Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
The ‘puzzle’ of AS + non-AS
Marriages
 share insights on

some of the
complexities of these
partnerships
 insights come from
professional and
personal experie...
WHY ARE AS MARRIAGES
IMPORTANT?
1.

Increasing
prevalence
• estimate that at least
1:120 people have AS
• Some believe thi...
Implications over time
 Early on, the ASC slice

of the pie seems lower
than any others
 But as these same
children matu...
Is AS a "relationship disorder“?
“Someone with AS probably has great intentions
initially… He wants to make his spouse hap...
The ‘expert’s opinion’








ASpies are challenged by varying degrees of
difficulty with processing speed, sensory i...
What are the most common
puzzlers?








Inability to communicate effectively
Estrangement
Dependency
Handling co...
Is there anything mentioned that has “resonated” with you… or maybe even
disturbed you a little?
Can we open up a dialogue...
The Early Years








Some people with AS have traits which attract partners;
seen as highly intelligent, gentle, ap...
The Early Years (con’t)




Non-AS women may
be attracted to an
AS partners who
appear safe and
faithful — and won’t
lea...
Then one partner begins to
twist the Cube…




AS + non--AS couples have the most
difficulty in their relationship becau...
PAUSE & REFLECT:
 

Ask yourself, if it’s hard for you to relate to your AS partner, how much
harder is it for them to rel...
On-going relational challenges






The problems persist as individuals with AS
are often reluctant to seek help; comp...
What Else???




Problems persist when help is
sought ‘too late’ — when the
dysfunctional dynamics have a
secured a stro...
‘Rubik’ Communications
Misunderstood communication can present some
of the biggest challenges for AS + non-AS
couples, as ...
COMMUNICATION
DIFFERENCES





When the woman says certain things to their
partners with AS during a conversation, the m...
“The Cube-bicle” (…sorry David…)
Sexual Intimacy








Sensory issues can impact the
physical response of the man wi...
Sexual Intimacy issues








ASpie may have minimal or no drive
to have sex
Some, at the other extreme, desire
frequ...
Issues that affect the non-AS partner
The longer a couple has been together
without awareness of AS, the larger the
impact...
More Issues (con’t)
Woman views her husband as an extra child,
because he can seem demanding, inconsiderate,
and incompete...
Then the Cube-cible turns up the heat…

Many AS men are socially and emotionally
dependent on their partners; yet they are...
The ‘cube’ begins to morph…
The majority of non-AS persons decide to
go ahead and marry their AS partners;
almost in spite of what they may have
disco...
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE
TRENCHES



non-AS partner- shift your
“paradigm” (focus) from
what you’re not getting from
your AS ...
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE
TRENCHES






AS partners - reconsider our
perception of our partner and of
ourselves
because of ...
PARTING SHOTS…
For both non-AS + AS partners,
try to listen to one another in a
non-defensive way. Ask for
clarification o...
PARTING SHOTS…
► Become

students of each other's
culture. Pretend that you are learning a
new language from a new country...
Works Cited






Carely, M.. (1999). Asperger’s from the inside-out. London:
J.K.P.
Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain tha...
"The puzzle called AS/NT marriage"
"The puzzle called AS/NT marriage"
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

"The puzzle called AS/NT marriage"

1,216 views

Published on

A personal journey describing difficulties and successes in an AS/NT marriage

Published in: Health & Medicine, Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

"The puzzle called AS/NT marriage"

