Lessons from an Aspergers-NT Marriage (Part 3)

This is the 3rd in a 4 part series about the lessons my husband (NT) and I (aspie) have learned during the 25 years we’ve been married.

Recognize that aspies need plenty of alone time

Being alone is how people with Asperger’s regroup. When I retreat to my home office and close the door, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the company of my family. It has nothing to do with how much I love my husband. It doesn’t mean that I’m disinterested, selfish, cold or insensitive. It means I’ve hit my limit for social interaction and need to recharge.

Somehow, The Scientist figured this out years before we knew anything about Asperger’s and has learned to recognize when I’m nearing my limit, sometimes before I do. If we have guests staying with us for a few days, he makes a point to build time alone for me into the schedule. If he sees that I’m starting to tire or withdraw during a long social event, he’ll suggest that we do something away from the crowd for a short time to help me refocus. He’s also come to accept that when I say I need to leave a social situation, I’ve truly stuck it out as long as I can, and staying longer is going to cost me more than it’s worth.

I probably sound like a social tyrant. Maybe I am. I’m certainly not an average wife who thrives on entertaining and socializing. But I’ve learned that being realistic about my limits–and pushing at them where I can–is less destructive to our relationship than overreaching and ending up in tears.

Aspies need plenty of time alone. It doesn’t mean that we’re disinterested, selfish, cold or insensitive. (Creative Commons 2.0 (by-nc-sa))


Good advice for any marriage, but especially important when one partner has Asperger’s Syndrome. You may find that some of the compromises you make are unconventional. For example, The Scientist and I have realized that we need to compromise about which social occasions I attend. He gets invited to a lot of work-related dinners, cocktail hours, award ceremonies, etc. We’ve concluded–after much arguing, discussing and agonizing–that it’s unrealistic to expect that I’ll attend every event (his preference) or none of them (my preference).

Our compromise is that I’ll attend the important events and he’ll go to the less important events alone.  This means that I’m going to be uncomfortable some of the time (talking to strangers–oh no!) and he’s going to be uncomfortable at times (making excuses for my absence). Like most compromises, no one is completely happy with this arrangement, but it’s the least bad option.

Compromising can be a hard skill for aspies to master. I’ve found that it helps to take a cost-benefit approach. What is doing this for my partner going to cost me? What would not doing it cost him? What are the potential benefits–for him, for me, for our relationship?

For social occasions, the biggest costs are usually the anxiety in the days leading up to the event and the physical exhaustion I’ll feel afterwards. The benefits tend to be a happy husband and some enjoyable moments of social interaction. By listing the costs and benefits as concretely as possible, it’s easier for me to find places where I can compromise rather than reflexively rejecting every social invitation as being too much work.

Identify triggers and try to work around them

Triggers may seem odd or even incomprehensible to the NT partner. Case in point: I don’t like having the bathroom fan on while I shower. The drone of the fan and the feel of moving air on my wet skin are unpleasant sensations. Complicating matters, the shower light and bathroom fan are on the same switch so to avoid the fan I have to shower in semi-darkness. The Scientist thinks this is silly. He rolls his eyes when I flip the switch off. He says I’ll get used to it. He points out that the fan is on the other side of the bathroom. He understands a lot of my quirks but not this one.

All aspies have triggers–experiences that elicit a stress response. Some people have many and others just a few. Triggers can be environmental/sensory (sounds, smells), social (crowds, public speaking), or situational (new places, unexpected changes). Some triggers, like the bathroom fan, are mild. They cause discomfort or low level anxiety, but we can live with them if we have to. Others are more severe, leading to angry outbursts, crying jags or mute withdrawal.

If the aspie partner has clearly identified and communicated her triggers, the NT partner needs to do his best to respect them and make accommodations if necessary. Sometimes an accommodation is as simple as not explaining yet again why something would be fine if only the aspie would give it a try. Other accommodations can be more stressful on a relationship. If the aspie partner can only get a good night’s sleep by sleeping alone or she finds grocery stores intolerable, both partners need to be open and honest about what kind of accommodations are feasible.


