“He can’t live WITHOUT me….and I can’t figure out how to live WITH him.”
Her husband’s flustered response was, “I don’t know what to do to fix this!”
This couple has been married for quite awhile. Their pain and hopelessness, and their fear of losing the marriage that they have worked so hard to build and sustain, was immense. They both became tearful as she told me that she is considering divorce.
This couple is like so many others who struggle for connection and intimacy. However, the couple in my office has recently discovered that he has Asperger’s.
When one of their children was diagnosed with Asperger’s, he realized that the behaviors, traits, and mannerisms being described by the specialist were all too familiar. She saw it too.
This new awareness hit them both like a ton of bricks. They’d watched “The Good Doctor,” and laughed at “Sheldon” along with the rest of the world, but he’s not like those guys! How could he have Asperger’s?
Does this sound familiar to you? If not you, I guarantee that you know someone with Asperger’s, and they may be a lot closer to home than you thought.
READ THE NEXT THREE SENTENCES CAREFULLY.
Currently, the overall estimated rate of autism is 1 in 58, and boys are 4 times more likely to have autism. Although the statistics are gathered on children, there may actually be a similar trend in adults, who are undiagnosed! WOAH!!
Are you thinking about your family and friends, now?! This means your spouse or boyfriend, your brother or sister, your best friend, and maybe even YOU may have Asperger’s.
There are millions of couples who are in Asperger’s relationships. Yes, people with Asperger’s get married! But, just like you, their relationships can have difficulties because of differences in personalities, needs, expectations, and communication styles. Couples in Asperger’s relationships often communicate their love and affection in very different ways, so both end up feeling misunderstand and lonely – angry and disconnected.
Almost two years ago, I uploaded a video cast to YouTube entitled “How to Know if Someone with Asperger’s Loves You.” My intended audience was actually parents of children with Asperger’s, but to my surprise it became popular very quickly with adults in Asperger’s relationships, and now has close to 60,000 hits.
I receive emails and phone calls from people all over the world with questions – people in relationships who are struggling and are looking for help.
Comments like these are posted to YouTube:
“This video is amazing my boyfriend has Aspergers and it has been affecting our relationship lately this video has helped.”
“Physical contact makes my skin crawl. However, I love being around my wife, even if we are not talking. It is very empty if she is not around. So, we want those we love around, even if we are in our room alone. Physical contact is easier with your loved one, but others, forget it.”
“What a great video. Thank you for publishing it….My experience is that the most difficult aspect about being in a relationship with someone with Asperger’s is not when she says something that is hurtful, but the things that she doesn’t say.”
“Oh my gosh I was almost in tears watching this. Thank you so much.”
As with any relationship or marriage, there IS hope!! Asperger’s relationships can thrive! Really, it’s not a lot different than any other relationship in that it requires in depth awareness and respect for individual personality differences and needs. Rules of engagement in communication are crucial in order to manage conflict in a way that doesn’t cause a disconnect. Couples must also learn to give and receive love in a way that is experienced by each partner – this trips up many couples!
If all this sounds familiar, and your relationship is struggling, you might be interested in my Asperger’s Relationships program where I guide couples one step at at a time through discovery, growth, and healing, to a connected and loving relationship. Connect with me for more information and, to see if you qualify for the program.