Where is the human relationship in this nightmare presentation of “partnership”? Why are these people married to each other?
The excerpts below focus on interventions and suggestions for relationships in which a man with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is partnered with a woman who does not have AS (or a non-AS woman). The article in its entirety may be found on the AANE website. Yes, more stereotypes – Aspergers are robots. Would the “instructions” be the same for an AS woman married to a social typical man?
Asperger Marriage: Viewing Partnerships thru a Different Lens
by Grace Myhill, LICSW and Dania Jekel, MSW
What can be helpful to non-AS partners of people with AS? When it comes to AS, thinking outside the box is usually beneficial. It is important to hold on to and present to the group members the hope that AS + non-AS marriages can work—but probably not as traditional partnerships. The outcomes are best when both members of the couple learn about AS and communicate with each other about how it affects their relationship, recognize where their individual needs differ, and are open to working out alternative solutions—arrangements that may be original or unique to them, rather than meeting conventional expectations.
Yikes! This is an expedition to the center of Hell. Life as one long therapy session? Why would anyone do this?
Even in marriages where neither partner has AS, couples may marry expecting an unrealistically high level of togetherness— that they will do everything together—and it is important as the partners mature to let go of that fantasy. It is even more important for AS + non-AS couples to let go of such unrealistic expectations. Some AS + non-AS couples have separate bedrooms, separate sections of a house, or even separate houses. Women should be encouraged to have their own work, social networks, and places to turn to get their own needs met—needs which the partner with AS is not meeting, and may not be able to meet. On the other hand, it is important for a couple to continue to share their mutual interests as a means of connection or reconnection, even when raising children.
This is bat-crap crazy! Get a dog!
Because of executive function problems, the partner with AS may have trouble completing tasks or doing chores. Whenever possible, it is advisable to hire childcare or household help on a regular basis, to take some of the workload off of both partners and to minimize anger and resentment. In couples where the man with AS has difficulty managing money, if his partner cannot or does not want to take on this task, the couple should seek help in this area.
Oh – and one of you had better be rich!
Getting a formal diagnosis for a man with AS can make a difference. Working with the diagnosis—coming to understand that AS is the root cause of some behaviors, difficulties, or past misunderstandings—can help the couple to forgive and reconnect with each other. Similarly, disclosing the AS to extended family or community members may help heal other important relationships. A diagnosis may lead to making changes at home or at work to reduce stress for the man with AS. Men with AS who are motivated and willing are able to learn behavioral and communication skills that can improve their marriage. Some people with AS learn these skills from books but often they need private or group tutorials from a professional who knows about AS and how to teach social communication pragmatics. From these experts men with AS can learn about conversational hierarchy and social rules, such as how to ask people questions about themselves, and they can use this knowledge in their relationships with their partners.
More $$$$ for therapy
Even with the similarities described by group members, all people with AS are unique individuals, with different capacities and strengths. Some men with AS can be cognizant of the other person and can be quite helpful in certain ways— or they may respond well if asked directly to do something specific…
Other interventions that have worked with group members’ relationships are:
- Making lists
- Accommodating sensory needs, both positive and negative sensory feelings
- Resisting the temptation for both partners to make assumptions about the other’s feelings
- Making suggestions to each other without being critical
- Taking time to talk about issues and ideas looking for possible changes to old unhelpful patterns
- What stunningly vague and generalized suggestions! The “helping, caring, fixing” professions GET PAID for this feeble stuff; blah-blah-blah that a 2-year old could collect off the Internet.
In some cases, prescription medication may improve executive functioning, or lessen anxiety or depression for a man with AS. Medications should be prescribed and monitored by a psychiatrist or psycho-pharmacologist who has expertise treating AS. Prescription medication or individual psychotherapy may also be helpful for a non-AS wife until she is able to get more of her needs met, and is no longer overly stressed or depressed.
Of course! DRUGS are always the bottom line answer to human behavior problems: get “zonked” so that you can tolerate the horror of a “socially approved and prescribed” dysfunctional life.
Why? Because the human behavior industry HAS NO ANSWERS; human beings are “objects” to be controlled. There is no empathy for “life on the ground” as everyday humans experience it day to day.
Surprise! I have much to say about the failure of all types of marriage / partnership / cohabitation / reproductive arrangements in the U.S.A., where 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. Neurotypicals are obviously unable to form satisfying and long-lasting relationships. Asperger’s need not feel inferior or abnormal in this endeavor.
The question that no one seems to be asking is, Why are contemporary Americans so incompetent when making the choice to “merge their life” with a spouse or partner?