Saturday, October 22, 2011

When Your Girlfriend Has Asperger's Syndrome

(By "girlfriend" I am simply referring to any aspie female friend.) 

I am the wife of a man with asperger's, but I am friends with many females who have strong aspie traits.  And the same lessons learned in an asperger marriage apply in relationships with aspie females.  You gotta be prepared for some things.  You must drop those expectations that they will act like your typical girlfriend!

1.  If you need a shoulder to cry on, the aspie female is not the one you should call.  She might get V E R Y uncomfortable seeing your tears.  And then you might get very hurt that she is just sitting there staring at you as you pour heart out.  If you need emotional support, be sure to call someone else who will be higher on the empathy scale.

2.  But the aspie female is likely VERY loyal and ready and willing to offer practical help to you, even when no one else will  . . . . if you clearly ask and spell out exactly what would be helpful.  She wants to help, but seriously doesn't have (forgive me, but it's true) the common sense to know what to jump in and do to help.

3.  She might not respond to your attempts to stay in touch.  She may have "always been there for you" when she lived down the street, but if one of you moves away, you may rarely hear from her.  It doesn't mean she doesn't deeply care about you.  But the idea of a friend or family member "being close" may be taken literally. (Example:  "you're close to people you see often because they live close to you.")  The idea of emotional closeness is not easily understood by the aspie.  And knowing what it takes to sustain a long distance relationship long term?  That may be a one-way, very determined effort on your part.

4.  Disagreements or conflict of any kind could rapidly destroy the relationship.  If you ever try to address something the aspie female does that is upsetting you, she will likely feel attacked and may get overly emotional.  "You don't like me/love me!  You hate me!  You don't appreciate or admire me anymore!"  She won't be able to see that she is not considering your feelings.  Trying to get her to see your perspective is really rather pointless.  You have to drop that attempt at resolution 'by talking it out' as you do with other NT women.  The bottom line is, the aspie female just wants you to be cheerful and kind and patiently forbear with anything and everything she does, even when you are annoyed as hell by her behavior/habit/etc.  How what she does/says affects you is entirely beside the point!  And this being so, few female aspies are able to sustain friendships with NT women.  It will take unrelenting effort on the part of the NT to make a relationship with an aspie female survive.

5.  But when it comes to shared hobbies, similar areas of interest, and like minded ideas . . . you can have the best, most interesting and fascinating companion to hang out with.  The devotion and focus toward the shared interest will make discussions and outings fun, fun, fun.  Do you both love running?  Bridge? Sewing? Movies? With any activity that centers around a shared special interest, you may find you always have an eager girlfriend to join you!  And that can be a really wonderful thing.

Maintaining a relationship with a female aspie will be a lot of work.  There are expectations that must be dropped.  Do not expect empathy and remember she is NOT the best shoulder to cry on.  But know you may have the strongest loyalty you have ever known.  And you will have a knowledgeable and focused companion during outings that revolve around a shared special interest. 

I love my aspie girl friends and enjoy their company very much!  Easy?  No.  Worth the effort?  Definitely, yes.