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Asperger Syndrome and Relationships Autism Cymru Tuesday 9 th May 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Asperger Syndrome and Relationships Autism Cymru Tuesday 9 th May 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Asperger Syndrome and Relationships Autism Cymru Tuesday 9 th May 2006

2 Typical History of Relationships. Late developer in social/emotional maturity. Late developer in social/emotional maturity. Not sexist, ageist or culturally biased in choice of friends and partner. Not sexist, ageist or culturally biased in choice of friends and partner. Wanting to be a friend and lover but with little idea of how to do either. Wanting to be a friend and lover but with little idea of how to do either.

3 What Attracted You to Your Partner? The silent handsome stranger. The silent handsome stranger. Admiration of intellect or abilities. Admiration of intellect or abilities. Shared interests (hobbies, animals). Shared interests (hobbies, animals). The degree of adulation. The degree of adulation.

4 What Attracted You to Your Partner? Compassion for his/her limited social skills. Compassion for his/her limited social skills. Better looking than I would expect my partner to be. Better looking than I would expect my partner to be. Belief his or her character was due to childhood circumstances and the person will change in a new relationship. Belief his or her character was due to childhood circumstances and the person will change in a new relationship.

5 What Attracted You to Your Partner? Pillar of the community. Pillar of the community. Child like quality, a Peter Pan. Child like quality, a Peter Pan. Creative in his/her work and good career prospects. Creative in his/her work and good career prospects. Similar characteristics to a parent. Similar characteristics to a parent.

6 What Attracted You to Your Partner? A challenge to get to know. A challenge to get to know. I was his first serious relationship. I was his first serious relationship. A lateral thinker. A lateral thinker. A child like personality. A child like personality.

7 The Empathy Continuum

8 Choice of Partner Similar profile of abilities. Similar profile of abilities. A natural mother or carer. (opposite characteristics). A natural mother or carer. (opposite characteristics).

9 Choice of Partner Women with As may prefer a relationship with a man with As. Women with As may prefer a relationship with a man with As. Adults with High Functioning Autism less likely to seek a partner. Adults with High Functioning Autism less likely to seek a partner.

10 What Signs Indicated He/she Was Different?

11 What is Love?

12 Love is: Tolerance, non-judgemental, supportive. Love is: Tolerance, non-judgemental, supportive. Love is: A complex of beliefs that tap into our childhood languages and experiences; it is inspired when you meet someone that has a quality that maybe you admire, or do not have (admiration and respect) – or that they (someone you admire) reflects back to your ideal self – which is what you want to be or see yourself as. Love is: A complex of beliefs that tap into our childhood languages and experiences; it is inspired when you meet someone that has a quality that maybe you admire, or do not have (admiration and respect) – or that they (someone you admire) reflects back to your ideal self – which is what you want to be or see yourself as.

13 Love is: Passion, acceptance, affection, reassurance, mutual enjoyment. Love is: Passion, acceptance, affection, reassurance, mutual enjoyment. Love is: What I feel for myself when I am with another person. Love is: What I feel for myself when I am with another person.

14 Partner With Aspergers Syndrome Love is: Helping and doing things for your lover. Love is: Helping and doing things for your lover. Love is: An attempt to connect to the other persons feelings and emotions. Love is: An attempt to connect to the other persons feelings and emotions. Love is: Companionship, someone to depend on to help you in the right direction. Love is: I have no idea what is involved. Love is: Companionship, someone to depend on to help you in the right direction. Love is: I have no idea what is involved. Love is: Tolerance, loyal, allows space. Love is: Tolerance, loyal, allows space.

15 Four aspects of love: everybody, friends, family, erotica. Four aspects of love: everybody, friends, family, erotica. Love cannot be observed. Love cannot be observed. Love is yet to be felt and experienced by myself. Love is yet to be felt and experienced by myself. What is Love? I dont know the correct answer. What is Love? I dont know the correct answer.

16 Opening the door and letting a new world into your life, then building a new world that combines your world and their world. Opening the door and letting a new world into your life, then building a new world that combines your world and their world. Someone that will try to understand the Aspie way and still be there in the morning. Someone that will try to understand the Aspie way and still be there in the morning.

17 Loneliness Cry alone

18 Love Comprehension, expression and confidence. Comprehension, expression and confidence. Love and affection as an emotional restorative. Love and affection as an emotional restorative. Affection capacity (bucket or a cup). Affection capacity (bucket or a cup).

19 Star Trek

20 Love I have an enormous difficulty with the verbal expression of affection. It is not just a case of feeling embarrassed or self- conscious with it. I understand that this may be difficult for anyone else to understand, but it takes a great effort of will to tell my wife how I feel about her. (Slater-Walker and Slater-Walker 2002, p.89) I have an enormous difficulty with the verbal expression of affection. It is not just a case of feeling embarrassed or self- conscious with it. I understand that this may be difficult for anyone else to understand, but it takes a great effort of will to tell my wife how I feel about her. (Slater-Walker and Slater-Walker 2002, p.89)

21 Love Chris told me once that he loved me. I have since discovered that it is not necessary for the person with AS to repeat these small intimacies that are frequently part of a relationship; the fact has been stated once, and that is enough (p.99) Chris told me once that he loved me. I have since discovered that it is not necessary for the person with AS to repeat these small intimacies that are frequently part of a relationship; the fact has been stated once, and that is enough (p.99)

22 To frequently re-state the obvious or known is illogical. To frequently re-state the obvious or known is illogical. We feel and show affection but not enough and at the wrong intensity. We feel and show affection but not enough and at the wrong intensity. Overly attached or detached. Overly attached or detached.

