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Author: Mary Gable (pseudonym)

It happened the week after Christmas—the long-awaited conversation that settled the

argument. Three weeks later it still feels surreal. But change often does.

After another go round of the annoying game ‘does he’ or ‘does he not’ live on the spectrum, we sat across the room from each other as my spouse read traits from the book, The Journal of Best Practices. One by one we discussed his perspective compared to mine. And one by one he heard my side. For real. In fact, I think he heard it in a way that changed long held perceptions. For while I value the author’s candid take on life from an Aspie’s point of view, his dramatic choice words do not describe my husband’s experience as an Absent-Minded Professor type who pulls into himself rather than overflow onto others. Thus, even I could hear why my spouse didn’t relate to the author's description of his Autistic experience.

But there were also moments when I realized my husband’s understanding of the author’s word choice hindered understanding. For instance, the author stated something in reference to ego-centric behavior, and my husband quickly stated, “I’m not like that. I’m not an ego maniac. I don’t talk about myself a lot.” “No, you don’t. And no, you’re not,” I replied. “But that’s not what he meant. He was referring to an ego centric way of viewing the world, meaning you see from your perspective first and foremost. An egotist talks about themselves a lot. But someone who is egocentric has a hard time seeing life from another’s perspective.”

Ironically, after almost a decade of arguing, we spent about two hours, two days in a row,

untangling misconceptions like the one above, without arguing. And since those days,

somethings been shifting in me I can’t quite articulate.

With the diagnosis war now a thing of the past, an unfamiliar calm hovers. While I sense the

shift and feel I should be celebrating, I’m worn out instead. Getting to this point took a lot. A lot of patience, confidence, brokenness, and self-control. I learned how to make my points without desperation. To just state them as facts that had been through the fire yet not been burned. Self-assured, I stood firm in the face of doubt, and held to what I knew was true based on long term patterns of interaction. And finally, his defenses down, we talked about those patterns in a way that he chose not to contradict. So, I sit at a Starbucks, writing these thoughts, hoping to free the weariness that lingers. But it’s hard.

Why? Because now that we’ve found congruity, more is required. More conversations. More

honesty. More acceptance. For years I lived safe on my side of the fence, distanced from my spouse. But now that the offence is down, we need rules. New boundaries. New guidelines for the next phase. And in that space, I have to show up in a new way. I have to explain what I need more clearly and consistently after living quite comfortably, pulling away and finding emotional health through other avenues than my marriage. The anxiety’s back. Insecurity tugs. But just today, I reminded him that it’s okay for me to grieve different realities in our lives. And that when I’m grieving, I don’t need him to correct, admonish, or pull me from my pain. Instead, I need him to sit in it with me for a moment and grieve with me.

I long to be treated as an equal, grown up, strong partner. Capable and talented. Weepy yet

very strong. Fortunately, I’m convinced that’s what he longs to communicate. If I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t have made it this long. But I do. I believe he wants the best for me. He just struggles seeing beyond the island of his perception into the world of another.

So, now that we’re unstuck, I have to help. I have to explain. I have to dare to state my needs

with boldness and assurance that they have a place in this marriage.

So, here I go. Back to my home. Back to our abode. Back to believing we can live fences down hearts united.

For the rest of this story, scroll down for Stuck by Mary Gable.

173 views2 comments


Mar 31

I have lived in a neurodiverse marriage for 29 years before separating from him. Not sure if we will be getting back together or not. The relationship was totally exhausting and circular. Not much ever resolved. I am wondering If you still feel “unstuck” as the months go by? And would you consider writing a book about the internal and external resources you have found and use that help you to live a mostly satisfying life with your autistic husband? Thank you


Iris Knapp
Iris Knapp
Mar 09

This has been such a looooong journey. And you're at the starting line. This give so much hope for others. Thanks for sharing.

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