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Asperger Partner - any advice?

(21 Posts)
MettaWoman Sat 21-Jul-12 17:17:37

I am after some information about AS.
My partner has been diagnosed with AS and I have been reading quite a bit about it and what it means to me as his partner. But what I have read left me shockhmm and in some ways completely contradictory to what I have read on here from people with AS hmmhmm.

What I have been very surprised is the idea that AS people can not change, that they are totally set in their ways and that's it. This is something I can understand at some level but I would also have expected some changes to be possible too. What I am talking about here is for example the ability to adapt when family changes, for example the addition to one or more children). Is that really too much to ask a man with AS?

The other thing that has come out quite a lot (in forums for AS adults and/or their partners) is that AS adults are quite often depressed in some ways (Because everyday life is more a challenge for them??). Is that the case and if so is there any way I can support him?

Many thanks

MettaWoman Sat 21-Jul-12 17:18:24

BTW, i have come on here with the hope that there would be some people with AS on here that would be able to clarify some things for me. Hope this is OK.

Mechavivzilla Sat 21-Jul-12 17:37:02

Not really much help I am afraid, but I do have a dear friend with AS who has a brilliant marriage to a wonderful woman and they have really lovely children. It is possible. I think he has some sort of therapy through Occupational Health to help him deal with situations he finds difficult. They are an amazingly happy, loving family though. The plural of anecdote I know is not data, but there is hope! I am sure someone far more wise and informed than I will come along shortly smile xx

MettaWoman Sat 21-Jul-12 17:57:47

Thanks, it's always nice to hear about positive stories. So much out there is negative...

Berris Sat 21-Jul-12 18:11:56

There is a lot of negativity, and it makes me both angry and sad!

I wouldn't say that AS people are set in their ways and cannot change - they can, and they do. Every person with AS is different too, in the same way that NT people are. Some people manage some aspects of their AS better than others.

For my part, I know why my DP does certain things. I know when to leave him be, and I know the things that will stress him out, and what causes overload of sensations, for example.

I find knowing that his brain is just wired up differently is helpful - I put myself into his world rather than forcing him through to the NT world. Plus I have some distinct AS traits myself, so maybe that makes a diff!

Depression is common - I have moderate depression for which I'm on meds for. My DP sometimes needs reassurances that I still like and love him. He can be very tactile, so there is a lot of affection in our relationship. If he's very focused on a work thing, I leave him to it.

I do stand up to him if I think he's being an arse or unreasonable. We get on because I don't just let him do what he wants all the time - he likes to be challenged, so to speak.

I also think - be positive. smile My DP is a very intelligent, quirky, honest, lovely man. Life is rarely boring with him around, and we have a lot if fun smile

MettaWoman Sat 21-Jul-12 19:59:10

I have been worried re change because we now have 2 dcs (still very young, they are 6 months and 2 years old!) and DP has been struggling with that side of things. I have been having a go at him for things I have found unreasonable (or at least unreasonable to the feminist in me lol) and reading all this made me wonder if actually he would be able to step up and really get involved with the dcs. But We get on because I don't just let him do what he wants all the time makes me feel much more comfortable tbh.

I do know noise is a big issue for him (not easy with a colicky baby...) and he isn't able to recognize what dc1 is able to do (he would like to be able to do day long walk already!) so that's some AS side for him.

I don't know about putting myself in the AS world. When he was going through the diagnosis, we did the AQ test together. He got 39 and I got 4 No AS tendencies in me!... That world seems completely surreal to me and I am not even sure I can even start to comprehend what it is like tbh.
I suppose we will have to find our way together.

Berris Sat 21-Jul-12 22:06:22

You will find your way together - he does need to try and understand some of your perspective too, although it isn't always easy. If noise is a big issue, you may find that certain things will cause physical pain for him - it certainly does with my DP. It makes him need to run away; he just cannot cope with it. I have 2 DDs, one of whom is VERY high pitched - she causes him physical pain sometimes.

I can imagine it does seem very surreal - its not easy to enter the AS world if you are NT, I don't think. I would suggest keep learning what you can. There is some really good info around - the National Autistism website has info for partners.

Another thing is - AS isn't an excuse, but it is an explanation for some behaviours - that can too.

Berris Sat 21-Jul-12 22:09:37

Oh, I score 34 on the AQ test - possibly why DP and I 'get' each other.

MettaWoman Sun 22-Jul-12 07:00:56

Thanks Berris. That's a much more positive outlook.

I came out after reading a few books with this impression that everything was set in stone. I don't know if you have heard about the 'whiteboard efect' and that once an info is on it you can't take it off. So if a person has AS and has developed the idea that X is what you do, then that's it, they will always do that.
Does it ring true to you?

MettaWoman Sun 22-Jul-12 07:02:44

AS isn't an excuse, but it is an explanation for some behaviours
I really like that!

Berris Sun 22-Jul-12 10:36:21

I don't think they will always do something a particular way - I guess some people with AS will, some won't. It's all to do with how people cope with certain aspects. There are coping mechanisms, which I think is the same for NT people too. For example, my DP really needs downtime, which normally involves hiding in our room. He doesn't cope well if I need to go in and get something - but sometimes I have to. That does cause problems, but I do understand it.

Some things can completely overwhelm a person with AS, and they will need to hide/run away. If you adapt to understand that need for downtime, then that will help all of you. You're probably already aware of triggers with him, pre diagnosis - what you have now is something that explains why he may react to certain things in certain ways. I find that helpful.