You’ll find this advice at the top of most “secrets to a happy marriage” lists. The thing about being married to an aspie is that we have serious communication deficits. The NT partner may think he is communicating but most of what he’s saying doesn’t seem to be getting through. NTs communicate in subtle ways that aspies find difficult to interpret.

Here’s a typical example: One day I was making lunch and the following exchange took place:

Me: “I found this great new recipe for chorizo and grits. Do you want to try some?”
The Scientist: “That’s okay. I’m not very hungry.”

I was a little hurt that he didn’t want to try the new recipe I was obviously so excited about but I went ahead and made enough for myself. Thinking he might like to taste it, I offered him a bite.

The Scientist: “Wow, that’s great. Is that all you made?”
Me: “Yeah. You said you didn’t want any.”
The Scientist: “But I hoped you’d make me some anyhow.”
Me: “I asked you if you wanted some and you said you weren’t hungry.”
The Scientist:  “I didn’t want to make extra work and I wasn’t sure if you had enough for both of us.”

I was stunned. It would have been no extra work to double the portion and I had plenty of ingredients. Why hadn’t he just said “yes” when I asked if he wanted some? Apparently I was supposed to know that his “no” meant “yes.” Apparently this is what “good wives” do. We both felt bad afterwards–he felt like I was being selfish by cooking only for myself and I felt like I’d been tested and failed.

Keep in mind that we’ve been married for twenty-five years and know each very well. Yet, this still happens now and then.

Aspies need explicit communication. Forget about dropping hints. Forget about body language and inferences. We need to be told exactly what our NT partner wants, needs, or expects. And we may need to be told more than once, in slightly different ways, until we get it.

In part 4:  love and acceptance, aspie style

47 thoughts on “Lessons from an Aspergers-NT Marriage (Part 3)”

  1. What I find particularly difficult is that most men/people in general are raised expecting certain kinds of behaviours in women, and it is usually these exact behaviours that a woman with AS is going to have issues with. Your recipe story is a prime example. Women are expected to not only speak, but also UNDERSTAND what I call “code talking.” Sometimes I get it that someone is trying to tell me something but is being coy about it, but I can’t actually figure out what it is. Frustrating.

    This is a great series, by the way. It feels like there is no information out there for Aspie women married to NT men, or mothers with AS – so you are really filling a need here, at least for me!

    1. Yes, it is very much the stereotypical female behaviors that I struggle most with. I experience the “code talking” problem a lot and it’s so frustrating.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying this series. I was surprised at how little is available for Aspie women married to NT men.

    2. Emphatic agreement on this. I also find that when other women are telling me about things that have annoyed or stressed them, I throw them for a loop. Apparently, they generally want sympathetic sounds, and expressions of shared outrage, rather than suggestions to eliminate the issue. I’ve been told I communicate in a more stereotypically “male” fashion. I also completely don’t get it when people have subtext or ulterior motives. What comes into my head usually comes out of my mouth, often without filters. I don’t get people who don’t say what they mean.

  2. I’m really enjoying this series as well as many of your other posts. I can relate to a lot of these issues and am finding this all really useful. I have a bit of a problem with some of the things you’ve written here though. Could you please try to avoid making sweeping statements about what “an average wife” or “good wives” are or do- at least not without some mention of how these are just stereotypes and obviously do not apply to all women, or how these things are often based in harmful, sexist ideas about what women “should” be. Thanks for writing this series, and for reading my comment too.

    1. Thank you for sharing your concerns about some of the language I’ve used. I try to be sensitive about my choice of words but sometimes things slip by me. When I used “good wives” it was in a sarcastic context. I’ve put quotation marks around it to hopefully make that more obvious. Sarcasm can be tricky in a written context.

      I’m sensitive to how harmful female stereotypes can be because I conform to few of them, either by choice or as a result of my neurotype, and regularly experience the negative consequences. So, having said that, I’ll be mindful of how I phrase things going forward. I hope you’ll continue reading.

