Improving emotional awareness, listening, communication, and giving support


I'm new here and have a lot of questions regarding relationships.

I'm Thai and my wife is American, been together for 6 years and just started looking into our mental health seriously a year ago. She is highly sensitive, desperate for constant emotional support and validation, while I had difficulties identifying my own emotions and communicate them in the way that makes her feel the kindness, it usually ends up me stonewalling her while inside I feel overwhelmed. I am looking for more resources to to improve awareness of my feelings and the feelings of those around but hardly find anything geared towards the autistic person.

I've been very discouraged when I only found articles written for the neurotypical wife, as the wife will have todo double the work in communication and taking charge of relationship progress and lower the expectations for emotional support and expected to experience loneliness and I do not want the standard to be that way.

Both of my parents raised me to not give importance with feelings of my own and those around, I feel discouraged consulting them and they broke my trust most times. I grew up having difficulties making friends and retaining friendships, my long time friends said that I am more kind than how I let people know

About intimate relationships: If anyone can point me to resources to help with:

- my own emotional awareness

- becoming a good listener

- becoming aware of emotions of those around

- stop stonewalling when I did something wrong or when she expresses frustration even with things that aren't my fault

- stop hating myself when I do something wrong

Some details about my coping mechanisms:

- distance running

- playing and recording music (though I have a hard time jamming with others)

- video games

- meditation

Some info with therapy:

- still seeing a therapist who is a trauma specialist, does not formally diagnose autism (though says I'm likely high functioning ASD)

- I'm still seeking to get a formal diagnosis

thank you so much for your time,


  • This is a big one!

    At base, you should both spend quality time on your own (or with a therapist) working out your core values, find your MBTI types and how they might relate or clash, each work out your strengths and weaknesses and then negotiate. You may need time to process and she may be able to fix things immediately. 

    Stonewalling / Ghosting will cut off intimacy, but asking for one problem at a time and asking for a reasonable amount of time to process that problem is a way of meeting half way. 

    Devaluing / contempt and humiliating the other is a way to create resentment, so if there's friction, there must be Affording Dignity and Respectfulness. Learn how to give these and learn how to appreciate them and acknowledge them when being given and much can be mended.

    If you can respect and value the traits in each another which are not innate in the self, and mindfully become aware of your own failings or mental processing without feeling ashamed or guilty (we can all be unkind from time to time), then you can be very reasonable and forgiving with one another. I'd just look into all this stuff. The ground work is usually a good guideline of ethical exchange in a partnership. 

  • Thank you for your kind response. Are you sure asking for time to process things isn't too much? It will give me a lot of room to breathe but I also feel selfish. As for being timely in acknowledging her support of giving her a timely response when she needs emotional support has also been a scarring issue.

  • I'd ignore articles you read on Autism most are shown in a negtitive light on our kind. Especially towards males. It's just the way society is unfortunately. Can't help you on the emotional side of things I'm afraid as that's one thing I strugel with myself. Understanding NT emotions and the Hypersensitive tend to usually find me offensive as Im rather out spoken and blunt. Not intentionally offensive of course but when your ASD you don't have much of an option. Still sure you'll find the site helpful. I found it hard to fit an at 1st but once you get past that barria of self acceptance of your own Autism it's easy enough to get on people with here. Although you seem to already have done so I'm sure you'll do alright and hopefully find some gratification.

  • I totally feel you, when it comes to hurting sensitive people without intending to, a life long struggle. So far I found this community very helpful!

  • There’s an art to it. Ask for breathing room to process and learn for a set period of time- say 1 - 2 weeks. Ask for one thing in exchange you can do to express you care (like texting in the morning and before bed or having dinner together and being in charge of all the washing up, but you’re not allowed to talk about the issues). 

    If both of you spend time that week reading the same material on how to argue well or how to negotiate, plan a date at the end to cross reference. She’ll know you’re dedicated to working on things and maybe give you room. Time apart to breath is about growth and understanding. This gives her room to write everything down and maybe things are so overwhelming nothing is straight in her head. 

    problems don’t disappear over night. I had a therapist say the key to success is about recovery.  Maybe she needs a spa weekend or a retreat. Offer to pay for that and spend time checking out. If you’re apart, make sure to text at exact times daily- first thing in the morning and before bed is usually enough.  

  • Thank you for your perspective. It sounds hopeful to focus on the recovery.