Hi again to all my amazing followers and readers!
This is an older post that was originally posted on September 14th, 2017 on my old blog ‘Rude Girl ~ Living In An Aspie World’ that is now officially closed. I did quickly revise and did little editing. I do want to redo this whole post I think and make like some section or series out of it on my blog here. However, I am still kind of all over the place and my writing as well has been suffering this past week or so. I still wanted to share it here for those who may have missed it or new followers, as I think it is a really important topic that doesn’t get discussed often enough. In fact, some articles or research will even say people on the spectrum or aspie can’t have successful relationships or are capable of such. And to those critics I am calling bs. 🙂 So here it is.
Note: This post will be subject to change again in the future and whatever I plan to do with it etc. It may even been edited as soon as I get my brain back in order tbh.
Being married to an aspie or someone on the spectrum is hard work to say the least. Some would even say it’s impossible. (Rude mofos tbh jk jk) I think it depends on a few key factors. I will be the first to say I lucked out in all the key factors when it comes to my relationship and personally as an individual. My symptoms are high functioning, my husband has solid social skills and we have both become great at both adaption and acceptance. We also have enough in common that helps us understand one another and makes us compatible. However I will also be the first person to say it has been very challenging, but well worth it in the end.
So here are my tips and tricks aka survival guide to having a successful relationship as someone who lives with Asperger Syndrome. I would have titled this a successful marriage, but I am newly married (since last June) but we have been living together for almost three years. So call it what you will, it is successful either way.
Please note this may not be helpful advice to everyone on the spectrum, every aspie or if you are neurotypical and your partner is on the spectrum, as these are only my personal experiences and opinions. I will post this in a bullet point way as it will make it easier to read and understand.
#1 Communication Is Key
Communication is the key to any successful relationship or marriage, but it is especially crucial for a Neurotypical-Aspie relationship. As I do struggle with communication deficits, it can cause for many communication break downs and us taking turns in taking offence to things we really didn’t need to take offence to at all. Despite knowing each other very well, it still happens sometimes.
There are times I offer to make food, coffee or do something nice for my husband and in most cases I am already doing it and he will decline the offer because he doesn’t want to make extra work for me. Later to find out he did want something which leads to us both feeling bad. He feels I am selfish and only doing it for myself (even though I took his no as a final no.) and I feel like I was tested and failed. So it is important for him to tell me exactly how he feels or what he wants/needs. I always need to be told straight forward. Forget dropping hints, body languages and other signs. I also often need to be told many times in different ways until I understand it. There are times I have to explain myself or feelings in different ways until he gets it because I can have a difficult time making sense of what I am trying to say.
When you do offend your partner as either an aspie or neurotypical it is important to talk about it as soon as possible. This can be often hard for me because I often beat myself up on the inside for a long time and struggle inwardly after I offended my husband in any way. It is something I continue to work on. It is better to talk about it though sooner than later because the sooner you do it the less time you spend in silence, ignoring each other and hurt by it.
Also to note that sometimes the aspie partner will not understand how they offended their partner and therefor feel no apology is needed. Get over it. It doesn’t matter you didn’t intentionally hurt them, it doesn’t matter how silly or meaningless it is. What matters is you hurt your partner and you need to simply apologize. Forget the “It’s not what I meant” or “its not a big deal” it is a big deal if your partner is hurt by your words or actions. It is important for both partners to take responsibility of their actions no matter how big or small and apologize.
#2 That both partners understand the diagnoses of Asperger Syndrome, Autism or whatever your diagnoses may be and how it can affect your relationship. (I will talk about it from a personal stand point like all of this post is. However, for anyone living with any kind of diagnoses this tip can be important and very helpful I think)
This one is very important to me and is actually one of the reasons why I believed my husband was the one and only for me. When we first met and he found out about my diagnoses he looked into it and researched everything there is to know about Aspegers Syndrome and Autism. It has also helped him know a lot more about me in times I do fail to communicate and understand some of my behaviours.
