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Asperger’s syndrome was taken off the DSM in 2013 and integrated into the autism spectrum. Before 2013, it was considered to be a separate form of high-functioning autism, but since then, our understanding of autism has evolved.
However, many people who were diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome will still identify with the label. Asperger syndrome is characterized by its socially awkward tendencies and obsessions, yet language development is normal, and intelligence is normal, sometimes higher than average.
If you’re dating someone who has Asperger’s or are married to one, here are some things to know.
Everyone is Different
It’s challenging to read up on Asperger’s and autism marriage because the posts tend to lump everyone into one category. However, autism is a broad diagnosis, and many people are unique. Some people with Asperger’s don’t like to be touched. Others are just fine. Some may have a hard time being empathetic, while others can.
Therefore, it’s important to know your partner’s ins and outs and how they behave. No guide is going to be definitive.
They’re Not Mad At Your Or Disinterested
With Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism, many people who have it can sound robotic, and sometimes, they may retreat into their own shell when they aren’t feeling social or feel too stimulated.
Because of this, outsiders may think the person doesn’t like them or isn’t interested. However, a person with Asperger syndrome may have problems with tones and body language, and they’re people who you may need to take at their word.
Perhaps the most famous example is the lack of eye contact. A person with Asperger syndrome does not like to look people in the eye. It’s not because they dislike or don’t trust you. It’s just how they are.
If You Like Routines, You’re in for a Treat
Many people with Asperger syndrome are obsessed with the routine. Every day has to go a certain way, and any changes to the routine can make them upset. Obviously, not all, but many of them will experience this.
They Have Interests They Are Fixated On
Asperger syndrome is often associated with interests. Obviously, everyone has their interests, but people with Asperger’s or autism tend to have certain interests that they obsess with. They may know very specific knowledge about it. For example, if they are into a TV show, they may know every person in the credits by memory.
Often, the person with Asperger’s may share their interests, even if the person they are sharing it with doesn’t have the same. It’s important to realize this when married to someone with Asperger’s and to entertain and promote any interests they have. Often, people with Asperger’s can make lucrative careers from being interested in something.
It should be noted that interests can change, or they can stay the same over time.
Arguments Require a Certain Amount of Care
Arguments and disagreements can happen in any marriage, but for an Asperger’s marriage, there are a few rules that you need to remember:
- Some people with Asperger’s are sensitive to criticism. They may see a tiny complaint made about them as an attack on their personality.
- People with Asperger’s may have a hard time showing concern with your feelings. They do have empathy and often express it in their own way, but many people will think they don’t know how to show it.
- With arguing, it’s important not to get too emotional. Overstimulation can lead to meltdowns, which we will discuss now.
One of the biggest challenges of an Asperger marriage is the meltdown. Most people with Asperger’s and autism will have what’s known as the meltdown. When a person is experiencing sensory overload or is overstimulated, they will have a meltdown. It’s often very sudden and resembles an explosion of anger or a tantrum. However, it’s not because the person is entitled or has anger issues. It’s the only way for the person to release some steam.
Meltdowns can be dangerous and possibly embarrassing for all parties. Many people with Asperger’s regret the meltdown afterward. It’s important to assure the person they are okay, but also find ways to prevent it.
Often, many meltdowns are sudden, but some are due to a buildup of stress and stimulation. Some people can feel a “rumble” before a meltdown. Learning to identify triggers and detect rumbles, then helping the autistic person out of the area before they have the meltdown, is one great way to manage.
Of course, a meltdown will usually happen. If it does, then every autistic person is different. Some will like to be comforted. Others may need space. It’s important to respect that person’s wishes.
It’s a Learning Experience
When you’re married to someone with Asperger’s, it can be a great marriage, but it involves educating yourself on the disorder and how the person themselves behaves. You should learn as much as you can and listen to the person with it. Some people may think that the person with autism is making excuses, or they refuse to learn more. This can end up ruining the relationship.
There’s No Shame in Couples Counseling
Many counselors and therapists have had clients who are in autism or Asperger’s marriage, and they can help you. If you feel like you’re unable to get your point across, and the person with Asperger’s feels the same way, a therapist can be a solution. Asperger’s isn’t something one can cure, as it is a different wiring of the brain. However, you can find ways to communicate with your spouse better, and your spouse can find ways to communicate or control certain aspects of their disorder.
It Can Be a Fun Marriage
Every marriage has its positives and negatives, and a person with Asperger’s has positives. They have an original way of seeing the world. They can have great observations. And because they have a hard time getting into relationships, they’ll be extra amazing towards you.
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