An Asperger Engaged

 

I wasn’t entirely sure what Autism truly was until I met Gray.  We dated for 3 months before I really noticed that he had Asperger Syndrome. Gray was helping me move out of my college apartment at the end of the fall semester and went across the hall to visit my friend and her roommate, who were getting ready to leave as well. When they opened the door, my friend’s pushy roommate yelled at Gray to take off his shoes because they had mopped. We went to the apartment, which was playing very loud music, and he didn’t say a word and stared at the floor. I got very angry at him for being so unfriendly to my friends, but after we fought about it I understood that he took the yelling very personally and was overwhelmed by the music. A neurotypical might have been able to handle the situation gracefully but he was not.

As we continued dating, I fell more and more in love with his mind and sense of humor. He is constantly reading comic books, nonfiction, novels, and watching films I had never heard of. He also has an amazing taste in music. Somehow he was a better listener and more open to me than anyone else I had met. He wasn’t the typical guy with the Big Kahuna complex. He treated me as a woman and not an object. He also treated me as an equal. I had come out of a terrible relationship with a football-playing frat boy and Gray was so refreshing.

The problems with my friends continued, however. He refused to hang out with my friends and according to them, that meant that he was distant, cold, and unfriendly. If he didn’t like my friends, how could he like me? I tried to explain to the people in my life that he didn’t deal with parties and social situations very well, and they insisted that they would be nice. But when he did come with me to gatherings, he either was completely silent or, when asked a question, completely dominated the conversation with a long lecture on a comic book or movie.

It took me awhile to embrace these things about Gray and to stop being embarrassed by him. I noticed that with new friends I was making in college, mutual friends with Gray, there was none of this judgmental behavior. Some people are more open-minded than others. Some people just refuse to learn about Asperger’s and accept people for who they are. My boyfriend, who has no theory of mind, was somehow more kind and accommodating than the friends I had had since high school, who claimed to love me.

Gray was diagnosed at age 12 and has been on medication and in therapy and counseling since. Because of his hard work learning and about himself and disciplining his temper, most people do not notice his Aspergers. He is better at dealing with his emotions and with unkind people than I am, most of the time.

Gray has given me a life I didn’t know I wanted. I knew I was not a typical person wanting a typical marriage. He proposed to me randomly while watching Family Guy together on a weekend that he was very sick. He is very lucky I don’t like romance, big gestures, or cliche proposals at sunset. In the 15 seconds it took for me to process and answer, I thought about the struggle that lay ahead. I knew that he would never get empathy and theory of mind, and that we may struggle with lack of affection sometimes. I knew that he would never be comfortable in social situations and would always be happiest away from people. But all the hardships that lay ahead are worth it to me because he is an irreplaceable person in my life. He is one of the best people I know and we communicate about everything. We value self-motivated learning and ideas, and will always be able to pursue them together. He makes many sacrifices for me as I do for him.

No one can be sure if any marriage is going to work. That’s why it’s a commitment. I said yes because he is my family now. We continue to teach each other to be who we are and stand up for ourselves.

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40 thoughts on “An Asperger Engaged

  • July 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm
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    Thank you so much for starting this thread.
    But the internet is full of the negative side to an Aspie, so I was thinking that I was alone in my awe of someone like him. He is amazing. Never boring!
    I am marrying my best friend who happens to have Aspergers. We’ve been together for almost 4 years. I have exposed him to a lot of new social situations and he has learned to cope very well. Every night is like a pajama party. We talk, laugh, share our day.  All he needs is to know that you adore him and enjoy being with him. When my guy gets grumpy, negative or moody I let him know that he’s not much fun today & then I do something to make him laugh. You can pull them out of their moods with time & patience. It’s worth it. The Pro’s are fantastic & the con’s are manageable. Just understand what he needs to feel complete & tell him what you need if he doesn’t notice. I could not imagine being with anyone else. I never knew what I was missing by dating those bad boys. 

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  • July 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm
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    I have a good friend with Aspies, and his girlfriend is not nearly as understanding as you are.  It upsets me sometimes.  I hope that she can learn to be more like you, or that he has the strength to leave her and find someone who is like you ^_^ 

    Congratulations, and I wish all the best for you and your fiance.

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  • July 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm
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    Just reading this about made me fall in love with him too :]

    You’ll be blessed for accepting him for who he is, and it sounds to me like you are beyond lucky. All the best luck for your marriage 🙂 <333

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  • July 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm
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    Thank you soo much for this post.  As a father of an Asperger’s girl who is now 15 you give me hope for the future. 

