It’s not the long term that scares me about commitment. Two things I’m trying to use to help me answer “How to know if I should stay in this relationship?” turns out to make it even more difficult for me answer the question.
I heard about a book on NPR, written by a husband who didn’t know he had Asperger Syndrome until 5 years into his marriage “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband”. So Dave was a typical guy who did typical guy things, and a few atypical behaviors. According to the book, once he discovered he there was a named cause for these behaviors that classified him as “Aspie”, he endeavored to improve the behaviors that were hurting his marriage. It’s great to see someone really studying their behaviors and the consequences. Personally, in my life, I see few men take this approach to problems even though their own behavior may be the most significant factor for undesired outcomes.
However, this story makes me wonder if we have to identify a syndrome in order for certain people to try and work on their own behavior. Throughout my childhood, my father’s emotional stress kept the family in turmoil. As I am a sensitive person, this has made me overly cautious about emotional situations. Life has improved for him, and he maintains a good relationship with his second wife, but I wonder how things may have been different if he took an approach more like Dave’s.
In my current relationship, I share some of the attributes Dave exhibits, and my boyfriend has some others, although I do not think either of us are severe enough to be Autistic or Asperger. I have been trying for several years to figure out how to make things work in this relationship. For him, he’s just waiting for me to accept the status quo and say yes, let’s do this. I’m reluctant because I feel things will only get worse from here. He’s a nice guy, tries to give me what I want, but I feel he doesn’t really understand me when we talk and there is little connection. I feel like the relationship is very unfair.
Reading Dave’s book, I think his relationship is VERY unfair. It seems his wife is completely understanding and guides everything about their marriage and his aspie behavior. Clearly she loves him, and so far I have not found anything offering her point of view on how she can sustain this level of unfairness other than she is a SAINT. He must be worth it, and they do say they were best friends.
I feel I’m willing to meet half-way, but nothing more. I think to make it work, you have to be willing to go more than half-way. So although I’m not afraid of commitment, I wonder do I really have what it takes to make a “marriage” work. I’m already at my wit’s end and feel completely exhausted by the relationship.
The other thing that has the reverse affect from reassuring me, is this video on the Huffington post website of a husband’s enduring support for his wife after she is diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Shouldn’t love be this unconditional?
Oh, and in case you are wondering, here is a not so long quiz to see where you might fall on the autism spectrum. But if you really question yourself, talking to a professional is probably best.