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Nov-10-2009 01:17printcomments

Asperger's Syndrome Wives Need Understanding

Those who stay in a relationship with an Asperger’s-afflicted mate should do everything possible to be independent socially and financially.

puzzle pieces
Courtesy: kentkarateschools.co.uk

(BOSTON, Mass.) - Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological disorder considered as high-functioning autism. Individuals with this syndrome have difficulty with social aspects of intelligence. This manifests itself as a notable lack of "common sense."

The presence of Asperger in children is getting more attention now, but the undiagnosed adult is not yet well recognized. Because these types of brain disorders seem to be more common in men, many times wives have trouble getting the support they need.

The shortcomings of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome have been camouflaged beneath layers of coping strategies and defense mechanisms. Their behavior often gives the impression of someone perhaps a little eccentric or odd - but passable because of their high or gift in an area or career, such as engineering.

Life with an AS spouse is very isolating. Since the AS person in public often appears normal, others do not understand the spouse's suffering. Spouses of people with Asperger Syndrome play an abnormally large caregiver role. Even when AS people are successful professionals, their families cannot rely on them to participate fully in family life since they typically don't do their share of chores or provide emotional support to other family members.

Although people with Asperger’s Syndrome do feel affection towards others, relationships are not a priority for them in the same way that it is for people who do not have Asperger’s Syndrome. People with Asperger’s Syndrome generally seem to be more focused on a particular interest, project or task than on the people around them.

Because the person with Asperger’s Syndrome does not have the same relational needs as the non-Asperger partner, he or she is mostly unable to recognize instinctively or to meet the emotional needs of his or her partner. Marriages can thus form seriously dysfunctional relationship patterns.

The denial, the complex and multi-layered coping mechanisms and defensive strategies make it difficult to live successfully in a relationship with someone who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Often the afflicted will deny there is a problem, since one of the disorder's main characteristics is the lack of ability to imagine someone else's point of view.

People who do not have Asperger’s Syndrome enter a marriage with the normal expectation that the priority of a marriage relationship will be about togetherness, mutual terms and meeting of needs, but in reality the relationship ends up being more one of practicality and convenience for the person with Asperger’s Syndrome than for the loving and meeting of emotional needs of the marital partner.

In many cases, the Asperger partner analyzed the partner prior to marriage and assessed them as being capable of filling a compensatory role for his own deficits. The non-Asperger partner then unwittingly fills the role of personal assistant. In the privacy of their relationship, the spouse who does not have Asperger’s Syndrome will more than likely be physically and emotionally drained, working overtime to keep life on track for both of them. Perhaps the relationship has taken on more of the characteristics of a business partnership or arrangement.


For those who had normal expectations of the mutuality of marriage, there will be a sense of betrayal and a feeling of being used and trapped. Instinctively they know that their partner needs them, but feelings develop that the relationship is about the needs and interests of the person with Asperger’s Syndrome and that there is not even room for their own voice.

Many partners feel that they are daily sacrificing their own sense of self to help fulfill the priorities of the partner who has Asperger’s Syndrome. They begin to feel that they are entirely defined by the role they fill for their Asperger partner. There’s a sense that there is no mutuality, no equality, no justice.

People married to someone with Asperger’s Syndrome continue to hope for the mutual meeting of emotional needs within the marriage and resent the reality of living on terms dictated by the needs and priorities of the partner with Asperger’s Syndrome. In effect, their flexibility is exploited by the inflexibility of the person with Asperger’s Syndrome. This prompts an extremely manipulative behavior pattern, with the neurologically typical spouse going overboard to prevent stress. Living with someone who sees only his or her own viewpoint cannot help but damage a spouse's self-esteem.

The neurotypical spouse must thoroughly evaluate all the issues before deciding if there is enough of value to make continuing the relationship worthwhile. Those who stay in a relationship with an Asperger’s-afflicted mate should do everything possible to be independent socially and financially. In most cases, the afflicted spouse will not be able to make substantial changes, so the neurotypical spouse must be able to accept that. Knowing what to expect will make the marriage more predictable and manageable, if not easier.


Karin Maria Friedemann is a Boston-based writer on Middle East affairs and US politics. She is Director of the Division on Muslim Civil Rights and Liberties for the National Association of Muslim American Women. Karin is editor of World View News Service: groups.yahoo.com/group/wvns/ and an op ed columnist for the Khaleej Times (Dubai). She blogs at: karinfriedemann.blogspot.com and mariahussain.wordpress.com.