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  • July 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm
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         I am so touched by your post. As a mother of two sons, age 4 and 5, with Asperger’s, it is very refreshing to read about older aspies. I would love to continue reading more posts. I’ve decided to write about my experience at anisah-mythreesons.blogspot.com titled Adventures In Mommyland.

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  • July 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm
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    This really made me smile 🙂  My baby brother has Asperger’s and I worry constantly that he won’t be able to find someone who understands him.  But as he’s gotten older people have gotten to be more understanding and accepting of him, so I guess it’s just a matter of time before he finds someone too.

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  • July 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm
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    this was nice for me to read. i’ve just received an 8-yr-old piano student who has asperger’s and i, admittedly, have to try to be more patient with him than with some of my other students. although, i’m always intrigued by his ability to listen. honestly, if i hadn’t been told about his condition, i wouldn’t have ever known. i would’ve just had a student with scary-amazing listening skills.

    —congratulations on the engagement—

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  • July 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm
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    I don’t usually comment on these mass blogs on Xanga, I just read ones that seem interesting to me, but I was touched by this one, because it hits home for me. I’m eighteen and I’ve been dating my Aspie boyfriend, Brantley, for three and a half years now. Granted, we’re not planning on getting married anytime soon, but it’s something we’ve talked about. 

    I smiled when you mentioned his love for comic books, novels, and movies and such and that’s mostly what your conversations are dominated by. My boyfriend’s big into science and music, and has really opened up my mind to new things I normally wouldn’t have even known existed. He’s also very socially awkward and really doesn’t like hanging out with my friends, and at first (it was my freshman year of high school and I was involved with an older guy, of course my friends are going to say something!) they didn’t like him at all. Once more of them were around him (we were both in band in high school) they got to know him a little better, and more recently, I’ve finally come to understand Aspergers more, so I’ve been explaining his thing to my friends. I’ve let them know about how he completely avoids social situations, where I love going out and hanging out with other people.

    That’s our biggest difference, and it always will be. I know it will be challenging for us and will challenge us as a couple in the future, and this coming year is going to be a big deal. He’s been in college for a year and lives off campus and doesn’t do much at the school other than school work. He knows his classmates in class and has lunch with a few, but beyond that, he doesn’t do much. I, however, am going to the neighboring college to his in the area and am living on campus. I plan on making lots of new friends and balancing my time with him, school, and socializing. That’s just how I am, and he’s slowly coming to terms with that.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d ‘pour my heart out to you,’ so to speak, and let you know that I can relate in some ways, and appreciate what you’ve said. I wish you and your future husband the best of luck. Congratulations.

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  • July 6, 2010 at 11:59 am
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    This is a beautiful story, you both seem like amazing people. I really hope there’s more people out there that have such an open heart. My nephew is 8 years old and he has aspergers, and I am always worrying about his future. I don’t want aspergers to leave him unhappy and lonley as an adult. Thank you, this story gave me hope, and congrats! 

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  • July 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm
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    congrats to you two!

    this made me smile to read…my best friend is an Aspie and heaven help me, I love him to death. he’s the best guy I’ve ever known 🙂

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  • July 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm
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    I don’t think disabled people should get married, although naturally we’re very upright people because we’ve had no freedom, so if uncorrupted, we make great financial partners and are extremely upright citizens.  But it’s a little more difficult if you’re a girl because of the status-thing guys crave, and they want to make you into the crackwhore while most guys have understandings with one another.  Yeah, sure, D, and myself should have gotten married and just said the cliches.  No, I have no idea how that happened…  After a certain amount of time, most people reach a similar mind-state and learn and do things about the same.  I guaratee if you wait until around 25 with life experience, anything will be easy for you, even if it isn’t your nature.  Well, so long as you’re around average it will be.  If you’re retarded, then you’re just stuck at that age and it’s your body. 

    Anyway, you’re still the person you were no better, and perhaps life will be easier with Gary because he won’t abuse you.  Best friends ever…

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  • July 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm
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    anti-congratulations, because that word is almost as useless as “nice”.  instead, i’d like to commend your courage, your keen sense of self-awareness, and devotion to the human bond.

    very happy monday to you.

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  • July 5, 2010 at 4:17 am
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    This post warms my heart so much. Thank you for sharing this, and congratulations on your engagement.

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  • July 5, 2010 at 1:25 am
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    @Coffee_Kaioken@xanga – I agree.

    It’s a love story, but not the typical kind. It’s the real kind, the ones that actually happen, the ones with complications. I wish you and your to-be husband all the best. Congratulations!

