Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What It's Like

In my last post, I talked about how the topic of what it's like living with someone who has Asperger's has come up a lot. But what I didn't say was what it's like.

If anyone's been reading me for any length of time, they've been exposed to many of my "hunky rumblings." And most of those rumblings came from something he did that was Asperger's related. However, I don't often say that. Instead I vent and grumble and rant and rage via the keyboard.

Living with Todd isn't always easy. His psychotherapist asked me, "Do you feel as if sometimes you live with Todd and sometimes live with Asperger's?" The answer is no. I feel I live with Todd, who has a few (okay, maybe quite a few) quirky and sometimes maddening characteristics due to Asperger's. However, I never really separate the two.

Todd says that's to my credit, but sometimes I think it's not. I believe that half the time my anger could be alleviated sooner if I would just take a few minutes out to take a deep breath or two and say "He's not doing that on purpose."

However, both Todd and I knew what the psychotherapist was getting at. Some people differentiate between the two, and I don't. At least, most of the time. Sure, I might write about it here, or talk about it with Todd, but IN THE MOMENT, I don't differentiate between living with Asperger's and living with Todd.

One of the Aspberger's moms (who is also a physician) asked me this weekend if I ever forget he has Asperger's, and if so, how does that affect my reactions, etc. I told her that I forget he has it most of the time. Todd is so high functioning, that I really don't think of him having "an affliction," if you will. However, that works both in his favor and out of it. I don't coddle him or baby him, however because he is so high functioning, when he has what I have come to call a pajama day (the days when he simply does not have the energy to shower, get dressed and get out of the house), my frustration level with him almost boils over. In those instances, it would probably be better for the both of us if I remembered and acknowledged that he has Asperger's. But I don't...I treat him as neurotypical, expecting him to have the energy and disappointed when he doesn't.

Despite our difficulties (which aren't all related to Asperger's, by the way), we have managed to be together for eight years. The Asperger's parents and the Asperger's therapist we were around this weekend thought that a huge success. And, I guess it is. However,the success doesn't belong to just one of us; it's a success that belongs to the both of us, and probably more so on Todd's side, as he tends to be the communicator and peacemaker in our relationship.

When I talked with the psychotherapist, I told him that not all of Todd's Asperger's related characteristics were negatives. The positives are that he thinks outside the box, therefore he can come up with the most amazingly simple solutions to seemingly complex problems. He also has no filters, which means that he doesn't play games (there was none of that "get her phone number and wait three days to call" stuff when we dated) and he doesn't lie. Now, he is the master of conversational manipulation to hide the truth, but he just simply cannot lie. And since I am now well-versed in conversational manipulation, I know when he's trying to pull something over on me, and a simple straightforward question will illicit normally both a laugh and the truth.

There are also some other pluses as well, and again most of those have to do with the fact that he has no filters, so I end up feeling emotionally safe with him. For example, when we used to watch Joan of Arcadia, it wasn't unusual for both of us to be in tears at the end of an episode. He didn't feel a macho need to hide it, and he also never felt a need to belittle me for shedding a tear or two or three after an eppy.

Sure, there are times I think life would be so much easier for the both of us if he didn't have Asperger's. Yet, on the other hand, he is uniquely Todd, and in the end, that is part of his charm.

1 comment:

Jedi said...

Awww, lovely to hear.