Two things never to expect in a relationship or marriage

Having some expectations in life is not an unhealthy thing; it’s when your expectations become too many and too irrational that it gets to be a concern.  Expecting other people to to be faithful, honest and respectful is encouraged, and remaining firm with those expectations is important in maintaining strength with your inner-self.  This absolutely applies to a relationship or marriage.  But one huge mistake I often hear firsthand from other couples is having a set of expectations that is either too many or too irrational.  The truth is, there are several irrational ones, but there are two that are especially common.  So let’s get to them!

1. It will never be perfect.

Okay, you can roll your eyes.  You’ve heard this so many damn times, so why hear it again?  Because you cannot be reminded enough.  A lot of us still have a habit of keeping that expectation of a perfect relationship or marriage in our subconscious thinking.  Perhaps there is pressure to prove to your relatives or circle of friends that you and your partner will always stand strong, despite the doubts some may speculate.  And because of this, you want to prove them wrong.

Getting Personal…

Dave and I are no exception when it comes to being pressured.  Our mothers and fathers raised us wondering whether we would succeed in finding and keeping love, and they were ecstatic when we did.  After our story on Glamour hit news stands, there was even more pressure. The number of supporters — parents, professionals, educators, and individuals on the spectrum — have been innumerable, and to this day we still hear them say “You give us hope, and we’re rooting for you.”  In the immediate weeks and months, I tried to be cautious and observant over how being under the national spotlight would affect our relationship.  The last thing I wanted to do was allow that pressure to have a perfect relationship and possible marriage take over me.  Over time, I reminded myself that as wonderful as it is to give others hope, my boyfriend and I are the only ones that have control over how our relationship will go.  A little pressure will always hover over us, but not enough to let that pressure “grab hold of the reigns”.  Dave and I remain together because we love each other, not because society is dictating us to.

Because so many people can relate to dating and marriage issues, you may not be judged as much as you think.

Every couple will run into challenges, and that’s okay.  It’s still important to remain mature in how you both handle those challenges, and you can do this without completely lying to the world (I know how we Auties and Aspies hate to lie!)  When you don’t feel like your relationship is going great, you don’t have to say: “Life between us is going perfectly!”  It’s okay to not say anything at all, or when appropriate, say: “There are some complications we have run into, and we are trying our best to work it out.”  The statement is honest yet mature, and because so many people can relate to dating and marriage issues, you may not be judged as much as you think.  They’ll only see you as immature when you initiate a passionate spat with your partner in front of everyone over ridiculous small things.

2. You can’t change your partner. Only your partner can change him/herself.

Again, you hear this a lot.  But I am still astounded when I continue to hear someone say they had agreed to marry because they thought their husband or wife would change once they were married.  Not true, folks.  And if he or she does change, it is because he or she has made the decision to change. This applies to every one, regardless whether or not he/she has an ASD.

When you are dating a partner on the autism spectrum, you may become frustrated of certain rituals, routines, or obsessions on special interests he or she may have.  This is understandable.  There are definitely things an individual on the spectrum can pick up when it comes to dating and relationship etiquette (i.e. not walking ahead of your date), but there will be elements to your partner you simply have to accept will always be that way.  However, I strongly believe that every relationship must take effort from both sides.  Relationships and marriages do not ultimately succeed on a one-way street.

Getting Personal…

Since Dave and I both have autism, we realize how difficult it would be to change each other. There may be an occasion where I get annoyed by how he’s more interested to talk about temperatures than about my music aspirations, or an occasion where he may get frustrated that we have to plan a dinner date days in advance because of my strict meal preparation rituals.  But deep down, we each understand why the other acts the way that we do.  It is especially difficult to change the rituals, routines and obsessions that an autistic individual has, and that’s why we have that understanding.  We always come up with ways where we meet halfway, allowing us to practice the art of give-and-take.

Note: If your partner is engaging in behavior you or others believe is endangering him or her self or endangering others (substance abuse, violence, suicide, etc.), then there will be a need to intervene.  And vice versa — if you’re engaging in behavior that is endangering others or yourself, your partner and your loved ones may feel a need to intervene.  When intervention is involved, it is recommended that you seek the help of a professional.

In Closing

Once you take those two things and cross them off you list of expectations, you will be able to move forward with more energy, more satisfaction, and more enjoyment out of the things that really matter in life.

image source: Anna Gay

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  1. Posted July 13, 2010 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Great advice all around.
    Congrats on the launch of your blog! 🙂

  2. Posted July 15, 2010 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

    To love someone is to love the person he/she always has been, and always shall be #smilesandhugs

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