Alone Together.

English: Book Cover

It’s hard to speak about being alone together without sounding pitiful and sadistic. Why would you stay? Why? That’s an obvious question when one even opens the can of worms of loneliness involved in an Aspi relationship. I sometimes wonder if two Aspis should be together, and if that would make a more comforting set. I have seen blog posts and YouTube videos from Aspi/Aspi couples and they seem to support each other just fine. I could argue that they mutually validate the other’s need for emotional distance, but even that statement reveals my bias as a neurotypical person with different emotional needs than an Aspi. In fact, that whole thread is simply useless for me since, in fact, I am neurotypical and my husband is not. So, starting where WE are, all I can say is that it’s a lonely place to be.

We’re here visiting a friend- a straight couple with two kids. I have been friends with this (highly empathetic) woman for years, though we’ve not been able to physically see each other since she’s had these two kids. She and I always multiply the other’s positive energy since even when we vent we always mange to finish off with gut wrenching laughter. From her perspective, she and I married the same type of guy, and so of course I am wondering if her husband, too, is an Aspi. I wondered about that before, but I’ve not had the chance to interact with her husband too much. But, he has all the tale-tale signs as far as I can judge from her statements, AND his noticeable absence during our short visit (at the last moment, he backed out of our plans to go for a walk through town last night)

My friend’s reaction and continued frustration with his linear thinking also makes me wonder. She, too, seeks greater companionship in ways that her husband cannot apparently begin to imagine. Plus, he’s checked all the relevant boxes as a provider; he provides the resources for them to have a wonderful home and are able to travel regularly. He also comes from what she describes as a very frigid family that could contribute to his lack of emotional intelligence. So, from his perspective, he’s done all that he should. What more does she want? She doesn’t want to be alone together.

So, here we are visiting her in her home, getting some of the emotional fulfillment that I need. Of course, Mr. Aspi finds that this visit serendipitously enriches his life, but rest assured that he was ready to cancel the trip only days early, or just send me alone. I knew that he needed to see me interact naturally with other neurotypical people, and that his exposure to a well oiled household would also provide him with some reassurance not only about what we’re building, but also some clarity about his own mother’s Aspi traits: The black/white thinking, the doomsday scenario.

True to form, my friend has encouraged us to flip through the litany of relationship rescue books that she’s amassed for her own purposes; and true to form, Mr. Aspi has flipped through and found some useful tips. “I looked at the table of contents and turned directly to page 72,” he bragged at breakfast before explaining to her that he’s gotten quite good at mining through relationship rescue books and finding useful material. ‘It’s all useful for someone so lacking in emotional intelligence’ I think to myself. He uses that example- his ability to mine these books- as evidence that things are continually getting better between us. And they certainly are. He also takes that time to acknowledge my contributions in this area, and true to form, seeks recognition for his ability to acknowledge that we’ve grown. Ultimately, Mr. Aspi reduces these types of conversations to his ability to mine the books and change, rather than us having met any of our real needs. That used to satisfy me, but I cannot even bring myself to fake satisfaction anymore: I am lonely, and tired of being so.

Many of you reading this post, I suspect, will have recognized the title from the famous

eponymously titled book, Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work, by Katrin Bentley. That book has been immensely useful for me in coming to terms with my own feelings. Who knew what it’s like to feel alone right next to someone? Sure, there are the endless nights spent in bed as he browses through car websites. He has trouble being in the moment and is so easily distracted. He has grand ideas about emotional closeness, but Mr. Aspi lacks any know-how about implementation.

There is one example about the gap between idea and implementation that Mr. Aspi understands that best illustrates this. A few months ago, Mr. Aspi had this grand idea to take a romantic walk with me in the park behind our house. Someone had smashed a beer bottle at the entrance to the park, and this set off an entire tirade about all the doomsday implications of that bottle. And for sure, he’s right: Kids, especially are put at risk. The municipal authorities should take better care; people should have better civic sense; his nation has better laws that discourage such behavior, for example their deposit system on glass and plastic; and finally, there really are many simple solutions that would remove the possibility of that smashed bottle.

20 minutes later, the walk has been far from romantic and I am exhausted. I am exhausted from both trying to offer his the reasonable responses that he demands, and from biting my tongue because I know that he’s just having a meltdown. No, there are really few, if any, reasonable answers why someone would smash a glass bottle at a park entrance. Finally, I explain to him that the walk has been ruined, and that he allowed some anonymous person to ruin what might have been a pleasant excursion. I also explain to him that this is a very typical situation, and that it always leaves me not wanting to spend any further time with him, even if he manages to drop the subject.

Although I had gotten better and cooling down, his tirades still reduces any urge to seek contact with him, at least for the next few hours. We’re together, and yet I am alone. Of course, I wonder if it would just be better to genuinely be alone, without him at all. Why not just start out alone, rather than have him abandon me at the entrance?

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