I used to be very resentful of running my ASP’s life. I felt that he didn’t contribute anything, I did everything, and the last thing I wanted was to be his personal secretary or his mother. That was just another level of burden that I was *not* willing to endure.
Then I reached the end of my rope. Things had gotten so bad. I hit bottom and was willing to do anything to stop the hell I lived in. I felt trapped, like I couldn’t leave him, so I was desperate to do anything to make things better.
I don’t think you’d have to hit bottom to follow the Aspie Way, but you do have to be motivated to make things better.
I had to do everything in stages. I took care of me first.
Once I was okay, I worked on letting go of all my expectations and resentments from the past. To do this, I had to frequently remind myself that ASP has disabilities, and so I can’t expect as much from him.
I started fresh. I re-approached the relationship with the expectation that I’d get nothing from him. As far as I was concerned, I was single and he was no more than a roommate. I did not tell him this, which was important because if he felt like I’d abandoned him, he would have shut down.
Next, I resolved to treat him with polite calmness, no matter what. I said “please” and “thank you” with nearly anything I said to him.
Once I was doing a pretty good job of remaining calm, which got easier over time, I started asking for small things, always gentle and always polite.
He did every thing I asked.
Maybe at this point I was parenting him a little because I was asking him for a lot of things, including some things that seemed obvious to me. But already he was better at taking care of himself. Before we met, he lived independently and took care of all he needed without my help, and once I was no longer a source of stress, he resumed taking responsibility and did his share around the house. It was only tending our relationship that gave him trouble at first.
It took a few months, but for less pain than I had been going through before all of this, I got a loving, attentive, considerate husband who was rapidly taking on more responsibility, without being asked.
Without the stress of me being upset all the time, he had the desire to please me and actually looked for ways to do so. He took my suggestion of setting himself reminders on his mobile device for all kinds of things. I don’t know all of the reminders he set up, but I know he had one set for every night, when he would “ask her about her day” and “tell her something nice.”
Now he has a daily routine that includes doing more than his share around the house, and he takes good care of me. He doesn’t use reminders anymore and isn’t on a schedule for his interactions with me. His actions are more spontaneous now.
Rarely, I still have to ask him for things that, if he weren’t disabled, I wouldn’t have to ask. Like I might have to say, “Honey, would you please help me unload this box? All of the books go on that shelf,” but this is so easy now that I’m not resentful. I am rewarded by him doing what I ask without argument and by him asking, “What else can I do?” with a smile and love in his eyes. It is so easy and just doesn’t feel like parenting any more.