Facebook Pixel

Communication Between Asperger's Adults and their Spouses

By HERWriter
Rate This

This is an era of transition for adults with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and their spouses. Until recently, these couples battled unanswered questions and unresolved pain. But because of research and support groups, this can now change.

There is no one personality type for the Asperger's adult. The traits they have in common are neurological in origin, and hamper their ability to read and respond to people around them. But these neurological markers, misunderstood in the past, damage their relationships, particularly if they are married.

For the non-Asperger's, or neurotypical, partner there has been a barrier to emotional intimacy throughout the relationship. This may have caused resentment and grief that their AS mate does not love or value them. The neurotypical spouse (NT) may withdraw, or criticize their Aspie, and unhealthy patterns mushroom over years of misunderstanding.

The Aspie may despair that they will always fail in pleasing their mate, and may become hostile or give up trying. The ripples of rejection grow.

Enter new research into Asperger's Syndrome. For couples starting out, and for couples who have weathered this storm for years and still want to weather it together, there is hope. Is it easy? Probably not. Is it simple? Well, yes, in some ways.

The NT will need to accept the fact that they must learn a new way of communicating. They'll need to understand that their partner does not "catch" nuances and hints and intimations that a neurotypical individual might. These things are invisible to the Aspie. Not because they have chosen this to be so. But simply because it is so. Facial expressions, small sighs, innuendo ... these are wasted and non-productive. A straightforward and verbally precise manner is needed on the part of the NT.

And, if their AS mate values the relationship, and is willing to listen to this direct communication, life can change for the better. The Aspie needs to heed the NT's feelings, even though the Aspie has no sense of this for themselves. If the Asperger's spouse is willing to act on the NT's stated needs, the partnership can work. The partners can find fulfillment together.

Does it mean saying goodbye to romance? Perhaps. Or, perhaps it means changing one's idea of what romance is. Does it mean having to come out and say what you mean and mean what you say? Most definitely. And that isn't a bad thing in any relationship.


Adults with Asperger's Syndrome (from ASpar)

Adults with Asperger's Syndrome often go undiagnosed

Families of Adults Affected by Asperger's Syndrome

Frequently Asked Questions on Asperger Syndrome

Learning Discoveries Psychological Services: What is Asperger's?

Please, Learn About Asperger Syndrome And Give Hope to Non-AS Spouses

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Add a Comment17 Comments

I'm not a person who needs someone to tell me that they love me every day, actions speak louder than words in my opinion. And my aspergers husband of 25 years suits me down to the ground. He's honest to a fault, I can talk to him about everything, he is smart, focussed, competant, great cook, can do anything with his hands, cares about me and my daughter and our dog, is a good provider, I couldn't ask for more. I'm not, I'm airy fairy, can't focus, creative, not a great organiser, I have a very strong empathy particularly for animals, very emotional, I think I'm difficult to live with for those reasons. I'm not however a manipulative calculating female, I'm a straight talker and so is he. I don't think I could have lived with anyone else and I'm so glad I have him. For my daughter who has been bullied for 6 years he has no understanding so I've carried the load which has destroyed my health, just wish I'd done something about it straight away instead of listening to those two. There are things I don't like but can live with. When he gets worked up, which is often, he wants to attack people verbally and thats where I come in with my diplomacy. He doesn't have much patience with either me or my daughter because she is like me but thats okay. The one thing I hate is his loud voice, I either ignore him or leave the room. I'm not a great socialiser so that isn't a problem, he probably takes cues from me when we do socialise. I'd just like to say that I don't see any problems with aspergers males, pity there aren't more of them around, they are happy to listen to their partners for cues of empathy and are so honest. I think there are more problems with so called "normal people". Give me an aspy male any day!

October 6, 2016 - 5:06am
EmpowHER Guest

I am sorry that I have to disagree with some of these comments. Not all people with AS miss out on nuances or cannot pick up on subtleties. Also, some people with AS can be empathetic and catch non-verbal communication. Many people with AS may have communication issues from very subtle (not noticeable to even friends) to severe (very overtly noticeable)- so you can't necessary even say that someone with AS cannot communicate with their spouses or have intimate relationships with those with and without AS. Also, it is quite disheartening that on many sites, people who are NT are often advised to make all or most of the changes for the person with AS. So, we are in fact teaching people with AS that it is okay to "not go out of your comfort zone because someone without AS will pick up the pieces for you." Everyone is accountable, and has to contribute to a relationship even if it takes a ton of mental, and emotional effort on the part of the person with AS. What is love without sacrifice. Love in action is work, and people shouldn't be let off the hook because they have challenges. We are not talking about people with classic autism who are non-verbal and cannot communicate. We are talking about people who have some communication challenges and who have average to above average intelligence. These individuals with Aspergers or High-functioning autism need to rise to the occasion in a relationship and put in the hard work, if they do indeed value the relationship. Otherwise, if people with AS expect to do the least amount of work because of their challenges, they shouldn't enter into a marriage contract with another individual. Anyone who doesn't want to put in the effort and go beyond for another person shouldn't get married. It is not fair to the other person. For those of you who are already married, I am not promoting divorce, but I will say it is not God's intention for you to be in bondage, and each person in the marriage needs to work together, despite limitations, towards a better marriage. Otherwise, there will be some accounting. People with AS may have some barriers, but they need to put effort forth in learning how to better communicate with their spouses. Ask for God's help, join a social skills group..do what you need to do, and don't make excuses. Put childish ways behind and become a man (woman) God wants you to be.

