Silent Asperger's in the couple relationship
As a couples counsellor, I see certain patterns of problems and behaviours occur and reoccur in many couple relationships. This is when one of the partners has an undiagnosed Asperger's condition.
The common theme is for there to be a huge and persisting love for one another and a desire to be together - and yet certain parts of their relationship feel all wrong. There is plenty of room for misunderstanding and hurt in both directions.
Often, the neurotypical (NT) partner will feel neglected and unloved by her partner and will get frustrated and impassioned by the lack of emotion, appreciation and physical affection coming her way.
The Asperger's partner will be perfectly happy in the relationship as long as things are calm and the only time they feel unhappy is if their partner shows that they are unhappy in an emotional manner. So the NT partner melds to the AS partner in order for things to stay harmonious, but in doing so she bends herself out of shape and is rarely feeling completely herself or happy in the relationship.
It is a complex dance. A situation where each partner's 'truth' differs wildly from the other's. They are both right but fight about the other being wrong. Both end up wanting to change the other because their truth is the only truth. There are often lovely harmonious parts of the relationship too which is why the couple continue to stay together. The nice times continue the desire to be together.
The destructive, unhappy part of the cycle can be demystified by working with a couples counsellor who has a special interest in Aspergers; who can explain the different brain workings of a NT and AS brain to help clarify what is happening in the couple relationship,
Once they know the 'facts', the couple can then work on improving their relationship or they can decide that it is not possible to be together. Arguably this is a better position to be in than not understanding why the cycle of frustrations and resentment persist.
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About Freddi Manson
Freddi Manson is a counsellor specialising in couples counselling. She has particular expertise in the damage done by undiagnosed Asperger's in relationships. She has successfully helped many couples who were on the verge of ending their relationships. She has offices in Central London.
BA, Dip Couns, MBACP IPTI