Couples/Partners

Intimate relationships can provide rewarding connections and challenging experiences. A partner might be the first person to identify Asperger traits in an individual who has been successful in other areas of life. Intimate relationships can be hard for anyone, but they are especially challenging when partners have different perspectives, communication techniques, approaches, and skill sets. With the right information and support, these differences can be understood and respected from both sides. Whether you are the partner of an individual with an Asperger profile or you fit the profile yourself, we are here to provide you with information and direct support you need to help your relationship thrive. We are available to help in-person as well as online and over the phone.

Essential Resources:
AANE Services and Supports

Support Groups, Social Groups, and Discussion Forums for Couples & Partners
Neurodiverse Couple’s Coaching
101 For Couples: Self-paced, 3-hour online course
The Peter M. Friedman Neurodiverse Couples Institute: Training & Resources for Couples and Couples Therapists

Information and Education

Resources for LGBTQIA+ Individuals
Diagnosis Information
Conferences, Webinar, and Workshops

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Marriage with Asperger’s Syndrome: 14 Practical Strategies

Article
By Eva Mendes, M.A., Psychotherapist & Couple's Counselor The excerpts below focus on interventions for relationships in which an individual with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is partnered with a spouse or partner who does not have AS (a neurotypical). The article in its entirety may be found at... more

Asperger/Autism Spectrum Fact Sheet

Article
About Asperger/Autism Spectrum: It is neurological and affects the way information is processed in the brain. It is often an invisible difference. Many people appear very competent, but have difficulties in areas of communication and social interaction. It has a genetic and hereditary... more

Dating and Relationships

Video
The arena of dating and finding someone special continues to be an issue for many people on the autism spectrum. Executive Director Dania Jekel discusses this topic and offers advice to those with Asperger/autism profiles who are considering whether or not a relationship is right for them. To learn more about AANE programs and services, visit:... more

Neurodiverse Relationships

Video
While any relationship can have its challenges, couples in a neurodiverse relationship (where one or both partners are on the autism spectrum) can face a unique set of issues. Dania Jekel, Executive Director of AANE, explores this difference and announces AANE's new training for therapists to better understand and serve these relationships.... more

Communication Challenges in Neurodiverse Partnerships

Video
Do you feel like your partner is "speaking a different language"? Does this communication impact important conversations you want to have with your partner? While communication is vital for all relationships, unique challenges can arise when there is neurodiversity between partners. Whether your goal is to maintain and strengthen your... more

First Person Account: Dating Challenges with an Asperger Profile

Video
As an individual with an Asperger profile, AANE community member Sam Farmer reflects on some of the communication challenges he faced while he was dating and how he how he learned to become more... more

Finding the Square Hole for the Square Peg: Autism and Employment HD

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Viewing Marriage and Long Term Relationships Through an Asperger’s Lens

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Sarah Hendrickx

Video
 Sarah Hendrickx presents at the Asperger/Autism Network's conference, "Hiding in Plain Sight: Shining Light on Women with Asperger/Autism Profiles." March... more

AANE’s Online Training for Therapists Gives Hope to Neurodiverse Couples

Article
Grace Myhill l Autism Spectrum News l January 1, 2020 l winter 2020 issue     In 2018, AANE launched our NEUROLOGY MATTERS IN COUPLES THERAPY online training. Since then, 27 therapists have completed both TRAINING 101: Fundamentals of Working with Neurodiverse Couples in Therapy, and CERTIFICATION 201: Case Presentations and... more

Neurology Matters in Couples Therapy

Article
January 11, 2019 Working with neurodiverse couples is more complicated than neurotypical couples. In order to help the couple work as a unified team, the therapist first has to help the partners understand each other’s neurological differences. The therapist has to understand each partner’s... more

Married, with Asperger’s

Article
He’s finally trained! My husband of 26 years has scarcely completed a single one of my sentences all this year. Like most neurotypical people, Christopher has a tendency to want to finish someone’s sentence when there is a pause. That is not helpful for me! I received my diagnosis of... more

Viewing Marriage and Relationships Through the Asperger Lens (in Spanish)

Webinar
Learn how to view marriage and relationships through an Asperger/Autism Lens. Includes helpful tips for partners and spouses. This version is in... more

Romantic Relationships with Asperger’s and Autism: Successful Strategies for Couples and Spouses

Webinar
Strategies from Eva Mendes, author of Romantic Relationships with Asperger's and... more