She enjoys writing about Jewish and Middle East affairs and her occasionally outrageous personal advice column "Ask Maria." She has written for the Muslim Observer, Islamic Horizons and the Message magazine on local politics, the halal meat industry and women's issues. You can email Karin at this address: togethertalk@hotmail.com




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Karolyn December 7, 2013 10:59 am (Pacific time)

I have been married to my Aspie husband for 35 years. It has only been in the last few years that I discovered he has AS. All of these years I felt it was me who was the cause of our very strange marriage. Although, I must admit through the decades I've accused him of a great many things, such as thinking he was cheating or that he was gay since he had/has no interest in me sexually. Imagine a teenage bride, nineteen to be exact, be rejected all of the time by her husband. And on the rare occasions he would make love to me, if you want to call it that, he always made me feel like he was doing me a favor. The problems have been many. His lack of eye contact made me feel like he was being dishonest, or that I was not at all interesting to him. In addition to all of this we have had many of the problems listed here. I'm sorry to all of you who are offended by this article, but it does describe my life. I recognize not all of you with AS behave in the same manner as described by me or in this article as I believe the gravity isn't always the same for each with AS. So of course you have the right to be upset. Please, though, don't make light of what does happen for many of us who are married to Aspies who do inflict the pain described here. It is a very lonely life to say the least. Since knowing he has AS I've been slowly trying to be accepting of it. As of today I'm in the grieving stage knowing that I will never have a marriage like my parents have. Ours is a parent/child relationship without much communication, no affection, or an interchange of ideas. Some days are harder than others. At times I feel sorry for myself, and other days I am positive and look upon his good qualities for comfort. I know I will never leave him, so a good attitude is essential for my own sanity. Once again I'm sorry to all of you who feel insulted about this article. But do know it describes my life perfectly...please respect that. Please don't be angered by it.


Karolyn December 7, 2013 2:41 am (Pacific time)

I have been married to my Aspie husband for 35 years. It has only been in the last few years that I discovered he has AS. All of these years I felt it was me who was the cause of our very strange marriage. Although, I must admit through the decades I've accused him of a great many things, such as thinking he was cheating or that he was gay since he had/has no interest in me sexually. Imagine a teenage bride, nineteen to be exact, be rejected all of the time by her husband. And on the rare occasions he would make love to me, if you want to call it that, he always made me feel like he was doing me a favor. The problems have been many. His lack of eye contact made me feel like he was being dishonest, or that I was not at all interesting to him. In addition to all of this we have had many of the problems listed here. I'm sorry to all of you who are offended by this article, but it does describe my life. I recognize not all of you with AS behave in the same manner as described by me or in this article as I believe the gravity isn't always the same for each with AS. So of course you have the right to be upset. Please, though, don't make light of what does happen for many of us who are married to Aspies who do inflict the pain described here. It is a very lonely life to say the least. Since knowing he has AS I've been slowly trying to be accepting of it. As of today I'm in the grieving stage knowing that I will never have a marriage like my parents have. Ours is a parent/child relationship without much communication, no affection, or an interchange of ideas. Some days are harder than others. At times I feel sorry for myself, and other days I am positive and look upon his good qualities for comfort. I know I will never leave him, so a good attitude is essential for my own sanity. Once again I'm sorry to all of you who feel insulted about this article. But do know it describes my life perfectly...please respect that. Please don't be angered by it.


HK November 13, 2013 12:59 pm (Pacific time)

It will never stop to amuse me how NT's constantly accuse us Autistics of generalizing everything and be without empathy, before they themselves come with some unempathetic generalisation about us.


MJ November 7, 2013 7:55 pm (Pacific time)

I am an Aspie female and know other Aspie males and can say this is so far from experience it's insulting. I bend over backwards for others and do everything to please them. My 16 year marriage was total devotion to pleasing my selfish, lying, hurtful husband who turned out to be a Borderline personality. I did everything in our relationship, for him, despite my severe social anxieties and suffered much pain and humiliation. This article is completely misleading and does not acurately begin to describe the many facets of Aspergers. To me it reads like the NT is being demanding and selfish, due to total lack of understanding of the depth of an Aspies emotions or the need to compose and heal after exhausting sensory overload.


JJ April 9, 2013 10:52 pm (Pacific time)

I see all the comments from readers who feel this article is unfair. However, it describes my experience with my ex-spouse better than anything I have ever read. Spot-on. It was like having an extra child in the house. I was emotionally exhausted by the time I gave up. I learned to set boundaries to minimize the ways he could make me late, screw up any finances that could apply to me, etc., but all the while my loving feelings were trickling away. I am still upset with myself for failing to see the situation before we married.


