5 tips to love someone with Asperger’s syndrome

If you and your partner with Asperger’s have hit a speed bump, some strategies and insights into loving someone with Asperger’s may help improve your relationship.

Asperger’s syndrome is part of the autism spectrum. While physicians no longer use the term “Aspergers” and instead provide a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), some people still identify with this classification or its abbreviated version, “Aspie.”

Whether you are allistic (non-autistic) or have Asperger’s as your partner, a review of the social and communicative characteristics of people with this condition can help you navigate your relationship.

Having problems in a relationship may not mean that you are incompatible. All you need can be a little insight into the best ways to communicate and understand your relationship.

People with Asperger’s are autistic people with typical or higher than average intelligence and strong verbal skills, who often lead independent lives. They can find career success because of their focused interests and strengths, including an affinity for detail, inner motivation and work ethic.

Still, differences in social interaction and communication can lead to worries if you are in a relationship with someone. For example, they can sometimes:

  • miss social signals
  • react in unexpected ways
  • hide their rich, emotional experience behind a flat affect that makes them seem lacking in empathy

Autistics may also have sensory differences that interfere with socializing. Sound sensitivity and touch aversion are two examples.

People with Asperger’s also have strengths that make them wonderful partners. They tend to be honest, loyal, humorous and advocates for the underdog. Autistics are not often caught up in social constructions so they can look right into the heart of what matters.

Understanding how Aspergers affect relationships can help you interpret your partner’s behaviors. It can also give you strategies to nurture and strengthen your bond.

Can a person with Asperger’s feel love? While they may not show it in ways you would expect, the answer is a resounding yes.

You might see other couples holding hands or embracing and thinking that this is how a relationship should be. Meanwhile, your autistic partner may have sensory preferences that involve less touch. That does not mean they do not have feelings for you.

Keep in mind that there are many ways a person can express affection. While your partner with Asperger’s may not want to hug as much as you would like, they may be the person you can count on to remember the things that are important to you.

Every relationship is unique, and what works for another couple may not work for you. The crucial thing is that you both want to be in your relationship and you are both happy.

Just because people with Asperger’s are fluent verbally, does not mean they communicate in the same way as allistic people.

Your partner with Aspergers can be more articulate than usual, with a sophisticated vocabulary. At the same time, they may not respond to other communication elements that are nonverbal or paraverbal (how you say words).

Examples of communication aspects that your partner may miss include:

  • tone of voice, volume, tempo and pitch
  • facial expression
  • body language
  • gestures

A simple solution is to pay attention to the words you use. This works because words are what your Asperger’s partner will notice.

For example, instead of assuming that your partner will recognize when your energy is low, it is helpful to say, “I’m tired today.”

This approach can also help you. If you also feel irritable, it gives you an insight into why your mood has changed if you talk about being tired.

A talent for order accuracy can mean that your autistic partner misunderstands pragmatic (social) language. They may misinterpret common expressions such as “Hold on” or “What’s going on?” It is helpful to use more specific wording such as “Please wait” or “What happens?”

Autism is a disorder that is affecting more and more people. Expecting your autistic partner to change all of their relationship behaviors to suit yours sends the message that you think their ways are not right.

It can also put your partner in some unpleasant situations, which is not how you want to treat someone you care about.

Instead, you can solve this problem by compromise. You need to clearly communicate your desires and preferences as well as the things you do not like. Get your partner to do the same. Then meet in the middle.

For example, you can both enjoy movies, but your autistic partner may be uncomfortable with the sensuous attack from a loud cinema. You can compromise on dinner at a quiet restaurant followed by a volume-controlled movie at home.

If you ask your Aspie partner if your outfit looks nice and you do not get the answer you were hoping for, they have not intentionally been cruel. Instead, you are the lucky recipient of truth from someone you can trust.

Autistic people tend to be more comfortable with clear, truthful communication than flatterers that aim to spare emotions. The truth is clear and easy to understand.

Whether your partner’s unflattering remark is hurtful or helpful depends on how you choose to view it. Keep in mind that their direct honesty also applies to positive feedback – and if that’s the response you get, you can enjoy and enjoy it.

Many people appreciate routines, and autistics are no exception. In fact, a predictable schedule is preferred over spontaneity by many people with Aspergers.

Communication is important enough to include in your schedule. Pencil at regular times for conversations about thoughts, feelings and ways in which you can both improve your relationship.

If necessary, you can use conversation prompts, such as stating one thing you like and one thing you want to change. Be prepared to navigate through disagreement, and have strategies in place to repair hurt feelings.

Conversations are not the only thing you can plan. Consider making regular plans for fun activities like movie night, pizza night, outings with friends, or even alone time.

Do not feel that you have to plan every moment together or plan everything you do. However, since schedules can reduce anxiety in autistic people, it is worth testing to see if this is a strategy that can help your relationship.

Most relationships require work, and yours is no exception. With a little time and effort, you and your partner with Asperger’s can grow closer and have a satisfying connection.

It is worth learning as much as possible about Asperger’s syndrome to gain insight into how this cognitive difference can change the form of relationships.

Clear and specific communication is essential. It can be the difference between repeated episodes of hurt feelings and insight, understanding and a strengthened emotional bond.

Couples counseling can also help. You can try the American Psychological Association’s psychologist finder to find a qualified therapist near you. You can also check out Psych Centrals Find a Therapist resource pages.

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