Viewing Marriage and Long-Term Relationships Through an Asperger’s Lens

Webinar
Learn how to view marriage and relationships through an Asperger/Autism Lens. Includes helpful tips for partners and... more

Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Recommended Reading
In “Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger Syndrome,” Eva Mendes presents proven strategies to help neurodiverse couples in tricky relationships.  What makes this book so helpful — what makes it stand apart — is her ability to elucidate the realities of both partners in a... more

Autism-Asperger’s and Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond

Recommended Reading
Many people on the spectrum never get "the talk" from their parents, and suffer from "information deficit." This book goes a long way toward filling in the gaps in their knowledge. It takes a candid look at aspects of sex and relationships as they apply to people on the autism spectrum: Learn... more

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s

Recommended Reading
Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had... more

Living Sensationally

Recommended Reading
Winnie Dunn has worked with many people with Asperger profiles. Based on her deep understanding of how their sensory issues impact their experience and functioning, she offers strategies to creating more hospitable environments and practical solutions. The book is refreshingly concise, with handy... more

Asperger Profiles: Emotions and Empathy

Article
People with Asperger profiles absolutely do have feelings, although they may have difficulty identifying and discussing them. In fact, many feelings – such as fear, anger and joy – seem to be experienced more intensely by those with Asperger profiles than by average people. In addition, some... more

Asperger Profiles: Genetics

Article
Nobody knows for sure what causes an Asperger profile. Current research indicates that there is a genetic foundation for this constellation of traits, involving a number of different genes. So it is not surprising that when a person receives an Asperger/ASD diagnosis, the family often realizes that... more

Asperger Profiles: Language and Communication

Article
Many people with Asperger profiles have complex vocabularies and sophisticated speech, but using language to communicate, also called pragmatics, is a different matter. The rules of everyday conversation that come intuitively to most people have to be actively learned by individuals with Asperger... more

Married, with Asperger’s

Article
He’s finally trained! My husband of 26 years has scarcely completed a single one of my sentences all this year. Like most neurotypical people, Christopher has a tendency to want to finish someone’s sentence when there is a pause. That is not helpful for me! I received my diagnosis of... more

Neurodiversity

Article
Diagnostic labels, by nature, define disorders and tend to ignore the strengths, gifts, and adaptive benefits of the individuals diagnosed. In contrast to this, the Asperger constellation of traits has more recently been described as the product of natural variations in human neurology that lead to... more

Asperger Profiles: Common Characteristics

Article
As we look in detail at some strengths and challenges you might see in a person with an Asperger profile, keep in mind that people with these profiles are not all alike; they may differ from one another even more in respect to their areas of strength than in their areas of challenge. Possible... more

Asperger Profiles: Developmental Delays

Article
Every person with Asperger Syndrome is developmentally delayed, not intellectually, but at the social-emotional level. This delay can be significant; for example, a 21-year-old may seem socially and emotionally more like a 14-year-old. The social consequences of being developmentally delayed often... more

Asperger Profiles: Understanding Strengths and Challenges

Article
When parenting, teaching, befriending, treating, working alongside, or supervising someone with an Asperger profile: Consider both the person’s challenges and his or her strengths. Balance acceptance with teaching necessary skills. Strengths-based interventions foster hope,... more

Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum

Recommended Reading
Edited by Stephen Shore, Ask and Tell aims to help autistic people effectively self-advocate in their pursuit of independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. Ask and Tell is unique by being the first book to speak to the twin issues of self-advocacy and disclosure for people on the... more

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
Girls with Asperger/Autism profiles are less frequently diagnosed than boys, and even once symptoms have been recognized, help is often not readily available. The image of coping well presented by AS females of any age can often mask difficulties, deficits, challenges, and loneliness. This is a... more

Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to…

Recommended Reading
At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains... more

Romantic Relationships

Article
Romance, dating, long-term relationships, and marriage enter into the lives of some people with Asperger profiles, and of these, many start their own families and become successful parents. Dating presents challenges for many with Asperger profiles because it involves subtle social communication... more

Asperger Marriage: Viewing Partnerships Through a Different Lens

Article
The excerpts below focus on interventions and suggestions for relationships in which a man with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is partnered with a woman who does not have AS (or a non-AS woman). The article in its entirety may be found at NASWMA.org. (AANE can also assist non-AS men partnered with women... more