  1. 1. The ‘puzzle’ of AS + non-AS Marriages
  2. 2.  share insights on some of the complexities of these partnerships  insights come from professional and personal experiences with AS men (mostly)  from an exhaustive review of the literature
  3. 3. WHY ARE AS MARRIAGES IMPORTANT? 1. Increasing prevalence • estimate that at least 1:120 people have AS • Some believe this is now down to 1:88 2. Gendered relevance • More males than females are diagnosed
  4. 4. Implications over time  Early on, the ASC slice of the pie seems lower than any others  But as these same children mature, it seems the yellow wedge gets bigger — at the expense of the red and orange wedges IAN, 2009 – State of Nation
  5. 5. Is AS a "relationship disorder“? “Someone with AS probably has great intentions initially… He wants to make his spouse happy but can't read the signs. At the beginning of the courtship, the woman could become his obsession and she has probably never experienced such attention. Five years down the line, however, when he has focussed on something else and returns from work, yet forgets to say hello and goes to the garage to take the car apart, things are very different. Women often begin to believe, "He's either got AS —or he's the most selfish man on the planet!" (Maxime Aston, 2003)
  6. 6. The ‘expert’s opinion’     ASpies are challenged by varying degrees of difficulty with processing speed, sensory issues, anxiety, depression, perseveration and rigidity in thinking, as well as executive functioning. difficulty intuitively understanding what another person may know, think, or feel (empathic connection) variability in the level of social relatedness and functioning often feel emotionally or socially disconnected
  7. 7. What are the most common puzzlers?        Inability to communicate effectively Estrangement Dependency Handling conflict Differences Commonalities Expectations and needs
  8. 8. Is there anything mentioned that has “resonated” with you… or maybe even disturbed you a little? Can we open up a dialogue around any “noticings” you may have had?
  9. 9. The Early Years     Some people with AS have traits which attract partners; seen as highly intelligent, gentle, appreciative, loyal, receptive of caretaking, well read, interesting, creative, and possibly ‘interesting’ (unusual, or quirky) Non-AS partners may appreciate that their partner with AS “marches to the beat of a different drummer” They may not exhibit some of the negative social or interpersonal attributes that they may have encountered in other potential partners, or previous partners. When we first met fifteen years ago, part of what initially attracted me to her (besides the fact that she is incredibly hot), was that she was independent and didn’t seem to care what other people thought or said. She danced to the beat of her own drum so to speak. I didn’t realize until much later that there was no level of compromise in this.
  10. 10. The Early Years (con’t)   Non-AS women may be attracted to an AS partners who appear safe and faithful — and won’t leave them. Significant issues may go unnoticed, ignored, or glossed over by non-AS partner (the differences seem to be explained away)    AS partners present their best selves during this courtship period Completed college successfully; found a professional niche People with AS can be & are good partners (contrary to popular belief)
  11. 11. Then one partner begins to twist the Cube…   AS + non--AS couples have the most difficulty in their relationship because of the lack of alignment (mismatch) of needs and expectations. When relationship is not meeting their needs and expectations, they become confused and don’t understand why their relationship difficulties seem so different from others’. This is what many women long to sort out. They want to understand what is a typical relationship issue, what is unique to their relationship, what is gender-based, and what is AS related…
  12. 12. PAUSE & REFLECT:   Ask yourself, if it’s hard for you to relate to your AS partner, how much harder is it for them to relate to you? You may know your reasons for doing and feeling whatever you do, but do you think it makes any sense to them?
  13. 13. On-going relational challenges    The problems persist as individuals with AS are often reluctant to seek help; complicated by their lack of self-awareness and difficulty seeing the consequences of their behavior through another’s’ eyes. Negative experiences with prior help-seeking often adds to their reluctance. Very often the woman without AS is blamed for being controlling and overly demanding. Partners with AS may struggle to talk about and relate their ‘real’ emotions and feelings.
  14. 14. What Else???   Problems persist when help is sought ‘too late’ — when the dysfunctional dynamics have a secured a strong foothold the issue is the emotional entanglements that couples get into as they try to enlist their partner in helping them to outwork their past