One of the real "problems" with AS is everyone is different. Yes, there are some traits that give a definitive diagnosis, but there are differences - in the same way as NT are different. I remember reading traits and behaviours and thinking 'but that's not my DP'! Eye contact is something that DP is very good at - I'm worse on eye contact than him!

Something my cousin says - AS allows the AS person to things that NT people want to do, but can't.

MettaWoman Sun 22-Jul-12 11:26:00

AS allows the AS person to do things that NT people want to do, but can't

You are right we are all different, NT or AS or whatever other label we can have.
My DP is very silent. I think he has learnt that talking too much is bringing him bad attention/can be hurtful/will be misunderstood. So actually knowing what is a trigger can be difficult lol.

lots to think about but thanks for your input. I came out quite depressed from my readings and I am much more optimistic now.

Berris Sun 22-Jul-12 17:49:14

I've just been having a mooch around some blogs that I follow on WordPress - thought this post might be helpful to you?

I'm so glad you're feeling more optimistic. Keep asking questions, keep seeking support x

thewhistler Wed 08-Aug-12 22:04:42

Metta, am pming you.

honey86 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:03:25

its hard cos everyones as varies.

i have as and i admit im a right handful sometimes for him. i hate change and bite his head off if he makes a change to my routine at all..

i have 3 kids and i got distressed at the adaptation, but over time i did adapt.
we can change, but our minds are dragged through the process kicking and screaming... its hard to explain and its scary to go through. we will resist and argue and be difficult but once we are used to ideas well soften towards it.

all i can think from my perspective, is plenty of support, space and quiet if needed, and advance notice of due changes.

ppl with asd see sameness and routine as a security blanket, or at least i do x

honey86 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:10:06

and its true that depression is a common comorbid condition that comes with asd. its prob cos of the isolation from others, changes, discrimination etc...

it helps having a 'safe place' ie.. a place or period of time to spend alone doing something (or nothing) to clear our heads of the sensory pollution that overstimulates us... if that makes sense x

ClearlyDad Tue 23-Apr-13 12:39:33

My wife worries... partly because of the "stigma" of "not normal" that goes with AS. I am that way, my son might be.

Two types of people write about AS; those with first hand knowledge and the medical profession.

Now, the medical profession always come off sounding negative because they need to apply a broad brush approach to the entire spectrum of individuals and cover THE CONDITION. Therefore they write things like "resistant to change" or "obsessive".

What "resistant to change" means on a case by case basis varies massively. I am "resistant to change" in that I find a flight being cancelled to be massively stressful and difficult (to the point of anxiety), but when I got married, I knew that having children would be part of that experience, and so I'm fine with it (I would stuggle massively if we couldn't have children, because in my head "BEING A FAMILY" = "HAVING KIDS/WIFE/DOG". The easiest way to view AS individuals (or at least the one writing this message) is as a robot with different rules programmed in. Some of them are VERY SPECIFIC (I always use the "right knife" for the job in the kitchen, and get annoyed when I see others doing everything with a parring knife), whilst others are more like Asimov's laws, so "I don't like unfairness" which results in everything from cheering for Trinidad and Tobago in the world cup, to writing letters to Tesco when their food isn't as described.

Ditch the books, love your partner. He is an individual who was able to attract you and hold your interest.

You're also "right" about the depression... but one of the few times I broke down in tears with my wife was the day I found her "research library"! If you want to be supportive, then tell rather than hint (and this really does go for everything from "picking up laundry" to "naked horizontal tango").

Roseannie Sat 20-Jul-13 22:26:53

Metta why dont you have a look at this thread in 'off the beaten track' which is a brilliant support thread for people whose partners have AS.T hey are a lovely bunch and the thread is a great support to either join in or just quietly read....

Roseannie Sat 20-Jul-13 22:28:03

Sorry the link didnt work-you will find 'off the beaten track ' in the section called 'Other Stuff'.Hope this helps!

marissab Sat 03-Aug-13 18:51:54

Everything everyone else said is great. But have you thought about getting him a handbook for toddlers. Most of us can intuite the needs and behaviours of toddlers but he may struggle with this. If you could find a "what to expect" or "rules of" book thats very factual or even scientific, he may enjoy reading the black and white science of toddler behaviour.

Joanna112 Sun 27-Oct-13 12:50:52

Hi .. I'm late coming to this thread. I have been married for 9 years to a man who was diagnosed with AS early this year.

Because, over the previous five years, I'd suffered from depression and hadn't realised what the problem was, I tried hard to find advice, resources and support. Over those years it became apparent that there is quite a lot of support etc for children/parents who have AS but little to nothing available for the adult partners of those with AS.

I successfully applied for a grant to set up a website that will be address this and am in the process of designing the site.

I would be so grateful to hear from anyone who is in the position of being in a relationship with an Aspie and could tell me what they think is needed from the website.

My own experience is that the diagnosis was hugely helpful. But it would have been so great to have been able to talk to others in the same position. I needed access to what the indicators are of AS, recommended resources, the names of counsellors, local support groups, the route to diagnosis, the difference between being just 'male' and AS! Etc, etc smile

I have already talked to the lady who diagnosed my husband. She is a published author and also holds workshops for professionals specialising in AS. She is happy to be associated with the site once it is up and running.

If you have any ideas, I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly at

Best wishes, Joanna112 smile

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