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Reality Check
 from Middle Georgia,  May 22, 2010

“Every situation is unique.” I found this book very helpful in exploring the challenges that accompany life with an AS male and also for providing insight into the impact of an AS relationship on the partner. Each chapter starts with an illustrated statement, and for the most part, I concur with the author. Since I've been married to a man with bipolar disease and AS for nearly 10 years, I assure you this information is accurate, to the point, and provides a heads-up as to the type of relationship you will have or are already experiencing. The book starts with a Foreword by Maxine Aston. (Please study well the CADD syndrome. This is serious.) There is much insight as the author identifies common traits of Asperger Syndrome that may give clarity and even an "aha" moment for the reader. You may feel relieved that it "isn't in your head." This is an excellent resource and must-read for any woman in a relationship with a AS man (and probably many undiagnosed as well.) The book concludes with Questions To Ask Yourself. 1. "Why do we do it?" You’ll have information and awareness after reading the book. The author likens the relationship to living in a climate where the sun doesn't shine very often. There's hope, and "with the right help," you may see sunshine a bit more often and brighter. Leaving the relationship is briefly mentioned, but the information appears geared toward coping and making the best of it. 2. The second question deals with accountability and compromise. Good luck, and remember that the only person you have the power to control is yourself. In regard to dealing with your partner’s Asperger Syndrome, the (Al-Anon) saying that "you didn't cause his condition, you can't cure it, and you can't control it" fits the bill. Any correlation to codependency? The author says it “is so very hard to know when and where to draw the line.” Get help. 3. Finally, "Is this person/relationship really worth all the effort?" Of course this is a decision only you can answer. The author explains that your decision DEPENDS ENTIRELY (caps mine) on several variables: how much you love him, how compatible you are, and how much consideration you have for one another. In my opinion, the author has failed to cite the most important consideration for answering question #3, a question I’m sure many women in relationships with Asperger men must ponder. The book is great in defining the complications of loving a man with AS, but the reader must try to discern the price she inevitably pays for the value she places on her love and need for the AS man/relationship as well as the benefits she receives from the relationship. The information presented is critical. To those women in this situation, I highly recommend the book. Read it. Go back and read the illustrated opening statements for each chapter. Understand the limitations, difficulties, unmet needs, etc. that go hand-in-hand with the AS relationship. Weigh your pros and cons. Just what do you define as "happiness"? Put energy into knowing and understanding yourself. Ultimately, is it worth the effort? I agree with what the author cites as key factors in this decision (your love for him, compatibility, and mutual consideration). However, these matters AFFECT your determination of value, contrary to the author’s position that your decision depends entirely on these factors. The decision as to whether or not the need and love for the AS person and relationship is really worth all the effort DEPENDS ENTIRELY on this question ...How much do you love yourself?

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