#3 Divide up household chores and responsibilities according to each partner’s strengths
I am fully aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I am great at making to do lists and sticking to it, I am great at cleaning and organizing. I am just learning how to cook, but I still really suck at it and don’t fully trust my skills. So my husband still cooks the majority of the dinners and I either do the dishes or we do them together as we see it as a nice family chore we can do together. I am great with kids and have a lot of patience for them. (This may be surprising I know. xD I only have patience with mini humans tbh.) We don’t have children yet, but when we plan to have children I can see me having a lot of that responsibility because I enjoy it. I am a great writer, love to write and have neater hand writing so I deal a lot with those sort of things for both of us. We both share the managing of the finances as I am okay with money and managing it, but it is not one of my stronger suits. I can’t book appointments worth a shit as it exhausts me and I procrastinate a lot when having to book one or talk to anyone over the phone or in person as it drains all my energy. So it is something he will often help me with when I have to do it and he can handle his own end as he knows I really struggle with it.
Right now I am not working, but will be returning to work very soon. So for now we have a schedule and responsibilities that work for us. I handle all the household cleaning and he works full time. Before when we were both working he handled working full time and a lot more household chores as I was too overwhelmed/exhausted from work at the end of the day and my weekends consisted of resting up for the next week ahead. Sometimes we would either divide up the chores for the weekend or we would do them together so they would get done faster and we could both enjoy our relaxing weekend. When I go back to work I am sure it will fall back to him handling more household chores and me trying to help him whenever I am able to. Sometimes I do have to swallow my frustrations and help him as it is not fair to leave all the responsibilities to one partner. I know it will be something I can always improve on when I do return to work.
#4 Lots, lots and lots of downtime
The only advice I can offer to people on the spectrum or aspies who is in a relationship with someone who is a social butterfly is to always communicate when you need alone time, but do it in a way your partner will not take it personally and think it’s them. It is important to communicate when you also want to be left alone because you are too overwhelmed. If you wait too long and get angry at your partner who keeps annoying you with social interactions, he or she will take offence to the frustrating response and is likely to take it more personally. It is also important to express how you are feeling when out in public and express that you need to leave the environment. If your NT partner cannot leave or you both feel rude for leaving then you need to find a quiet place where you can relax and refocus. This is advice I take myself, but you may need to try and communicate it more if your partner is say more social than my husband.
I do not have much of a problem because as socially strong and stable my husband is, he is much like me when it comes to socializing with people and crowds. We both don’t like crowds. We both enjoy a certain amount of our own alone time. When we do spend time together it is normally routinely (Routines are great. 😉 ) and we also schedule things like dates like a week ahead. When we go to stores like Wal Mart or even hell just the grocery store my husband manages a lot so I don’t get overwhelmed and he also is great at knowing when I am over it and want to get the heck out of said place. He also knows me so well now that he actually will tell me I need down time, or he picks up on the clues so he doesn’t take it personally.
Right now I am getting a lot more down time as I am not working and the hubby is away at work. So for now and not much longer things have been running quite smoothly. This may change when I do return to work, who am I kidding? It most definitely will change and take some readjusting again. (I see a part two to this post or series in the future. Haha) Something great my hubby suggested back when I was working was to only work out on the days I felt up for it, but to always take a hot shower either after work or the work out. We had a work out routine going for sometime and it was great, but I now often work out by myself when he is at work. I kinda miss it and as it was very routine like everything I do is, I actually was pretty good with keeping up with it. The hot shower was probably the best suggestion anyone has given me because it helped me transition from work mode to being home. I would then take mandatory down time until dinner and sometimes after dinner if I needed more time. I will have to remember these tips and tricks when I return to work here within the next couple weeks.
#5 Accept that both of you, but especially aspies will have bad days
Normally I have a good handle on my more annoying aspie traits and it’s associated disorders. However when I am more anxious or stressed, my autism and other diagnoses that goes along with being aspie rears it’s ugly head and those symptoms I normally have control over worsen. I become more irritable, impatient, frustrated, less likely to be able to deal with routine change and more vulnerable to sensory overload when stressed or anxious. Symptoms that don’t normally affect my functioning can become a big obstacle and has definitely tested our relationship at times. It makes it more stressful for my husband if/when he is already going through a stressful time or having a bad day and has to deal with my break downs or out breaks of my autism traits on top of everything else. This is something I am definitely still continuing to work on to make it less awful for both of us. Like I already mentioned taking a lot of down time helps me to be able to deal with life’s ups and downs, giving myself sensory breaks and routine are a few things that can even help me in the most stressful times. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of tips or advice as it continues to be a struggle for myself. Luckily my outbreaks happen few and far between. My husband does accept that I do have bad days even if it emotionally and mentally drains both of us. He also has bad days and when we have a bad day at the same time, these have been the real tests of our relationships and how I know our relationship is successful or at least meant to be, as cheesy as that sounds…it’s true.