Raigh January 14, 2013 1:03 pm (Pacific time)

NT spouses who are in a relationship with someone with AS can relate to this article. Cassandra Phenomenon or OTRS (Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome) covers the NT aspect. Thank you for offering better insight re AS and relationships.


thanks November 20, 2012 8:00 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for this article, I finally feel like I have a voice. You described my brilliant but AS ex-husband to a tee. Trying to be what he wanted was impossible and turning into the death of me physically, though no one, not even my family understood it or believed me. Its been 2 years since I left, he (without conscience) wore me out of fighting for him to keep almost all legal obligation to my son, using my will to keep my son healthy and happy to get what he wanted and yet in his conscious he is always the victim.... but my heath has slowly returned. And now I know now I'm not alone :) I wish my ex could acknowledge he is an AS, if I had known, who knows? My son has been diagnosed AS and I remain hopeful as he learns to understand how he is different in a way that effects his relationships. I think he could someday have a healthy, happy, family of his own.


mercy October 30, 2012 12:29 am (Pacific time)

en. I re hi can\'t thank you enough for all that you have done for me. About a year ago I my partner split up, we had both made BIG mistakes in our relationship. He ended up moving away from me to pursue a new life. I knew in my heart that he would be the only one to make me happy. I was relieved when I found your email on a site about what you have quested 3 to 4 day casting of the reunite us love spell and within 4days mark company had relocated him back to our hometown where I still lived. We immediately reconnected and move in with each other. Our wedding date is set for Summer 2012. Expect to see your invite in the mail!thanks to upesaspelltemple@yahoo.com


Stephanie October 22, 2012 7:29 am (Pacific time)

I have just ended my engagement to a lovely man with AS. Thank you for your article, every part of it rings true. Unfortunately 'people' are just not important to him, and although I know he loved me as much as he could (his words0 we both admitted this wasn't as much as a 'normal' person would love me, and this wasn't enough for me. I worry that he will end up very lonely. I tried for 3 yrs to make this work, and ended up quite depressed. In the end it was the thought of bringing children into the world together that was the final straw, I think it would have been like being a single parent. I am still trying to help him by suggesting he talk to a psych, just so that he can better understand himself, and the effect his actions have on others. very sad at the minute and still love him deeply but I think, although it sounds cruel, you can only live half a life with a man like that.


MARY August 29, 2012 8:17 am (Pacific time)

People with Asperbergers are THEE MOST SELFISH people in the world. I am sick of them getting away with all this rude, obnoxious, law breaking behavior. Especially if you are an adult...even into their 50s they are getting away with it. Take a course, get a clue, do your own penance. SELFISH A-HOLES!


Cressida July 15, 2012 12:12 am (Pacific time)

Not all aspires are the same -I can only speak from my experience. I identify totally worth the article. If it helps to give credibility I was married to an identical twin and my sister-in-law suffered in a similar way. Both of us had not experienced emotional intimacy in our early years so did not recognise the deficit in our relationships until our own needs changed with the arrival of children. That is how we contributed to our own problems!


Cleanpain July 4, 2012 12:10 am (Pacific time)

The article is great, is help with those that are in the turmoil of this roller coaster. The husband is worthless; do not respect the family nucleus. He care more about the neighbor them you. I have been stuck on the side of the road for 3 hours and I was 6 minutes away from the house and my husband will not come to help me because he did not want to stop his Soduke game. I was having a tubal pregnancy and I drove myself to the emergency room because he was out with his friends, after the surgery I loss I lot of blood so I have to be in the hospital a few more days. He left me alone he told me he was going home. I have to prepare the house for the hurricane with a broken leg when he was in bed watching TV. I have to drive myself to the airport. He beat the **** out me for not making the bed. I used to get a beating every week. I wall in egg shelf for 27 years. He got us in debt to we start losing our properties. I am a professional women that minute the bill goes down I am out here. The whole family has it. He got 4 brothers, his mother has it and 4 brothers cannot keep a job. 2 leave at home and 2 has criminal record but all are very smart. I am sick of this family. Somebody else can have this pilot


Thinking I've heard this before June 16, 2012 9:26 pm (Pacific time)

