Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In an Asperger's Marriage or Relationship? Grieving the Death of the Dream

An asperger's diagnostician informed me that 80% of children diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (high functioning autism) have either a parent or a grandparent (likely undiagnosed) on the autism spectrum.

Many parents have a light bulb "aha" moment after the diagnosis of a child.  "AHA!  So THIS explains why my spouse (or parent) has always done such and such.  He (or she) has traits consistent with autism!"

And the relief of finally having a name to go with the confusing characteristics and behaviors is quickly followed by grief.  Please know that this grief is normal, and oh, so common

After going through the grief myself over the past five years, my advice to you is to go with it.  Don't fight it.  The dream of ever having a normal, typical relationship with your autistic loved ones is over.  GRIEVE! 

It's okay to have been in denial.  Don't beat yourself up if you had been denying the symptoms in the past.  You did the best you could with what you knew at the time.  And it's fine to be angry.  But try very hard not to take the anger out on those around you.  Journal.  Pray.  Confide in a highly empathic friend, or seek a good counselor during this time, to help you process all the emotions you are feeling.

Familiarize yourself with the stages of grief:  But most importantly, call this what it is.  This is the DEATH of a dream.  GRIEF of a true loss.

As you are able to better understand what you are truly going through, post-diagnosis, you will grow, and then be better able to take care of the differently-abled people in your life.


  1. Thank God for that. "Normal" is just a setting on the Dryer.

    Don't go writing the relationship off yet though. With love and patience and guidance and a whole lot of open-mindedness, you can transcend the expectations of "normal" relationships and have something that is truly special.

    Sure, it takes a lot of work and a lot of compromise but we all know that the best things in life AREN'T free. You have to work for them.

  2. True, true, and true! (Great to hear from you, Gavin!)

  3. I stumbled across your blog just trying to find SOMEONE that could relate to what I go through on a daily basis. Here is one for the record books --- I took custody of a child (not biological) that later was diagnosed with Aspergers and then met someone who I suspect is on the spectrum (His family also feels he might be but he's in denial at this point). When we met, he was attentive, loving, affectionate, intimate, and all the things you look for in someone...he was just what I was looking for and a great role model for my daughter. We got married 6 years ago and two years into the marriage the intimacy started to die down (which is normal) but now....its non existent. He rarely spends time with me....he would much rather do his own thing...and I feel like we are room mates. I'm CRUSHED and hurt. Although I know some of it he can't help, I feel that he just doesn't care to try. One time when we were having a heated discussion....he said, "I can't love like you so please do not make me do something that is uncomfortable to me." What do you say to that? love this person and you don't want them to be uncomfortable but at the same time you have needs and you want to feel loved. I just feel like all I do is give and there is no giving back. I'm so tired...frustrated....and truly ready to give up. I've come to the conclusion that if I stay in this marriage I'm going to have to give up many things I find important (like feeling love and having SOME conversation other than the daily things)....or I'm going to have to leave. Neither feel right.
    Sorry I didn't mean to just dump on a stranger....its just nice to know there are others out there who are dealing with the same thing. I'm open to any suggestions.


  4. Wow! It is so nice to hear someone say this. I was definitely in a grieving process after realizing my husband was ASD. I had no idea it was normal to grieve for that. I just thought I was having second thoughts about being married to him and such, but then really knew I still wanted to be with him. Thanks for the post.