Thursday, July 11, 2024

How To Tell If Your Partner Is Autistic

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Autism Can Make Romance Trickybut Not Impossible

How to Tell Your Partner He May Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Asperger’s syndrome no longer exists as a discrete diagnosis. Today, people with the symptoms of Asperger’s receive an autism spectrum diagnosis . The names “Level 1 autism spectrum disorder” or “high-functioning autism” are often used instead of Asperger’s.

It can be difficult to manage marriage to a person who has a hard time with social skills, interpersonal communication, empathetic understanding, or flexibility of thought.

Dr. Robert Naseef and Dr. Cindy Ariel are experts in counseling families in which a person is on the spectrum. They offer specific insights and advice to partners living with high-functioning autism.

He Has Unusual Physical Behaviors

Some of the classic indicators of ASD are repetitive speech, physical tics, and looking anywhere else besides a person’s eyes when speaking with them. People on the spectrum may exhibit unusual behavior due to difficulties they have in responding to their environment.

Behaviors may include unusually tense or focused interests, stereotyped and repetitive body movements such as hand flapping and spinning, repetitive use of objects such as flipping lights on and off, insistence on sticking to routines, unusual sensory interests such as sniffing objects, and sensory sensitivities including avoidance of everyday sounds.

If Someone You Care About Has A Personality Condition

If you are with a person with a personality condition such as narcissism, then you may have similar unfulfilled relationship issues, as well as the added bonus of emotional abuse. Following are some suggestions for coping with this type of relationship:

  • Observe the persons behavior, dont absorb it.
  • Understand that people with narcissism do not cooperate or collaborate well; you will have to learn to be independent in this type of relationship.
  • Do not expect the person to ever have empathy or compassion for you.
  • Develop healthy, happy connections within other relationships. Dont expect them in your relationship with the person with narcissism.
  • Recognize that your partner may derive pleasure from hurting you. Why may be difficult to understand. Study the concept of narcissistic supply and you will discover that people with narcissism are fed by the reactions they get. It may help the person feel in control, superior, or powerful.
  • Realize you may not be able to teach a person with narcissism how to be different. No matter how much patience and perseverance you have, you may discover nothing works to change the other person. You can only change yourself.
  • Research and study personality conditions and learn to have compassion for yourself.


  • Goulston, M. . Just listen Dont confuse a narcissist with Aspergers syndrome. Retrieved from
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    Hope After Hardship In A Marriage With Autism

    Through Holmes, my husband and I learned how to take a nearly impossible marriage and make it manageable. God also directed me to a free online support group;for those married to autistic adults.

    Because of the powerful guidance and support I received from Stephanie Holmes and others, I am able to offer these tips I learned from Holmes to anyone married to a person with autism.

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    This article was co-authored by Tasha Rube, LMSW. Tasha Rube is a Licensed Social Worker based in Kansas City, Kansas. Tasha is affiliated with the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas. She received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Missouri in 2014.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 13 testimonials and 89% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 367,191 times.

    Autism, known clinically as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD, is also sometimes referred to as Asperger Syndrome or PDD-NOS. It affects people in different ways. Some autistic people face extra challenges in romantic relationships, while others eschew them altogether. If you are in a relationship with an autistic person, you may be wondering how to deal with some of the things you have encountered. Then, you can begin looking for ways to improve your communication with your boyfriend, such as by anticipating social challenges, accepting repetitive behaviors, staying calm when you are upset, and listening when your boyfriend wants to talk.

    Recommended Reading: What Causes Autism Exploring The Environmental Contribution

    Build Your Support Network

    If you believe your partner with Aspergers may not provide all of the emotional support you need, consider seeking help outside the relationship.

    Mendes advises practicing self-care and seeking emotional support through other avenues.

    Reaching out to your friends or family can help. You may also consider getting a pet, she says.

    Its not uncommon to feel guilty for investing time and effort in you and your needs outside of your relationship. However, when dating someone with Aspergers, doing this could take the pressure off your partner and help you meet some of your needs.

    In the same way, your partner may also feel the need to reach out for support in other spaces. Support groups or therapy can be a great alternative for both of you.

    As A Neurotypical Dating Someone With Autism You May Need To Play The Role Of An Interpreter

    Does this mean people with autism cant become better partners? No, thats not the case, they can grow a lot. But, as a neurotypical partner, its important to acknowledge you can grow, too. Your autistic partner is spending most of their waking hours in a world biased for neurotypical people and trying to interpret your neurotypical messages. However, their brain was not wired to process neurotypical messages easily. So as a neurotypical partner, you can help by playing the role of interpreter and explain what youre trying to tell them by saying what you mean.

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    When To Seek Medical Advice

    Early intervention is very important in children with autism spectrum disorder. Services such as speech therapy and behavioral and skills training are more effective if begun when a child is young.