As I read, all I could see was a typical dysfunctional relationship made worse by the presence of Asperger's. Meaning, BOTH parties have to take some of the blame for the poor relationship. What do I mean by that? Here's a problematic sentence: "Many partners feel that they are daily sacrificing their own sense of self to help fulfill the priorities of the partner who has Asperger’s Syndrome." The spouse who is "sacrificing" needs to learn how to speak up for her own needs and wants, and not expect her partner to magically figure it out. Aspies have trouble reading what others want and need based on their body language alone, and need concrete lists of things they can do to help their partners and make them happy (things that might seem obvious to neurotypicals will be totally surprising to many aspies - example: "I feel loved when you offer to make dinner for me" - cooking/microwaving to an aspie might just seem like something boring that has to be done to survive, and not an act of love). Many aspies may not even be aware their partner is suffering if she never specifically says that she is. "Martyrdom" is a typical form of relationship dysfunction, which used to be much more common among women, back when women were expected to be subservient to their husbands' needs at all times. It is still, unfortunately, a problem. Anyone who feels that they are giving everything and getting nothing in return needs to learn to be assertive about their needs, and speak up for themselves, regardless of whether they are in a relationship with a neurotypical or a neurovariant - but ESPECIALLY in the latter case. Of course, some adult aspies may also simply be accustomed to always getting their own way (not doing chores, for example) due to the enabling behaviour of their parents. They may never have learned how to be fully independent, and have transferred their need for a parent onto their spouse (neurotypicals do this too, sometimes). This might be a case for tough love ("I'm only washing my own clothes this week. If you want clean clothes, I'll teach you to use the washing machine.") Let's think of ways to meet in the middle and stop the accusations!


Carrie May 3, 2012 4:30 pm (Pacific time)

I find this article to be terribly negative and cold. As a woman with asperger's, I'm a bit irritated that this article portrays aspie adults as cold, uncaring, and not doing our fair share of chores in the house. Are you SERIOUS?! In my house, I'm the one who carries the load of running the household while my husband is the one who manages the finances. We work together, like every other couple. While I have to work harder than neurotypical wives at displaying affection toward my husband, it does not in any way indicate that I don't love him. Because I love him, I make an effort to work on being more physically affectionate than I'm accustomed to and communicating effectively. At the same time, he works with me on how I communicate and makes an effort to give me space when I need it. Every relationship is give and take, whether you have a neurological difference or not. What a damaging and narrow minded article. Before you write about a condition you apparently know little about, it would behoove you to research it and get to know other adults with aspergers - male and female.


NeuroTypical in GA April 7, 2012 10:41 am (Pacific time)

This article describes my marriage, also. Aspergers, unlike what Cynic said, is a neurological condition of the brain and Aspies are considered part of the Austism spectrum, but high-functioning. Those of you here who take offense to the article simply do not understand what living with an Aspie spouse can be like. Do your homework or be quiet.


Right on April 6, 2012 5:21 pm (Pacific time)

This article explains EXACTLY how I feel in my life everyday with my AS husband. Those of you who think she is being "harsh" have NOT experienced this, so this is the wrong place for you to leave comments. It does not concern you. You should just listen and let the ones who know what it's like to live with a man with AS have some empathy for one another.


Tori April 18, 2011 5:38 pm (Pacific time)

This has been my experience to a T. It is hard because he did not get diagnosed until recently and it makes sense, but does not make the years of pain any easier.


Anonymous March 22, 2011 9:16 pm (Pacific time)

wow lol at the Cynic guy. Completely untrue and impossible (because of it's nature in the brain you must be at least average iq) Anyway. Idk why everyone is bashing or even defensive of this and providing examples of how they get on fine blah blah. That's great. But sometimes there *are* issues that have to do with the person having AS, that's just the truth, and so these defensive posts aren't needed IMO... goi (get over it), don't want to sound pushy but yes seen too many defensive posts, but then again with autism things lots of things are replied to defensively sadly


turtlenina October 12, 2010 8:11 pm (Pacific time)

I have been married to an aspie for 18 years, it's very difficult. we have two children and I have always felt like I'm a single mother. I am very lonely and feel overwhelmed all the time carrying on completely responsible for my children and my marriage. My family is a testament to my personal strength, without it there would be no family. I love my husband very much but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't ask myself why didn't I think I was worth more? Why did I stay with someone who can never be the supportive loving partner I need? I see my friends and how their husbands are and ....I feel alone. My best friend has just been diagonsed with breast cancer and her husband is so supportive. I know mine wouldn't be, he couldn't be, it's up to me to take care of all of them.


the wife of an aspie October 9, 2010 8:42 pm (Pacific time)

WOW so many having written on this are soo defensive and have negative writings on this. Congratulations to all of you who have not identified fully with the article. I personally feel she has hit bang on the nail with her comments. My marriage has been horrible, lacking in emotional context etc etc. So i identify absolutely fully with everything she has said and from that i take that i am not going mad and my feelings and thoughts are true. Please remember there are those out there who are suffering trememdously and this is true to them and then be absolutely thankful and grateful you are not walking in the shoes of those who do identify with this. Its awful!!!


