Monday, June 6, 2011

from an AS male "On NT/AS Traditional Roles"

This Delphi forums post is copied with permission from the author.

"My elaboration on what non-traditional means is that many things do not have the meaning that is traditionally given to them.  Some examples of what this looks like is the following.

(1) Wife asks the husband to do something.  Traditional meaning: wife is bossy.  NT/AS meaning: wife is being considerate, and giving her husband an escape from social activity, and a chance to contribute something that he is grateful for.

(2) Husband works at projects, doesn't socialize with the family.  Traditional meaning: husband doesn't like the family.  NT/AS meaning: husband is trying to give to the family in ways that are neurologically possible for him, in terms of acts of service.
(3) Husband buys wife/family lots of things, or is polite, or quiet, or both:  Traditional meaning: the family is lucky, everything is wonderful, the marriage is perfect.  NT/AS meaning: the family needs emotional support, and might be very lonely, but no one sees this.  In times of crisis, friends shouldn't assume the family is getting the needed emotional support from the AS husband.
(4) Wife seems to take charge of everything, and doesn't seem to let her husband do anything:  Traditional meaning: wife is overbearing, and needs to back off to give her husband room to be himself.  NT/AS meaning: wife is compensating, often sacrificing her own needs, to keep things on track.

Looking at these, even though they might be realistic, they are a little more negative than I intended.  That doesn't make them false.  It's just that they are not the whole picture.
My perspective, as a married AS man in my 50's, is that the most successful NT/AS marriages are those where the NT partner has the final say in most things.  The AS partner is comfortable enough to express their true opinions, and give all the input they can, without expecting their advice to always be taken.  The AS partner contributes acts of service.  The NT partner uses their good judgement to make good decisions on behalf of both partners.

As most people with AS are men, that can leave our NT wives mostly in charge.  I don't think that is necessarily the case in most traditional NT/NT relationships.
There is a lot that can get in the way of this.  I think the biggest obstacle is most likely to be our AS defensiveness, and the often inaccurate perceptions of reality that I think many of us with AS can have, in terms of who is doing the most work in a relationship, and in terms of us not seeing or valuing the emotional support and good judgement our NT partners bring to a relationship."

the post is by cmasp, who infrequently posts at and who co-founded Families for Autism Intervention Resources (FAIR -