Friday, February 8, 2013

Asperger's From My New Husband's Perspective

I tried to convince my husband to do a guest blog post for me on his perspective of Asperger's and what it's like to marry someone who has a child on the autism spectrum.  He had never even heard of Asperger's or been around an autistic individual until he met my son.  I felt he could give some advice or pointers or something to help other step-parents coming into a situation with an autistic child.

The Murph didn't think it was such a good idea.  The conversation went something like this:

Me:  I want you to do a blog post about how you feel about Asperger's and how you've learned to deal with the Boy and his Asperger's and any pointers or advice you may have to contribute to help others.

Murph:  I have no advice or pointers to give anybody.  I don't even know how to deal with the Boy myself.  I STRUGGLE to deal with the Boy.  His personality is not so pleasant most of the time and I don't know how much of that is Asperger's.

Me:   I've told you most of it is because of his Asperger's and he's really NOT that bad!

Murph:  Yes, but I don't know how much of the meowing and biting and pulling your hair and following you around is Asperger's.  I don't think all Asperger's kids do that.  Not to mention at the wedding when we were trying to take pictures before the ceremony and he decided he was hungry and wouldn't leave you alone.

Me:  That was Asperger's.  He has no filter.  I should have made sure he ate something before I left to get my make up done.  (The Murph cringes at this because it was my wedding and the Boy is old enough and able to feed himself)

Murph:  I do see that there are varying degrees of Asperger's and autism and not everybody is the same.   Some are different than others.  I do see that.  When I first met you and you told me your son had Asperger's I didn't know what that was.  I told my sister-in-law that your son had Hamburgers or something and she said "Oh no!  You mean Asperger's!  That's what so and so has! ( so and so is a son of a cousin)"   All I could think was, oh no, because so and so was a strange, weird kid and I wouldn't even let the Girl get around him alone.  But like I said, he was different from the Boy.  Maybe the difference is medication or parenting or just other things he has besides Asperger's.  I will also say that whenever the Boy is around you that you change and not in a good way.  You change whenever he's around.    My only advice to people is that you really have to love the mother and then you will be able to put up with just about anything.  And I do mean ANYTHING!

Me:  I guess  I do change a little bit when he's around.   Just like you did on the wedding day the first time you had to deal with getting the Boy moving since I had already gone to get my make up done.  You looked stressed.

Murph:  I was just frustrated because I told him to get his tux on and we had to leave and he still wasn't ready to go and I had to get to the country club to get pictures and only had 15 minutes left.  Then he kept asking "Where's my mother?" over and over and when he finally saw you, he attached himself to you and decided he was starving to death and we were trying to get pictures done.

Me:  Well, that's me.  I get frustrated.  And he's in my personal space and I've been trying to teach him about personal space since he was about 4 or 5, but it still hasn't sunken in.  I get stressed when he's meowing and biting me and pulling my hair in my personal space.  When he has appointments that I have to get him to then it gets even more stressful.  I think you get it now.

And that's how the conversation went and that's about as close to a blog post as I can get from the Murph!

I will say that when I first met the Murph, I had very low expectations of his acceptance of the Boy.    I warned him more than once that he should think twice before he started dating me (he disagrees with this).

 I tried to explain to him that my son had Asperger's.  I tried to explain what life was like with a child who had Asperger's.  Even though at that point, the Boy was finishing up his Junior year of high school and things had become increasingly easier over the years, it was still stressful.

I didn't know if the Boy would be going away to college or staying home and going to a two year college.  I didn't know if he would even get into a four year college.  Heck, I didn't know if he was going to graduate from high school the next year.  I thought if he did go to a four year college that I might have to move with him because he would need me close by.

Things could have gone any number of ways.  That's the thing with autism.  You just don't know.  Things will get better, but then worse and then better again (you hope).  You think you've conquered something and then there's a backward slide.

I'm tough so I can handle it.  I didn't know how tough the Murph was though.

I've been happily surprised.

Back then the Murph assured me that he could handle whatever came our way.  That he would be there to back me up with whatever I had to do to help the Boy.  So far, we've been lucky and the Boy has taken off on his own and is doing well in a four year college and is living on campus.  He's doing better than I could ever have imagined.

I have the Murph to thank for that.  I could do it all on my own if I had to, but I'm glad I don't.   I did do it all on my own for several years as a single mom, but it sure is good to have a partner that is supportive.  I wish he could have been there with me through all the IEP meetings at the school and all those times I had to deal with the Boy's dad who seemed to be against me instead of for the Boy.

Or that time when the Boy was 10 and called me a "bitch" because I was trying to make him clean his room so I "threw" all his toys away and he didn't even care because he had paper clips and other random office supplies to play with.

I'm glad the Murph doesn't think the Boy is as weird as so and so, whoever so and so is!  And that he cares enough to know it's Asperger's not Hamburger's and that everyone on the spectrum is different and unique.

I did warn the Murph that I have a weird kid, bad cats and an obsessive triathlon habit, so he came in with his eyes wide open.  I even included that line in my wedding vows, although I changed "weird" to "teen-age" because I didn't want to give the Boy an excuse to act weirder than his normal weird.  He would've taken that and run with it.

Weird is the new normal for the Murph and personally I think he likes it better.


  1. Wow the Murph sounds like a great guy. Since I have always been with my boy's father it has never really occurred to me what it would be like with someone who wasn't his father.

    Anyway hats off to your new hubby. Aspergers/Autism is tough when it is your own kid, hard to imagine what it would be like if it was your step child.

    1. He is a great guy but the Boy can be difficult to understand sometimes. The Murph still handles it better than the Boy's own dad does. We have struggles with the Boy's dad! Well the Boy has struggles with him. I stay out of it now. It's better that way!

  2. That's great that the Murph stuck by your side no matter what. And when your child has Aspergers, it's like we as parents, feel the need to disclose it to people. It's possible that it could scare people away, but that's a true test for someone. If they're accepting of someone having autism, then they're likely a good person. My wife and I feel lucky that we have each other, because things are easier when you have help. I guess that means that you and your son are lucky too.

    1. You're right. If a person is accepting of autism it is likely they are a good person and that is the kind of person I wanted in my and the Boy's life. You and your wife are very lucky to have each other and to be supportive of each other and on the same team. That is important!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this, Kristy..
    I knew The Murph was a good guy!