I’ve heard it’s good, but haven’t got around to reading it yet. I’ll have to check it out! I actually practised looking people in the eye with my wife when we first got married, but it’s still something of a feature of my personal contact with people. It’s all very complicated. Avoid eye contact, and you’re considered bored. Look at someone in the eye, and they think it’s weird. Break eye contact, and they think you’re being evasive.
I suppose one thing that kept me from seeing my lack of ability to read people for so long is that people are so bad at reading me. I think to the extent that people want to get into AS-NT relationships, it’s important for both sides to adjust to the reality of this information gap and work on effective communication, because NTs relying on their ability to read signals that they can’t read seems to be a big problem too. Still, the numbers are not encouraging in work or relationships and many women are very negative about aspie men (though others are very positive and tired of NTs they’ve met and their dishonesty). While there don’t seem to be a lot of examples of it getting better, having fairly constant employment and a happy marriage despite some communication issues that we were already working through means that I guess I’m at least beating the odds (because you see numbers like 20% full-time employment and 80% divorce for high functioning autistic people - it’s really depressing).
I think it’s split into different groups: people who are missing each other’s signals and need to learn to read each other better, aspies who are jerks or downright abusive and use their condition as an excuse for lack of self improvement or concern for the other person and situations where it becomes more of a carer/patient relationship and the woman gets burned out. (Of course there are aspie women too, but not as many as men and there’s a particular dynamic that can be an extreme version of common gender relations in the case of male aspies marrying NT women). Sometimes the rigid lifestyle, black and white thinking, emotional control and obsessions become intolerable. Sometimes women stay longer than they should because of abuse, sometimes it’s just because they guy is so helpless by themselves. Divorce can be a nightmare due to attachment issues and the fact that the aspie may have no idea why their partner wants to leave. Often there’s a similar situation to the one many women get - they can’t change their husband, there’s often a lack of willingness or willpower to make real changes and both people get frustrated. Mutual knowledge of the condition seems to help quite a bit, along with willingness of both people to change and recognise what the other person is doing. Aspies can also react to a negative atmosphere without realising it (I’ve heard the term “emotional barometer” before, which is a sort of low resolution empathy I guess).
Part of what helped me was that my parents kicked me out of the house when I got engaged, and gave my room to my wife (who had just moved to my city). As far as they were concerned, I couldn’t get married until I could look after myself, and there’s no such thing as “women’s work” (with the exception of actual labour). There was also the realisation that I can authentically show love even if the action doesn’t feel natural. If I say that I love my wife, send her texts, make an effort to remember her birthday or go to a group activity with her and suck it up, this is an action that is designed to make her feel loved. I do love her, so it’s authentic. This may not seem like much, but when we were engaged I didn’t see the need to say hello to her when I walked past her after not having seen her all day. It may seem weird, but early on we also agreed to tell the other person if we were doing something specifically for them. Not to boast or expect praise, but because it’s easy to miss things or come to expect them and focus on the negatives. Also, assume that no insult is intended and the other person is not ignoring you and always ask for clarification.
Come to think of it, it was sorta obvious all along.
RatWoman’s amniocentesis results came back today. The baby is genetically normal. And because RatMan knows how to read a genetics report, he knows that it’s going to be a girl!. (Don’t tell RatWoman; she claims she does not want to know. Which is weird, because last time she couldn’t wait to find out.) This does leave me with something of an ethical dilemma, because everyone else DOES want to know. But I doubt it’ll be a secret after the next ultrasound. Four months to go…
A friend at work was mystified that we didn’t want to know the gender until the birth. Until she found out she was having a boy. She was perfectly happy with a boy – but she said one of the biggest surprises in her life was now no longer a mystery.
My own wife spent a week poring over ultrasound printouts and looking up information online. She ended up being convinced that we were having a girl. We did, but not that time.
There is no ethical dilemma – nobody else has a right to know, and your wife has the right for it to be a surprise. Tell everyone else that if they can keep a secret, you’ll let them know in a few months.
Well, it’s pretty academic. At the last ultrasound, the tech said “I don’t see any genitalia” and that will be even more obvious at the next one. She has almost no belly fat so the ultrasounds are amazingly clear.
And yes, it’s in my best interests to keep it a secret. She knows that I know, and she knows how I know it, so leaking it would instantly point the fickle finger at me. It’s not like it matters anyway; we have enough kids that nobody is going to be buying us darling little matching color-appropriate clothing ensembles (though some unstained onesies might be nice!) And her mother is already insisting it’s a girl, based on how high she’s carrying it or some other pseudo-medical claptrap, so there’s that.
I have 3 kids and neither of us knew what the gender was till the birth. There are few surprises – figured we’d keep it all exciting. It went girl girl girl btw. My kids occasionally ask if I wanted a son – just for Boy Scouts and for fart appreciation. But I have some beefs with the BSA so this removes the moral dilemma for me.
I learned yesterday that in India it’s illegal to find out the gender of the baby before the birth.
I can give you experience from the woman point of view on this one. My daughter’s dad (my now ex) had three other kids from a previous marriage. He had one child who was born with severe birth defects, and so, yes, he knows how to read an ultrasound very well. I had never seen one before and couldn’t tell a finger from a wee wee. Apparently the tech put the wand RIGHT OVER her little labia. So he totally knew, but he knew I didn’t want to know. The whole time I was pregnant he kept joking about wanting a boy and pretending he didn’t know. But he knew.
The nice thing that he did was right when I was in labor, he told me, “I know it’s a girl, and even though I’ve been joking about wanting a boy, I know she’s not and I want you to know I am fine with that.”
It’s funny that during the pregnancy I had a superstition about not bonding with my baby as well (some article I read) if I knew, but what a load of shit that was.