23 In the early years of the relationship, not expecting the partner with As to know what the person is thinking or needs. In the early years of the relationship, not expecting the partner with As to know what the person is thinking or needs. The NT can imagine the As world but the partner with As can have great difficulty imagining the NT world. The NT can imagine the As world but the partner with As can have great difficulty imagining the NT world.

24 Recognition of Aspergers syndrome can be the death of hope for the NT partner. Recognition of Aspergers syndrome can be the death of hope for the NT partner. Intuition he cant rather than wont is a reason to continue the relationship. Intuition he cant rather than wont is a reason to continue the relationship.

25 He doesnt know who I am. He doesnt know who I am. Does your partner love you? (50% replied: Dont know. Does your partner love you? (50% replied: Dont know. He needs me as a house keeper. He needs me as a house keeper. You never show you care You never show you care I fixed the fence didnt I? I fixed the fence didnt I?

26 No degrees or graduations in friendship as there would be with most couples. No degrees or graduations in friendship as there would be with most couples. My pleasure doesnt come from an emotional or interpersonal exchange. My pleasure doesnt come from an emotional or interpersonal exchange. I experienced none of the proverbial sexual chemistry with anyone I experienced none of the proverbial sexual chemistry with anyone

27 The Cactus and the Rose Marguerite Long

28 Soft and vulnerable inside Prickles to protect them from predators Happy in a desert Can withstand long periods of relationship drought Do not understand that roses need rose food Keep a distance from other plants to survive. A cactus in full bloom is magnificent and very difficult for a rose to resist

29 The roots must not be allowed to dry out Needs to be in a rose garden to connect with other roses and be watered, fed and mulched. Need intimate emotional connection, communication and love Can a rose survive in a desert?

30 Mental and Physical Health: Man with Aspergers syndrome How the relationship has affected the persons mental and physical health. How the relationship has affected the persons mental and physical health. Most men with As felt their mental and physical health had significantly improved due to the relationship. Most men with As felt their mental and physical health had significantly improved due to the relationship.

31 Mental and Physical Health: Man with Aspergers syndrome Often described feeling less stressed. Often described feeling less stressed. Would much prefer to be in the relationship than alone. Would much prefer to be in the relationship than alone.

32 Mental and Physical Health: NT partner (women) 98% replied that their mental health had significantly deteriorated due to the relationship. 98% replied that their mental health had significantly deteriorated due to the relationship. Emotional exhaustion and neglect. Emotional exhaustion and neglect. Depression. Depression. 92% replied that their physical health had deteriorated. 92% replied that their physical health had deteriorated.

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34 Intimacy

35 Intimacy Romance, sensuality and foreplay. Romance, sensuality and foreplay. Tactile sensitivity. Tactile sensitivity. Frequency and value of intimacy. Frequency and value of intimacy. Self disclosure. Self disclosure. Sexuality. Sexuality. Response to counseling. Response to counseling.

36 Intimacy Romantic and passionate relationship with someone you often have to look after as a child. Romantic and passionate relationship with someone you often have to look after as a child. Love making script. Love making script.

37 In love with the special interest

38 What Strategies Strengthen the Relationship? Recognition of the diagnosis. Recognition of the diagnosis. Motivation of both partners to change and learn. Motivation of both partners to change and learn. Support from other partners (www.faaas.Org, newsletter, internet groups, local support groups). Support from other partners (www.faaas.Org, newsletter, internet groups, local support groups).

39 What Strategies Strengthen the Relationship? Support from other family members and ones children. Support from other family members and ones children. Having good friends (soul mate). Having good friends (soul mate). Having an independent social life. Having an independent social life. Not to feel guilty about having an alternative social life. Not to feel guilty about having an alternative social life. Relationship counseling. Relationship counseling. Literature. Literature.

40 What Strategies Strengthen the Relationship? An occasional escape. An occasional escape. A mutual understanding of two different cultures and ways of thinking. A mutual understanding of two different cultures and ways of thinking. Emotion management strategies. Emotion management strategies. Guidance in social skills. Guidance in social skills. Open and effective communication. Open and effective communication.

41 Female Partner With Aspergers Syndrome A part of me that my husband expects is missing. A part of me that my husband expects is missing. Searching for an identity. Searching for an identity.

42 Female Partner With Aspergers Syndrome Not good at characterization. Not good at characterization. Vulnerability to abuse. Vulnerability to abuse. Understanding a neurotypical child. Understanding a neurotypical child. Affection, touch and intimacy. Affection, touch and intimacy.

43 Resources: Partner support group. Partner support group. Sydney support group, ASPIA Sydney support group, ASPIA Aspergers Syndrome Partners Information Australia Aspergers Syndrome Partners Information Australia

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