#6 Live together before getting married (This is good advice for everyone in a relationship who are thinking of marriage or spending the rest of their lives with that special someone, but I feel I need to touch on this as I have read many horror articles of the NT blaming Asperger Syndrome or autism for a failed marriage or relationship.)
I have spent a lot of time researching and reading articles about aspies or people on the spectrum being in relationships out of curiosity and information never hurts. It shocked and angered me how many articles or blogs were written by a neurotypical writing how frustrating their aspie’s or autistic partners traits or personality was. Not just how frustrating though, I understand frustration and even anger, but they were like down right hateful. That if their partner ever read their articles or blogs they’d be long gone. Now the fact you are hating on your partner aspie, autistic or not online for the world to see without their knowing is a different discussion on it’s own, but not what this post is about. I have also read articles where a neurotypical went through a divorce with an aspie and blamed the failed marriage entirely on Asperger Syndrome. Even though this has nothing to do with what I am going to discuss, but it is daft as fuck to blame a failed relationship or marriage solely on one person or one thing. I am not sure if I am ranting about failed NT-Aspie marriages or I am just ranting about stupid people in general. (which is something that will happen often here on my blog. You have been warned) Either way, I thought I’d give a background or introduction on why I want to stress that you should try living with someone on the spectrum before marrying them. Maybe longer than you would say in a NT-NT relationship.
You can’t truly get to know someone for good or worse until you live with them day to day, and since people on the spectrum tend to struggle more with things like social interactions and can become more easily socially overwhelmed it will only benefit both partners in the NT-Aspie relationship to try living together first.
It allows you to see if you can accept the bad days or bad times an aspie will probably go through more so than the NT. It gives you the best chance to truly get to know each other and through that you can discover if you can work on your weaknesses and difficulties. If you cannot work on your weaknesses you will find out if you can accept the person’s weaknesses. It is not such a change or shock for an aspie like myself who needs everything to be the damn same all the time, to have a human being constantly being around, changing shit around without warning and their quirks are to hard for you to adapt to and now you can’t back out because you married them. Well you could file for divorce, but trust me you don’t want to be that fool that has been divorced 3 or 4 times. Just don’t be that person because weddings and lawyers are expensive as fuck. It also gives marriage no meaning tbh.
Unless you are awesome like myself who’s wedding cost $0 Hubby’s suit: borrowed aka FREE Dinner: paid for and complimentary wedding cake from the restaurant aka more free shit. We also got alcohol given to us for the evening. Biggest score for sure. The biggest cost was my dress that was $25 and our very cheap wedding bands(You can tell they are cheap because I am not sharing the price here. xD) that we plan to renew when we are filthy rich. Jk we will never be filthy rich, but when we are no longer poor. 🙂 Okay we are getting off topic I just thought I’d share this awesome fact with y’all because for an aspie no crowds and avoiding the center of attention was all I could ask for a perfect wedding and I achieved this.
I just truly believe living together for at least a year or so is a true test and beneficial for both the NT and aspie for many different reasons. It also stops the stupidity that I explained above. 🙂 News flash if your marriage failed it is both partner’s fault and not just one or a diagnoses.
Okay that is all the tips and tricks I have to a successful relationship for aspies. Sorry the last one is more of a rant and hint of randomness than actual solid advice, but I think you will get the point I was trying to make. I am not editing this as I promised I would post today and I don’t got time for that. I think this post will be updated in the future anyways as I will have more tips to share and discover more the longer I am married and then I can edit it tbh. So this post is subject to change. xD
If you have any tips of your own, experiences to share or liked my post feel free to leave a comment.
Now here is a song that really relates to me and how I feel at times towards my husband. 🙂 ❤ When I found this song I was like OMG this is the perfect song to describe often at times how I feel. Kinda like the perfect soundtrack when my heart can't explain how I feel towards him. It was probably the first truest song I ever dedicated to him.