      1. Haha, sorry. The fact that I missed the sarcasm there is actually really amusing me now. I appreciate you responding to the comment anyway. I will definitely keep reading 🙂

  3. Good post. Imagine a bi-polar/slight aspy marriage. We’ve made it to 32 years, but it’s been a lot of work…and we still don’t communicate that well in many areas. A lot improved when she was (correctly, finally) diagnosed as bi-polar and I then had something to be able to analyze and research, but she can still get very angry when I can’t read her (ever-changing) mind while I want to analyze the miscommunication (to death) because I desperately want to understand what, I’m told, she can’t explain. Sigh.

    1. Thank you! Congratulations on 32 years. That’s something to be proud of, even if it’s been difficult. Your situation sounds challenging. It’s good that you have additional information to help you understand where your partner is coming from, even if it doesn’t always help in a concrete way. I think there will always be ups and downs in a long-term relationship, no matter how hard both partners are trying or want to make it work.

  4. I just had a good laugh! Common scene in my household…or used to be..after 12 years together he now “gets it”….Say what you mean and mean what you say is the best way to make an Aspie’s day!

    And also the comments about sarcasm. I don’t do sarcasm well either. I usually get in trouble if I try.

  5. Yes, we “discussed” the Aspergers diagnosis possibility with our marriage counselor who gently and indirectly confirmed that yes, we both exhibit Aspergers traits. My Guy might have much fewer traits than I do but as he’s an Electrical Engineer so he gets to fly under the radar. I was supposed to be the social expert but motherhood got rid of that disguise rather quickly. I’m really comforted by your blog. Thank you. And yes, thankfully I can see the humor in our life…we could never understand why other parents complained about their kids eating the same foods daily. So now I must laugh because otherwise I’d just cry at how my life could be considered one huge faux pas. As a former colleague once said about me when he thought I was out of hearing range (I’ve got super hero hearing capabilities), “Either she’s really that stupid and naive or just brilliant and cold-hearted.” My other Aspie scores are 120 Aspie and 99 NT…I managed to keep my hour-glass shape even on the graph, lol. Compensation mechanisms were learned early. Social scenes and popularity were to be mastered. There’s a manual for everything. Not motherhood. Thank you for helping me mourn gracefully.

    1. I’ve always wondered if an aspie-aspie marriage would be easier, but I’m guessing that aspie marriage in any variation is a challenge. LOL at your hourglass shape. My aspie quiz graph looks like a lopsided blowfish.

      The mourning . . . I totally get it. I went through an intense period of mourning early in my reading about AS and have occasionally returned to that place for a brief visit. It does get better though. If it helps, I have a 25 year old non-autistic but not quite NT daughter who turned out quite amazing (IMHO). Being an aspie mom is challenging, but I think our children turn out to be individualistic and a bit stronger than the average kid because they need to learn to fend for themselves early on in certain social arenas.

  6. I don’t have a formal diagnosis, but my partner and I do run into a lot of the problems you described due to my behaviours and needs – my partner’s social skills, for example, are finely-tuned, whereas I, although I am an extravert and enjoy socialising under controlled circumstances, have a very hard time with nonverbal cues and interpreting social situations. I also physically get in her way a lot, hurt her feelings by not realising I’m supposed to be listening or by being tactless, etc. This short series of yours is really helpful and important to me. So thank you for that. Your blog is a great source of knowledge for me.

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful. Having a neurotypical partner makes things a bit harder for sure.

      It’s helped both me and my husband to know why these kinds of communication misfires happen. He’s become a lot more understanding (most of the time 🙂 ) and we’re both better at talking about when something is off and what might be a more productive/helpful way of proceeding.

  7. My husband takes it very personal when I have hit my limit with social interactions…. His parents are at our house everyday, my stepdaughter bludgens me with demands to be played with (I love her and love playing but with day after day and no break it becomes difficult to deal with), my job is constant social interaction, and my husband wants all my attention as well… not to mention tons of calls from my sister and parents who live 1100 miles away wanting to know the details of my life… I get it, they love me, they all want to be around me… I am fun and outgoing, bubbly even… but it really takes a tole… and while I can go out to eat and see a movie, even with just my husband I am fine… but the constant social demands make me want to scream until my lungs explode… and worse yet… when I demand 30 mins of silent and alone time… locking myself in the bathroom, I am told how cold, selfish and unloving I am being by my husband, mother in law, and step daughter. I do all I can for them all, but it becomes so much I sometimes start to sink into a deep depression and it leads to the same continous fight… after days of go go go I start to shut down completely, withdraw. I am unemotional, not engaged, and I am often cold… I know it hurts my husband, but I do find him sexy and appealing, more than any other man… but his lack of taking a time to understand I need my silence and my step daughter can benefit greatly from her own alone time, she is “starved” for attention (her mother left them when she was about four)… I feel like I am losing myself with all these pulling me in so many directions.

