For those of you who don’t know what the term allistic means, it’s simply a non autistic person. I use that term because my husband is considered neurodivergent so therefore he’s not neurotypical. He just isn’t autistic. I won’t disclose his neurotype on here because I want to respect his privacy as it’s not my place to tell his story. He will do so whenever he is ready.
At this time I’m typing this blog, we’ve been married for 4 years and together for a total of 9 1/2 years. It really has been a crazy ride for us filled with ups and downs. When we first got together, I did not disclose my autism diagnosis right away. I didn’t want him to think I’m too weird and then lose interest in me. I did however mention it at some point within the first year together very briefly but he never asked me to elaborate so I didn’t push it either. I felt like as long as he was just aware of it and made that informed decision to continue on with this relationship, then all was good. This is why autism awareness does nothing for autistic people. You can be aware of it but if you don’t learn about it and accept it, then it’s a dead end.
He had already spent time with me so he didn’t really think me being autistic would change anything. It was more like an “oh ok, cool”, and that was it. He didn’t know much about autism and had only knew one other person who was autistic, which was one of his family members.
His lack of knowledge really made things complicated. I can’t understand social cues so that made friendships and relationships hard for me. He used to send me flirtatious messages and I didn’t understand I needed to reciprocate so instead I would reply with “I miss you”. When I didn’t know what to say, that’s what I replied with as a way to keep the conversation going. I’m not really great with back and forth conversations. I’m sure he was very confused but he never questioned it. Being with him long enough, I eventually did pick up on how to respond to him and now he can’t handle it, haha.
When we first moved in together, he couldn’t tolerate some of my sensory seeking behaviors. Over time he got used to most of it and now just lets me do my thing.
Sometimes it’s really hard to communicate with him because I see things from my perspective and he has his own perspective on things but can’t seem to reach my level. He often doesn’t understand that I feel emotions on a much deeper level than a allistic person and I can’t regulate it. I also tend to come off as needy and he doesn’t always understand why I need constant attention. Sometimes I feel rejected by him and then I internalize that and feel like the marriage is falling apart. We’ve managed to pull through every obstacle so far which is great.
If I had to say what our biggest struggle is, I’d have to say communication. I often need things explained to me in explicit details or I can’t visualize whats being said and it doesn’t get processed in my brain. Him not specifying enough details often results in me not performing the task he asked me to do correctly or at all. He has gotten upset over it which overwhelms me. I’m always feeling like I’m performing wrong even when I’m not.
I’m also always stressed about the subtexts in conversations. I don’t understand it very well and would rather things be explained in a more direct way, no beating around the bush.
Another point I want to touch on is my sensory needs. I’m typically a sensory seeker so I don’t mind touch as long as I’m not overstimulated and feeling touched out. I crave affection from him and deep pressure from his weight on top of me. I crave skin to skin and being caressed and loved physically. My love language is physical touch. I often feel as though he sees affection as a chore and often resists. Usually when I try to explain how it makes me feel, it seems he has a hard time understanding and may say hurtful things without thinking. I completely understand that it’s almost impossible for an allistic person to understand every aspect of my needs as an autistic person but I also don’t want to be invalidated for it because this is my reality.
Aside from all the struggles, we have many many happy moments. I can go on and on about all our memories and show all the pictures we took over the years but it’s too much for you all.
When he’s not in a irritable mood, he’s very loving and sweet. He’s very quick to come to my defense when someone else upsets me. And on a good day, he can be more affectionate. He’s still learning and growing and I hope that we only continue to grow closer. He has definitely come a long way from when we first got together and I’m very proud of all his improvements and his eagerness to learn more about what would accommodate me so I can live a happier life. He’s watched me at my best moments and he’s also seen my worst from severe meltdowns to intense autistic burnout and going non verbal. I’m sure that’s a lot for him to take in and he has to be strong and keep it together for me. It’s a hard task but he chose to ride it out with me until death do us part. I love him so much and want nothing more than to be with him forever.
If you’re interested, I posted a Autism Q&A Spouse Edition video on YouTube linked below if you would like to listen to my husbands perspective