OPINION: - She must plan and do everything for the family to function. Some marital problems have a diagnosis.

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This article is based on a post that was published in Aftenposten in 2009, and is a personal description of what it is like to live with a man with Asperger's syndrome. We reproduce some main features from the description here. Aftenposten begins the article as follows:

Asperger's is a term that is increasingly used - both among professionals and ordinary people. The term refers to a condition characterized by problems with communication and social interaction with other people, and often also unusual knowledge or interests in limited areas.

The condition is characterized by mild autistic traits, and is often referred to as high-functioning autism. Here is an excerpt from a letter from a woman living with a man with Asperger.





 

The professional environment focuses only on children 

The author of the post writes:

The Norwegian professional community, which knows something about asparagus, focuses only on children. As if Aspergers are not getting older than 18 years, as if it should "go over" on the day they enter adult age. Prejudices also say that aspergers do not have boyfriends, do not establish romantic relationships, do not get married and do not have children.

But that is simply not true. I am a woman in her early forties with three children who have lived with such a man for many years.





 

- "Read a little about Asperger" 

She continues:

We are two nice people, but after we had children, it was as if the problems became insurmountable. I have tried and tried. I have given new chances, cried and despaired, and tried again. I was weeks from giving up, in an acknowledgment that I have nothing more to give. I have scraped the box completely empty (and I have a large box) - when a small bird whispered to me:

- Read a bit about Asperger's syndrome, maybe you recognize something?

I read, and in what was written there, I could read myself. Absolutely all the pieces fell into place. My experiences, feelings and experiences with this man were explained. However, he does not agree. He can see some traits he recognizes in, but he does not want to acknowledge that he has a "condition".

 

Living in a bubble

The author of the article describes that Asperger's in the relationship creates problems that many do not recognize, and that many therefore dismiss the difficulties, for example with phrases such as “he is just a typical man, so just deal with it! "What outsiders do not know is the extent to which these problems manifest themselves," she emphasizes. She writes:

Living in a relationship with someone with Asperger's syndrome can feel like being in a bubble where you eventually become completely worthless because you are completely starved of things that others take for granted; to be seen, to be understood, to be a team, to share responsibility, to have projects together.

The feeling of being a family, a unit, not just the individuals inside a house. Plan family life together (vacations, planning days, birthdays, baptisms, friend gatherings, work calendars, etc.). All these discussions one has about big and small issues that are brought up again and again, before they reach their conclusion - in the end.

She also talks about all the practical challenges in everyday life, which become extra difficult for someone with Asperger's: small children, the logistics around it, time constraints, work-family constraints, conflicting demands, all the "happy chaos" the small children generate.

 

Her flexibility and his rigidity

The author of the article says that she could give numerous examples of the above-mentioned challenges, funny anecdotes, and the existential loneliness that one experiences in cohabitation with someone who has Asperger's. She tells:

I can describe a relationship where her communication skills are probably quite brilliant, that she is a responsible lady who masters the social field and the organization of life, and how this fits hand in glove with his challenges in the same areas.

I can describe his rigidity, how challenging flexibility is for people with Asperger's syndrome.

 

A family life where his challenges become her extra tasks

She also talks about a number of other special problems that arise in the family life, such as the need for sleep and other shutdown mechanisms, about completely misplaced reactions to certain smells and sounds.

She sums up that it will be a family life where his challenges become her extra tasks.

She takes them, because these are things she is good at, better than most, but here she really gets her try. Her elastic ability is stretched to the limit of what she can. I'm not saying that life is easy for the Asperger-affected person in the relationship. It is extremely demanding for him also.

He does the best he can, but he has no idea that she's doing far more.

 

The meeting with the health services: - A black hole

The author of the article concludes:

I will, as you may understand, be deeply grateful for all you that can contribute with information about potential professionals in Norway who can support me - us, him - further. I have tried with GPs, therapists, interest groups and specialist health services.

It's like meeting a black hole, and it's really scandalous that I have not received a shred of help.

Is there really no one in Norway who knows anything about Asperger in the relationship? 

 

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