    1. That sounds really rough. I know what you mean about how the constant demands can drive you regularly into shutdown. It’s so hard to be have to be constantly “on”. I’ve gone from feeling guilty about my need for alone time to seeing it as a mental and physical health necessity. Fortunately, my husband is mostly supportive of this, but we did have some rough times, especially with regard to his perceptions of me as cold, etc. Would it be possible for you to get some input from a counselor who could help your family see the importance of accommodating your need for time alone to destress?

  8. If you can’t take someone at their word, as they say, then what can you do? I have always wondered about this. Hints and “beating about the bush” will drive me away. I don’t like the feeling of being manipulated, so I would rather take someone at their word. If their word is sarcastic or untrue, I learn not to trust them. Isn’t it the other person’s problem if they cannot recognize when they are unhappy with themselves or lying to themselves? I’d rather be around people who are authentic and know how to express who they are without using manipulative techniques. This is why I end up spending so much time alone, I guess.

    1. I actually have no idea. I’m terrible at inferring things, especially in real time. I can do somewhat better if I have time to think it over, but I still seem to miss a great deal of what’s implied in social exchanges. :-/

      1. After taking that Aspie quiz, I realize that I don’t fit in either definition – and the “perception” part of the web is substantial on both sides. This fits with me being an INFP of the Myers-Briggs test – and also a “healer” by that same test. (less than 1% of the population). Many people suffer from social insecurities, and most are more concerned about how they themselves are perceived by someone else to notice if you might also be suffering the same insecurities. There are certain niceties that are considered ‘polite’, but which are different in different societies and culture. If you know the purpose of the social engagement, then you only really need to meet the needs of that function. Often, that may be simply smiling while staying at your husband’s side, not doing anything that attracts too much attention, being well groomed, and possibly being able to share some knowledge (or at least some cheerleading) of your husband’s career. (I’m only saying this because I read your blog about all of the social gatherings he would like you to attend with him for work).

        1. The part about people being mostly focused on themselves during social interaction is something I only recently learned and that’s made me less picky about my own social skills. And yes, standing by quietly and looking decent is something I can do quite well! I also seem to have a knack for zeroing in on the other aspies in a crowd and getting into deep discussions about things like the merits of the national park system. 🙂

  9. I wish that everyone would communicate with each other in the way that you advise NT partners to communicate with Aspies. I think it is ridiculous to tell someone that you are not hungry and then expect them to make food for you anyway. Why can’t people just say what they mean? I hate all the hints and body language and inferences. It seems to me that, in general, most people to not understand how to properly communicate with each other. And I think that most relationship difficulties could be solved with good communication.

    1. Good communication seems to be really hard, even for people of the same neurotype. I guess that’s why there are things like relationship counseling and self-help books on the subject. Looking back at this post, I can see that my husband and I have made a lot of progress in this area since I wrote it. 🙂

  10. This discussion is like finding treasure island after having floated out to sea. What a life-saver, and a beautiful place to land! Thanks for your blog, and your book (which I just downloaded and read in what felt like the same breath.) Both my husband and I fit the bill for undiagnosed autism; our 5-yr old was recently diagnosed, which has given me license to see myself in a new framework. Interestingly, I can see that I have rigorously trined myself to make eye-contact, to start conversations. I grew up very lonely, with parents who perhaps were also hyper-focused on their own self-guided master plans for self-realization; I was well-provided for and love in their way, but very alone and lonely.

