Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I hear tea tree oil is good for that...

I was searching around for some connections and found a lot of helpful, nice people on and off the spectrum. Being in a funk and all emotional right now, the ones who dealt only in stereotypes weighed heavily on me a la: "There's nothing for an NT wife to do but to divorce her AS husband and then complain about him on message boards for decades or to continue using him as a sugar daddy while having an affair" and "If you want to be a good wife to an AS male, take it from someone in his shoes that the best thing you can do for him is to move out, leave him alone, and move on in life so he'll be free to concentrate on what he actually cares about instead of pretending to care about you." Those are my chaffed and emotional paraphrases.

Instead of wallowing in the extremism of others and allowing it to further drag me down, I decided to do a little exercise about how we, like most people, don't fit the stereotypes. It is like cleaning the mold from the shower grout of my mind without any of the cleaning or the insidious fungi! Hover your mouse over the questions and after a moment the answers will be revealed. See if you can guess where we conform to the stereotypes and where we break the mold.
I believe it is common blog etiquette at this point to ask a question such as, "Any others out there who don't fit the stereotypical mold?" in order to encourage comments. Considering I have more ice cream flavors I would like to be eating now than I have people who are reading this, I'll reiterate that comments about you, your thoughts, your observations, your successes, your frustrations, your favorite desserts, or anything else of importance are appreciated on any post and leave it at that. Unless I break down and go get some ice cream, that is. Mint chocolate chip sounds awfully good...


  1. Hey...I found this blog through Wrong Planet. I'm a nerdy introverted NT who has been dating an AS guy for 3 years. In many ways we don't fit the stereotypes of AS/NT relationships or man/woman relationships. He has strong emotional attachment tendencies for an AS person, and my nerdy temperament kind of puts us on an even plane and even in some ways makes me more "the guy." I'm more comfortable with my sexuality because I didn't have a strict religious upbringing telling me sexuality was bad like he did, and because I don't have his fear of other people's strong emotions and especially of strong negative emotions. He, on the other hand, loves both cuddling and being cuddled, while I am finicky about being cuddled and sometimes unreceptive to it. And he worries more than I do about what he eats.

    To answer your questions as they pertain to my relationship: He's the one who talks more, is more sociable, and is more likely to suggest a change in plans. He'd notice things in the house being out of place. I'm not sure which of us would start a conversation with the store clerk...I probably would if we were talking about the weather, and he probably would if he found out the store clerk went to his alma mater. I think which of us would be happier with the same foods which week would depend on what those foods were...he gets guilty if he eats too much fatty food like cheese, yet loves such foods. Approachability...not sure. I think he would get more complaints from a superior about poor communication - he often does. He's more likely to say both "I'm sorry" and "I love you." Not sure about the sad child thing...I'd say him, 'cause he's more affectionate in general, except I'm actually not too bad about *giving* affection (I just don't like receiving it unless it's on my terms), and he's known to get anxious and neurotic about the emotions of people (he's afraid of being hurt by the people's emotions, which he can detect extremely well but is unsure how to respond to). Probably much less so with a child than with an adult though. We're both allergic to cats but he gushes over animals and loves our hamster. And I think I'd be happier to have dessert for dinner 'cause I'd feel less guilty about it.


  2. So nice to see that others don't fit the stereotypes as well! My husband also has a guilt streak, but not at all about food. LOL! My mother-in-law is the only one who regularly brings it out of him.

    I'm more likely to feel indignant than guilty unless I've done something I know was wrong and unprovoked in which case I'll say I'm sorry. I have a lot to work on there. I didn't get the ice cream, but maybe today. I'll share a virtual bowl with you. Surely that wouldn't cause guilt. :D

  3. Not guilt...though a couple times last weekend I got diarrhea or gas after eating ice cream or frozen yogurt. Not sure if it's a developing allergy or a random coincidence.

    I think AS/NT relationships are like any relationships - there will be communication issues, conflicts of interest, and ways of getting around these things, and since both autistic and non-autistic people vary in personality, the personalities of the people involved will affect the dynamic strongly. The only difference may be that, for the NT, communication is not going to be quite as expected. If you make assumptions about what your partner's behavior means, you're likely going to have to go back and double check and find out where they're coming from through verbal conversation, or else your relationship probably isn't gonna survive. I think that the challenge of bridging the neurology gap and both of us knowing that we can't just rely on assumptions about the other person's behavior makes our communication better than in a lot of double-NT relationships.


  4. Well, looks like my husband and I fit the stereotypes. I'm curious as to where you got these questions.

    Your paraphrases to typical NT-wife-to-Aspie "solutions" are a bit humorous but so TRUE!

    My husband is pretty sensitive to noise, uncomfortable in initiating conversations with strangers, does not make eye contact or smile readily,but he is more quick to say "I love you" and "I'm sorry", although I usually am not convinced of the sincerity. If we change something in the house - like get a new piece of furniture, etc. - we play the game of "don't tell Dad and see how long it takes him to notice". I finally told him about a lampshade after 2 years had gone by.

    The owned-by-a-cat question is interesting. While my husband can be awkward with people, he gets along great with pets and the feeling is mutual. The first time I saw him interact with his mom's dog, I knew we would have a dog when we got married.

  5. That is really interesting about the pets. I wonder if it holds true in a larger sample size.

    I made the questions up based on where we did and did not conform to the stereotypes. I can totally relate to the lampshade experiment!

    Abby, if you aren't convinced of the sincerity of the "I love you." or the "I'm sorry." then how do you reconcile that within yourself? That's a particularly hard one for me.

    I agree completely with you GITW that knowledge helps to create further communication and from that communication comes understanding, but right now that line of reasoning isn't seeming to make sense to my husband so we have more monologuing on my part than conversations or discussions. I've tried being brief, covering the same thing numerous ways, using written mediums, giving lots of time, you name it. It is very frustrating for me to not be able to effectively communicate. I'm really at a loss and considering my present attitude currently have the opinion that it is willful avoidance at this point because nothing else makes sense. It feels like a hopeless venture trying to communicate sometimes. Sigh.

  6. Communication is the biggest frustration I have with my husband.

    The crazy (pardon the word!) thing is that we have much in common and are very compatible because of our commonalities. He worries about my thinking negative thoughts about him, even though I'm not. I tell him he just needs to relax and be himself. If I'm upset with him about something, I would just let him know, but this is a constant struggle with him. Then I end up getting upset because he wrongly assumed I was upset!

    As far as the "I love you", I'm not sure that he truly understands romantic love. I believe that, when he says it, he is being honest in his own limited way. With the "I'm sorry", his nature is to avoid conflicts in relationships and will do whatever appears to be the right thing to avoid them (he has no problem debating his political opinions, however!).

  7. Does he *do* the right things or *say* the right things to avoid conflict? I've found that's an important distinction for my husband. He *says* what he believes will end the conflict ("I'm sorry") but he doesn't ever do what he says he'll do.

    Funny about the politics. Mine is the same way! For some reason, that's safe territory.