My girlfriend and I have been together for 4.5 years, we are engaged and in December she was diagnosed with autism, high-functioning. She was 28 at time of diagnosis which hasn’t helped.
I am a ‘neurotypical’ and I am trying to understand why she does certain things and sometimes I know I don’t react in the best way I possibly could, which is why I am turning to this site, in hope that there may be other partners out there that have coping strategies or can just help me to be better for her because currently it is quite lonely and sad and I feel like I’m suffocating a bit. It’s a heavy weight.
I am reading ‘An Adult with an Autism Diagnosis’ by Gillian Drew in an attempt to be more understanding.
I work away quite a bit as a Tour Manager, for musicians, which can make coping more difficult. For both of us. In August, I will be travelling around America for almost 7 weeks. Currently, I have been in Scotland for just ONE week and we have had an ‘autistic incident’. I don’t know how to refer to it, so apologies if I offend anyone.
Emotions when touring are tenfold.
Also, sometimes, when I return from a tour; it feels like I’m out of her routine a bit and she needs to readjust to my being there, which can be upsetting.
If there are any books to be recommended, or other sites, I’d be truly grateful.
Thank you in advance.
If you want to spend the rest of your life with her you just have to learn to handle her. If you don't want to it's better to say so now.
I wouldn’t have joined this site, be asking for help and advice, learning more and more about her, if I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with her.
"A Field Guide to Earthlings: An autistic/Asperger view of neurotypical behaviour" is good (the first few chapters are a bit hard going and the 'play' that runs though it is, frankly, weird - but it offers good insight.
My psychologist suggested my wife read "The partner's guide to Asperger syndrome"... I started reading it and have stopped, it's pretty negative and I feel condescending to the ASD partner... it reads like "How to train your Aspie" not good.
"Very Late Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): How Seeking a Diagnosis in Adulthood Can Change Your Life" was also good (for me, diagnosed at 47) and I think would be more useful for my wife than the other one.
One thing, I've spent the last couple of months saturated with ASD info - blogs, forums, books, YouTube... to the point I'm sick of it.
I'd suggest just dip in and out, tackle one thing at a time - start with something like the 'Field guide' as it will probably make you realise how much stuff you take for granted that you do/know but that your partner just doesn't...
With that fundamental understanding of the difference apply it to specific situations e.g. your being away and returning and how that affects her and her routines.
I'm going to take a wild guess that when you get back you want smiles and hugs and putting everything 'on hold' while you reconnect... but she may not be that demonstrative and/or says "Welcome home" then goes out to some activity she previously had planned or otherwise doesn't give you the attention that you (as an NT) crave...
You feel neglected and unloved and isolated and hurt
"Why isn't she pleased to see me?"
"Why is she going out to her book club - surely she could miss that for a week?"
In reality NTs are more like a dog - practically passing out with happiness when their owner returns from being away for maybe all of 5 minutes, while aspies/auties are like a cat - their owner gets back from being stranded on a desert island for 6 months and they'll be "Oh, you're back... don't get sand in my fur. What's for dinner?" and if you hug & stroke them too much they may scratch you in annoyance with it being 'too much'...
Sorry if this sounds a bit bleak, but it is.
I really appreciate you taking the time to give such great responses.
Totally makes sense re cat and dog, that’s a really good to approach it.
Side note, I taught my (actual) cat to sit on demand though so... haha.