    Is childhood loneliness a topic that you have blogged about? I can see that my son, who is mild-mod. on the DSM5 scale, desparately wants to have friends, but gets mute around his peers. I think I was the same way; I was also chubby, and always considered that to be the social-differentiation issue for me. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, but I’d like to get to the point where I stop analyzing it foe a definitive conclusion. I think that my own formal diagnosis might give me a sense of closure on that quandry.

    A three aspie house-hold (parents-child) can be pretty intense, particularly if the mom (me) is the connector to the outside world, and the mediator between two head-butting males. But that is a discussion for another time.:)

    1. What a wonderful comment! Thank you. 🙂

      I’ve written about spending a lot of time alone as a child and about how loneliness and alone feel different for me. You can find the post that has the most about that here: https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/02/07/alone/ Like your son (and you) I wanted very much to have friends, but that’s been a lifelong struggle. I just don’t seem to be cut out for having many friends and have mostly given up on conventional friendships. This post touches on that subject a little: https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/10/29/hovering-on-the-fringe

      It sounds like your son’s diagnosis has opened up a lot of doors for all three of you. Good luck with your diagnosis process and with reframing your life in the context of AS. It’s a hard but rewarding journey. 🙂

      1. I really appreciate your thoughtful response to my post. At the risk of wearing out the welcome mat, and apologies on that, I do have a burning question: Although I am still putting together the “evidence” toward a spectrum “self-portrait,” and my gut tells me that it is the truth, I fear that nobody will believe me, that this explanation for all of my struggles will be read as an excuse or a crutch; I suppose rhe question is how do you claim the strength to live in a way that works for you, when it is so different from everybody around you? I suppose this is a rhetorical question, an oprah-esque one, but I do find myself in that spot with. big question marks floating over my head. Regardless, I must say again that even having one person to discuss this with really helps me feel better. Thanks again for creating this blog, and safe place for exploring these hard questions.

        1. No need to apologize! I once (not entirely jokingly) banned apologizing in the comments here. 🙂

          The doubt you’re feeling is totally normal and something that I think we all feel. When I first started thinking about Asperger’s as an explanation, I was like 20% “yes!” and 80% consumed with exactly the kind of doubts and questions you describe. Gradually over the course of a couple of years, that’s resolved itself. It took getting to about 75% “yes!” and 25% doubts for me to have the courage to seek a diagnosis. All throughout the diagnosis process, I felt myself sliding back into the doubts, incessantly thinking “what if I made this up in my head? I’m gonna look so stupid . . . ” Having an official diagnosis helped a lot in cementing the idea that “this is real” and I’m not just looking for an excuse or a crutch. There are still doubts at times, but they’ve lessened a lot and hopefully will continue to do so. I don’t expect them to ever completely go away, but that’s fine.

          I guess I’ve always been seen by others are weird or different, so what I really had to do was surrender to that. I spent so many years and so much energy trying to “pass for normal” and finally came to a point where I was just too exhausted by that to keep it up. I’m not sure how old you are, but I’ve heard other late diagnosed adults in their 40s and 50s say similar things, so perhaps that’s a common phenomenon. It wasn’t so much a choice as self-preservation.

          One thing you might find helpful is getting involved in autistic safe spaces online (like this blog) where you can talk with other adults on the spectrum. Hearing the experiences of others–both their successes and their struggles–has been so helpful to me in forming this new and unfamiliar self-concept of being autistic.

          It’s a slow and nonlinear process, so be patient with yourself.

    2. I think the main problem is that children are not raised anymore with the aim of being able to integrate also those that have more difficulties with socializing. I am so grateful to my mother that she did that, because, in my opinion, it brings enormous benefits also the neurotypical child. Fortunately they have something like integrative classes nowadays, so things are about to get better again. Scouts or children from schools and kindergartens with a different philosophy like Rudolf Steiner or Montessori might be very helpful, too. Or just children raised in a small village.