January 10, 2016 - 1:12pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

This comment hits the nail directly on the head! I have been married to an AS wife for almost 23 years. She admits to her diagnosis of Asperger's but denies treatment or coping skills. She relies on caffeine, nicotine and alcohol to cope. Anytime we discuss problems, she thinks that I it is just how she is, she can't change and I need to just deal with it all. She has never shown any empathy, compassion or desire for me since 4 weeks after we wed. I did not see this side of her during courtship so after the marriage, I just had to deal with it as I swore that I'd never divorce. Well I have reconsidered after 22+ years and am ready to divorce. I can't live like this anymore!

July 10, 2016 - 1:22am
EmpowHER Guest

I married to a man has AS just know recently this week, he has AS, we been 4 years together and I just know all about this AS after we get married, I am Pilipina, and my husband is a British. He sent me an email to tell me, he wish to end our relationship last month, I was devastated, heavy heart, depressed, no deeper reason he come to this decision, I run to our Pastor for counseling, and prayer, is it true, praying is very powerful. After a week we not speak, I gave him time for himself to think, he ask me for forgiveness, and I forgave him, I still patients and try to understand him,,, days past I ask what his deeper reason why he comes on his mind to email me that way, it was very hurt! Then he told me he has AS, a reason he was divorce before because of this... But you know what I did, for God's wisdom, she bless me with acceptance, and understanding, we communicate everyday, even his special interest his boat, but in a day, he will gave me a time to speak before he will sleep. I never blaming him, instead I show how much I love him, being expressive is a good way to do, and. See now he does care and worried. Just stay be patients and pray to the Lord. It's is impossible for a man to do, because this is incurable, but for God nothing is impossible with him.

April 9, 2015 - 11:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

Get divorced, right away. I am with a partner (female) who has an ex-husband with a/s. He is the most awfull person since he doesn't understand their mutual childs emotions - he has a/s too. Still now after they are divorced he is constant trouble, not accepting that is only child needs special care. I don't care about being political incorrect here - i simply hate him. He's an awful father and a bad person - simply because he can't empathize, he's angry and resentfull because she left him. What a jerk. I wish i could do something physical about it. Please women - NEVER have children with an a/s man - next to a psycopath it's the worst. The kind on the other hand is lovable, but he is being slowly destroyed by his father and his "loving" wife, defending every wrongdoing he makes, claiming that we "bully" him because we have another opinion on his biological child. How awfull. A/s persons should NOT have children - and if you get one with one - leave him - and make sure he doesn't get child custody!

February 13, 2013 - 3:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am still trying to get out of my marriage to a British AS and it has been the horrible experience of my life. I won't stop fighting for my 5 yr old son and 3 yr old daughter until we are one day free of him. In California they don't seem to care no matter what even with letters from teachers and nanny seeing how bad it has been still they award him 48 hour visitation. I pray everyday that God will free us from this man. If we are ever free it is going to take a lot of years of counseling to undo the damage to me and our children. AS need to stay single especially if they refuse to get treatment of any kind is not fair to the NT. Keep us in your prayers all we want is to be free. Isa:(

September 17, 2017 - 3:32pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I second everything that was said above. It is a complete nightmare to deal with an Aspie after divorce. My ex-husband is in complete denial of our son having autism and displays the most horrific parental alienation you've ever seen. I went from me being miserable to my kids being miserable because that way he still get a dig on me. He is an evil, evil monster that does not care about anyone but himself. RUN!

March 29, 2016 - 4:42pm

My comment was the anon who was married 11 years. Jean if you are willing it would be very helpful to email discuss things with you. I am unable to find any woman who stayed married to a person with asp. All I read about is how it destroyed them and I could use someone to talk to. I know his intent is different from the surface appearance, but its so hard to remember that. I also have a little girl who has strong asp traits, praying her future is different than others I have read about. I really need a mentor and some hope. Thanks for your replies.

January 11, 2011 - 8:40pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Nikielizabeth)

i hope you can find me on facebook.jean low.dont like giving e,mail on here.yes my 2 children are a/s also.most of the wives with a/s husband have a/s children.its right through husbands family.please dont worry bout your child.the a/s people in my family mainly have good careers.they all enjoy their lives/its just thier partners who have problems accepting the a/s behaviour.but i am sure your girl will be fine.but from the start set strict rules and regime.this so helps.

January 12, 2011 - 3:32am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Nikielizabeth)

i i contribute to a face book site called a/s mums.you can find me on face book under jean low.the a/s mums and wives group is not open[privacy]so come through to me on face book.lots of us wives out here,just hidden.most of our husbands have good careers and do not want world to know.so much stigma still.

January 12, 2011 - 3:22am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Asperger's Syndrome

Get Email Updates

Related Topics

Asperger's Syndrome Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!