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Translating the worlds of the autistic partner and the neurotypical partner for increased communication, understanding, and connection
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Woman Standing on Docks

Twenty Questions about Your AS+NT Partnership

There are several common questions that you can ask yourself to get at least a starting point on whether you might be experiencing autism in your partner. Remember this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it a diagnostic tool. It is just a place to start. These are the twenty questions I discuss in detail in my book, For The Autistic+Neurotypical Couple: Twenty Questions:

1) Is there an awkwardness in social situations that you used to think of as shyness, but which over time has come to feel different or even weird to you?

2) Are your conversations fact-based and impersonal, regardless of the topic of conversation? In other words, is your spouse's manner of talking about your love life the same as his/her manner of talking about paying the gardener?

3) Have you been living without sexual intimacy for so long that you can't remember the last time you made love? When you think about it, would you even use the term "make love" to describe your sexual relationship? Or has sex become a regimented and daily undertaking, with little emphasis on your enjoyment, as if it were strictly for your partner's benefit alone?

4) Do you feel that your partner has your back? In other words, does your partner represent a safe emotional haven for you when all the world around you may feel as if it is spinning out of control? Do you trust your partner to comfort you?

5) Does your partner relate well to your friends and family? 

6) Does your partner demonstrate sincere interest in you and your life? Does s/he ask you questions about things that are important to you?

7) Does your partner sense when you are feeling down and offer you consolation without being asked?

8) Does your partner understand why your birthday or your anniversary, Christmas or another holiday might be important to you, even though such holidays may not be important to him/her?

9) Do you feel your lives are intimately combined, or are they parallel lives that feel sometimes to you as if they exist on parallel planes?

10) Are your dreams and desires important in your marriage? Or have they become so marginalized that they feel as if they are your own little secrets?

11) Do you feel as if your relationship is normal? Do you find yourself wondering what "normal" means?

12) Does your partner demonstrate a limited range of facial expressions, gestures, and postures?

13) Do you feel as if your partner sometimes has no idea what you are talking about, no matter how hard you try to make your feelings clear?

14) Do you ever cry from frustration because you feel as if things can never change and you will never be understood?

15) Do you keep these things to yourself, because you can't even imagine how you would explain them to your friends or family members?

16) Do you continue to blame yourself for things that go haywire because you think there might have been something you could have done differently or said differently?

17) Is there an empty spot in your heart where you hoped your partner's love would be forever enthroned?

18) Do you ever cry yourself to sleep out of unidentified frustration?

19) Do you cover up for your partner, or run interference between your partner and the children?

20) Do you just have a nagging feeling that something is very wrong at the heart of your relationship, but you cannot figure out what it is?

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