Silvia June 22, 2010 11:13 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for this accurate article. This is my life as my husband is an aspie. When I married him I thought he was just shy and found it charming. But he is an emotional zero, a controlling bully and abuses alcohol. I cannot help him and I cannot leave because I won't leave our son in his care even if it is just for a few days at a time. I cannot take chances with our son so I'm trapped. There is no reaching him ... He is clueless,irresponsible and in denial (even though he has been told by a psychiatrist that there is something wrong neurologically he won't take responsibility for his behavior).


Eliza January 11, 2010 10:04 am (Pacific time)

Me and my ex boyfriend had been going out for two months (I am a girl btw). One of us was an Aspie, and one of us was neurotypical. For the first month of our relationship, my ex was extremely attentive and touchy-feely; he bought me gifts and fed me lines like "your eyes are so beautiful". Suddenly, about a month and a half into the relationship, he stopped being so warm, and started avoiding me. When I asked him what was up, he said he had issues, and needed time to work them out. So I gave him time. Eventually, after a few weeks of being in limbo (during which time, we sat next to each other on the bus and he acted like we had already broken up!), I decided to call him and find out what his deal was. I tried to be as diplomatic as possible: I said to him "I could be wrong, but it feels like you are avoiding me". As it turns out, he was interested in another girl. The gist of his message: he was just keeping me around until he had success with this girl. Naturally, I dumped him. He went on to post a series of poems on the internet blaming ME for all our relationship woes; he just couldn't face the fact that he had his fair share of blame. Me? I admitted to myself what I might have done wrong in our relationship, but realized that he had his problems too, and it was really better that we had broken up. Want to hear something REALLY interesting now? I was the one with Aspergers; he was the "normal" one. I guess it goes to show that some people with Aspergers can try hard to be flexible and understanding (even if it is supposedly not one of their natural abilities) and that some NT's can't "imagine someone else's point of view".


Corinite December 5, 2009 6:11 pm (Pacific time)

First off, I am an 18 year old Aspie who still functions rather "normally" and in relationships I typically care more about my partners needs then my own. In fact, I derive pleasure from fulfilling their need. I admit that I may be quirky at times and have trouble telling what's on their mind but still, the picture painted in this story is grossly inaccurate for many, like me.

Also, Arama, I have two close friends who, as children, were diagnosed with Asperger's and had loving, understanding parents who did their best to raise them but they still lacked certain functionality skills. However, I was raised unaware of the fact that I had AS with a step-father who, on occasion, strangled me half to death and a drunk mother who didn't believe me about it and did everything to help me in school and such except for listening to me or asking for my opinion on the matter, although I function at a very functional level (Some of the AS covered up with humor) and find little difficulties in social interaction, though it took some time to get to this point.


Vipera Aspis November 26, 2009 7:20 am (Pacific time)

This piece is the worst kind of inaccurate. It sprinkles truth and falsehood together making the opinions sound more plausible. But how can you tell if it is bigotry? To determine if any (opinion-based, not fact-based) article is bigoted, simply replace any reference to AS with "Muslim, Black, Elderly, etc" (as appropriate to your own ingroup membership) and re-read the article. This opinion-based piece qualifies as offensive to me. Ultimately, ask yourself what purpose this article serves. If anyone is having troubles, they "need understanding" so what is the point here? Why single out AS men as the bad guys? Because they are easier, less controversial targets and because writing a piece titled “people with troubles need understanding” does not garner wide readership. We call this behavior “bullying”.


Living with one... November 19, 2009 4:57 am (Pacific time)

Wow. Just about everyone seems really defensive... Yeah, she's pretty harsh. But my marriage has been no cake walk. Nearly 30 years and 2 children. Several separations. Husband is a work-aholic, ASP engineer. Never doubted he loved me. Most of the time, I loved him too. But it was never easy. Our salvation has been that we are both very independent, have separated several times to take a break and sometimes take jobs in different places even when we are getting along. Maybe she is writing about extreme cases like mine because my children and I read this and felt like she'd been spying on us! I'm really happy to hear that some relationships seem to be easier. I have a friend with an ASP son who will be happy to read that too. She worries about his ability to maintain a relationship as well. After many tough years, my husband and I are kinder and more loving to each other than we have ever been. But it has taken a long time.


Judy November 18, 2009 6:09 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for this article. It completely describes my life. I could give you reams of information and experiences that are only explained by Asperger's.


si November 18, 2009 6:41 am (Pacific time)

rainbow, I bet the author does know an aspie - probably one aspie, and probably sympathizes heavily with his wife (cuz aspies are all male, right?) Remember what you are reading. The "relationship article" thrives on cheap insulting stereotypes, so that the author can offer condescending advice on how to survive being in a relationship with someone of "that" sex/faith/nationality/whatever.


