As a woman with Asperger Syndrome, I am often greeted with surprise upon the revelation that I am married. That surprise is often upgraded to shock upon the discovery that my husband is a Neurotypical (simply put, he is not on the Autism Spectrum).
Love and affection are core, yet challenging needs for everyone (typical and diverse). While I do struggle with communication and socialization, I do feel physical attraction to others as well as an emotional longing for connection. Are these not the basics for what we describe as “chemistry” with another person?
Chemistry equates to connection. The success of chemistry depends on the level of physical attraction, the appreciation of intellectual compatibility, the ability to comfortably open yourself up to feel emotions, acceptance, appreciation, compassion. These create chemistry. Chemistry is connection. Connection is a foundation. Romance blooms from strong foundations.
I look to fill my life with people who balance what I lack. Social grace, clear communication, a strong sense of humor, people who are outwardly compassionate and patient. When I say “what I lack” I am not implying that I am devoid of such skills, but rather that I need people who challenge me to keep them exercised and strong.
The common misconception that I cannot love because I am an Aspie, is far from accurate. I do love. In fact, I desire it.
My husband has often expressed to his peers that one of the reasons he was drawn to a relationship with me is because I behave differently than most people in his life. I am blunt, direct, unconventional and am childishly charming. He understood me in a way that most people do not. The things that make me unacceptable to most, made me desirable to him. Chemistry. Connection. Romance.
We maintain a lot of routine romantic habits in our relationship. They take the place of my obsessive compulsive need for control in other areas of my life. It is a mutually beneficial balance that I don’t know if others understand. And yet, our romance is not boring or “routine.” It is something so pure and comforting that I couldn’t ever write the words to describe it.
Asperger Syndrome is a social development disorder, not an emotional detachment disorder. Yes, I do often struggle to effectively communicate my feelings (through words or expression), but I still obtain a strong desire to love and be loved in return – and I always have. If you are struggling to understand if a Neurodiverse individual in your life is capable of wanting or feeling love, the answer is yes. But it’s up to you to learn how to identify that, and how to respond.