An Update!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been so long since we’ve posted. I’m terribly sorry!

Justin ended up getting the flu last month (yes he got his shot…no, it didn’t give him autism). Well then he ended up getting pneumonia AND a staph infection so he was hospitalized for 2 nights. Having autism made it even harder for him. The constant changing of nurses, the one nurse who doubted the doctor and made him panic…

It’s been a rough month or two. I’m getting closer to graduating college (1st in my family to get a college degree), I’m wanting to change careers, and we’re broke. I’m working 10 hour days to make up the time I took off for my dying husband.

But the one absolutely amazing thing in my life has been Justin. He doesn’t complain. Ever. He cleans the house for me and cooks dinner because he knows I’m too exhausted when I come home. He tells me he’s proud of me and nothing means more to me than that.

Insert romantic music and the sounds of Justin fake puking here!

Reflection

Being married to Justin isn’t easy. Being married period isn’t easy, ASD or not. Justin is particular about things. He taps a lot. Bounces his legs a lot. Knocks on cupboards, doors, me. He gets frustrated at the littlest things and gets mad. He shuts himself away sometimes. He won’t tell me he loves me sometimes. 

Nothing he does will make me love him less. 

In 2012 when my baby Waffles became paralyzed and we had to put her down, he wouldn’t allow me to take her to the vet. He KNEW watching her pass away in front of me would destroy me. He was right. So he took her. He stayed by her side. He was there for her in her last moments. Then came back to me, held me, kissed me, and took me to nature to distract me. Showed me a waterfall I’d never seen. Let me cry.

He has never questioned any of my decisions about my life or what I want to do. When I said I wanted to quit my cushy state job because I was unhappy he said, Cool. Do it. If I said I wanted to shave my head, he’d say cool, weirdo, but do it. Not once has he told me I’m not allowed to do something.  He doesn’t stop me from being myself or what I want to do. He supports me. That’s priceless.

He won’t ask you for anything.  That could be good, or bad. He could be on fire and he won’t ask you to put him out. He can’t.  That’s the Aspie in him. He’s terrified you’ll say no. I find myself getting things for him.  Being his voice.

People think I’m controlling him a lot I’m sure. I speak for him, fill out forms for him, answer questions for him. Sometimes I think he hates it. He doesn’t.  He can’t find the right words. He can’t talk to people. He gets overwhelmed with too many questions and too many words and can’t put the answers together. He might have them, but he can’t get them to his brain. And that’s totally fine with me.

I couldn’t be happier with this amazing man I made my own.

Feeling Tired…

I’m tired this week.  If you follow us on Instagram  ( @marriedwithautism) you know Justin had a bad melt down Sunday and just about broke his hand.

Everyone seems to think that it’s something else when it’s not. He’s not pissed at anyone. He’s not jealous of anyone. He’s not going to hurt anyone. He just can’t express frustration and will take it out on himself in the form of a melt down. I did pretty good though, and kept my cool while he was experiencing one of the most painful things to watch. I didn’t even cry. 

Appointments this week after more appointments….social security, counselor, doctor, more social security.  Justin stresses about driving his car, which is older, but it is in great shape. He also knows a lot about cars. But he still does the what ifs. What if my car breaks down (I’ll come get you) what if I get a flat tire (Les Schwab will come get you). But I can say that 1000 times and it doesn’t help him feel better. 

He has a doctor’s appointment today for possibly bronchitis, and I can’t go because of work. So he stresses about feeling like crap while I’m just here trying to help him get stronger. And I’m not sure I can. And I have to learn to be okay with that.

I love you, Justin.

Communicating with an Aspie

I’ve asked Justin several times since he was diagnosed how we communicate so effectively.  People with autism don’t read sarcasm or body language very well, and I am pretty much the definition of both.  When we first started dating, I didn’t notice anything unusual about the way he communicated, but I did notice he spoke FAST.  I just thought he was nervous!

Justin often tells me that I’m not a “typical” woman because I say what I feel.  If I’m mad at him, I tell him.  If I’m sad, I tell him.  I guess a lot of women don’t speak or tell their significant others what they’re feeling (which is really weird to me–good communication is the key in any relationship).  I just don’t hold back because it’s not fair if I’m unhappy and he’s perfectly fine.  This behavior, as it turns out, works great for communicating with someone with ASD.  I just tell him what is going on, and I’m blunt.  If he’s talking too much, I just tell him to shut up.  It doesn’t hurt his feelings–in fact, it’s the opposite.  He is happy that I tell him because he finds it so hard to try to guess what people are thinking or want to say.

I found a great article from this website about communicating with someone with Autism.

Communicating with Autism

I don’t try to make him guess what I’m thinking.  I was like this even before we thought he had autism, just because I never understood why people don’t just say what they think.  He doesn’t take offense to anything, so I’ve never been worried what I said would hurt his feelings.

Other people have noticed things about communicating with Justin is how he speaks back to them.  He talks fast and he mumbles.  He tries not to, but he doesn’t know how to accurately speak about his feelings or what he wants to say (typical Aspie trait).  He just has a difficult time getting what he wants to say out into words.

MY ADVICE

If you are dating someone with ASD, don’t worry about being blunt with them.  In fact, I encourage it.  If they do something that pisses you off, just tell them.  It will frustrate them more if you are holding something back and then tell them later how mad you were (holding back your feelings leads to melt downs–trust me on that one).  Try not to use sarcasm or expect them to read underlying messages.  They just don’t really understand it.  Justin gets my sarcasm–but yeah, we’ve been together for 9 years, so he gets it now.

 

I hope this helps shed a little light on communication and relationships in those with ASD.  Feel free to comment or ask questions of Justin or myself!

And then there’s this

Sometimes I feel like people wonder why I “put up” with Justin. In fact, he’s asked several times why.

Aspies have a very hard time expressing emotions. The first few years of dating Justin had a hard time showing affection (he still does). Texting, hand written love notes and instant messaging allowed him to show his true feelings more than he’s able to say.

The truth is, Justin is full of affection. Just because he doesn’t show it in the “normal” way doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel it. Who am I to turn down this type of love?

Aw.