      It could be also worth to look out for people that have a cultural background that is more integrating like Arab, African, Latin Americans or South Europeans. There is a better chance to hit on the socially competent kids who naturally take care, and you could also talk more openly to one or the other parent, so that they maybe guide their child a bit to take your son by the hand. I was really amazed how lovely two 10 year-old boys of a school class took care of my little boy on the playground, and they both turned out to be of Italian origin. In general I would say that a group of children might be better than one-to-one interaction. Give your son enough time to watch and observe, and dont push him that much, rather give a hint to the other child, explaining that he is a little shy and does not say a lot, but that he really wants to play,and if s/he would mind playing with him a bit.

  11. I love your blog! It’s well written and easy to understand. I love that you, the designated aspy, are a woman. I’m the NS woman married to the male aspy. Sometimes I feel like I could just jump off a bridge and sometimes I’m euphorically in love. Thanks for your post, I’ll parable turn to it again and again.

  12. This made me laugh. 🙂 In particular about triggers and communication. I have so many triggers that DH wonders why I make my life so complicated. And I have had more than my fair share of awkward conversations.

  13. This helps so much. I struggle to understand why my partner (aspie) needs alone time every now and then. He’ll need about a whole days worth of “keeping to himself” and during this whole 24 hour period he seems grumpy, depressed and upset and when I ask if he’s okay, the way he says things makes me feel like he’s mad at me for something. When he needs alone time it is very lonely for me as I spend the whole day hoping he’s not mad at me and knowing that I can’t comfort him, I just have to let him be alone. It makes me feel helpless and sad. When I get upset or depressed about something I really love being comforted by him. It sucks that I can’t do the same for him 😦

    1. Alone time is really important and I know that can be hard to understand, especially when it feels like you can’t do anything. If it helps, your partner probably isn’t expecting you to do anything to make him feel better when he needs time alone. I know that’s kind only half of an answer because you’d like to feel like you can comfort him.

      On a more practical front, my husband has developed lots of hobbies and pastimes that he enjoys doing alone over the years and that’s helped us keep a balance between alone time and couple time, for the most part. Maybe you could use your partner’s alone time to go out with friends or do things that you enjoy that he doesn’t like to do?

  14. Hello,

    I was not officially diagnosed yet.
    But every reading I do, I see that I have many of the features.

    Some features such as triggers, socialization and emotional understanding.
    I’ve heard from partners that I’m “dry” and do not show my feelings. And that is very bad, especially when you are embarking on a commitment that you seriously consider.

    Now I’m 26, and becomes more complicated every day relate and date.

    When it is a ‘professional’ meeting I can develop it because there is already a certain script engraved in my mind.

    But starting a romantic relationship for me is very difficult, there are many codes and behaviors that I can not understand, much less can not replicate. And so I developed a tendency to not engage deeply with the partner. I’m usually taken as the ‘indecisive girl’ (which is a irony), but in reality I’m just trying to understand what the other person wants from me.

    1. I completely understand what you’re saying about relationships and finding it difficult to navigate dating. Two things I’ve heard from other people that help: dating people who are also neurodivergent because they’re more likely to “get” you or at least to not care so much that you’re a little different and focusing more on making friends or meeting people in a setting where you’re doing something you enjoy (a hobby, sport, church, volunteering, etc.). That way you have something in common with the person and there isn’t the social pressure of being on a date and just having to make conversation out of nothing.

      I don’t think you were exactly asking for advice but I couldn’t help myself. Hopefully I’m not overstepping. I’m glad you found the blog and are able to relate to some aspects of it.

      1. Cynthia,

        Thank you so much for this answer so quickly for me.

        You were in no kind of way invasively in your response, indeed, it was a big consideration of you, to stop and write me directly.

        I wrote that comment more as a way to unburden myself, but I understand and appreciate your response and these tips you gave to to help me.

        The biggest problem is getting out of the comfort zone, by then I list: nowadays we have computers and comfort in our quiet homes … is like heaven: no heat, and noises or people being, well… people

        I live in Brazil, and here people are very friendly, without even knowing the others well. Now imagine the difficulty in being ‘shy’ and be different that most of the population.

        I have formation in journalism, and now I’m studying graphic design. I felt the biggest difference with the class of Design, there are more easy going people and free from prejudice, I felt much better by the side of these creative beings.

        I will try to focus on outdoor activities such as walks or hikes in the park. Because I am very attached to being home, and performing manual tasks like drawing, DIY, reading and music and isolate me further more practicing all this things.