Drazi November 12, 2009 7:05 pm (Pacific time)

It seems as though some people want people to be all the same. Why not nitpick about the various quirks of foreigners next, how much wives of foreigners suffer? Or wives of guys who to watch sports on TV for hours? Or wives of guys who fuss over their sports cars too much? Why single out aspy men?


Elise November 13, 2009 7:26 am (Pacific time)

This articleis very ignorant of the realities of living with a peron with AS.As the parent of two aspieteenagers I can tell you that they are loving and giving.They are also hard workign honest and woutld be a faithful partner. They will one day make someone a wonderful spouse. They are also quite intelligent with genius IQs. I suggest next time the author attempts to write about a subject she actually learn something about it first. It might maker her more reputable, but that takes effort and this article is totally devoid of any real thought or effort.


John Best November 11, 2009 6:49 pm (Pacific time)

Xochipala, Marriage counselling won't help you. You need to remove the mercury from your brain so you can recover from Asperger's and enjoy mental health.


xochipala November 11, 2009 1:58 pm (Pacific time)

"In many cases, the Asperger partner analyzed the partner prior to marriage and assessed them as being capable of filling a compensatory role for his own deficits. The non-Asperger partner then unwittingly fills the role of personal assistant." I was nodding along until I hit this line. Good grief! I don't know what your husband did to you, but I do know that when I entered my marriage to my NT husband, I had no intention of having him fill my deficits -- I thought he was a cool guy and that we were pretty much on the same wavelength. I was, as another poster has commented, shocked to hear some years into our marriage that I was cold and he didn't think I was capable of loving anyone. I thought I was expressing myself and my feelings for him very well. And, yes, it took me years to get to the point that I realized he wasn't just being mean when he said this, but I do get it. Yes, there were some communication issues, but I think a lot of them would have been avoided if we had really taken the time to get to know each other better before marriage. I also firmly believe that if he had agreed to even try marriage counseling at the time, we would have been able to overcome the communication problems and would have been together for a much longer time. After twelve years apart, I still love him deeply. While I agree that the plight of an NT spouse can be difficult, please don't downplay their responsibility to seek assistance and to let their AS partner know as clearly as possible what the problem really is -- specifically, not just in blanket generalizations. Otherwise, you're committing the same offense of which you are charging the AS spouse -- expecting them to be unconditionally supportive without being sensitive to their needs as well.


Meg November 11, 2009 1:14 pm (Pacific time)

It's obvious that an article like this would never have seen the light of day if the target of its ugly stereotypes had been some other minority group. Shame on you for printing it, Salem News.


Cerys November 11, 2009 1:01 pm (Pacific time)

'probably 80% of children and teens diagnosed with Asperger's does in reality have an iq of 75-90' Cynic: Seriously, that's not right! Cite your source! There are many very good books on the subject, often available at libraries - try one of Tony Attwood's.


John Best November 11, 2009 12:51 pm (Pacific time)

Karin, It seems all of the nuts who want to celebrate being mentally ill with Asperger's found you. It's now possible to cure these people by chelating the mercury out of their brains. Instead of putting up with them, we really should lock them up and cure them for their own good.


Lisa November 11, 2009 12:51 am (Pacific time)

I have Asperger's. So does my husband (both diagnosed by reputable professionals). Neither of us is perishing from lack of the other's love (actually we can get kind of gooey in private, lol). I wouldn't trade him for anything and I know he feels the same way. We are a team. We are not perfect and we both have fairly serious disability-related issues, so we take on tasks based on our strengths--I do what I do better, and he does what he does better, and when we both suck equally, we divide the task! Incidentally, since people are posting their IQ scores in order to refute the idiot above who thinks most aspies score in the 75-90 range, ours are in the 130's. I have a master's degree. To readers: If you're just coming to an awareness of Asperger's, please read other material and talk to real aspies and professionals and take the above article with-- well, I'll say "a grain of salt" and hope you know I actually mean "the Dead Sea." I know a lot of other aspies, including many in marriages and other loving partnerships. Aspies who are aware of AS and what it means in their own lives, and committed to creating positive relationships, are very often capable of doing so, and like my husband, their unswerving loyalty often exceeds that of many "neurotypicals."


Cynic November 10, 2009 10:24 pm (Pacific time)

Darcy. probably 80% of children and teens diagnosed with Asperger's does in reality have an iq of 75-90. It's for some reason regarded as more "humane" to tell them that they are Autistic than learning disabled!


