Relationships are work no matter who you are, but when you introduce autism with neurotypical individuals, its a whole new ballgame.
So lets take a step back, before marriage and being diagnosed. I was in a relationship with my ex for 10 years. Obviously I didn’t know about my autism during this time, so a lot of the relationship didn’t make sense but does now. We were definitely two different types of people. She was outgoing, always wanting to be somewhere, doing something or with other people exploring the outside world and things to do in the state. I, on the other hand, wanted to be home, not interested in spending hours in a car, not wanting to be around a bunch of people, just home watching tv or doing something around the house. It drove a wedge between us and our relationship. We started growing apart and in different directions. She started just doing things on her own and I stayed home, including vacations. I didn’t even get mad that she was out enjoying life and I was home, it upset her more cause I didn’t ever want to do anything with her. After about 7 years, it was like we just became roommates, just say hi in passing, no intimacy whatsoever. Her family began to interject themselves to occupy her time and make it out that I just didn’t want to be around her. At 10 years, we came together, decided we were in different spots in our life and called it quits. Looking back and seeing all the traits associated with autism, I can see the impact it made on my and her life, without knowing or being on purpose. Do I think knowing what I know now would have saved the relationship? No. We were too different and wanted different things in life. It was a comfort thing, not wanting to start new and be in unfamiliar territory. We aspies don’t like change, we love routine and familiarity.
Fast forward to current time, I am married and our two year anniversary is coming up at the end of this month. It hasn’t been an easy marriage, like I said it takes work, but I married my best friend and biggest supporter. She is manic bi-polar but still considered neurotypical. We don’t think in the same way, I’m very logical and practical and she will tell you straight out she lacks common sense. But she is very smart and is the reason I’m back in school (College, another day another post haha). She worked with adults with disabilities and children in the past. She is a born helper and the reason I even went to get the diagnosis to begin with. Together we have learned and accepted the diagnosis. The amount of research and dedication she has for me is beyond reach. There are a lot of times she forgets about my disability because I’m so “normal” to her, an that’s usually when we have something happen that can either blowup or get resolved with space and time. She doesn’t mind being home, not going to concerts, not having to be around people all the time. She does get stir crazy at times but she figures out how to manage. The accommodations that she makes for me, sensory friendly smells, low stress environment, encourages naps to restart the brain, all to make my life easier. The beginning of the relationship was tough for sure but the longer we are together and working for a happy life together, the easier it gets. We grow happier each day together, being each other’s best friend. Not to say we don’t have our days when one of us is having a bad day but so much less frequent. She even understands and accepts that I am not a kisser. It’s a sensory thing. A “normal” kiss for me is way less intimate than what others that are married would do, but she doesn’t complain and sticks by me to the end. I couldn’t ask for a better partner that motivates me to be a better person and doesn’t let me just slack.
My suggestion for anyone reading this is to do your research. Aspies and Neurotypicals can make it work but it takes work. Much more than a typical relationship. If you can’t handle the aspects that come with the disability, it’s not a bad thing. I read and my wife reads all different posts and stories of couples in this type of relationship and they are usually all negative. Couples that fight, one partner feeling alone and neglected, lack of emotion and empathy from the aspie partner, long periods of no physical intimacy (which by the way, sex is a huge sensory overload and not all can handle the amount of strain on the brain, it doesn’t mean the partner doesn’t want to have sex, it can simply be that they are unable) and a huge one is that aspies get bored in a relationship. The stress from all these can break the relationship up faster than anything. I’m not giving advice to stay away from aspies, we want love too, we just don’t operate like others and it takes a special kind of person to go through this journey together.
My hope from this blog isn’t to bore people or to make it like aspies are hard people to deal with but to shine a little light from my own life and experiences as an adult with Aspergers and it helps me accepting my own life daily. I can’t always verbalize what I want to say, so writing it helps. Aspergers isn’t a one day awareness and acceptance, it’s life long-long and I learn more about myself everyday. I hope you enjoy it and maybe even can relate in someway. Till next time, have a great day!