        I hope to return with good news about my development in the world out there, and soon meet some friends.

        My best regards,

        Mariana B

        1. I can imagine it must be quite difficult to be an introvert in a culture that is very socially oriented/outgoing.

          I’m very much a stay at home person too and find that on many days, a small amount of online social interaction plus the talking with my family members is all the interaction I need so I totally understand your love of being at home and doing things you enjoy. If you’d like to make friends, I hope you’re successful in that and if you don’t, I think that’s totally fine too. 🙂

  15. I wish I had read this 10 months ago. I guess I will make a list of my lovable Aspie’s “triggers” and go from there. It would have helped to avoid some major meltdowns, if I knew that triggers were a key to what is happening. Well never mind … I will start figuring it out!

    The difficult part when you start loving an Aspire is that (1) You don’t realize yet that you’ve got an Aspie, (2) Your Aspie may not believe that they are an Aspie, and (3) These triggers are like land mines. It’s number 3 that’s seriously confusing and hard to deal with. When your Aspie melts down, its sudden and there’s no warning. Also, your Aspie isn’t going to even explain why she is melting down – because we’re doing the Alexithymia thing. This part of the relationship is “hard to deal with” when you are an NT.

    I’m not sure there is anything that I can do during an Aspie meltdown. It seems like nothing I say will make any difference. You pretty much have to ride it out. New relationships are nightmare, because you are walking on eggshells. Crazy! Ohhhh well.

  16. Ah, the alone time. I need to work on communicating when I’m beginning to feel overloaded. We really do need that alone time, too. It’s hard for people to recognize it sometimes. Honestly, love my wife and kids dearly. I will say, though, I could go away for a couple days to a warm place with a nice view, interact with almost no one except maybe the waiter/waitress taking my order if I’m eating out (just as one example), think that was one of the greatest trips ever. Others might think “Oh, how terrible for you! You didn’t get to do anything.” Now, while away, I’d miss my family, and I’d be overjoyed to see them once I got home. But I do look back with regret that I never took a trip like that when I was younger and had the chance.

  17. “…Compromising can be a hard skill for aspies to master. I’ve found that it helps to take a cost-benefit approach. What is doing this for my partner going to cost me? What would not doing it cost him? What are the potential benefits–for him, for me, for our relationship?…”

    This. I do THIS in my close, personal relationships, and the EXACT OPPOSITE in my more ‘distant’ relationships.

    Is there any way I can… reverse this? Is that a thing?

  18. LOL NT hubby with amazing Aspie wife and steppies(3 thereof). Thank you for your truthful observations. The one thing a NT needs to remember is Apies don’t do “your” subtle hints. Fortuitously they can generally handle absolute clarity better than most, no matter how brutal a truth you are offering. Beware an Aspie will deliver you the same brutal truth. If you love an Aspie best you’re OK with telling and hearing it the way they see it!

  19. Yesterday, my therapist said she thinks I may have Aspergers and wants me to get a formal diagnosis but there are many things that are starting to make sense.
    One thing that I have not seen written about and just generally curious.
    I hate being asked questions. My husband can ask me, “How was your day?” And it makes me upset. I don’t know how to answer his question. I’m just wondering if this is “normal” with Aspergers or if it’s just another of my strange quirks that I have no answer for😩

  20. I’m sorry I didn’t know I was Aspie until a couple of weeks ago and that I am so late to the party in reading your blog. All my life’s troubles suddenly make sense but it’s all too late for me.
    I can totally identify with the need to be alone. Social event overwhelm me. I always intrinsically enjoyed my own company and doing things on my, Even though it is a useful escape in overwhelming social situations. Even when I was skydiving back in the 1980-s my favourite load of the day was the sunset load – I would follow some 4-way out and just enjoy a solo freefall, watch the sun go below the hoarizon and enjoy the experience on my own. I find great comfort doing everything solo, even though I just didn’t seem to be able to get along at parties and so-on when I was younger. Thankyou for helping me make sense of the chaotic world I live in and from which I need to escape on a daily basis.

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