“One thing you can't hide - is when you're crippled inside.” ― John Lennon
Being married to someone with Asperger's is the kind of marriage where you're married to someone with no emotions, no physical reaction to emotion and refuses to be anything but "logical".
According to the medical journals, DSM and other professional diagnostic books and such, Asperger's is:
Excerpted from the DSM-IV (but with the introduction of the DSM-V, Asperger's is no longer a recognized diagnosis, being placed now inside the Autism Spectrum as "High Functioning")
1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
- Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
- A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
- lack of social or emotional reciprocity
3. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
4. There is no clinically significant general delay in language
5. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
Let me break this down for you, using the above as a guide (And I'm not a psychiatrist, just someone who's seen many of them with my STBE ASH):
1. They have higher than average problems with being in a social situation, and to be diagnosed with Asperger's, it should be at least two of the following:
- Trouble with the use of the average non-verbal social actions most of us use. Actions such as making eye contact with the person with whom they're talking, changing their facial expression to match the conversation such as laughing when something's funny, showing sadness when something's sad, etc., having a more relaxed body language - not crossing their arms over their chest, sitting with crossed legs, etc., and more relaxed gestures directed at the other person to show engagement and to facilitate the continuance of the conversation, such as a pat on the shoulder, the shaking of hands, maybe a wink to show solidarity.
- This is all about having real friends in your age group at the same maturity level as you. Aspies tend to make friends with people who are either older or younger than themselves, generally younger since they suffer from a frozen maturity level around that of a pre-teen or so.
- This means sharing their lives with others, such as "Honey, I got a promotion!" or "I got an A on my final!" Aspies tend to either not say anything at all or downplay it when they do. They'll also fail to recognize your accomplishments, not really caring. They're not ones to share photos of their kids or family at all and it's rare you'll actually see a photo of an Aspie, and when you do, they're tense as all get out, not smiling, not looking at the camera or wearing sunglasses.
- This is the hardest part of living with an Aspie full-time, as a spouse, child or significant other - the lack of engagement in day-to-day life. Not only do they not share their life with you, they don't want you to share your life with them. Also, these are the guys who when you say, "I love you" respond with a smile, nothing at all or "Yeah, me, too." Any conversation with them is stilted and awkward because they simply don't take part in it beyond grunts or an occasional, "uh-huh".
He can also give you a litany of the last 21 years of every transgression he believes I've committed against him, either real or imagined. But, ask him to remember saying something horrible to you, like the time he told me he couldn't stand to see me without clothes on because I was so fat it made him nauseous, and he'll take to the grave with him the insistence he never said that and that I'm making it up because I need to find something wrong with him. (Seriously, I never had to look hard - he was always doing something that was either hurtful or annoying)
Be on the lookout for my next post and tell me what you think of this one.