Loving someone with Asperger’s Syndrome
Loving someone with Asperger’s syndrome isn’t easy. The primary feeling is one of loneliness. People with Asperger’s are all affected differently but in many high functioning people with Asperger’s, they still find it difficult to interpret the subtle nuances in communication and in the behaviour of others.
When the partner without Asperger’s feels sad or unhappy and needs support, they will often find that they have been abandoned and left to get on with it and sort themselves out. This is because someone with Asperger’s assumes that staying away is for the best and they often don’t want to make the situation worse. They fail to understand the support that a person who is ‘neurotypical’ (non-Asperger’s) needs.
Here is an explanation taken from: http://www.mindsandhearts.net/images/newsletter/April2012/The_Relationship_Problems_of_Adults_with_Aspergers_Syndrome.pdf
“During moments of personal distress, when empathy and words and gestures of affection would be anticipated as a means of emotional repair, the typical partner may be left alone to ‘get over it’. This is not a callous act. For the partner with Asperger’s syndrome, the most effective emotional repair mechanism is often solitude, and he or she assumes this is the most effective emotional repair mechanism for his or her partner. The partner with Asperger’s syndrome may also not know what to do, or may choose to do nothing, because of a fear of doing something that could make the situation worse.”
People with Asperger’s don’t naturally share information and chit chat as a neurotypical person would. They do not see the value in sharing thing unless there is a practical reason for it.
Being in a relationship with someone with Asperger’s will also have to habituate themselves to the fact that their partner dislikes change and will resist any attempts to alter their usual structure. Whether this is to their daily routine, or to their pre-exisiting attachments to family members (enmeshment can be a problem in people with Asperger’s), change will be fought at every step of the way.
Tips for managing a relationship with someone with Asperger’s.
Don’t take their thoughtlessness personally
People with Asperger’s don’t neglect their partners on purpose, it’s just the way they are wired
2. Offer clear instructions of what you want
Neurotypical people can easily read between the lines and pick up on other people’s intentions and someone with Aspergers finds this more difficult to do. Make it as easy for them as possible by guiding them and letting them know what you would like.
3. Work with their weaknesses
You will feel physically and emotionally exhausted if you try to change your partner into that of a neurotypical partner. This is a waste of effort. Instead learn to accept their weaknesses and look for their strengths and try to work as a team.
4. Get external support
Make sure that you have support from friends and family as you may end up having to carry more of the load than your Asperger’s partner – especially if there are children concerned. People with Asperger’s don’t always realise what needs doing and this is where the neurotypical partner has to pick up the slack which can be tiring.
5. Focus on what you can and can’t control
Focus on what you can control – your own behaviour and what you do cope with your partner. You can’t control them or how they think.
Often, just knowing that your partner has Asperger’s can be a huge relief and stops a neurotypical partner from thinking they are going mad. A diagnosis can help to explain all the odd behaviour and help the neurotypical partner realise that there is something that isn’t quite right and that it isn’t something they are doing wrong.
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