Marriage and Partnership Living With Aspergers 087 387 6841
Living in the same space as anyone else has its challenges regardless if you are Neurotypical (NT) or Neurodiverse (ND)
Sometimes it may feel like the ND partner is in the minority and is being constantly asked or made to conform to a majority way of life. They may feel like the one who has to make all or most of the changes. The marriage or partnership can then feel like a constant battle to keep your ways and habits and even sanity in the face of people who want to change you.
However there is another way to see this. Explained in a most excellent way from a female Asperger perspective
*** The day I explained to my husband about my Asperger’s, one of the first things he said was, “I love you exactly the way you are.” I treasure that and I know it’s not something he said just to make me feel better. He means it. But I also know that I’m hard to live with. I find myself hard to live with at times. So when I say I want to improve my level of functioning, it’s because I want to struggle less on a daily basis and because I want the people around me–the people I love–to struggle less. It has nothing to do with conforming to the expectations of an NT world and everything to do with making life less stressful and more enjoyable for myself and my family ***
The difference with NT thinking and ND thinking is that the NT is more likely to change something that doesn’t work because they don’t mind change in the same way and ND thinker does.
The points made are really the crux of the matter for any union. Rather than keeping old strategies and habits that don’t work just for the sake of avoiding change is not logical and not a good enough reason to continue being miserable just on principal.
Often your ND partner will be trying to do the right thing but just doesn’t know what that is sometimes. They may cotton on to an idea and then do it and be surprised why it is being met with hostility when their intention was to make things better.
For example take the ND husband who comes home from his job where he has to conform to a lot of NT thinking and NT orientated work practices that stress him out. He is looking forward to getting to his safe home, safe space where things are more familiar and comfortable. He comes home goes upstairs to put his feet up oblivious of the wife with screaming kids who was looking forward to him coming back to give her a break from her stressful day. Seeing her husband waltz in and go for a shower or up to lay down and unwind sends her off on a rampage and screaming match about how uncaring he is. The husband is goal orientated he has an objective and a plan and regardless of what comes in the way he will just carry on until he does it.
Cutting some slack – Marriage and Partnership Living with Aspergers
He is not being nasty or uncaring he is firstly continuing on his thought process which, if interrupted, will stress him out much further and secondly is self-preserving. In such a situation the last thing that will be effective is a screaming match or criticism. Such an approach will just reduce you to an annoying noise to be avoided or blanked out. Key point here is learn to pick your moment so that what you have to say can be heard and considered.
There is miscommunication and misunderstanding here. Both people in this scenario will feel perfectly justified in the stance they are taking. However for both they are not in a reasonable frame of mind.
We are often being told that the neurodiverse find it hard to see the world from an NT perspective but in my experience of over 30 years of working with Autism I would say that neurotypical people rarely consider what it might be like to experience the world from a neurodiverse perspective.
Aspergers being part of the Autism continuum is a communication disorder but do we ever really stop to consider how we are missing and misinterpreting the messages we get from our Neurodiverse loves ones?
Caroline Goldsmith is a Psychologist with over 30 years experience in the Autism field and is happy to hear from you at any time regarding relationship resolution, intervention or assessment 087 387 6841