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I spent the entire weekend eagerly waiting for news of if and when the long-awaited proposal was going to transpire, but on his return, my husband just said: ‘Sorry, I forgot to ask.’ once the case.
Online forums such as Mumsnet are bursting with threads from exasperated wives lamenting that their DH (darling husband) stays up all night reading programming books, or when he is stressed, says one disgruntled spouse, lying in bed eating pretzels (and it has to be a particular kind of pretzel) in silence.
‘An avid observer of human behaviour’, she will learn what to do or say, how to copy others and so go unnoticed; unlike the AS boy, she will ‘apologise and appease’. Her social awkwardness has been evident since she shot to fame in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, but she has tried to fit into the ‘normal’ world – smiling for photo shoots, making TV appearances.
She recently described her AS diagnosis as ‘a relief’. Attwood says that working so hard to ‘avoid social error’, and so slip through the diagnostic net, is emotionally exhausting for AS women, and can lead to extreme stress and anxiety.
But the good news is that, by understanding the way an AS man’s brain is wired and making the most of his qualities, it is possible to bring out the best in him – and have a fulfilling, or certainly less frustrating, relationship.
Who knows if any of these men actually have Asperger’s – but in the face of behaviour where certain emotional synapses seem not to have quite ‘connected’, it’s the word on everyone’s lips.
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Britain’s leading authority on autism, argues that all autism is, in fact, just varying degrees of ‘having an extreme male brain’, which emphasises systemising over empathising (an extreme female brain would do the opposite, and a ‘balanced brain’ would do both equally).
So much credence has been given to his point of view that it now has its own official name: the Extreme Male Brain (EMB) theory of autism.
She also finds the sensory side of things difficult.
To cope, she makes lists, ‘like others might make a shopping list’, reminding herself to hold her partner’s hand ‘for five minutes every day’ and to hug him ‘three times a day’.
But romantic unions may fare better, with the right partner – a caring man may relish being with a detail-oriented, highly practical but slightly childlike woman; it can appeal to his instinct to protect.