    For this reason, it is helpful to receive a diagnosis as early as possible. However, many children remain undiagnosed until they are in school. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adults.

    If you suspect someone has autism, including yourself, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

    He’s Resistant To Touch

    How I Discovered My Husband Has Autism / Signs of Autism

    When someone has ASD, they may not be as affectionate as you might like, and may act as if they’re being tortured when you give them a spontaneous hug. It isn’t that they can’t show their love; it’s that they must feel comfortable and in the right frame of mind to snuggle, hug, or cuddle.

    “The brains of people high in autistic traits aren’t coding touch as socially relevant,” says Martha Kaiser, associate director of the Child Neuroscience Laboratory at the Yale Child Study Center.

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    The Children Are Watching

    The children are watching everything, interpreting it from their limited perspective and understanding. Mommy isnt thinking of this at the time. She is not thinking the children learn how to treat their mother by observing the way their father treats her. She is operating on the assumption her children know her and love her and they see she is a good person. She is unaware that negative lifelong attitudes toward her are being formed in the young minds of the children she loves so dearly, and that these attitudes can come at her later to hurt her every bit as much as the behaviors she suffered from her husband, their fatherthe very behaviors that instilled these attitudes in the children in the first place. She is not thinking about the fact the children will likely remain unware they hold these subconscious notions regarding their mother, regarding how to treat her, regarding what she deserves. They watched how their father treated her. They learned. As adults, they may ignore their mothers feelings and question her judgment, just the way Daddy does.

    Daddy doesnt agree, so he doesnt participate.

    The Impact If Either My Partner Or I Have Some Form Of Autism

    Well, in such cases, the chances of a relationship going sour is as high as 95%! In my personal and professional life, I have not come across an individual adult with Autism who has never had any relationship tipping point with their partner.;The day I find one, I would be very curious to know what worked for them.

    In this post, I would rather talk about:

    • What to know before engaging in a relationship?
    • What relationship issues are almost certain to crop up?
    • What do you need to understand ?
    • How to protect your interests while not completely overlooking or sabotaging your partners?
    • When to know that enough is enough?

    For each of these questions, I would try to respond both from the Autistic individuals perspective and from their partners

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    Learn And Use Communication Strategies

    Optimum communication is important in all relationships. Social communication, by definition in the DSM-5 , is a deficit for a person with ASD. Non-verbal communication, such as interpreting facial expressions, gestures and vocal intonation is often extremely difficult. Verbal communication can be difficult for people with autism to initiate. These difficulties are due to a difference in neurology and not a lack of motivation.

    It is helpful to your partner if your communication is clear, calm and predictable. The person with ASD will usually want to meet their partners needs once s/he understands how to meet those needs. Explicitly communicating your social, emotional, mental, physical, including sexual needs, is important. Together, partners should discuss information about behavioral expectations. Think in terms of explanation instead of correction. Tell your partner your expectations and have him tell you his expectations.

    Often you will need to provide very explicit and concrete instructions that your partner can follow. For example, if you need your partner to help with a chore such as doing laundry, give step-by-step directions on what, when and how the clothes need to be washed. If your partner cannot figure out what to wash, perhaps having a system of preparing laundry baskets is needed. For example, circular baskets can be used for dirty laundry and square baskets for clean laundry.

    You Are Often Focused On Small Details Rather Than The Big Picture

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    The autistic brain is good at certain things and not at others. It’s exceptionally detail-oriented, able to pick up on a lot of tiny information at once, but it finds it harder to put together into a big picture. A 2013 study from NYU indicated that autistic brains process information in a different way than non-autistic ones, possibly because of lower levels of oxytocin, which both influences our social bonding and helps our brains sort and prioritize information.

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    You’re Very Sensitive To Stimuli Like Sound

    This is an interesting one, because it differs radically across the spectrum of autism, but it’s worth noting. What are called “atypical sensory-based behaviors,” or reactions to sensory stimuli that aren’t quite normal, are often a part of autism, with some people extremely sensitive to various sensations or sounds. It’s not the same for everybody, though. Autism seems to cause problems in some people when it comes to interpreting and processing sensory information, to the point of causing confusion and pain: you may have difficulty remembering faces, and be either over- or under-sensitive to things like noise and smell. If people keep commenting that your reactions to these things are unusual, it may be a marker of something deeper.

    Images: Pixels, Giphy

    He Doesnt Want To Get Therapy

    Many people on the spectrum suffer from alexithymia, which is an inability to place, identify the source, and distinguish ones feelings. Because of this communicative feeling deficit, many with ASD prefer facts, numbers, and statistics instead of discussions structured around emotion. Many will reject therapy as they find it conceptually difficult to leave behind their world of logic, ration, and equations into unchartered emotional territory.

