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Readers Respond: Top Tips for Combining Autism and Romance

Responses: 12

By

Updated June 30, 2010

Are you romantically involved with a person on the autism spectrum? Or are you a person on the autism spectrum with a romantic partner or spouse? What advice can you offer to people interested in combining autism with romance?

Neglected

I am an SLP and my lifes work is ASD. My husband is aspergers too. I find that when you can explain examples that he has experienced personally and go from that example to a similiar thing in some one elses life, he is able to then comprehend the problem. He can relate his feelings from the personal experience to another problem.
—Guest Marilyn

Help

I 51 yrs, have been married for 2yrs.I knew he was 'odd' and i loved him for it! Since diagnosis i have tried to understand the complexities but i'm really struggling to cope with the anger, paranoia etc. I love this man so much but fear i will have a breakdown myself soon. HELP!
—Guest Katrina

Neglected

Through my son being autistic we found out that my husband is also. I always felt in the beginning of our marriage something is wrong but could never resolve our issues until we had our son evaluated. Now my Aspie husband's family think I have changed him because he does not communicate with them or he gets very stressed around them. They are asking why was things perfect before I met him. I asked my husband this and he said he got out of his parents house as soon as he was finished with school and when to work. Some of the things my son does, his grandmother admits his father also did as a child. I cannot understand why they are trying to put the blame on me. My husband is very trusting and usually his friends abuse his goodness. He also gets very taken with a hobby and then does not even spend time with us, his wife and children. Talking to him is okay but he does not hear when I speak to him about how I feel nor does he see if the children are sick and we need his assistance
—Guest Patsy

Neglected

I know how these people feel. I feel for the Aspie as well and wish it was different. I am suffering a lot of neglect from my Aspie husband and talking does nothing, there is no change. The intimate times are so rare and not passionate. If there is someone to advise me and or us, it would be wonderful
—Guest Patsy

married to a man with apergers

i have been married to my hubby for ten years and i always knew he had quirks and he was very shy but i never thought anything about it now we have five boys our oldest son we found out has aspergers so we started looking it up come to find out my husband has it too what i would say helped up the most was that sometime i would have to be the better person and take over some jobs that he dosn't like deal with well like the babys. i do find it hard to deal with his inabilys to let me change he hate for me to work drive or even leave him alone it never botherer me till a couple of years ago when thing got real tight. he would not budge i was to be home just in case somthing happened and the school need me to pick the kids up. some of the things he comes up with i don't understand i try hard to see things his way but its hard somtime i have to say it has caused a lot of arguments when things have to be done a certine way or we have to be home at a cirtin time cause his show is comming on.
—Guest beth hampton

Romance doesn't always happen

Although aspies may be loving, it sometimes isn't in the "regular couple" sense - you may need to adjust your expectations to something the aspie can handle. Trips out might be scary for them, they might suffer panic attacks doing something as benign as shopping, social events make them want to hide, birthdays and christmas can be unimaginably stressful (difficulty coping with the day, let alone being able to buy gifts). Intimacy - as natural as it may be for other couples to enjoy, it may be as alien to an aspie as a creature from Mars - not knowing how to initiate or react to touch, and for some touch in itself can be overwhelming. However, aspies are generally VERY faithful (not being able to cope with change or lie very well means there's little option) - and if you can overlook the obvious immediate difficulties you might find a "keeper" who you can relate to on more than a purely physical level. My wife and I (i'm the aspie) are doing pretty well after 16 years of marriage :-
—Guest Colin

Married 17 years

Go to a systems therapist and get a road map to figure out a plan to deal with your specific problems. Remember no 2 couples are alike in their interactions. I am a female with aspy and my husband is all about the feelings thing. I get so focused on my subjects of interest that he has to be very blunt and say "I need you to stop doing this and talk to me right now." It sounds condenscending but it is very helpful because I can get totally incommunicative when I am working on a project. Also, if he makes the statement "Do you want to go out to dinner?", I take it literally and say yes or no, not realizing that that was his way of wanting to START to discuss a dinner plan. Now, he says. "Can you please stop what you are doing and talk to me about dinner? I usually say "how long do I have to talk about it?" and then it is a pleasant interaction. As long as we both are stating our needs and respecting eachother, then it works out great! Also don't take anything personally - we love you.
—Guest figuring it out