Arama November 10, 2009 6:13 pm (Pacific time)

Perhaps the writer sounds a bit harsh, but that may be because the "other half" aspect has really not come into the public view yet. I know many and am also one of those NT partners in a state of despair. The unique Aspie traits were fine when we weren't raising children and there weren't added stressors of finances and health. But good relational and communication skills in parents are key to raising children and not burning out. Also, the self awareness of a person with Asperger's seems to be huge in the success of their close relationships. If the AS partner is in denial, the NT partner really has no clear path to communication. This is also very hard on children. It is important to remember that every person with AS is different and some people with AS have symptoms that vary a lot in intensity. Also, many NT people who are attracted to an AS person will have some traits themselves. There's a reason it is one of the spectrum disorders. Early intervention and self awareness can make all the difference, as well as the NT partner understanding how Aspergers affects their loved one. I love my Aspie friends and family, and I see how much better families do when there is self-awareness and compassionate adjustments for both ways of thinking, feeling, and relating to the world. Well trained help and mentoring in relational communications is sorely needed and nearly non-existent. Children with Asperger's who are growing up with this kind of help seem to be doing extremely well. They can learn enough NT relational skills to do just about any kind of work, but get to retain and build on their AS gifts.


Ciara November 10, 2009 4:27 pm (Pacific time)

Such irony in this one sided view of people with a "lack of ability to imagine someone else's point of view." You might want to read about "Cassandra Syndrome" and how it's generally viewed. Also, please educate yourself on AS and other things such as Alexithymia. Where this article succeeds: Yes, these people were upset. Yes, their partners appeared to have these attitudes, actions, opinions, and ideas that they found hurtful. Yes, these people needed someone to talk to. To tell them this: Where this article fails: 1)As with any massive generalization, it is bound to be incorrect on many levels and fail if not offend. Clearly, not all people with AS show these symptoms. It's also been mentioned these issues are also present in some NT relationships. 2)There is a presumption that the "AS partner" is aware of how they are appearing, and that they don't care to work toward mutually understood expressions of affection if presented with the need. There is NO representation of the viewpoint of someone portrayed here, who might very well be stunned at best to learn he or she is thought of in this way. 3)It is fairly clear that most of these issues stem from the arrogant assumption that there is only one way to view emotions and relationships and the second ignorant assumption that all people with AS behave this way. 4)Asking the wrong people. The group of "wives" or other "mistreated" people here are only "victims" of their own inability to effectively communicate needs or understand ideas outside of their own experience. If they were willing to put any work into their relationship like they are demanding of their "AS partner," they would have developed a working language and system of showing affection that both partners understood. The only leverage here is that for someone who has never encountered someone like that before, it can be disconcerting and confusing. But where is the logic in letting someone cause you to doubt everything you are just because they're not who you hoped they'd be? Sometimes it's just a matter of having that pointed out to you. Such as for some, approval of a partner is just a given. "I'm with you, therefore I approve of you." Striking a balance of healthy (as in not constant) reassurance and positive sense of self is important. It's a two way street. Communicate, communicate, communicate. If something is wrong, find a way to explain why it hurt you. Do it right then. Don't just hold onto it, pretend it will go away, or try to change the other person. If there's going to be an impasse, sooner is better than later to find out. Which brings me to: 5.)If these people discovered over the course of their relationship that their partner was unable or unwilling for whatever reason to establish the needed or expected emotional bonds and communication, we have to remember these people chose to continue those relationships and "take the abuse" as it were. If you are unwilling to try to understand where your partner is coming from on anything in your lives, then you have problems at the very foundation that flowery speech and chocolates won't fix. That applies in both directions. If you do understand, but need something, anything your partner can never offer, be it poetry or 3 hours of silence every day...continuing the relationship does not constitute your right to demonize them or any condition they may have.


Frankie November 10, 2009 2:40 pm (Pacific time)

"Living with someone who sees only his or her own viewpoint cannot help but damage a spouse's self-esteem." If so, I hope the spouse who inspired this personal-rant-parading-as-an-objective-statement was able to free himself from this relationship and salvage his self-esteem. I see no attempt whatsoever on the part of the writer to understand Asperger's syndrome or the people with it; only a lot of personal venting, assumptions, generalizations and bigotry. To call this journalism is ridiculous.