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    Expanding Theory Of Mind

    Individuals with AS tend to have weak Theory of Mind, meaning a relatively limited ability to read another persons thoughts, feelings, or intentions. While relating to another person, NTs are able to hypothesize more or less what that person is thinking or feeling based on a mental map of their own emotions, and an intuitive knowing of the feelings of other people. Those with AS find it harder to formulate theories or hypotheses about another persons mental or emotional state. Weak Theory of Mind leads to individuals with AS unintentionally and unknowingly saying and doing things in a relationship that can come across as insensitive and be unintentionally hurtful. Over time, the hurt feelings, pain, and suffering of the NT spouse can cause some serious tears or lacerations in the marriage.

    It is important that both the NT and AS spouse become curious and learn about each others thinking processes, inner worlds, and life experiences, rather than making assumptions or judgments about how the other partner thinks and feels. For meaningful conversation and dialogue to occur, open minds are needed. Verbalizing details about their inner and outer worlds, in a non-judgmental atmosphere, gives partners an opportunity to understand each other better and to bond.

    Things To Know About Dating Someone With Autism

    Asperger’s /Autism Traits Screening (How to tell if you or your partners has Asperger’s)

    When I started dating at 18 I had NO idea how to talk to people, let alone women. Many of the people I dated had good intents, but they may not have understood some of the quirks that people on the spectrum like me may have.; For example, as a kid I hated being touched.;Ten years later;as a 28-year-old adult, I embrace affection.

    Here are some things you need to know when it comes to dating someone with autism.

    Some of us want to unwind after a long day just like anyone else.;

    So if were not looking at you right in the eyes when we are having a conversation, dont think were trying to give you the cold shoulder.

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    Tips For Being In A Relationship With A Man Who Has Asperger’s Or Autism

    Being involved in a successful romantic relationship can be difficult for most people. Consider all the breakup self-help books available, the movies portraying cheating significant others, constant fighting and dramatic breakups, and your own relationship history.

    Do you think these difficulties increase or decrease for someone with a mental disorder? Lets just say that its not easy to have a relationship while trying to function normally in the world.

    He Never Tells Me He Loves Me

    Many individuals on the spectrum do not approach romance in a neurotypical way. If he has told you at one point that he loves you he may not feel the need to articulate this again unless his feeling have changed. For partners who are not on the spectrum, they often view verbal and romantic reassurance as a necessity in a relationship, while individuals on the spectrum view excessive validation as unnecessary since they believe that love should be measured in actions rather than words .

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    Dr Cindy Ariel: Cognitive Therapy Can Make A Positive Difference

    People can change. In our profession, we help people to change and would not do what we do if we did not believe with certainty that it is possible. Most people with high-functioning autism function at a high cognitive level,;and that means your partner will be able to use that intelligence to learn social behavior that is more socially acceptable and empathetic.

    If your partner is willing to see a counselor, or even to get a second opinion, it could help them to see what is difficult to accept right now. Reading books by other adults with autism such as Stephen Shore, Temple Grandin, and Donna Williams may also be very helpful to begin to gather the cognitive evidence they may need to understand their diagnosis.

    People with autism are able to move forwardnot quickly and easily, perhaps, but slowly and steadily. It takes patience and perseverance. You will both have to change some of your current understanding and expectations. In every marriage, couples must make some sacrifices and compromises that they did not expect, and this often brings couples to a deeper, more mature place in their love, marriage, and commitment to one another.

    Relationships Can Be An Autistic Persons Special Interest

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    Many autistic teens and adults are very passionate about a special interest. So, they invest an intense amount of time and energy into it. They can talk on and on about it. Often times, this extreme passion and interest extend to their relationship as well. Have you ever joked about a friend who recently fell in love and cant think about or talk about anything else? Well, thats similar to how an autistic person feels about their special interests and their love life.;

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    How To Begin A Diagnosis Process

    Adults who suspect they or a loved one might be autistic can do a self-assessment test for adults. A person can find these tests online. While they cannot give a diagnosis, the tests are a good starting point.

    A person seeking a diagnosis can take the results of such a test to a primary care doctor who will try to determine whether ASD may be present by:

    • enquiring about the symptoms, both current and during childhood
    • observing and interacting with the person
    • speaking to a loved one
    • checking for other physical or mental health conditions that may be causing symptoms

    If no underlying physical condition can explain the symptoms, the doctor may refer the person to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to make an ASD diagnosis.

    If symptoms are not present in childhood but begin in adolescence or adulthood, this may indicate a cognitive or mental health condition other than ASD.

    It may be difficult to find a specialist who can diagnose ASD in adults. Individuals who would like a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one may need to do research to find a provider with experience diagnosing autistic adults.

    Another option is to speak to a developmental pediatrician or child psychiatrist who is willing to see adult clients.

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