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  • July 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm
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    GO YOU!

    You sound happy. And that says a lot to the generation’s dating reputation.May love and happiness be in your house!

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  • July 4, 2010 at 9:18 pm
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    Honestly, this is a God-send to me. I am talking to and very close friends with a man who has Asperger’s, and have been hesitant to pursue a relationship because I wasn’t sure what to think. But knowing that you can make it work, gives me hope that we can too. Thank you. 

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  • July 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm
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    After reading this blog… i was touched… i googled wat Asperger is and i found that those with Asperger just ‘Appear to lack empathy’ (u suggested “he would never get empathy”, which might not be true, which is a good thing for u and him)… i just wanna say im very happy for the both of you. and i wish you guys true happiness 🙂 and im really happy that you both found someone to spend the rest of your life with =) Congrats too both you =DDD

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  • July 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm
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    I add my congrats to all those here. But I do have to address ONE not-so-tiny thing to me. (sorry! It’s the Aspie in me)

    You said: ” I thought about the struggle that lay ahead. I knew that he would never
    get empathy and theory of mind, and that we may struggle with lack of
    affection sometimes.” Up until that point, I was all gushy-feeling because someone else was lucky enough to find love, as I have. And it involved someone with Asperger’s syndrome, like I have. So, this post was very relatable but I cringed at this.

    I know many people with autism do not have empathy as NT come to expect to see it manifested. But it is THERE. Your Gray guy could very well be using empathy to make you feel all those wonderful things you’ve been feeling when around him. You just may not recognize it.

    He could be very affectionate, just not the way you’d recognize it.

    So, just a word or two (or five hundred): When you’re reminding yourself that he may not be “like any other guy” also remind yourself, he just might be… he just might show it differently 🙂

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  • July 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm
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    Well, of course he would resent getting yelled at by that roommate after she’d mopped the floor.  I would have resented getting yelled at too…If that was his first impression- naturally she made a lousy one and it will stick. But between the two of you, I wish a very happy marriage.  I think it will work out great 🙂

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  • July 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm
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    Congratulations. I’m so glad to hear that even though there has been problems, the two of you are able to work things out and learn what works best for the both of you. Sometimes it’s better to just not think about the aspergers being there to be honest. He’s just another person with the same little quirks we all have, but is completely honest and open about those quirks.
    I wish you a long and successful marriage. 🙂

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  • July 2, 2010 at 2:31 am
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    Congratulations!!! It makes me smile to see someone seeing how great Aspies are.

    His loyalty,undeniable trust and honesty will help you both face any challenges that lie ahead.

    I, like your Fiance also find most social gatherings a bit overwhelming when theres people i don’t know or who aren’t exactly open minded.

    However after moving out of home(a surprise to many lol) and half way across the state for work, i have been lucky enough to find someone who loves me for who i am, for my flaws and my strengths.

    I’m sure she would agree with everything you have said 🙂

    Best of luck to you both!

    Andrew G

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  • July 1, 2010 at 10:37 am
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    Great post and Congratulations to you both.  Every marriage contains two flawed people.  It is the commitment that makes it last.   I hope my son can find a good girl like yourself one day.

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  • July 1, 2010 at 10:21 am
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    Congratulations
    One of my prayers and wishes for my son is that he will be surrounded by friends and people who accept him for who he is but who also challenge him to do more…. it seems that your fiance has that in you 🙂

    As to the challenge of affection and stuff I was wondering if you were to put together a list of things you both expect of each other from time to time whether that may make it easier for him and you?

    (it is a theory I am working on in my other blog http:ishouldnthavetosay.blogspot.com)
    congrats again

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  • June 30, 2010 at 10:27 pm
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    Good post.  It’s good that he found someone who appreciates him and isn’t repulsed by his condition.  

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  • June 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm
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    Very happy for you, and hoping my Aspie son finds a girl like you someday who is so open, understanding and accepting, and can see his good qualities!  Best wishes to you and Gray.

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  • June 30, 2010 at 10:08 pm
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    Im so happy for you knowing what love truely is and being with a person who is for you forever.

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  • June 30, 2010 at 10:06 pm
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    My boyfriend has Asperger’s. He’s very protective of me, but in a way he’d want to catch me if I trip. He’s actually very affectionate, in a way he’ll still want to tickle me when I’m trying to sleep. 

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  • June 30, 2010 at 9:51 pm
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    It’s unanimous: relationship-wise, Aspies are the chosen people! haha! In all seriousness, the best type of mate to have are ones with the most surprises, I believe.

    Reply

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