16 thoughts on “Why Your Asperger’s-NT Relationship is Failing

  • April 24, 2019 at 5:32 am

    This is an interesting take on the differences between Aspies and neurotypicals. Of course such a summary by its very nature cannot capture all. I could add a few comments… It seems that this article paints neurotypicals who fall for Aspies as somehow damaged themselves. I don’t really see this as that helpful since it implies that to be attracted to an Aspie, someone must have some sort of deep, dark ‘issues.’ That does not do justice to either partner in this discussion.
    When stresses of finance and children or other major responsibilities enter the equation, it is difficult for any relationship. But it is absolutely necessary for the this kind of couple to understand one another. Getting a diagnosis can help a lot though, if the Aspie doesn’t have one (even an informal one) already. And then both partners need to continue the path to realising how their behaviours impact on the other; they must keep communicating; and they must keep being kind to one another. If meltdowns and anger build up, this will become toxic. Any relationship requires patience. This is just another one. Working hard at knowing each other’s limits is perhaps more necessary for this kind of relationship, though, as Aspies’ energy can be finely balanced and when they lose control, everyone will know about it. Neurotypicals often take years to learn the limits though. But it is worth it.

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  • May 4, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Hey. I’m not autistic, my partner is. We’ve been married for 13 years and have 2 kids, one autistic, one not autistic. Neither of us knew my partner was autistic when we got married. We found out a few years and one kid later. We’ve been through some difficult times, but we really like each other (in addition to loving each other) and we choose to stay together day by day because we each make the other’s life better. For us, ND/NT is normal. It is every day. It is functional. It is growing. It is giving. It is love.

    I wanted to like this piece but I really had a hard time with it. The relationship described here seems really dysfunctional, regardless of ASD status. For example, people who are consistently jealous in their personal relationships are not good relationship material. From the beginning, I felt like the ND player in this scenario was a really bad idea. I wasn’t surprised that they later became suspicious and accusatory. Also, I agree with the other commenter that this story makes it seem like non-aspies who are attracted to aspies must be damaged and/or unattractive. It also exoticizes aspies. My partner is not a mysterious, worldly wise enigma. He’s a good man who has a great sense of humor and endlessly interesting things to talk about. Yes, we’ve had our massive misunderstandings. It’s not easy being together, let alone being together ND/NT. We’ve worked hard on our relationship. I agree that there are few (read no) good resources on how to navigate the ND/NT divide in intimate relationships, so we’ve had to build our own playbook.
    It’s hard for me to read stories like this because it exoticizes and fetishizes what is, for us, just every day life. Think for a moment how this story would read if you switched out the ND and NT labels for “black” and “white.” As a mixed person who is the product of a mixed marriage, I can tell you that racially/culturally mixed marriages have a LOT in common with NT/ND relationships.

    I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here. If this story reflects the reality of the majority of NT/ND couples, then our community BADLY needs well-thought-out relationship strategies, self-help books, and interventions. I am all too aware that NT/ND divorce rates are through the roof and that many people cannot navigate the challenges of a neurologically mixed marriage. But still, as someone who lives in a loving, supportive, functional NT/ND relationship, I question many of the underlying assumptions here. Often, NT/ND relationships fail for the same reasons that NT/NT’s do. Because interpersonal communication is poor, and each partner struggles to clearly communicate their needs and hear their partner’s needs without also engaging in judgment and othering. Jealousy is dysfunction. Undercommunication is dysfunction. Having a “my way or the highway” attitude is dysfunction. A good NT/ND relationship is built on mutual acceptance, valuing, and support with constant effort made on both sides to nurture and sustain the relationship in a way that is beneficial to everyone involved. Good, situationally appropriate communication that conforms to NT/ND norms (rather than socially determined NT/NT expectations) is paramount here.

    Still, despite the above quibbles, I appreciate you trying to bring light to the challenges of NT/ND relationships. It is definitely its own thing!

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  • June 18, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you for this article. I am a recently diagnosed Aspie who is trying to make sense of who I was pre diagnoses and who I am today. I am married to a NT who is very typical of the person described in your article. It is not working out, at all. In addition to the childhood abuse she has a neurological disorder that effects her memory and somewhat how she understands things. I knew this when we married, neither of us about my Asperger’s.
    We are separated now and I am reading everything I can find that is Asperger’s related. I need to know more about my strengths and weakness. The lack of good, helpful in-depth information is appalling.
    I have learned that I am getting older and some of the aspects of Asperger’s are getting more severe. I see that as discouraging, most information I can find is directed towards young people. Nothing is mentioned that there are changes to Asperger’s symptoms as a person ages.