  15. 15. ‘Rubik’ Communications Misunderstood communication can present some of the biggest challenges for AS + non-AS couples, as though they are speaking different languages. Most people know how to communicate, but it seems to go haywire in the marriage… Couples who say they need to learn communication skills are hoping it will be a lot simpler than it usually is to heal the relationship.
  16. 16. COMMUNICATION DIFFERENCES   When the woman says certain things to their partners with AS during a conversation, the men either do not seem to listen, often do not respond, or they respond inappropriately to a piece of what was said. Instead, perhaps they focus on some other technical detail, rather than understanding the intent and the meaning of the sentence in the context in which it is spoken. There is a lack of back and forth dialogue.
  17. 17. “The Cube-bicle” (…sorry David…) Sexual Intimacy     Sensory issues can impact the physical response of the man with AS. Lack of understanding how his partner may be responding to his touch. Inability to rapidly process and adjust to nonverbal feedback. A lack of spontaneity, and tendency toward rigidity or routine (if something works, he may be resistant to trying something new instead).
  18. 18. Sexual Intimacy issues     ASpie may have minimal or no drive to have sex Some, at the other extreme, desire frequent sex with themselves or mul­tiple partners. Emotional disconnection, so partners feel disenfranchised or angry; difficult for either partner to want physical intimacy. Occasionally, depending on a woman’s specific sexual history, sex without mutual emotional con­ nection can be traumatic.
  19. 19. Issues that affect the non-AS partner The longer a couple has been together without awareness of AS, the larger the impact on the relationship. ► Social isolation can be a problem for the non-AS partner. One may be content or has the neurological makeup to spend a lot of time alone with his ‘perservations’… ► Common for the non-AS partner to report that it is difficult to get social and emotional support. ►
  20. 20. More Issues (con’t) Woman views her husband as an extra child, because he can seem demanding, inconsiderate, and incompetent in certain ways… It is more likely that AS + non-AS couples, because of genetics, will have one or more children with on the Spectrum. ASpies are likely to have encountered a great deal of frustration, rejection, and failure
  21. 21. Then the Cube-cible turns up the heat… Many AS men are socially and emotionally dependent on their partners; yet they are often unaware of the impact of their behavior on others, and tend to blame others for interpersonal problems. When a woman attempts to work through a problem in the relationship, the man with AS may respond to his partner’s feedback, expectations, requests or demands with denial, withdrawal, or even verbal abuse. His rage or depression, problems with stable employment, or limited ability to parent, then become additional stressors.
  22. 22. The ‘cube’ begins to morph…
  23. 23. The majority of non-AS persons decide to go ahead and marry their AS partners; almost in spite of what they may have discovered… Like spouses of addicts, once the “heat becomes too much”, by some process of attrition the relationship ends up being more one of practicality and convenience for the person with Asperger’s Syndrome than for the loving and meeting of emotional needs of marital bliss. This then creates the “crucible” of marriage that David Schnarch talks about in his book “Passionate Marriage”
  24. 24. SUGGESTIONS FROM THE TRENCHES  non-AS partner- shift your “paradigm” (focus) from what you’re not getting from your AS partner to see and value the strengths s/he brings into the relationship
  25. 25. SUGGESTIONS FROM THE TRENCHES    AS partners - reconsider our perception of our partner and of ourselves because of the differences in the way our brains work, a lot of what our partner is telling us about our role in problems is probably correct Avoid the blame game
  26. 26. PARTING SHOTS… For both non-AS + AS partners, try to listen to one another in a non-defensive way. Ask for clarification of things you don't understand in a simple, respectful, and low key way. (ASpie’s need to strive to be not so effusive)
  27. 27. PARTING SHOTS… ► Become students of each other's culture. Pretend that you are learning a new language from a new country. If you are an AS, remember that, in many ways, your partner is from another place ― the County NT. ► If you are non-AS, remember that your AS partner is from another culture. Celebrate your DIVERSITY and the differences.
  28. 28. Works Cited      Carely, M.. (1999). Asperger’s from the inside-out. London: J.K.P. Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain that Changes itself. London: Penguin Books Ltd. Holliday Willey, L. (1999). Pretending to be Normal. London: J.K.P. Schnarch, D. (1999). Passionate Marriage. Melbourne: Scribe Publ. Simone, R. (2011). AsperGirls. London: J.K.P.

×