Work with strengths

Here are a few things I have learned from 28 years of marriage to someone with ASD. Work with the ASD partner's strengths -- often these include loyalty, preference for routines, honesty. Build in routines that nourish the relationship and demonstrate commitment. The partner without ASD needs to learn to be explicit about what she or he needs, and also needs to have close friends who enjoy spontaneity and provide emotional closeness. Give each other lots of space to pursue interests or relationships outside the marriage. And find a therapist who understands ASD and agree in advance to go together to the therapist whenever ONE of the partners is feeling relationship distress. Maintaining an AS/NT marriage is hard work, but then so is any marriage.
—bluestem55

marriage hell

Marriage to a non-autist means I have no relief from the burden of trying to be 'normal.' It makes me feel like a damn MONSTER when I want to be left alone at the end of the day, and all she wants to do is talk about hers. Because, after all, what SHE wants is NECESSARY for 99% of the planet. I'M THE FREAK! So I rationalize it, make myself pay attention, like all the marriage counselors say I should - BUT I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO VALUE SUCH INTERACTION. The same is true in reverse. She tries to understand why I need things a certain way, tries to understand my interests, but I can tell that it's an EFFORT, a BURDEN. That's not marriage - that's MARTYRDOM. There's nothing organic to our contact, it's all FORCED even with the best intentions. The real problem? All the advice out there that says you CAN stick it out with just a few easy techniques (talk more! eye contact! Take a pill!) MY advice? Both partners find someone of their own KIND, so they can find out just what they're MISSING.
—notlikeyou

Wife of an aspie

Talk! There is nothing more important as the spouse of an aspie (at least for me) than comunicating. It may be somthing like leave up a website you're interested in when you know he'll be getting on the computer, or sitting down over a board game. Some of my husband and I's best conversations occured on long drives. I had to be rather blunt with my husband when it came to intamate moments, "hun do this... , no, no, yeah that." or "Here? here? ok..." There can't be a lot of hinting or games unless you both know you're playing and are interested in it. And experiment if your man is one of the umm.... sensation types. If we don't make an effort to avoid it my hubby doesn't take very long, leaving me feeling used and wanting. When we make an effort though, it's everything we both want. We were fortunate to get toether very young so we've grown up together and went through our experimental phases together. It made things a lot smoother. Explore and work together. It helps!!
—Guest Angie

honesty

know that when you autistic partner says something, there is not some hidden meaning. don't try to dig through the layers. we're pretty blunt and we aren't very clever about the fact that we are supposed to play games. and ask us to do what you need. we're not going to guess. but if you say "i need this" we'll do our best to give what we can. don't guess on us either. just as you might not be thrilled at our spontaneous ideas of how to fix what ails you, we aren't likely to appreciate yours. we might not even understand we were trying to help each other. don't be coy or subtle unless you want your point missed. tell us when we upset you immediately. we aren't gonna connect a later lashing out to an event and you need to nip behaviors in the bud before they become part of our routine. there are times you have to remember developmental delay means some of our thoughts are still very young. you are not always dealing with another adult.
—Guest abigail

Married Thirty Years

Finding out I am endowed with Asperger's saved my marriage, because my wife could finally understand I wasn't choosing to ignore her feelings; I was either oblivious or afraid of making things worse since I seemed to be a bull in the china shop of other people's emotions. I am incapable of interpreting subtle emotions and moods, & even when emotions are obvious, I don't know how to deal with them because I have missed the subtle contexts and precursors which would clue you in on how to act appropriately. I've always been uncomfortable being hugged; only in intimate moments with my wife does an embrace feel natural. My Aspie sons are pairing up, & they have been honest with their partners about Asperger's, & it doesn't seem to be an issue. I think their partners can trade off the husband with the wine and romance for the husband who can pull out a scientific calculator or fix the car. The autistic spectrum person must make a choice; continue to be in love with yourself or with a spouse.
—Guest Bill

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