Wedded Bliss??

I am going to get a little personal and a lot philosophical with this post . It is about the state of marriage and my personal experiences with it. First of all I was forty years old when I got married for the first and only time. During those years, I thought I was destined to be a “single” guy all my life. My Aspie traits were just not conducive to the dating scene, so about this time I was pretty much done with dating. Too many first or second dates only. There was just too much frustration involved in the whole process.

I was a on-again/off-again Catholic during those years, who remembered the words of St. Paul about marriage. He basically said “get married if you must, but it is better to remain single.” It had something about a wife taking time away from praising the Lord. I took those words on faith and convinced myself I was better off without a spouse.

I also read the statistics that almost a third of marriages are broken within five years. My two brothers had already been married twice, so I joked that my family had used up all the allowed marriages.

But as often happens, just when I resolved to never marry it hit me in the face. My future wife asked me out on a date to a 1985 company Christmas party and we were married the following April. That four month stretch was very surreal. It was as if someone else was occupying my body.

Skipping forward thirty-three years, I ask myself if I would do the same thing?

But before I give you my answer to that I want to tell you that my Aspie traits demand that I be brutally honest and that fact seem to be taking charge of me in these senior years. Brutal honesty has gotten me in trouble more times than I can remember. So, my honest answer to the above question is:

I don’t know

One of the difficulties with marriage that last for a long term is that the two people often grow apart in significantly ways. In some ways that makes marriage feel like a stifling thing, especially in our retirement years.

  • One person loves to travel and the other hates it.
  • One person loves philosophical discussions and the other thinks all that is baloney.
  • One person loves change and the other embraces stasis.
  • Even many of the once common interests gradually disappear.

How do you maintain a joyful life given those differences? Yes, we had a lot of pleasant shared experiences, but does that tilt the scale?

But then I also look back and wonder if I would have survived this long without someone to help me cope with the difficulties in life. If I had gone deaf alone would I have fallen deeply into depression and maybe suffered the consequences of that dreadful condition. I think the reasons for this post is because of a recent suicide of a nephew in his early forties. He seemed to constantly be trying to find himself and just couldn’t accomplish that. Would that have been me thirty years ago? I really don’t know.

Of course there have been many good times in these thirty-three years. Sometimes it is too easy to forget that when difficulties or differences arise. I know that the divorce rate among seniors is the highest of most any other age group. I kinda think it is mainly because of the two people growing apart.

Coping With Dissappointments

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I know the quote above from Will and the title of the post seem kinda disjointed but hear me out before you pass judgment. ūüôā I have always been a dreamer in life. One of my favorite things in my youth was to lay back on the lawn on a clear night and gaze unendingly¬†at the stars and dream of what my future life would be about. I had high expectations in those years.

IMG_0187I was abruptly introduced to the idea that your dreams and expectations are never as good as you hope or as bad at you dread.¬† Marriage is a compromise between two people of different personalities and desires.¬† It is not a “happy ever after” state as many, including myself, dreamt it to be. I and my future wife were both over forty and unmarried so we had developed our own methods of living and coping with life. After the honeymoon, we would eventually clash on many subjects.¬† Marriage was just not what we expected. But since we have survived over thirty years now in that state I guess we are a success at least on some level and our expectation and reality are now more aligned.

Politics is another matter. It has gotten to the point where a politician can outright lie to our face and not have to suffer any consequences. Some call our current political environment the “Post Truth Era”. I hope there comes a day where I can once again have high expectations about those I¬† vote for.

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Till Death Do Us Part… Aspie Style..

It used to be that your word was your reputation. If you break your word you suffer the consequences.  But for the words in the title above, the majority of us break our word. Oh, we have all the intentions of honoring them when we say them but then things change for whatever reason.

2016-07-18_17-22-54.pngI think my Aspie characteristics play a part in my response to these words. Most of the time I take things literally. When I say I will be there at 1pm that doesn’t mean 1:05pm. When I said “till death do us part” I meant it literally and still do.¬† With this prologue complete,¬† I want to get to the topic at hand and that is marriage, particularly when it involves someone with Aspie characteristics.

I know it is a fact that 90% of those with moderate or severe Aspie traits never marry and those who do divorce more than the norm. I dreamed but never considered it a possible reality that I would get married.¬† I just never did very well with interactions with the opposite sex.¬† My mother, who abandoned me when I was ten years old, was like the current Oval Office occupant, an extreme narcissist. Everything was always about her, she had little room in her life for anyone or anything else.¬† I never learned much of anything useful from her except that I didn’t want to be like her.

My dating history was plainly speaking a catastrophe. I seldom had more than three dates with anyone.  When my future wife asked me out on a date I had pretty much given up on the thought of marriage. For some reason, she liked what she saw and as a result, we were married six months later.

I know being married to someone with Aspie traits is not easy.  Here are some  words about that from Psychology Today: (helpful hint AS=Aspie,  NT=neurotypical)

  • An individual with AS has challenges understanding or predicting the consequences of his/her behavior on others.¬† Therefore, the Aspergers partner may see the NT partner as irrational or illogical.
  • NT women especially tend to want their partners to understand them and their feelings.¬† However, they need to realize that this is something they may not be able to get from their AS partner.¬† Some change may be possible, but..
  • The most basic elements of speaking and hearing are the most important issues that AS-NT couples may have.¬† AS adults often may have a very difficult time hearing negative emotions expressed by their partner.¬† They may refuse to communicate, but then end up lashing out in a very hurtful way later on.

via What Everybody Ought to Know About Aspergers and Marriage | Psychology Today

To some degree, I can see myself in all three scenarios above.¬† We have been married going on 32 years now so I guess we overcame these obstacles to one degree or another. Our marriage hasn’t always been “happily ever after” but that is as it is.¬† When I discovered that many of my characteristics have a name it helped me to understand some previous stumbling blocks in my married life. It helps me to realize that my wife and I are likely to see the same thing very differently. It helps me to keep my vow of “till death do us part”. It helped me to realize what an amazing person¬† I have been married to…