way most people do. He yearned to have connections, to relate to people, to have a healthy relationship where he was understood and where HE understood the other person, to function without the aid of all thes routines that he felt held him back and bogged him down --- so he didn't feel as though the rest of the world just had to get over it and accept him for who he was despite the fact that no one really understood it and that HE didn't understand it.... he wanted to be a part of the *typical* world because to him, it looked from the outside like a much easier and less tiring life.

He will always be who he is and I absolutely love him for that (as I have said many times above and feel as though I have to convince certain people of) however, he will even tell you that he is much happier now that he both knows he has apergers and now that he has worked on relating to people and the world in a more *typical* way. In fact, he just read this post and said (jokingly but seriously) "Yeah, it is really fun to expect people to understand you for who you are as you are standing alone on the other side of the playground trying to figure out how children know how to play with eachother."

· Banned
4,333 Posts
Oh and another thing I just thought of for the people with children who are concerned that their children find partners who understand them and love them -- you know, I think if you teach them (just through life experiences not so much with a sit down talk) to seek out people who compliment thier asperger side, they will do fine --

You know my husband and I compliment eachother very much. His asperger side (or traits or however you define it) has been a huge asset to me in many ways and my personality has been an asset to him. For instance, I am a *forest* person and partially due to his aspergers I think, he is a very *tree* person. I paint with broad strokes in life, sort of flying by the seat of my pants, not interested in many details
and he is a VERY detailed oriented person and helps me a lot with that. He is a wealth of information -- he has helped me in so many of my college classes (and in life) with the depth of information he has on such a wide array of subjects. He can tell you the date of almost any historical event and he knows so many details about so many things it is amazing (I always tell him we need to get him on Jeopardy or something
). I am a pretty impulsive type person and he is very regimented and cautious, this has helped us both -- I have helped him loosen up, he has helped me be more cautious in certain things. I am very outgoing, he is very reserved. He has helped me keep my mouth shut and stand back a bit when it is called for, I have helped him speak up a bit more and seek out more connections/relationships. So many more things but those are just small examples...

So I think there are certain personalities that complement may of the traits common in people with aspergers and that people with aspergers can completely have happy relationships.

· Banned
4,333 Posts
Well, come get him then ... it's your turn to find his keys!
That is so *us*

Today was fun though -- you know I do thank God for the fact that our sense of humor (mine and dh) meshes so well together because we find a lot of stress relief, understanding, and connection through our humor.

· Banned
4,333 Posts
I was wondering how do you all handle this dichotomy (if you experience it in your partnership)

I want an equal marriage and in many ways we are equal in terms of intelligence, sense of humor, talent (well maybe not that, he is a genius musically
) --- but I wrote about this in a previous post --

On one hand my husband really seems to rely on me to *navigate* his life as I call it. He always asks me "what he should do" or "how he should handle X, Y or Z" and while I am happy to help -- I feel as though we fall into a role of parent/child a lot and I don't like that! Although when I step back and just allow him to take the reigns of his life he seems utterly overwhelmed --- now I say *allow* for lack of a better word, I don't allow or not allow him to do or not do anything -- I really try not to be controlling or nag --- so we seem to fall into this pattern where he becomes upset if he feels I am navigating his life.... then upset when I do step back (even when I do so lovingly, not out of revenge or anger)... it is frustrating to me to find that balance sometimes....

...because I feel as though we are frequently either in a state of "you are being too controlling or "why don't you help me run my life" (although he doesn't say those exact words).

Does anyone relate to what I mean? Like sometimes I feel as though I am damned if I do and damned if I don't relating the choices of our life. I want him to have an active/equal say and he does as far as I am concerned -- but for him it feels like a pressure because he is so concerned with doing "the wrong thing". Then when leaves the choice up to me, and I make it -- if it isn't how he thought it should have worked out... then I am to blame because I didn't *let* him make the decision.

I dunno if I am explaining it coherently but it is a source of conflict at times.
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