Being Married to a Neurotypical

Next week on May 23, I will have reached my ten-year anniversary with my wonderful husband. We’ve been celebrating the milestone with things like a professional photo shoot and presenting renewed vows in writing to each other as keepsakes. On the evening of our anniversary, I’m planning to cook a special dinner complete with a little cake to commemorate the special occasion.

I’ve read accounts of several female Aspies with neurotypical husbands, and I can relate to some of the struggles and growing pains that such a relationship presents.

couple-1316220-1278x875My husband and I met in college, just a few months before our graduation. We fell in love and quickly decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, though my parents were strongly against us living together without getting married. I’d never really believed in marriage, as it had always been presented to me as a religious institution and I was very much un-religious. But in the end I decided I didn’t want to break my parents’ hearts and agreed to a wedding. After all, we’d probably receive some financial assistance in the form of monetary gifts from family and friends, plus, I’d get to wear a pretty dress.

We planned the wedding quickly and our marriage took place in May of 2009. The following week, we were off to South Carolina where I’d start an editorial internship and he would be transferring his job with Verizon. That year, let me tell you, was not easy. And it was only a year, after which we moved right back up to the Midwest to be closer to friends and family, whom we’d missed.

Our first and greatest obstacle that year was my personal adjustment to the idea of being a wife. As many other female Aspies might tell you, I grew up learning from example and through things like movies and television, depending on this depiction of love and relationship and marriage as a guide for how mine was supposed to go. When you grow up with ideals like this, you find out very quickly once you’ve grown that the world and the people in it do not function like what you see in the movies and on TV and in romance novels. I struggled first and foremost with incredibly painful emotions manifested from jealousy. My idea of marriage was that once we’d committed to each other, we were all each other needed in every way: emotional, physical, spiritual. A kind of happily ever after. For this reason, I felt pain every time I saw my husband casually glance at an attractive female on the beach, or talk intimately with old female friends from back home. He made friends at work and when I met them, they turned out to be attractive females, and again my heart would drop into my stomach. I can’t tell you how much torture I put myself through in this first year, and I still struggle with jealousy today, to a much lesser degree and with much more perspective.

The idea and understanding of love is still very, very difficult for me, even to this day. Sometimes I’m convinced I still don’t really even know what it is, as it seems difficult sometimes to differentiate between what I feel for someone and what everyone and everything else tells me I should be feeling for that someone.

I will continue on the subject in my next post. Does anyone have anything to share regarding a personal experience and struggle with jealousy? I’d love to learn I’m not alone in this.

Thanks.

4 thoughts on “Being Married to a Neurotypical

  1. I often had to deal with the glances up and down of women, which infuriated me but also made me feel hopeless and unworthy in myself.
    He would not realize he is doing this or was a great liar. Still, it hurt.
    He has Aspergers, I am NT. I believe for the most part, it’s typical for men as they are visual. Sucks at times.
    I think many watched tv and still to get the facts of life all wrong. What a disappointment. Trial and error.
    Yes, the jealousy was bad for me. I wanted his total, undivided attention.
    Isn’t life grand? 😜 ML

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    1. It definitely hurts. Andrew Solomon wrote that one element that spurred his depression was “the absence of perfect love.” And that’s really at the core. There’s this idea that a perfect love and partnership and fulfillment exists, but thats not real life.

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  2. I used to get pangs like that. I realized a casual glance is just that. If it’s just a quick eye flick, then it’s something that caught their eye and they looked, found it wasn’t something they needed to keep looking at, then moved on. We all do that. I just didn’t notice when I did it because it was so meaningless. It was never because I wanted to sleep with the guy or woman. It was just movement that caught my eye.

    A person can’t help those kinds of eye reflexes. It’s what they do next that proves who they are. Do they keep staring without regard to your feelings? Do they say out loud they would like to f*** her?

    I will say, it shouldn’t matter if he understands your feelings or not. Respecting them is the important part and while learning to be confident in yourself and your own worth is on you, there are things men can do to make their partner feel more secure. Feeling insecure in the relationship, for whatever reason, is the problem. Jealousy is the symptom. IMO.

    Also, I can objectively say Brad Pitt is handsome and/or sexy, but that doesn’t mean I am attracted to him or would want to sleep with him. Just the opposite. I have a strong aversion to him even though I like watching him act. If a bf asked if I thought he was hot, I’d say yes of course. He’s Brad Pitt. I’d never want to sleep with him or date him, though.

    Congrats on the 10 yrs!

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    1. Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. It’s a totally different way to think about my jealousy– as a symptom of something bigger rather than something that is just “wrong” with me that I need to fix. A struggle with self-confidence is certainly a leading factor there. I do have a sweet example recently about how my has become so perceptive of my feelings in this regard. We were on vacation a few weeks ago and we went into a shop where this girl was. She had on a super short skirt and was thin…which is basically all it takes to trigger my unhappy feelings about how I’m not thin and couldn’t wear stuff like that. He immediately came over to me and help my hand and kissed my cheek, saying something sweet like I’m the only thing he wants. It made that anxiety dissipate almost immediately.

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