We used to joke that we were marriage therapy drop-outs. We both wanted to do everything we could to have a strong marriage and yet we were floundering. Robin felt unloved and uncared for. Tim felt unappreciated and confused. We had gotten into a cycle of withdrawal and attack. Yes, these are all common problems in marriages, but the way this looks is very different in neurodiverse marriages…and more importantly, the solutions need to be tailored to the underlying causes.
After receiving Tim’s autism diagnosis, at least we understood why we were struggling. Our next hurdle was finding solutions. There are a handful of excellent resources our there but most of them were difficult for Tim to access. Thankfully, with Robin already working with couples professionally, we were able to take the information available and make it more accessible for people like Tim.
Our relationship patterns are different.
Early neurodiverse relationships tend to be more intense because their love interest becomes their special interest (link to “What is a Special Interest?”) and long term neurodiverse relationships have to create a non-typical bond to survive.
Our problems are different.
Our problems stem from opposite brain wiring, but we don’t typically realize how this pervades every facet of our lives. How we communicate, what we need, and our ability to meet those needs is deeply affected by the underlying neurology.
Our solutions are different.
The standard recommendations often make assumptions that just don’t apply in neurodiverse relationships. And perfectly sound advice needs to be adjusted to make sense for divergent ways of thinking and understanding.