Don Sakers November 10, 2009 1:17 pm (Pacific time)

I am a 51-year-old with Aspergers Syndrome (and an IQ in the 160s, thank you very much), and have been happily and successfully married for 20+ years. I would suggest that most declarations that apply to ALL people of some class are inherently biased and offensive (i.e. "Even when XYZ are successful professionals, their families cannot rely on them to participate fully in family life"). Replace XYZ with "Black" or "Jewish" or "Women" and you will see how offensive such statements can be. If the writer's goal is to make a rational case to objective readers, I would counsel her to use verified numbers and quote sources, i.e. "According to a study published by ABC Foundation, the families of two-thirds of people with AS agreed that they 'cannot count on the AS person to participate fully in family affairs.'" That would allow her message to be conveyed more effectively; using unverified anecdotal evidence and absolute statements just makes many readers respond negatively and, hence, stop listening. Of course, if the writer's goal is to make an emotional argument, empty of any objective content, addressed to those who are already convinced of her thesis, then she has chosen an appropriate tone.


Cerys November 10, 2009 12:27 pm (Pacific time)

My AS dad and NT mum have their differences, and they do fight some times, but it's definitely a two way thing. She misses his emotional needs as much as he misses hers, but when they actually communicate they both still care and try. Also despite their differences they make a great team. My dad is our protector, he makes sure we're physically safe and financially secure. He may not do housework, but his role is important too. Incidentally, Cynic, his IQ is 129. I have AS too and mine is 157. I think your source might be inaccurate.


Darcy November 10, 2009 12:07 pm (Pacific time)

You don't know what Asperger's is. I don't know why you would write something so hateful, we have enough problems. I would never want to marry someone who thought of me as a burden, and even if I did, I'm sure they would notice I have Asperger's before we got married! (Cynic, Asperger's is not related to intellectual disabilities. Asperger's people do sometimes get mildly retarded IQ scores in certain areas. This is because of issues with common sense and spatial understanding that affect our ability to take that kind of test. But in other areas, we have normal IQs.)


Jill November 10, 2009 12:06 pm (Pacific time)

This is the most stereotyped article full of misleading and horrible bigotry that I have ever read. There are people in relationships with Aspies who have none of these problems and people in relationships with NTs who have all of these problems. I don't really understand what message you were trying to get across by writing this article.


Sarah November 10, 2009 12:03 pm (Pacific time)

This is extremely offensive. Ms. Friedmann has taken a personal grudge and made it public in a way that is irresponsible and defamatory towards a larger group of people. We can't even be certain this individual has Asperger's. (She appears to have "diagnosed" him, herself). I do have Asperger's. I did not break Ms. Friedmann's heart and I don't deserve her wrath.


James November 10, 2009 11:37 am (Pacific time)

I'm the AS partner in my relationship, and my partner and I discuss our strengths and weaknesses and work to compensate for them. I do most of the cleaning and decorating because I like an ordered space, and my partner does a lot of the phone calls. When we want to tackle something new, my partner sends me off to do the meticulous research that I love and he hates - and then we can make an informed decision together. Assumptions and false expectations kill relationships, not AS. Your advice ("not worth it!") does nothing to provide hope or help create a positive environment for working out these differences. Most AS people don't want to hurt their partners, and would gladly work to make things work better. The key is communicating that, and not assuming that the AS partner doesn't care.


Steven November 10, 2009 10:39 am (Pacific time)

Ms. Friedmann, you seem to claim a relationship with someone with AS is not worth the trouble. I'm not sure a relationship with someone who holds such smug, uncritical and ignorant views as yours is worth the trouble either. Casting people with AS as Bluebeards doesn't help the issue.


Sara November 10, 2009 9:57 am (Pacific time)

This article is full of bigotry and stereotyping. It does not reflect the realities of Asperger's Syndrome. My husband has AS and not one thing in this article is true of him.


Pazi November 10, 2009 8:22 am (Pacific time)

My neurotypical, lesbian partner finds this article bizarrely out of touch with the reality of ASD/neurotypical relationships, and I'm inclined to agree with her. It seems like it's based more around stereotypes and expected behaviors than anything. As a person with this very condition, I don't find it difficult to place a priority on my relationships, and while I've certainly known Aspies (including myself) with troubled relationship history, there were plenty of other problems present as well. Given that the odds of a neurotypical-neurotypical relationship working out are fairly chancy to begin with, is it really responsible to go spreading misinformation like this?


rainbow November 10, 2009 8:02 am (Pacific time)

I think the author of this article has not, in fact, met anyone who has Asperger's Syndrome. If she had, she would not be perpetuating these harmful stereotypes of people who have AS. I'm sure my partner would be thrilled to know that I am in our relationship only for convenience and practicality and that I don't find our relationship to be a priority.


Cynic November 10, 2009 2:39 am (Pacific time)

Asperger's does not exist. Most people with this "diagnosis" are actually people with a 75-90 iq. It's just regarded as "better" to diagnose them as "Autistic" than learning disabled. There are many selfish and pathetic women who after a tought divorce or breakup "diagnose" a man they now hate as having Asperger's. Please stop this.

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