Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How my Sons Asperger's has helped my Marriage

My husband, Jeremy, is one of the most brilliant men I have ever met.  That brilliance is is one of the things that attracted me to him.  He also has no common sense, and I have often accused him of having the emotions of a robot.  He also doesn't notice when people are in distress, or respond properly to that distress when it's shown to him.  He loves to negotiate contracts while playing monopoly, I've learned never to play a game with him, he ALWAYS wins and takes it WAY too seriously.  If you've ever seen the TV show  "Big Bang Theory", the character Sheldon could have been modeled from my husband.  I love Jeremy greatly, and I know he loves me.  But, these quirks have caused us tremendous trouble.

This Summer, my oldest was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism, more commonly known as Asperger's and Sensory Processing Disorder.  Since that time, I've done what most moms would do; I have read everything about the subject as I could get my hands on.  The more I read, the more of C-notes behavior I can understand.  I also see a great deal of my husband in all of this information too.

While I have gained a lot more patience with C-note, I have also gained more patience with Jeremy.  I realized that he wasn't deliberately trying to hurt me with his words that completely disregard emotion.  I see that he doesn't understand how outcomes change based on other peoples emotional response.  Just as he confuses me, I completely baffle him because I am mostly ruled by my emotions.

He is completely ignorant of his differences.  Which can be a good thing, because when people give him strange looks, he doesn't even notice.  But, some of the things he comes up with, or thinks are normal can be socially unacceptable.  Privately, we discuss our interactions, and how people responded in them.  This isn't something I deliberately started, it just came about, but it allows us to talk about how things were received by others without him feeling as though he's under attack.

I talk about EVERYTHING with Jeremy.  I believe that secrets can kill a marriage.  I also know that if I don't tell Jeremy exactly what's bothering me and why, he won't get it and believes that I'm more irrational than I normally am.  Telling him about everything, also means that I tell him everything about what I've read on Asperger's, how it relates to our son and other things that are not 'normal' behavior.  I don't relate these things back to him, he's logical enough to connect the dots.  But I've noticed subtle changes in him.  He's trying to consider emotional responses, his choice of words don't sound as harsh and he's thinking about how environment may affect our children.  He's also less pushy.  Before, if he thought something should be done one way, then your HAD to do things that way.  He has greatly relaxed about that and has seen some brilliant solutions come from our kids, which makes him so happy.

I've also changed.  I've figured out that we will never have a "normal" relationship that my friends talk about.  He will never have a single romantic bone in his body.  Just because he doesn't tell me that he loves me, or give me a complement without being prompted, doesn't mean he doesn't love me, or think I did a good job on something.  He will get lost in his thoughts while I'm telling him things. He will find my crime drama shows predictable, and boring.  He also needs space with only his chosen stimulation every day, give it to him and he will interact when he's ready.  He is easily bored with traditional family activities, so I have to plan more adrenalin filled items.

All marriages have challenges.  Being married to anyone on the spectrum (even undiagnosed) presents an all of those and more. But through it all, Jeremy is still the same person I married.  I am more relaxed which helps him to be as well.  When I look at him, I see the man that I want to spend the rest of my life with.

I hope and pray that when C-note finds a woman to marry, that she will understand that he will never fit in her mold. He won't understand how much it hurts to hear that he's doesn't want to listen about something that means the world to her because it doesn't hold his interest.  This doesn't mean he doesn't care, he just doesn't understand why his actions upset her.

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