Because of the lack of empathy in your Aspie partner, you will often feel misunderstood and unloved, and this may cause you to think that your marriage cannot survive, let alone thrive. So I wanted to share with an article by columnist, Regina Boyle Wheeler that I really appreciated. She centered on the hope-filled message that you CAN DEVELOP SKILLS THAT WORK in your NT/ASD relationship.
In writing this article, she sought my advice since I’ve written books on the topic of marriage and Asperger’s Syndrome; Going Over the Edge? And Out of Mind – Out of Sight. I was able to share with her insight into three specific areas of life that are critical for a marriage to go beyond merely surviving to actually thriving: Sex, Socializing, and Parenting.
Sex becomes a problem for two reasons. Generally we desire physical contact, yet those with Asperger’s Syndrome may have difficulty with being hugged, kissed or caressed. Shyness can cause a Neuro-Typical partner to be unable to speak about what is pleasurable sexually – you just want your partner to intuitively know what you want. However, those with Asperger’s can’t read your signals. It can quickly kill the mood when you have to talk your way through sex, saying what you like or don’t like.
Socializing becomes a minefield of potentially embarrassing situations. The NT partner is always on the alert to head off potentially embarrassing social blunders or topics, so the social event quickly become an exhausting and stress-filled occasion. Rather than endure this, some choose to avoid social settings, or they turn to misusing alcohol or pharmaceuticals to “cope” so it doesn’t matter so much. Either option is destructive for the individual and the marriage.
Parenting becomes a battle of conflicting views even though both parents love the child. It can tear your heart to pieces when your Asperger mate fails to recognize when your child needs comfort, reassurance, praise, or even loving correction.
There are ways that you can learn to cope and thrive as an individual and in your marriage. A mental health professional who has specialized training in Asperger Syndrome can help you develop the skills you need. Life is too short to be merely enduring a relationship, especially when you can learn skills that will turn things around for your family. Please contact my Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA office and make an appointment today to find out what they are.
Read more about Therapy for Marriages Impacted by Asperger Syndrome on my website.
5 Replies to “Sex, Socializing, and Parenting in AS/NT Marriages”
It did break my heart on many occasions when my husband was so distant, cold and uncaring towards our children, especially when my son in tears asked me one day “why doesn’t my daddy love me” still makes me cry every time I remember it. Finding your page & reading your books have helped me so much, but still I wish I could turn back the clock and get us out of what will never change, you think he’s getting better at being a dad & a husband & then he does something so upsetting again. I wish I knew then what I know now.
We all have those regrets Jan. Most NTs take years, even a lifetime, before Recognizing that their partner is on the Autism Spectrum. Then what to do about it? I wrote my books and started this group to help those of us who have nowhere to turn. The sadness and regret are what led you to this group. Now we can use those feelings to wake up and take back our lives from the illusions we were living with. That’s a start isn’t it?
Hi, I am still going through this and on the verge of leaving my husband for the sake of my 11 year old son who is also an Aspie. Do you have any advise? Please.
May I ask what you know now, that you didn’t know then? It may really help me and my son.
Great question. I have no regrets but I wish I had understood the Empathy Triad (empathy, context and conversation). Since “Aspies” can not fathom the Empathy Triad, I failed them over and over again, by trying to converse with them using NT methods. No one explained this until I stumbled upon it. There is nothing more painful that stumbling around in the dark while trying to love your “Aspies.”