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    • October 1, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      I second this post: divorced at 49 after another intense relationship, feeling like aging is making me more autistic.

      Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    I liked the article, I liked the fact that someone finally said all other articles put the onus on the nt, they do and I can only do so much, I think it should be both partners who learn to communicate with each other . And first you gotta have 2 willing parties, But how you do that is beyond me.i haven’t been able to do so and it’s far from lack of trying or reading.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    This explains and makes sense of my hell nightmare 13 years in the making. My deepest gratitude

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  • September 3, 2019 at 10:24 am

    You can find free dating and friendship for people with ASD and Aspergers at https://www.asdating.org. Meet a like-minded partner who shares your special interests! We are dedicated to uniting those without real-life opportunities to meet their special one. ASDating.org is a friendly new portal where you can do this without feeling judged

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  • September 9, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    I can relate 🙁

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    • October 1, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      This article was like a synopsis of all of my relationships…

      Reply
  • November 26, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    “In part 2 of this series, differences in NT-ND identities as they apply to relationships are explored. Stay tuned.”

    I appreciated the post and the comments! Please write Part 2!
    Thank you,
    rb

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    • December 18, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      Please write part 2. My wife believes she may have asperger’s, and I believe she is right. She is going to be reading this, and I look forward to the next in the series.

      From my perspective, this perfectly described what I felt coming up to the climax of our 13 year marriage. I am hopeful we will work out, but I cannot be the only one trying. I love her so much, and she loves me, but at this point that is no longer enough.

      Reply
  • November 29, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Wow. In the “new” stage of things with a new partner. I’m NT he’s ASD. Almost cried because you nailed it from my personal NT perspective. I have known and have wonderful friendships with ASD women and have always got on very well with children and YAs that run the entire spectrum. This is not like anything I know how to handle.

    He recently confided his diagnosis after a very uncomfortable exchange between us and it all started clicking into place. I felt like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner, and it was a gut punch to realize how caught up i was in my own experience that I missed the signs.

    Now that I know, I have to throw all of my regular relationship intuition out the window and it is HARD. We’ve known each other for years and share some mutual close friendships with others but for many reasons never really personally connected until recently. And it went from 0 to mach 5 within a week. We’ve both confided that neither of us expected this at all, but we both want to see where this could go.

    My main concern now is that no matter what happens, I don’t want to hurt this man who has already bent or broken most of his “rules” about physical and emotional intimacy to be with me. I saw that even before he told me about his ASD.

    I look forward to more in this series and hope I can gain some insight that will help me navigate this experience.

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  • November 30, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    4th month now , he’s not diagnosed but I have no doubts he’s Asperger. I’m holding on but it’s hard. He’s honest , doesn’t drink , workouts out , faithful … so many great traits. But the flat affect and anger he gets when I need validation gets exhausting.

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  • January 12, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Reading this made me so sad. My current boyfriend and I have been dating for about 5 months. He is NT and I’m an Aspie (female). We’re still in the honeymoon phase that the article describes, but some of the problems that it mentions have begun to emerge as well. I almost feel like I should break up with him now because I don’t ever want him to feel like the NT person in the article. I would honestly hate myself for making him feel that way.

    I desperately want to understand our differences so I can be a good girlfriend to him. I try to remember or write down specific things that upset him and why, so I can avoid making similar mistakes in the future. I feel like I should tell him that I’m an Aspie, but I’m terrified that he’ll misunderstand me. If there are any other Aspies or NTs out there who have made it work dating someone with different “wiring,” I’d love any advice that you’re willing to share. Does our relationship have to be a ticking time bomb?

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    • January 19, 2020 at 12:08 pm

      I genuinely wish my Aspie spouse was as nice as you. For advice from a successful marriage, YouTube search Brant & Carolyn Hansen Full Podcast Episode. Brant is very outspoken about his Aspbergers

      Reply
    • January 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Girl TELL HIM! First of all there are two people in a relationship and he needs to be able to walk into anything with you with his eyes fully open and of his free will and choosing. It’s not all about you. If you’re still in the honeymoon phase and things are still good there’s no reason not to tell him right now. My guy waited until he had unfortunately overstepped a very personal and sensitive boundary. I was crushed, but I am an open and rational communicator so he knew he had overstepped without intending to and that’s when he told me. While it sucked in the moment, I’m glad it happened because we now BOTH communicate openly and as the NT I’m not freaking out when he doesn’t follow the NT dating playbook. It’s still not always easy but if he would have kept his asd from me I would have dumped him months ago and would have missed out on all of the good stuff that’s happened since. Bottom line- you don’t have the right to choose for him. Give him your true and authentic self, and let him give you his and THEN decide how to proceed. Best of luck to you!

      Reply
 

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