Last week, my friend Rhedyn invited me over to her house for curry. While we sipped tea and gossiped, her Aspergers husband Dan practically bounded into the room. He was waving his hands excitedly, trying to break into our conversation. This was highly unusual as Dan usually hides when I visit, barely acknowledging my existence. 'Ivy!' he interrupted us, looking me in the eye, 'you've got to hear this'.
'Our marriage is great,' the Aspie's neurotypical wife told me, 'except when we talk. That's when it all goes to Hell'. Baffled, I begged her to elaborate as I was unable to fathom what I'd just heard. It flew in the face of all marriage counseling, every book on how to have the 'perfect' marriage: talk, talk, talk, talk, talk to each other, they all say. What if doing the opposite was actually the key to a happy neurotypical/Aspie marriage? I had to know!
Maybe I just got lucky, but I don't understand why marriage is always presented as being 'so hard'. Why? Why does it have to be 'so hard'?
She didn't sue for sole custody until after I married the father or, as she calls him, the 'sperm donor' of her children. Suddenly, after making her five children warmly welcomed and lovingly step-mothered in my home for their visitation with their father, she was citing me in her suit to remove my husband, Rhys', custody-on-paper of his children for the 'reason' of abandonment. Abandonment! I felt guilty. Damned guilty. Sometimes I wondered if it would've been better, all around, if I hadn't married Rhys. After all, he didn't lose custody of his children until a few months after we wed. What had I done so wrong for everything to speedily go so pear-shaped?
I took a double-take, unable to believe the evidence of my own eyes. Had I just seen my sweet little step-son, Terrwyn, viciously kick his beloved dog in the head? No. Certainly my eyes had deceived me. But now he was sobbing, hugging his spaniel who was licking his face forgivingly. His obvious penitence made me hold my tongue. The last thing my bullied, abused and alienated step-son needed was more shame, more pain. He got enough of that from his birth mother and the angry, vicious bullying and abuse of his siblings. Strangely enough, the only time I saw him cry was when he kicked Mitzie. From then on, I kept a close eye on him and his dog during visitation.
Sometimes in life and in marriage, silence can be our best friend and greatest ally. Not in the sense of the hated Silent Treatment which is abusive, but in the sense that not every difference of opinion must hashed out to achieve agreement. Where conflict in non-essentials arises in marriage, in my experience Golden Silence restores tranquillity and happiness.
The wonderful thing about the Aspergers mind is that there innumerable options, limitless shades of grey. The difficult thing about the Aspergers mind is that there are innumerable options, limitless shades of grey. Ask an Aspie anything at your peril. At the end of their answer, you will have heard 'yes', 'no', and 'maybe'. There are simply too many options available to their rich and racing minds for them to arbitrarily choose just one thing.
Today I was chatting with a gentleman with Aspergers. An Aspie, if you will. In the course of our conversation, he told me a story that was quite shocking. 'WHAT?!' I responded in surprise. Instantly, he repeated the same story, verbatim, only louder.
Here's the oxymoron. The nicest people I know are the ones that never rebelled against their parents and they're full of rage and bitterness. Conversely, the most peaceful people of my acquaintance are the ones who rebelled against family expectations and followed their own star.