A Wife’s Letter to Her Husband with Asperger’s

This is a great article.  I wish my ex wife had the dedication of working with me instead of taking advantage of me. – Greg

My T.D.,

I love you. You are unlike anybody I’ve ever met. I want to continue to be a part of your life, and I want you to continue to be a part of mine. I do not want our marriage to end. I want us to raise our children together and be a family. Most of all, I want us to love each other. Just like the song that played at our wedding, “When I said I do, I meant that I will, ‘til the end of all time…”. But then day to day life played out and we had one disconnect after another. And as more major life events happened, we experienced more and more frustration with each other. I became annoyed when you did not do things for me that I assumed all good husbands do for their wives, like give control of decorating the house over to me, offer me massages, give me gifts on special occasions, or do anything romantic.

Hidden Disabilities

One would never know by looking at me that I have a disability. Sometimes I which it was visible. I found it frustrating until I received an official disability status from the government. Up until then I was always worried if I told people about my special education, especially when interviewing for jobs right out of college, I did not know how they would react. I did not have great grades nor did I have a job or a lot extra activity to put on my resume. When I was able to find work after college, I faced some personal attacks from supervisors. I had one tell me I would never amount to much in life and just do the job he offered me. I had another supervisor where I experienced reverse discrimination. I have had co workers accuse me of being a racist without even knowing me or witnessing anything racist in any of my behavior. When I married outside my race I felt I could relate to my ex wife because we had some similar challenges. She gave me some insight to what she and many people go through. For example, we would go into to a large store and the cashier would say hi to me but not her. I took part in a peaceful protest because of my marriage experience but also for my own experiences in the workplace. I found that most people were grateful for me showing up. I had kept quiet out of fear for many years.

Aspergers Needs in a Marriage/Relationship

People with Aspergers need a safe environment where he/she can control the energy that comes in from the world. If they do not have a safe space during extreme stress they will experience regression in the coping skills that they have built. The fall back will effect their health.  They typically need lots of alone time to recharge.    
I have a need to develop skills to control meltdowns. Too many topics, too many decisions. My meltdowns will come as a result of accumulations of stress and I will not notice it is happening till it is too late. I have to learn to tame my noisy brain and control low tolerance for anxiety.  Anxiety makes executive functions worse. If my partner “gets on my case”, it will escalate anxiety then everything will fall apart. My partner need to to speak in calm tones and have patience if you want results.   
People with Aspergers suffer immensely and they need professional guidance and support groups.  It is also important for your partner to seek therapy if there are problems in the relationship with an AS person who may have issues around temper or dealing with stress. Otherwise it can lead to violence. 
They need warning for any changes in routine and an adjustment period; no sudden or major changes. While most people can make a change in plans quickly and easily, it is difficult for a person with AS. Changes/ transition has to be slow and gradual.  Take your time to allow for your partner to get the comfortable with the transition. Do not move quickly.   
Aspergers brain or operating system is developed differently than other people. Defensiveness is a natural self protection for Aspies and irrational temper creates a problem in communication. They think in black and white.  
Email, letters and other forms of long distance communication can some times work better than in person communication because the person doesn’t have to deal with nonverbal cues. 
For change to happen, it must be logical. A person with AS needs to know the details on how to make the change and they need to practice the change to make it permanent and conditions have to be optimal for change to occur.   
People with AS need finite rules and to follow a schedule. They can be obsessive-compulsive. They are also very distractible.  
My mother uses to say as a kid I would rather take apart things than deal with other kids.  But I could never put the toys back together. Your heart can be broken day after day by the confusing behaviors of someone with Aspergers Syndrome. Focus on the qualities you admire in your Asbergers loved one.