“My God, who cares? What does it matter?”
How I hate hearing these words from my husband. They occur when he is totally frustrated from the lack of understanding a situation in my neurotypical world. Today’s outrage stems from our upcoming anniversary. I am trying to be clear on his and my expectations of the auspicious occasion. I’ve tried to catch Steve at a time he is willing to talk (i.e. he isn’t in the midst of an unseen ‘mind’ project that often occupies his waking hours). Our words to each other can sound like a comic routine.
In our household, I am definitely from Venus, but my husband's not from Mars. He’s from a completely unknown galaxy altogether. As the years go by, and as I learn more about Aspergers, I really try to be cognizant of our differences. I try to hold off on ‘serious’ discussions until I am sure Steve is ready to talk. I try to make sure he has eaten (he seems to get radical spikes and drops in blood sugar levels so it’s always better for him to eat yogurt or some protein between meals). I try to establish that he is really willing to stop whatever he is doing. It’s not at all unusual for him to say ‘okay’, but be raging inside at the ‘intrusion’.
Carol Grigg in an October 2008 article for ASPIA INC, http://www.aspia.org.au/ says:
“Rather than assigning blame either way, perhaps it is helpful to just begin to adopt the attitude that it’s completely understandable that the two worlds are scarcely compatible. It’s not about defect. The majority of people with Asperger’s Syndrome are enormously gifted in specific fields so they’re not inferior. The problem begins because people from the two cultures, namely Asperger and non-Asperger, form a relationship and expect to forge a solid, mutually satisfying conventional marriage relationship. Asperger’s Syndrome creates problems in relationship particularly because the person with Asperger’s Syndrome does not have the same relational needs as the non-Asperger partner and he or she is mostly unable to instinctively recognise (sic) or meet the emotional needs of his or her partner.”
Over the years I have become less and less caring about ‘calendar’ celebrations. Steve, as with many other Aspies, has issues with authority. He doesn’t like being ‘expected’ to observe birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. He says that he shouldn’t have to buy cards or gifts unless he wants to buy them. Because I love my husband and know his mind set, it’s no longer that important to me either; though I was miffed last year when he forgot our anniversary altogether. After he began screaming at me for not getting gas before church, I dropped him off at home then took myself out for a lovely meal and a full afternoon of clothes shopping! I had a wonderful day.
For many years now, knowing that Steve hates shopping for gifts, I simply get myself what I want and slip it under his side of the bed. I tell him that it’s there and ready to wrap. He does, and when opening, I will act truly surprised and pleased. He beams from ear to ear as if he has spent months searching for the perfect gift! It has just been within the last few years that our kids learned that I’d been doing this for years!
My husband loves me. He shows me in weird, unexpected ways. “Look honey! I just found you 17 spare tail light bulbs at the junk yard!” Oh. My. Gosh. Just what I’ve been craving. “Oh, and I found you some raspberry dark chocolate at the store, too!” Ahhh! See? He loves me!